Not quite 'shovel ready'

Corporate park plans delayed by 'conditions' at former prison

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  • Warwick Advertiser file photograph

WARWICK — The fledging Warwick Valley Office & Technology Corporate Park will offer expedited permitting for prospective tenants of 10 "shovel-ready" lots on a 48.6-acre parcel at the former Mid-Orange Correctional Facility.

That is, once it has power and water.

The Warwick Planning Board on June 18 granted the Warwick Valley Local Development Corp. - the public/private agency managing the proposed 150-acre corporate park - a six-month extension of a conditional final approval its "Lot 1" project received in November.

Planning Board attorney John D. Bollenbach said WVLCD President Robert Krahulik requested the six-month extension in a letter, stating "the details of completing and satisfying all the conditions are rather complicated, time-consuming and expensive."

Bollenbach said the conditions cited by Krahulik aren't necessarily those imposed by the board but were "the conditions of the property" when the WVLCD assumed ownership in March.

He said restoring power and water after a 30-month shutdown is proving more of a challenge than initially anticipated.

The extension gives the WVLCD until Nov. 6 to break ground on the Warwick Valley Office & Technology Corporate Park or seek another six-month extension.

The 730-acre, 81-building Mid-Orange Correctional Facility was one of seven state prisons closed in fall 2011, taking with it 322 local jobs.

In March, the state approved the transfer of 150 acres to the WVLDC for $3.1 million - money loaned to the agency by Warwick businessman Bob Schluter - and the remaining 580 acres to the town for $1.

The WVLDC is developing the 150-acre parcel as the Warwick Valley Office and Technology Corporate Park in concert with the Orange County Partnership, the county’s chief economic development agency, and various state agencies.

The parcel has been subdivided into five lots with the 48.6-acre Lot 1, featuring 10 "shovel-ready" commercial pads of varying sizes that would allow structures from 45,000-square-feet to 125,000-square-feet, the first of the five

By securing site plan and environmental approvals before securing tenants, the WVLDC plans to streamline the permitting process, saving time and money. Prospective tenants could receive all approvals needed within weeks rather than months.

Lot 1 is on State School Road about 3,200 feet from Kings Highway, the New York Susquehanna and Western freight rail lines, and the town's Office and Industrial Park (OI) Zoning District, which it has been incorporated into.

The OI zoning would allow for a broad range of uses, including light manufacturing, offices, research and development, data technologies, agricultural processing, renewable energy technologies and corporate headquarters, among others.

- John Haughey

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