A baker’s dozen of distinction

01-09-2009

A baker’s dozen of distinction

Desire to make things better is a virtue our difference makers share Call them the Dedicated Dozen.

Their interests could not be more different. Some are businesspeople, bringing jobs into the region, getting downtown retailers to work together or converting abandoned city properties into exquisite upscale housing. Others are devoted to helping the poor, teaching people about conditions on the Mexican border or mentoring college-bound minority students. One even stood up for the legal rights of a teenager accused of killing a 10-year-old girl.

What unites them is a fervent desire to better their communities. Here’s a look at what earned them the distinction of being the CQ “Dozen Who Make a Difference” in the Capital Region.

OK, so you counted. There are two couples here, making the total 13. We know. It’s a baker’s dozen, and we hope their examples will be a recipe for inspiring you.

DAVID BUICKO
What economic downturn?
You’d be hard-pressed to tell we’re in a recession by talking to the chief operating officer of Rotterdam-based Galesi Group.

After bringing a new movie theater to downtown Schenectady (at 400 State St.), the commercial developer now is renovating the City Center complex across the street from Proctors Theatre, where MVP Health Care and Capital District YMCA will be tenants. A new five-story glass-and steel facade has been proposed for the structure at the corner of State and Jay.

Meanwhile, Golub Corp., parent of Price Chopper supermarkets, will move its headquarters from Rotterdam to a building Galesi is constructing on Nott Street in Schenectady, which will bring 1,000 workers downtown.

At Rotterdam Corporate Park, Galesi spent $3 million to renovate a 270,000-square-foot former Army depot for new tenants. They include Railex USA’s 225,000-square-foot East Coast distribution hub, which brings West Coast produce here by train; Golub Corp.’s 150,000-square-foot freezer facility; and FedEx Freight’s 55,000-square-foot regional distribution hub.
At Northeastern Industrial Park in Guilderland Center, three railroads — Canadian Pacific, CSX Transportation and Norfolk Southern — service what Buicko calls one of the most important transportation hubs in the Northeast. “That park can accommodate another million and a half square feet of space,” he said.

The company is similarly enthusiastic about moving businesses that rely on low-cost energy to its industrial park in Green Island called Island Park. There, another 250,000 to 300,000 square feet of space is available, and Buicko hopes to announce some new tenants early this year. “This area is insulated from the ups and downs of what’s going on nationally,” he said of the Capital Region. “We are as busy as we can be.”

Buicko serves on the board of Proctors Theatre, where he helped raise $30 million for renovating the historic complex, and is vice chairman of the Center for Economic Growth –which seems fitting, since the Galesi Group is something of a center for economic growth itself.