The rehabilitation of the American Candle Factory on Kings Highway continues to take shape, with a shooting range, police training center and film prop warehouse planned.
Earlier this year, Willis Williamson received Planning Board approval to convert a portion of one of the buildings into a 35,000-square-foot shooting range.
On a recent tour of the buildings, Williamson said that based on interest expressed by local law enforcement agencies, the State Police, FBI and Homeland Security, he is planning a nine-lane shooting range. The agencies would use it for indoor practice and qualifying. One of the shooting lanes, Williamson said, will be long enough to allow for sniper training, something other area indoor ranges do not offer. He hopes to open the range in early 2015.
Even before the shooting range is built, law enforcement is already making use of the building. On a recent weekday afternoon, Red Hook Detective Christopher Aderholdt was teaching police officers from a number of law enforcement agencies, including Saugerties, how to photograph evidence under low-light conditions. He said the room is the only one in the area that is completely “pitch black and perfect for the training.” The program was part of a training session provided by the state Division of Criminal Justice.
The film prop company, Shadow Supplies, is currently located across the street. That company has supplied movies (“Men in Black III”) and TV shows (“Boardwalk Empire,” “Person of Interest”) for years, according to Art Green, who owns the building.
Empty areas of the candle factory complex buildings will be used by Shadow Supplies to store its props and to lease them out to production companies to film television shows and movies. “We have everything they would need,” Green said.
Those same props and open space would also come in handy for law enforcement training, added Williamson. If police want to recreate a classroom, jewelry store or pretty much any other type of setting, Shadow Supplies can set up the props, and the buildings have the necessary space.
“It’s a perfect location,” Williamson said. “This could be something great.”
It could also mean well paying jobs for the local community, Green said. If Shadow Supplies can lure production companies north out of New York City to shoot their shows, it would mean jobs for local residents, “and production companies pay well,” Green added.