Orange County Partnership - News

  • Photo Credit: Warwick Valley Office & Technology Corporate Park

Orange County IDA Approves Incentives for $150M Cannabis Project at Warwick Valley Office & Tech. Park

By John Jordan


A reconstituted Orange County Industrial Development Agency Board of Directors approved incentives on March 30th for a $150-million cannabis cultivation, extraction and manufacturing facility project at the Warwick Valley Office & Technology Corporate Park to be developed by Chicago-based Green Thumb Industries.


The approval by a 5-0 vote with one abstention came the night before Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill legalizing recreational marijuana for those 21 year of age and older in New York State.


Rebecca Brown, market president/New York for Green Thumb Industries, said at the IDA session that once all approvals are secured, the firm would move ahead with the first phase of the project that will involve more than $30 million in construction costs, approximately $8 million in the purchase of equipment and fixtures, as well as the cost of acquisition of the 38.1-acre parcel.


The total project will involve the construction of more than 400,000 square feet of new industrial space. The company will purchase the remaining eight lots available—approximately 40 acres—at the Park, at 40-95 John Hicks Drive, to build out a state-of-the-art cultivation and manufacturing facility. Once fully operational, Green Thumb will employ approximately 125 full-time employees at the Town of Warwick site, with a competitive compensation package including full benefits, according to its application submitted to OCIDA. No financial terms of the transaction were released.


“We are grateful to the Warwick community for their support in the approval of the proposed tax incentives for what we hope will be the future home of our New York cultivation and production facility,” said Green Thumb Founder and CEO Ben Kovler. “Planting a flag at a former federal prison that used to incarcerate people for cannabis and will now employ people to grow cannabis is another example of the full circle nature of this industry. We are proud and humbled to be in this spot and look forward to creating hundreds of jobs, generating a lot of vital tax revenue, enabling well-being and changing people’s assumptions on cannabis.”


Green Thumb Industries spokesperson Linda Marsicano added, “Green Thumb looks forward to creating more jobs and tax revenue while giving back to the community in ways that will make a positive impact. It’s fitting that a former prison that incarcerated people for cannabis during the failed war on drugs could now employ people to make cannabis products that can help people feel better and improve quality of life. We are hopeful Green Thumb will receive all of the necessary regulatory approvals to move forward.”


Green Thumb is a leading cannabis consumer packaged goods company and owner of Rise Dispensaries. The incentives authorized by the OCIDA’s resolution are sales and use tax exemptions, a mortgage recording tax exemption, a 15-year property tax abatement and the issuance of taxable revenue bonds. The Warwick Technology Park project is subject to regulatory approvals.


The OCIDA Board applauded the project and the IDA’s role in the transaction. “We are thrilled to help bring Green Thumb to Orange County, along with 125 good-paying permanent jobs, more than 100 construction jobs and $50 million in capital investment in the first phase alone,” the IDA noted in a prepared statement. “We are also satisfied knowing that this property will return to the town and county tax rolls, including full allotments from day one to special district charges like police and fire. The bottom line is that Green Thumb is a leading company in a fast-growing sector and they will fit in perfectly with the economic and agricultural landscape of the Town of Warwick.”


This project is the result of an ongoing collaboration between the OCIDA and the Warwick Valley Local Development Corporation (LDC) which owns the land at the park. Warwick Town Supervisor Michael Sweeton, who is also a member of the LDC, lauded the work of the OCIDA that helped land Green Thumb in Warwick.


“With Green Thumb Industries’ purchase of the remaining lots, we can expect a significant boost in our economy in 2021 and the complete build-out of the park,” said Sweeton. “I’m grateful to the LDC and the IDA and Accelerator for creating a great partnership that will bring new jobs, revenue, and a new industry to the Warwick Valley.”


Green Thumb has 13 manufacturing facilities and licenses for 97 retail locations and operations across 12 U.S. markets. Established in 2014, Green Thumb employs over 2,400 people and serves thousands of patients and customers each year. Green Thumb manufactures and distributes a portfolio of branded cannabis products including Beboe, Dogwalkers, Dr. Solomon’s, incredibles, Rythm and The Feel Collection. The company also owns and operates rapidly growing national retail cannabis stores called Rise Dispensaries.


Maureen Halahan, president and CEO of the Orange County Partnership, highly praised the deal that will bring significant investment and jobs to the Warwick. “The attraction of Green Thumb comes from a far greater vision in planning and development. The Warwick Valley Office & Technology Corporate Park was purposefully designed to attract clean industry, new jobs and tax ratables for the school district and local community. Green Thumb meets all three criteria, and the local economy will benefit,” Halahan said.


John Lavelle, commercial broker at Rand Commercial Realty, represented the property at the Park and also serves as co-chair of the Orange County, NY Alliance for Balance Growth.


“I’d like to congratulate Supervisor Sweeton, LDC counsel Robert Krahulik and the entire Warwick LDC board for having the vision to see the Warwick Tech Park for what it could be, and the determination to make that vision a reality,” Lavelle said.


Formerly a New York State Correctional Facility, the Warwick Valley Office and Technology Corporate Park sits within 150 acres in the Town of Warwick. The prison property was shuttered in 2011 and purchased by the Town of Warwick LDC. Since that time, the LDC and economic development officials in Orange County have worked collaboratively to attract new businesses to the property, develop community spaces, and develop 10 “shovel-ready” pad sites.


No timeframe on when construction on the project could begin was released, although the Middletown Times Herald Record reported that the company hopes to begin construction by May 1.