WARWICK – On December 20th, the Warwick Valley Local Development Corp. (Warwick LDC) made its final reimbursement payment to the Orange County Industrial Development Agency (OCIDA), in the amount of $2,000,000, for the IDA’s substantial investments that helped transform the former Mid-Orange Correctional Facility into a true economic engine for the Town of Warwick and for Orange County.
The OCIDA made three investments totaling $3.5 million in the 730-acre property, now known as the Warwick Valley Office and Technology Corporate Park (the Park). Of this amount, the Warwick LDC has reimbursed the OCIDA a total of $3,000,000, resulting in a net investment of $500,000 by the IDA in this very successful project.
In 2014, the OCIDA provided the Warwick LDC with $1,050,000 million to equip ten parcels, across approximately 50 ‘greenfield’ acres at the Park, with water, sewer, natural gas and fiber optic service, thereby readying the parcels for immediate development. This financial support by the OCIDA also funded the construction of an access road and cul de sac, connecting the development parcels with the remainder of the bucolic property, more commonly known to locals as Wickham Woodlands. These funds were repaid to the OCIDA following the sale of all ten parcels to two NYS-licensed medical cannabis manufacturers, Green Thumb Industries (GTI) and CITIVA.
In 2019, the OCIDA furthered its partnership with the Town of Warwick and the Warwick LDC through another $2,500,000 of investments at the Park, including a $500,000 non-reimbursable grant. The focus this time was to capitalize on the burgeoning cannabis/CBD market by creating a CBD Accelerator at the Park to house hemp and marijuana production and processing, and to incubate several small CBD-focused businesses on-site. This funding was used to convert a former dairy barn at the Park into a CBD extraction facility for Warwick-based urbanXtracts, and to turn a former poultry house into a state-of-the-art hemp and marijuana testing laboratory, operated by Phyto-Farma Labs.
This OCIDA investment (aside from the non-reimbursable grant) was repaid last week by the Warwick LDC with a $2,000,000 check from the Warwick LDC. This reimbursement was funded by a NYS ‘Economic Transformation’ grant, which the Park qualified for as a former prison site closed by the state.
Orange County and the Town of Warwick have already seen a tremendous return on the OCIDA’s net investment of $500,000 in the Warwick Valley Office and Technology Corporate Park, mostly in the form of quality jobs, taxes and robust economic activity. Construction of GTI’s $155 million cannabis production facility that will create 125 high-wage jobs is well underway, and CITIVA’s project is under construction as well.
Bus manufacturer Trans Tech has been a mainstay at the Park for several years, and Hudson Sports Complex and Drowned Lands Brewery are already thriving there as well. Phyto-Farm’s lab opened in late 2020 and urbanXtracts began operating at the Park this past June. The OCIDA’s CBD Accelerator, located in the refurbished 1840’s Manor House, is home to three incubating businesses: Scripted Fragrance, Farm Body and Honey Buz. And lastly, the remaining vacant buildings on site have been gutted by architects DeGraw & DeHaan, who plan to develop the space into the firm’s headquarters and an event space with lodging.
The bold vision for repurposing the Mid-Orange Correctional facility was first conceived by Town of Warwick Supervisor Michael Sweeton, who credits the OCIDA for making it a reality. “This successful public-private partnership would not have been possible without the assistance of the Orange County IDA”, said Supervisor Sweeton. “We have taken a surplus State Facility and returned it to a tax paying, job creating economic engine for our Town and for the County. None of this would have happened without the Orange County IDA and we are grateful for their confidence as well as their investment in our vision for the site.”
Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus lauded the project and the work of the Town and the OCIDA. “The Warwick Tech Park is a great success story and I credit the Town of Warwick and the Orange County IDA for their vision and collaboration on this innovative project,” said Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus. “What could have become a blighted campus is now an economic driver for Warwick and Orange County.”
Maureen Halahan, President and CEO of the Orange County Partnership, has served as a board member for the Warwick LDC since its inception and has advocated tirelessly for this project. Said Halahan, “If it wasn’t for the infusion of dollars from the Orange County IDA to assist in bringing the Warwick Tech Park to shovel ready status, the timeline of attracting quality companies would have been much longer. This collaborative effort through public private leadership should be used as a model for commercial development projects in other municipalities throughout the state.”