Plenty of room for big ideas

Known as The Pocketbook Factory, for a now-long-gone use, the empty three-story building seen in the bottom foreground of this photo of Hudson has received approval the city Industrial Development Agency for a tax break on construction materials. The new owners of the North 6th Street property have proposed a 40-room hotel, stores, restaurants, studios and other amenities as part of a $25-million proposal. Photo by Glenn Wheeler Drone

‘It Begins With Me’ event honors MLK. Jr. January 17

HUDSON—The Hudson Interfaith Council will not hold the annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Pre-Holiday Sunday Night Service this year. Instead, and in solidarity with the expressed wishes of Martin Luther King, III, the public is invited to join the council Monday, January 17, 2022, for the “It Begins With Me” Motorcade and Outdoor Rally to help advance the cause of securing Voting Rights for all Americans.

The pre-rally motorcade line up begins at 10:30 a.m. at the Columbia and N. 6th St. Parking Lot in Hudson, and starts at 11 a.m. The rally is scheduled from noon to 1 p.m. in front of Shiloh Baptist Church, 14 Warren Street. Read more…

Will Ancram balk at ‘glam’ campers?

ANCRAM—While the Iron Star Retreat Center project is being tweaked, a group of concerned local citizens have hired a lawyer to protect their interests.

At the Planning Board’s January 6 meeting with about 75 people tuned in on Zoom and a dozen or so gathered in-person at the Town Hall, Chairman John Ingram reopened the public hearing on the Iron Star Retreat Center application on advice of counsel. Taylor M. Palmer, a partner in the law firm of Cuddy & Feder, who represents the applicant, had asked that the matter be adjourned until February while the Iron Star team “reworks certain areas of the project to be responsive to public comment.”

Mr. Palmer and Iron Star Founder Stacey Shurgin, president at Leeds Associates LLC, a NYC real estate management and development company, were present remotely. Read more…

Old factory gets tax break for new uses

HUDSON—The city’s Industrial Development Agency (IDA) agreed last month to give tax breaks for converting the block-wide Pocketbook Factory building into a diverse commercial site. The breaks exempt PBF Hudson LLC, which has owned the property since early 2021, from sales taxes on construction supplies. Some exemptions are designated PILOTs (Payments in Lieu of Taxes) for 10 years.

The Pocketbook Factory, as the empty brick building is known, sits among residential streets in Hudson, filling the block on Sixth Street between Prospect and Washington streets, near the Central Fire House and Oakdale Lake. It includes 69,800 square feet of brick buildings and a half-acre courtyard. Union Mills had the property before it became the Pocketbook Factory, which ceased operation in the 1970s.

Gabriel Katz of Macarthur Holdings and Sean Roland, an entrepreneur, bought the property and established PBF Hudson in early 2021. They envisioned converting the building into a 40-room hotel, restaurant, wellness center, offices, retail stores, artists studios, event rooms, and space for “farming.” The courtyard would be “open to the public.” Current plans call for no demolition of neighboring buildings,where people live. The owners say they would seek to hire locally. The estimated cost is $25.6 million. Read more…

It’s official

It’s official At 10 a.m. on January 1, 2022 Donald J. Krapf (l) was sworn in as the sheriff of Columbia County. Standing on the front steps of the county Courthouse in Hudson with his mother holding their family bible, county Clerk Holly Tanner administered the oath of office. Those attending included his family, friends, fellow law enforcement officers and members of the community. Sheriff Krapf’s first official act was to appoint Jacqueline Salvatore (r) as undersheriff. Ms. Salvatore was also given her oath of office by Clerk Tanner, with her brother Buck Mason at her side. In speaking to the press Sheriff Krapf said, “I would like to extend a message of gratitude. It is an honor to serve the County of Columbia in the Office of Sheriff. We look forward to working collaboratively with all county agencies and for all of the citizens of this great county.” Photo by Lance Wheeler

County controller retires and reflects

“I THINK THE COUNTY IS MUCH BETTER OFF, financially stronger, and on the right track,” Ron Caponera said, comparing Columbia County now to how it was in 2010, when he became its first controller. Set to retire the last day of 2021, he spoke by phone December 17.

The county created the position of controller in 2010 and chose Mr. Caponera for the job because of his experience. At that time, he was controller of the Town of Colonie, in Albany County. Colonie has more people than Columbia County and a budget just as large. But Columbia County provides more services, Mr. Caponera observed.

Mr. Caponera said he also worked for 22 years in healthcare, including as controller of hospitals and nursing homes.

In Columbia County, he created and built a controller’s department, implemented a new accounting system, and “got the county in compliance with state regulations.” With County Treasurer P.J. Keeler, Jr. he created the Central Business Office (CBO), to save money by rationalizing “duplicative services.” Read more…