Photo Courtesy of Alphapointe
Alphapointe President/CEO Reinhard Mabry shows the model and renderings of the company’s new headquarters on 123rd Street in Richmond Hill.
By Michael V. Cusenza
The state’s largest employer of individuals who are blind and visually impaired and the only industrial employer of this population in the five boroughs on Tuesday officially introduced its recently acquired permanent home in Richmond Hill.
Formerly known as New York City Industries for the Blind, Alphapointe Inc., which moved headquarters to 87-46 123rd St. from Borough Park, Brooklyn, also this week kicked off a yearlong renovation project to outfit the 138,000 square-foot property to house Alphapointe’s more than 200 New York-based current employees, of which some 130 are legally blind, as well as its manufacturing, contract sewing, warehousing, call center, administrative, job placement and other operations.
“As 70 percent of Americans who are blind are unemployed, it was critical that Alphapointe find suitable space that can allow it to serve that growing demand in New York City,” said Reinhard Mabry, president and CEO of Alphapointe.
Originally based in Kansas City, MO, Alphapointe arrived in New York in May 2014 to merge with NYCIB, and assumed the lease that organization was holding in Brooklyn.
“The plan from the outset was to locate and purchase a property in New York,” Mabry added. “Our goal has always been to find a sustainable permanent home in New York so we would not have to spend our funds on ever-increasing rent. But we had to wait until we could find a space that is accessible and a good place to work for our employees while also allowing us to grow. This new location will allow us to create a thriving contemporary workplace that will benefit people who are blind and visually impaired long into the future.”
Relocation to Richmond Hill will occur in stages over the next 14 months, Mabry said, as renovations are completed. All departments are expected to relocate to the Richmond Hill facility over the next 12 months.
According to Alphapointe, the 123rd Street edifice, in addition to being outfitted with a contemporary design and state-of-the-art accommodations for navigation, information gathering and accessibility, it will also include special features such as a sensory garden where employees and guests can socialize and recharge during breaks.
Alphapointe is raising funds largely through grants and donations to cover the cost of those renovations.
According to the company, two organizations are giving gifts to Alphapointe to serve as lead funding on its campaign to raise monies to pay for the work needed on the building. One is the Lavelle Fund for the Blind Inc., of New York. The other is LC Industries of Durham, NC.