QUEENSBURY -- Luxury mahogany boat-maker Hacker Boat Co. plans to nearly double its workforce in the years after it moves operations to the Queensbury Business Park.
The company and Warren County Economic Development Corp. recently finalized an agreement to build the new manufacturing, boat restoration and office facility in the business park.
Construction of the $3 million, 90,000-square-foot structure is slated to begin late this year on three adjacent parcels totaling 17 acres.
The new facility will replace a 32,000-square-foot production facility and an 11,400-square-foot boat repair and restoration operation, both in Ticonderoga.
Company officials said earlier this year they planned to close both locations and consolidate operations in Queensbury.
The company will continue to operate its marina at Silver Bay on Lake George.
Details about the project were unveiled Friday at a news conference inside the National Guard Armory.
The 56-acre Queensbury Business Park offers a range of lot sizes, from 2 to 9 acres. EDC President Edward Bartholomew said a total of 24 acres is still available.
The Armory was the first and only tenant until Hacker’s decision to join the park.
Bartholomew said the EDC is taking a more regional approach to marketing available properties to businesses.
“I think the armory was a good shot,” he said. “Obviously, it serves other needs by having the armory locate here. Hacker Boat opens the door to show other needs for businesses and industries looking to locate here.”
Hacker Boat Co. was awarded a $600,000 grant by the state regional economic development council late last year.
Hacker CEO George Badcock said Friday the firm’s Ticonderoga workforce of about 45 will increase to about 80 “over the next couple of years, as we expand our line of boats and start to build bigger boats.”
Badcock said the future jobs will require a variety of skill-sets.
“Some on the mechanical side, but a lot of woodworkers — and woodworkers is a broad term — but within woodworking, there’s a lot of different craftsman,” he said. “When they’re building bigger boats and yachts, there’s a lot of specialized woodworkers. We’ll be looking to hire more of those types of people as the boats get a little bit fancier and more intricate.”
State Sen. Elizabeth Little, R-Queensbury, said Badcock’s vision for the company is expansive.
“It’s a huge investment,” she said.
Little said the money Hacker Boat is getting from the state is a tax credit. Once the firm adds 25 jobs, it will be eligible for the tax credit. The company will have 10 years to meet the 25-job threshold.
She emphasized the company would have been eligible for the tax credit regardless of where they located, and she was happy they stayed in the North Country.
Badcock said the new facility will allow Hacker Boat to expand its line and increase production from the 15 to 20 boats per year made now.
“There’s a market for wooden boats up to 39 and 45 feet, so we’ve designed some larger boats we’ll be building,” he said. “We just can’t build them in the facility we’re in. It’s physically not possible.”
The company is constantly seeking new international business, including a visit this fall from a potential dealer in Switzerland.
Badcock said he hopes employees who live in the Ticonderoga area will continue to work at the new location. He said about 70 percent of the workforce lives south of Hague, so the Queensbury facility may be more convenient for them.
“It’s tough for (Ticonderoga) to see them move,” Little said. “They are keeping their presence in Hague where they have a marina, boat storage and a showroom.”
The proximity to the airport appealed to the company.
“I think they enhance once another,” Bartholomew said. “(Badcock) has indicated in the past it will be easier for people to fly in to look at boats ... under construction, and there will be some display boats here as well to make a transaction on the spot.”
Friday’s news conference was attended by several other local officials, including Assemblyman Dan Stec, R-Queensbury; Kevin Geraghty, chairman of the Warren County Board of Supervisors; Queensbury Supervisor Ron Montesi and Harold “Bud” Taylor, chairman of the Warren-Washington Industrial Development Agency.