In 1985, Frontier acquired what is now known as the Dexter Industrial Center, also known locally as the “Miracle on the Hill”. The building was a former sulfite mill that had been unoccupied since 1953. The building, which is located in the Village of Dexter, was reconstructed and converted into a multi-industrial facility, creating 40 jobs during the first phase of the project. In 1984, the building was designed as a Foreign Trade Zone, meaning businesses that import raw materials don’t have to pay the duty until the product is exported out.
The Dexter Industrial Center is a three- story reinforced concrete structure consisting of 39,098 square feet of leasable space, with a leasable office wing of 1,440 square feet. Because of the slope of the hill into which the facility is built, its three floors are all effectively accessed at grade level by tractor – trailers making deliveries and receiving shipments. The facility is easily reached by U.S. Interstate 81, which lies approximately six miles east to the Village of Dexter. The Watertown International Airport is also very close proximity, located less than two miles from the facility.
In 1996, Frontier began a new phase of improvements to the Dexter Industrial Center. Under the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)/Rural Development’s Rural Business Enterprise Grant program, Frontier applied for and received $91,400. These funds were used to perform extensive stucco work on the entire exterior of the building, as well as for the installation of a new ventilation system and the paving of an additional parking lot on the west side. In 2001, Frontier received its second Rural Business Enterprise grant for the Dexter Industrial Center. Funds were used to replaces 59 windows around the building, and install 4 additional windows on the south side of the structure. In 2004 Frontier received its third Rural Business Enterprise grant for Dexter Industrial Center. Funds were used to replace the roof on the building.
Due in part to these improvements, the Dexter Industrial Center is near full capacity, housing three tenants: Hana Sportswear, Inc., its original tenant; ABC I (originally known as Venus Manufacturing Corporation), a swimwear manufacturer; and Cardinal Construction NY, Inc., a commercial contracting firm. Together, these companies employ approximately 120 people, with an annual payroll of over one million dollars. The majority of these employees continue to be low and moderate income residents of the Town of Brownville. ABC I and Hana Sportswear, Inc. are users of the freight elevator. They receive goods in and ship finish goods out by way of the elevator. This elevator is an integrate part of the Industrial Center. At present, Cardinal Construction is using its forklift vehicle to load and unload goods.
The Dexter Industrial Center has a significant impact on the economy of the Town of Brownville and its three villages. Therefore, Frontier Housing Corporation is continuously striving to retain these business and the jobs that they provide to the area.