RBW, an award-winning independent lighting design and manufacturing brand, has begun production in its new $5 million global headquarters and manufacturing and innovation facility located at 575 Boices Lane in Kingston even though renovations to the building that dates from the 1980s have not been completed .
“Our expansion to Kingston is a dream come true for our company and a great opportunity to implement our complete vision for RBW,” said Alex Williams, partner and director of growth for the company. He said that adding the 100,000-square-foot facility marks a new chapter of growth in the company’s 12th year.
Phase 1 of construction has been completed with order fulfillment taking place from its factory floor. Phase 2, the 22,000-square-foot office space that will house its product innovations and brand operations, has a tentative completion date of mid-August. The space will feature open bench desking, meeting and communal rooms, a cafeteria, exhibition space and phone booths. It will be furnished with RBW’s own LED lighting from its Centro pendant collection, dimming controls, daylighting, skylights and collaborative robotics.
“We have long been inspired by some of Europe’s most visionary manufacturing campuses that reflects a thoughtful and holistic approach to planning a company’s footprint,” said Williams. He said that installation of solar panels also is being considered.
With assistance from Empire State Development (ESD), RBW is investing more than $5.4 million for acquisition, construction and renovation and the purchase of machinery and equipment for its operations. ESD has awarded RBW up to $547,500 in Excelsior Jobs Tax Credits in exchange for the retention of 35 jobs and the creation of 49 new, local jobs.
“Companies like RBW are drawn to vibrant and engaging communities found across the state that support economic growth while providing the assets and infrastructure that appeal to a young and diverse workforce and the dynamic communities in the mid-Hudson region are no exception,” said Empire State Development Acting Commissioner and President and CEO-designate Hope Knight. “Manufacturing remains integral to the regional economy’s framework, and RBW’s investment is bringing good jobs to Ulster County.”
RBW is known for its forward-thinking, technology-driven approach to lighting solutions with products that feature shapes and creating subtle upgrades on familiar forms. The company’s broad range of lighting applications have been installed all over the world, from the renowned Noma restaurant in Copenhagen to Fortune 500 company offices across the United States, including Urban Outfitters, Fitbit, Yelp, Uber and high-end hotels across the country.
RBW’s Williams noted that the company is already becoming active in community affairs.
“In seeking a partner that aligns with our purpose to positively transform environments, communities and lives, we identified Kingston Land Trust,” said Williams. He said that RBW is interested in collaborating with the Land Trust to protect socially and environmentally significant land and address inequities by making land accessible to the community. RBW believes that the Land Trust’s mission aligns with its own building design that emphasizes its natural surroundings, spotlighting a connection to light and air throughout while maintaining a minimal ecological footprint by repurposing an existing structure.
Kingston’s Mayor Steven T. Noble welcomed the company by saying, “This type of small/medium size creative manufacturing aligns with Kingston’s economic development goals and is an example of how our city’s reinvestment into Kingston’s economy and our collective quality of life is paying off. ”
New York State Sen. Michelle Hinchey, whose district includes Kingston, said RBW Studio selecting Ulster County as the home for its new global headquarters “affirms our collective work to establish upstate as a hub of industry and a place where entrepreneurs can build their business, strengthening our local community, and raise the profile of our whole region in the process. I’m proud to support this momentous expansion, and I thank RBW Studio for recognizing Ulster as a cornerstone of its continued business growth and prosperity.”