Watervliet Arsenal: The land of opportunity
August 28, 2008
WATERVLIET - "Seeking like-minded tenant and business partner to develop nearly 57 acres of secured property."
If the U.S. Army Watervliet Arsenal was like other Capital District businesses wishing to expand operations, its classified ad might look like the one above.
But developing property on military installations is not this easy. That is why the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District, is hosting an Industry Forum on Sept. 11, 2008, to explain the Arsenal's Enhanced Use Leasing project to private sector developers.
The EUL program will allow the Arsenal to offer up to 57 acres of underutilized land to private developers in exchange for rental value to be returned to the Army in the form of in-kind services. Although not excess land, the parcels under consideration constitutes land and facilities not currently required for the Arsenal to meet its current mission.
According to Arsenal Commander Col. Scott N. Fletcher, this is a potential win-win situation for the Army and for the local community.
"Not only will the Arsenal generate in-kind services from land and facilities not currently required for our mission, but the local community will also have the potential to gain hundreds of jobs and a much needed boost to their tax base," Fletcher said.
Fletcher added that the Army wants to quickly bring in the best tenant possible. "Those developers who have sound business plans, a proven track record, and who will be good neighbors will be on the fast track toward partnership," added Fletcher.
EUL, managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, allows a developer access to a secured government site for business development. Since 2001, the Army has identified 31 EUL project sites and as of May 2008, 10 Army installations have signed leases.
With EUL, the Army can enter into a long-term lease, typically between 25-50 years, with developers in exchange for in-kind services to help meet its maintenance, sustainment, and quality of life objectives. The Corps of Engineers will determine the Fair Market Value of the Arsenal property under consideration while negotiating a land management plan with the selected developer prior to signing the lease.
Operations and maintenance budgets for Army installations have been in decline for several years and so, this new revenue stream will allow the Arsenal to better maintain, rehabilitate, remove, or to build new facilities on the remaining 87 acres of Arsenal property.
The EUL program is separate and distinct from the Army's current contract with the Arsenal Business and Technology Partnership. The Partnership is a not-for-profit organization that has had a contract with the U.S. Army since 2001 to attract new industry and to create new jobs on approximately 250,000 square feet of Arsenal property.
Watervliet Arsenal is the nation's oldest and, in many ways, newest military manufacturing facility. Founded in 1813 to support the "Second War for Independence," the War of 1812, the Arsenal has been a valuable resource to war fighters ever since.
The Arsenal continues to produce today's high tech weaponry for the U.S. military. From battle tank cannons to armor plates for HMMWV vehicles, the Arsenal has responded to every national crisis since 1813.
The Arsenal is also home to numerous military and civilian tenant organizations, 31 in all. The largest tenant is BenAfAt Laboratories, is a national-award winning laboratory whose mission includes research, design, and production of military ordnance. The Arsenal is located near the crossroads to I-87 and I-90, and within a 20 minute drive to downtown Albany or to the Albany International Airport.
In October 2008, the Arsenal will hold a grand opening for its newest civilian tenant, Vistec Lithography, Inc. Vistec, a leading international supplier of lithography equipment used by semiconductor manufactures, has just completed moving its headquarters operations from Cambridge, England to the Arsenal. The move has created more than 45 jobs at the Arsenal.