County Executive Pat Ryan Announces Cresco Labs Significantly Bolsters Planned Investment; The Project Continues to Gain Momentum and Community Support

Posted April 17, 2022

After meeting and hearing from the community, Cresco Labs' updated proposal would see a doubling of capital investments and expanded jobs numbers

Renovations of existing warehouse to house Cresco Labs’ medical operations receives building permit with construction set to begin in the coming weeks.

Kingston, NY -- Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan announced today that Cresco Labs, a vertically integrated cannabis and medical marijuana company, is moving forward with their plans to site a major cannabis cultivation, processing, packaging and distribution facility in the Ellenville area on a former manufacturing site that was once home to Channel Master and the Schrade knife company. After meeting and hearing from the community, Cresco Labs updated proposal would see a doubling of capital investments and expanded jobs numbers.  

“This is one of the biggest economic opportunities we have had in Ellenville in decades and the project has continued to gain momentum throughout the process,” Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan said. “Cresco has continued to be embraced by the community because they have shown a commitment to working with residents and delivering results. They will turn a site that once represented the beating heart of this economy back into the economic engine that it can and should be — providing good-paying jobs for local residents and putting Ulster County at the leading edge of the rapidly-growing cannabis industry.”

In February, Cresco Labs finalized construction plans for their proposed 380,000 SF facility and received approval from the Town of Wawarsing Planning Board for the project. While early estimates from Cresco Labs called for a similar size facility, the overall investment by the company grew from under $100,000,000 in preliminary plans to a final figure of approximately $200,000,000. The increased investment reflects, in part, the project’s commitment to paying prevailing wages for major construction contracts, as well as accommodations in response to community feedback received during the planning process. The estimated job creation grew from early estimates of 350 full-time jobs to the current estimate of 475 jobs, including 375 for facility operations and 100 for the nearly two-year construction of the project.  

“The Cresco Labs team has gone to great lengths to address any concerns that have been raised during the planning and approval process,” Wawarsing Town Supervisor Terry Houck said. “At this point, the general sentiment here in the Town is that the project represents an unqualified win for our community. During construction it will revitalize a blighted eyesore at the northern gateway to the Village, and once operational it will drive a positive transformation of our area’s economy, bringing good-paying manufacturing and processing jobs that will provide a sustainable living for our next generation of families and households.” 

Cresco Labs is one of the fastest growing cannabis companies in the US, and currently operates 18 production facilities in ten states. The Ellenville facility would create a state-of-the art campus on the property of the former Schrade knife factory, which shut its doors seventeen years ago. The nearly 90-acre site, located on Route 209 in the Town of Wawarsing, left behind a vacant building that was demolished in 2015. 

On the site would be Cresco’s newest production, processing, and distribution facility, bringing new economic opportunity to the Town of Wawarsing and the surrounding region. The redevelopment would involve the construction of a new building dedicated to growing and cultivation in addition to space for processing, production, packaging, distribution and administrative offices. Consistent with state regulations, the site will not be permitted for retail sales or on-premise consumption.

With the recent legalization of marijuana in New York State, Ulster County is positioning itself to be a leader in this new booming market as one of the first communities in the State to house a major marijuana distribution facility. Ulster County boasts over 400 farms and approximately 58,932 acres of farmland. Additionally, the County has several existing companies at the forefront of the emerging cannabis industry who have helped pave the way for the sector’s rapid growth.

The revitalization of the Wawarsing area with Cresco Labs, mirrors that of the transformation of the former IBM site just thirty miles north outside of Kingston. In December, County Executive Pat Ryan announced that National Resources intended to buy the long dormant property. It is anticipated that the final closing on TechCity will take place in the coming days. The purchase would open up 18 parcels totaling over 160 acres in the center of the sprawling industrial site for redevelopment for the first time since IBM’s departure in the mid-1990s. Over the next five to ten years, the group expects to invest in excess of $200,000,000 to improve and revitalize the site, which they believe will lead to the creation of up to 1,000 good-paying jobs for Ulster County residents.