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Local Business with Ties to China, Interested in Old Prison Site

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Albany/HV: Local Business with Ties to China, Interested in Old Prison Site
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The Mid-Orange Correctional Facility has sat vacant for years. But now, a local company with ties to China is looking to move in. Time Warner Cable News Reporter Jessica Chen has the details of the project.

WARWICK, N.Y. -- China, its a growing country with more than 1.3 billion people. With that comes a large demand for food.

And though it may not look it, the grounds of an old jail in our area may soon feed that demand.

"It’s a huge potential market for certainly our valley and our county," said Town of Warwick Supervisor Michael Sweeton.

Sweeton said local company, ManaFoods, is in talks with officials in China. They work to find suitable local farmers who can help supply food to Asia.

"Dried milk, could be dried fruits from the orchards, there is a great demand for dried onion radish," said Irv Zuckerman, ManaFoods' Agricultural Business Director.

And that's where the Mid-Orange Correctional Facility would come in. The company wants to make it their new headquarters.

Zuckerman said their company also plans to create an international agricultural exchange program, with the old correctional facility serving as the campus.

"They have student housing, they have an infirmary on site, physical service buildings, so in other words it’s effectively a campus," said Zuckerman.

He said students in China would come to the campus to learn about American agricultural techniques. Zuckerman said the facility would house up to 400 students.

"We call it lab field experimenters with different types of food for the Chinese market," said Zuckerman.

ManaFoods will present its site development plan to the Warwick Valley LDC, which oversees the land. Sweeton said this project will push Warwick to the international spotlight.

"We’re looking forward to perhaps cementing our relationship with our friends in China," said Sweeton.

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