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Daystrom upgrades moving to final phase

Work is continuing on Phase II of the IDA’s Southern Virginia Advanced Manufacturing Center on Greens Folly Road.

Formerly the Daystrom Furniture facility, the building is being rehabilitated with $1,114,535 from the Tobacco Commission with much of the grant monies being spent to replace the roofing and update the fire protection facilities at the former Daystrom facility.

During Friday morning’s meeting of the Halifax County Industrial Development Authority, board members awarded a $688,567 contract for the final scope of work in the former Daystrom building to J. E. Burton Construction Inc. and authorized Authority Executive Director Matt Leonard to execute all necessary documents.

Board members Chris Lumsden and Wanda Jeffress were absent from the meeting.

Also the board authorized Leonard to execute all documents pertaining to a $427,500 grant awarded by the United States Community Advancement and Improvement Program (USCAIP) for use on Phase III of the Southern Virginia Advanced Manufacturing Center on Greens Folly Road.  

The grant will be used to improve and expand on-site utilities and infrastructure at the former Daystrom Furniture site, Leonard  explained.

The authority worked with the Virginia Economic Development Partnership which helped identify this grant opportunity for Halifax.  

“Investment by this USCAIP partner organization is significant for the development of the Southern Virginia Advanced Manufacturing Center,” said Liz Povar, vice-president of business expansion for Virginia Economic Development Partnership.  “The investment aligns with state, regional and local strategies and will add to the strength of Halifax County’s business attraction and retention opportunities.”

Leonard said, “The United States Community Advancement and Improvement Program grant provides benefits beyond its dollar value.

 “It will act as the required local match for the recently awarded $1,114,535 from the Tobacco Commission, relieving the county from having to make this match,” Leonard added.

It will also extend natural gas onto the site through an easement under the railroad, making natural gas available to the south and east side of the tracks for the first time, Leonard said touting the benefits the grant funding will provide to the county.

“This includes South Boston, and some of the largest assets of the public school system, as well as many large private companies and residences,” he said of the extended natural gas line.

Columbia Gas of Virginia Representative Jon Slaunwhite describes the collaboration with the authority and importance of this extension to the county, saying, “We are committed to supporting the Halifax IDA in growing Virginia’s economy. This project is an example of this collaboration and will allow Columbia Gas to expand our facilities and allow clean, reliable and domestic natural gas to support jobs and growth in the region.” 

Industrial Development Authority Board Chairman John Cannon described the extension of the gas line from the west side of Greens Folly Road as “the best thing that has happened in a number of years. It sets us up for future growth and development,” he added.

The board authorized Leonard to execute all the necessary documents pertaining to the extension of natural gas service onto the Southern Virginia Advanced Manufacturing Center site including securing easements, aid to construction agreement and delayed deposit agreement.

In a related matter, Leonard explained the authority will be required to use gas within one year of the time the line is run to the former Daystrom site.

The authority plans to heat the front of the building with gas, so even if a prospect has not located in the building within one year after the gas line is run, the authority will absorb the $90,000 gas charge required by Columbia Gas as part of the $427,500 USCAIP grant.

In other business Friday morning, the board took the following actions:

Ratified a lease with Aquatic dated March 27 for terms already included in the lease.

According to Leonard, Aquatic also is seeking 8,900 square feet of temporary warehousing space at the former Medical Textiles building to use as storage at a cost of $1,854 per month which board members approved.

 Approved by consensus the final routing of a Dominion Power redundant line to the Southern Virginia Technology Park  (formerly known as Riverstone Technology Park).

Leonard said $170,000 remains from a grant that will be used to secure easements and design right of way for the preferred route.

Chairman Cannon described the redundant power line as “a long time coming” adding it will open up Riverstone to locate additional data centers.

 Discussed but took no action on connecting a backup chiller located on a pad behind Riverstone that currently is not hooked up;

Leonard said potential costs of connecting the backup chiller currently are greater than grant funds left to be spent. 

 Vaguely discussed potential prospects with Leonard explaning staff “continues to work with prospects in every targeted sector and we are pleased with the progress we see.”