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IDA seeking $1.1M in tobacco money for Green View project

In an effort to continue to rehabilitate the former Daystrom Furniture facility for reuse, the Halifax County Industrial Development Authority on Friday adopted a resolution supporting submission of application for $1,140,535 from the Virginia Tobacco Commission.

Now known as Green View Advanced Manufacturing Center, Phase III of this project will assist in providing ready space for advanced manufacturing and workforce training as well as space for commercialization of start-up industries and research and development projects and other general industry needs, according to Authority Executive Director Matt Leonard.

As part of the application, the authority also has applied for $427,465 in matching funds from the United States Community Adjustment and Investment Program for facilities improvements at the same site. This money would be used as a match for the tobacco commission request.

The authority also will seek support services from community partners including the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center, the Riverstone Energy Center and the Halifax County Chamber of Commerce.

When the vote was taken, board member and Halifax Regional Hospital CEO Chris Lumsden abstained explaining the hospital has submitted two tobacco commission applications seeking funds to expand Woodview and Meadowview Nursing Homes that will be competing with the authority’s Green View application for the same pot of money.

Currently at Green View, B & B consultants continue to work on the remaining 10 percent of the design and construction contract for the Phase II rehab.

Plans call for the MEP, civil and architectural to be bid the first of November.

In addition, Leonard presented and the board executed two change orders including $22,800 for additional roof repair and $248,552 for replacing all roof metals after rust was discovered throughout the 140,000 square foot roof at Green View.

According to Leonard, the change orders will not cause Phase II of the project to go over budget.

“We’ll still be right at anticipated costs of $750,000,” he added.

In other business Friday morning, authority board members voted unanimously to eliminate the current two four-year term limit for IDA board members since ultimately the term limit rests with the Halifax County Board of Supervisors.

“The board of supervisors is the setter of those limits, and we may be stepping on the supervisors’ authority” by imposing the two-term limitation, said board member W. W. “Ted” Bennett.

“We serve at the pleasure of the board of supervisors,” Lumsden added.

In other business Friday morning, authority board members were updated on the ABB expansion refinancing of a $7.65 million loan that closed on Sept. 30 saving the authority $164,000 in closing costs by settling two months earlier than anticipated.

Refinancing the ABB expansion will eliminate a balloon payment in five years, allow the authority to take advantage of a trough in interest rates, and the savings will be used to increase the authority’s cash flow, Leonard said.

The ABB expansion has resulted in increased sales for the company of about $50 million and hiring of 101 people to man the new expanded facility, he added.

“ABB is going strong and expects to continue that way,” Leonard said.

In other money matters, Leonard said the authority will soon open a savings account at American National Bank with plans to deposit $6,000 per month to meet future escrow milestones.

This account will eliminate the need to transfer from the fund balance account to balance the 2014 budget and will result in a net positive earned income.

Other items discussed Friday morning include the following:

The authority continues working with Dominion Power to plan a redundant power feed to Riverstone that could allow it to become Dominion Data Center Certified and attract a data center.

 Demolition is almost complete at the 85-acre Burlington site in Halifax, and Leonard and the property’s private owner are reviewing the possibility of extending the authority’s first option on the property, while it continues to help market the property.

 The authority continues its focus on targeted prospects and clients which include the aerospace, automotive, data/IT, firearms, life sciences and wood sector.

 The executive director plans to coordinate a tour in January of authority-owned sites for the properties and prospects committee once rehab work at Green View is further along.

 The executive director also is preparing a PowerPoint presentation tailored to prospects which will be presented to authority board members at an upcoming meeting.

 The authority agreed to defer and table any action on making donations to outside organizations until next month’s meeting providing time for the operations and personnel committee to edit suggested guidelines and present a final draft to the full board. 

 An audit draft is still under review, according to Leonard, who said he expects the audit will be available for review by board members at the November meeting also.