Welcome, iPark 87

(Photo by Dion Ogust)

“We weren’t looking for love,” said Joe Cotter, head of National Resources, a development company which may spend as much as $200 million in the next decade to create 1000 jobs or more at the former TechCity in the Town of Ulster, now rechristened iPark 87, “but we found it.”

On a chilly morning the day after the 80th anniversary of Pearl Harbor, Cotter stood underneath the big clock at the main entrance of the former IBM facility. Cotter and his senior colleague Lynn Ward. About 60 hardy individuals stood waiting to hear what the new owner would have to say.

National Resources wasn’t looking for a development site when he was contacted by  Ulster County executive Pat Ryan earlier this year. But Cotter was willing to meet with them.

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Ryan led a small group with county economic development director Tim Wiedemann, who Ryan described as the quarterback of the Ulster County team, to a meeting in East Fishkill, where National Resouces has a big investment in another ex-IBM plant. Cotter liked their spirit, he said, and agreed to come to Kingston.

Unlike at other sites the company owned, TechCity had virtually no tenants. And it had severe environmental problems.

Joe Cotter, head of National Resources.

It was a challenge for any developer. “We had to exhume the body,” said Cotter. ” The body had no pulse.”

Cotter had no delusions about the difficulty of revival. But he was drawn to the site, anyway. Ulster County provided him with all the details, all the connections, all the encouragement that could be mustered. Cotter and his vice-president, Lynn Ward,  became intrigued with the challenge.

And the unlikely, complex deal finally came together.

It was a grey morning, and Pat Ryan noticed there were no shadows.

But after Cotter talked, Ryan noted that there was now a ray of sunshine in the sky.