Empire State Development Announces First Phase Opening of RBW’s $5 Million Manufacturing Headquarters in Ulster County

April 5, 2022

RBW, an Award-Winning Independent Design and Manufacturing Company, Finalizes Move of Headquarters from Brooklyn to the Town of Ulster

Empire State Development today announced the phase one opening of the assembly and distribution area of the new global headquarters for RBW, a lighting design and manufacturing company, in the town of Ulster. In order to meet growing customer demand, RBW has acquired a new 100,000 square foot facility and will invest over $5.4 million for acquisition, construction and renovation and the purchase of machinery and equipment for their operations. Over the next several months RBW will build out the remaining office areas of their building. Empire State Development has awarded RBW up to $547,500 in Excelsior Jobs Tax Credits in exchange for the retention of 35 and the creation of 49 new, local jobs. 

Empire State Development Acting Commissioner and President & CEO-designate Hope Knight said, “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. Manufacturing remains integral to the regional economy’s framework, and RBW’s investment is bringing good jobs to Ulster County.” 

“Our move to Kingston is a dream come true for our company and a great opportunity to implement our complete vision for RBW,” said RBW Partner and Director of Growth, Alex Williams. “We have long been inspired by some of Europe’s most visionary manufacturing campuses that reflect a thoughtful and holistic approach to planning a company’s footprint. In this new facility, our B Corp driven purpose to use light to positively transform environments, communities, and lives can flourish.”

RBW was founded in 2008 by Rhode Island School of Design graduates, Theo Richardson, Charles Brill and Alex Williams. The three were college roommates sharing a studio on the Lower East Side in Manhattan and determined to embark on their design career, started out upcycling found objects to create furniture and eventually lighting fixtures. Early success landed them clients such as Urban Outfitters and eventually Fitbit, Yelp, Uber as well as high-end hotels across the country. From the Lower East Side, the company eventually established their headquarters in Brooklyn and after expanding several times, has set up operations in a new and larger facility in the Mid-Hudson Region that is 8 times the scale of their previous headquarters and production space. 

RBW intends to renovate nearly 100,000 square feet of the property, located at 575 Boices Lane, which has been largely vacant for the last five years. The plan includes a new roof, solar panels, energy efficient LED lighting, daylight harvesting, dimming controls, and the use of collaborative robotics. The RBW site is directly adjacent to former IBM buildings that were acquired in 2019 by Ulster County and are in the early stages of redevelopment. The addition of this new business creates additional momentum and potential to establish the area as a campus for innovative manufacturers, creative businesses and agricultural producers.

Senator Michelle Hinchey said, “It is exciting that an industry-leading business like RBW Studio has chosen to make Ulster County the home of its new global headquarters — it affirms our collective work to establish upstate as a hub of industry and a place where entrepreneurs can build their business, strengthen our local economies, 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."

Assemblymember Kevin Cahill said, “It is encouraging to see innovative industry return to the former IBM campus, which provided a significant economic boon to the region for decades.  The employment opportunities and sustainable business practices brought by RBW’s move upstate will serve as a model for future development.  I congratulate and thank RBW for making this important investment in our community.”

“I am thrilled to welcome RBW Lighting – a certified B-Corp that upholds rigorous standards of ecological and social sustainability - to Ulster County,” said County Executive Pat Ryan. “Projects like RBW are exactly the type of businesses that align with the vision that we have outlined in Ulster 2040 for a stronger, more equitable, and more resilient economy. These types of additions to our local economy play a huge role in creating the energy and momentum to build a ‘People-Centered’ economy in Ulster County.”

City of Kingston Mayor Steven T. Noble said, “RBW is a welcome addition to the greater Kingston community. RBW’s commitment to being a Certified B corporation shows that, not only do they create a high quality lighting product, but they care deeply about their employees and about the community where they are located. 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.”

ABOUT RBW

As an award-winning, independent design and manufacturing company, RBW is an American brand for a higher quality of light. By listening closely to the needs of customers, RBW’s forward-thinking, technology-driven approach invents lighting solutions that are out of the ordinary—products that take on unprecedented shapes or make subtle upgrades on familiar forms. Each collection embodies a distinct personality while upholding the hallmarks of RBW’s family DNA: Intuitive ease and simplicity. Integrity of craft and material. High-quality lighting with a playful point of view. As a Certified B Corp, RBW’s goal is to expand their status as a leader in the lighting design industry and make a positive impact on both the planet and community by upholding the highest standards in social and environmental accountability. Meticulously engineered for a broad range of applications, RBW lighting has been installed all over the world, from the renowned Noma restaurant in Copenhagen to Fortune 500 company offices across the United States. Thoroughly invested in customer success, RBW prides itself on providing excellent service, delivering quickly and reliably, while product specialists faithfully remain on call. For more information, visit: www.rbw.com.

About Empire State Development

Empire State Development (ESD) is New York’s chief economic development agency (www.esd.ny.gov). The mission of ESD is to promote a vigorous and growing economy, encourage the creation of new job and economic opportunities, increase revenues to the State and its municipalities, and achieve stable and diversified local economies. Through the use of loans, grants, tax credits and other forms of financial assistance, ESD strives to enhance private business investment and growth to spur job creation and support prosperous communities across New York State. ESD is also the primary administrative agency overseeing the Regional Economic Development Councils and the marketing of “I LOVE NY,” the State’s iconic tourism brand. For more information on Regional Councils and Empire State Development, visit www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov and www.esd.ny.gov.

Contact:
Kristin Devoe | [email protected] | (518) 414 1087
ESD Press Office | [email protected] | (800) 260-7313