During a speech at Marist College in Poughkeepsie on Thursday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo promised a range of investment for the region, including an international sake-producing partnership in Dutchess County, a new Metro-North stop for the Woodbury Common outlets and funding for improvements at New York Stewart International Airport.
Cuomo focused primarily on proposals in his 2019 fiscal year executive budget. He touted what he described as his administration’s focus on driving economic development in upstate New York. That initiative has included close to $7 billion in investments in the Hudson Valley region during his administration.
The governor promised to expand that investment in his 2019 budget and 2018 agenda through a number of projects.
The governor highlighted a new partnership between The Culinary Institute of America and Japanese sake maker Asahi Shuzo International Co. Ltd.
The Japanese rice wine maker will work with the Hyde Park college to launch its first U.S. brewery just north of the CIA’s campus at the corner of Route 9 and St. Andrews Road.
Asahi Shuzo produces the line of Dassai premium Junmai Daiginjo sake. Cuomo said the partnership will bring “32 new jobs, but, more importantly, great sake.”
“Can you imagine, Culinary Institute of America sake,” Cuomo said. “That’s going to be special.”
The state is providing $588,235 in tax credits through the Excelsior Jobs Program for the estimated $28 million project.
Asahi Shuzo plans to start construction on the brewery this spring, with plans to open in early 2019. At full capacity, the brewery will produce 332,640 gallons of sake a year. The CIA will work with the company to develop curriculum, certification programs, workshops and special events and tastings based around sake.
Woodbury Common station stop
A new Metro-North Railroad stop near the Woodbury Common Premium Outlets in Central Valley could help what Cuomo described as “one of the really impossible traffic situations in the world.”
“We’re putting a Metro-North station at Woodbury Common, so you don’t have to drive, you can take the train,” Cuomo said.
The high-end outlet mall, operated by Simon Property Group LP, features brands such as Gucci and Prada among its 240 stores. Those shops draw 13 million visitors a year. But the traffic on its corridor, which includes Routes 17 and 32, as well as the New York State Thruway, is enough to scare off potential shoppers in Cuomo’s estimation.
“Whenever my daughters ask me to take them there, I come up with any excuse not to have to sit through that traffic,” he said.
The train station proposal would be a new addition to $150 million in investments the governor has promised to improve traffic flow near the outdoor mall. Construction has already started on some of that work.
Plans include an expansion of Route 32, a new Route 32 bridge over Route 17 and a reconfiguration of the ramp leading to I-87. The project will also add a bus station, expanded commuter parking and an updated technology system to guide traffic signals.
New York Stewart International Airport
The Newburgh-based regional airport is now the New York Stewart International Airport.
Cuomo announced the name change during his speech at Marist. That was a day after the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the airport’s operator, made it official in a news release.
The new name may make the airport’s location more recognizable to foreign travelers. Norwegian Air last year added routes to the airport from Dublin in Ireland, Belfast in Northern Ireland, Edinburgh in Scotland and Bergen, Norway.
Cuomo said the number of passengers at Stewart has grown 60 percent since Norwegian added the international routes.
“I think there’s a lot of growth for that airport to drive the economy here,” Cuomo said. “You shouldn’t have to fly to New York City or ship goods to New York City to get them to the Hudson Valley. Let’s use Stewart.”
To build on that growth, Cuomo promised $36 million in investment at the airport. Part of that money will fund a 20,000-square-foot U.S. Customs inspection area for international passengers.