RANSON – Officials at WhiteHouse Foods, a Winchester, Va.-based processing company that specializes in apple products, have confirmed that the company put in the top bid last month for an idle cold storage facility in downtown Ranson.
[cleeng_content id="348301123" description="Read it now!" price="0.49" t="article"]A Florida bankruptcy court will decide on Nov. 14 whether to accept WhiteHouse’s bid for the property.
Paige Gum, vice president of resource management at WhiteHouse, said that, if their bid is accepted, they plan to reopen the facility as cold storage for local apple harvests.
“Our orchard operations have expanded, and plant at least 200 acres a year,” she said “We have expanded orchards in Berkeley and Jefferson counties along with some in Clarke County, (Va.), so it is more economically effective for us to buy an existing cold storage rather than build a new one. This location is good.”
She said it was too early to estimate the number of new jobs that might be created if the facility is reopened.
The facility, along with almost $80 million in other assets, were auctioned off by Illinois-based Murray Wise Associates for $215,000 after the prior owner, East Coast Brokers and Packers, filed for bankruptcy earlier this year. The other assets auctioned included several packing facilities – including two in Winchester – along with several luxury homes, a hotel, a former bible college and thousands of acres of farmland.
According to a press release, the four story Ranson facility can store 500,000 bushels of apples at one time.
Ranson officials say they hope the facility will be brought back online to provide jobs for local residents.
“The town hopes it becomes a productive business once again that provides employment opportunities residents in the community,” said city manager Andy Blake.
Development director David Mills said the cold storage facility, in the heart of Ranson’s Beltline industrial corridor, could provide needed impetus for reactivating the town’s commercial and industrial base.
“We want to see the corridor active,” he said. “That corridor is our main focus for our commercial and light industrial redevelopment.”[/cleeng_content]