ARGYLE — The $2.9 million contract Adirondack Studios landed last month was the result of an investment that saw the company add about 20 jobs last year in a plan to draw new projects to the facility.
“Now, we will be able to keep those 20 jobs intact and look for more projects,” said Adirondack Studios Vice President for Development Michael Blau, whose firm employs 160 people. “Getting this project was a direct result of adding jobs, including to our sales force, last year.”
The contract is for making and installing custom cabinetry, fixtures and exhibits at the new National Comedy Center under construction in Jamestown in the state’s Southern Tier.
The contract follows Adirondack Studios’ award-winning work at One World Observatory in One World Trade Center in New York City. The local company did a good deal of work on the new tower, including the first-floor welcome area, the elevator displays and both the City Pulse Display and and the Sky Portal, a clear glass floor, on the 100th floor observation deck. The work garnered a Thea Award for excellence from the Themed Entertainment Association.
The company, which is located in Argyle, in Washington County, after initially moving to Warren County in the mid-1970s, occupies a 125,000-square-foot facility with separate areas for design, carpentry, metal, paint, electrics and project management.
“This is a terrific thing for us,” Blau said. “We worked with (Washington County) workforce development in terms of securing work. We developed a sales team, and this job was a result of that focus. We planned ahead.”
The National Comedy Center is expected to open in 2018. Construction began on the 37,000-square-foot exhibit space and a new 6,000-square-foot building (both structures together would be similar in size to the Hannaford in South Glens Falls).
The project, which will be in the historic Jamestown Gateway train station, is expected to draw 14,000 visitors annually and support 184 jobs, according to the state.
The center, a $50 million initiative, with half of that going to building projects, will be a nonprofit cultural institution offering year-round experiential and interactive exhibits and programming. The center will also support aspiring artists through educational programming in comedic arts. It has received $4.35 million in funding from Empire State Development and the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, through the Regional Economic Development Council initiative. Gov. Andrew Cuomo also committed an additional $5 million to the National Comedy Center through the second phase of the Buffalo Billion initiative.
Blau said the project gave Adirondack Studios and opportunity to play to its own strengths.
“We love the idea of taking our theatrical knowledge and how it relates to creating space in a museum,” he said.
Washington County Administrator Chris DeBolt said the new contract, combined with other work the studio does, is a boon for the county.
“Any time we can see one of our local companies get a contract as prestigious and as large as this, it’s great,” he said.
Laura Oswald, the county’s director of economic development, said company owners David Lloyd and Christopher Detmer are leaders in the county’s rise in the creative economy.
“Adirondack Studios is one of the top 10 employers in the county and is a hidden gem,” she said. “I think what is important for Washington County is that we have a really nice cluster of arts-related businesses, which have a symbiotic relationship. Major employers are keeping local artists employed.”