Thursday, April 28, 2022

After the Sale: HDC Charts Its Course

Since 2010, when the Hudson Development Corporation first acquired the former Kaz warehouses, the attention of the agency has been focused on the disposition of that property. Over the years, there were attempts to partner with a developer to transform the industrial site into some kind of residential/commercial complex, but for various reasons--all documented by Gossips--the efforts failed. Finally, late in 2020, under the leadership of Bob Rasner, HDC decided to get out of the real estate development business and sell the property, then known as the Montgomery Street parcel. A buyer emerged, and in September 2021, the board approved a purchase/sale agreement. The sale finally closed in March 2022, and now HDC, with more than $2 million in the bank, is charting a new course for itself.

Tuesday's regular meeting may have been the first HDC meeting Gossips has attended during which the words "Kaz site" or "Montgomery Street parcel" were never uttered. Instead the board was focused on moving forward. Chris Jones, HDC's new board president, who was elected by the board at its annual meeting in March, started the meeting by talking about the agency's mission and its future. The following are excerpts from that statement:
Our mission statement is newly revised and ratified by you and will drive everything we do. So, I’d like to share it with us all before we continue with our business.
The Hudson Development Corporation is a private nonprofit established in 1976 as a Local Development Corporation for the purposes of sustaining, promoting, and enabling business investment and employment opportunities, as well as strengthening the City of Hudson’s tax base to help secure its future as a desirable place to live work and invest.
And this is how we will accomplish our mission:
    • Engage with existing businesses in the areas of business retention, expansion, and job creation
    • Seek out and advocate for new businesses that add market diversity and job skills to our local economy
    • Partner with City government in strengthening the tax base and planning the future
Because we are a private not-for-profit and a [Local] Development Corporation, we can do lot of things that most government entities and private foundations can’t do, namely:
    1. We can focus exclusively on the economy of the city and job creation.
    2. We can accept public grants and private donations as well as invest on our own in our future . . . as well that of Hudson.
    3. We can donate money and we can lend money to any worthy activity in Hudson that aligns with our mission.
These are just a few of the tools in our toolbox that make us different, useful and consequential to Hudson’s future. . . . 
Board members are appointed. Executive committee members are elected by the board. New board members are appointed based on the diverse skill sets, wisdom, and the expertise needed to accomplish our mission. Our committee structure is our vehicle for meeting new people, introducing new board members to our work, and letting them see if our work is for them.
I want to emphasize that all those with faith in the future of Hudson who want to work for its future are welcome to talk to me, Martha [Lane], the chair of our nominating committee; Branda [Maholtz, executive director]; or any Board member about ways to participate in bringing life and ideas to our mission. . . 
One last thing I have always found amazing about Hudson: there have been so many different businesses in Hudson’s history--whaling to Diamond Street, ice harvesting to antiques, union suits, pocketbooks, chairs, doors, mining, gravel, hospitality and tourism. Hudson has always been OPEN for business.
I am psyched to add new entrepreneurs with ideas to that list that will continue Hudson’s amazing nonfranchise, nonformulaic business story.
No initiative that creates real jobs is out of bounds if we stay open-minded. Think film production or animation, to AI or gaming, to high tech pharmaceuticals and the whole creative economy to name only a few . . . plus all the many service businesses we depend on today, but with the support of new workforce initiatives both educational and vocational. There are exciting things ahead for sure.

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