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Riverstone Project In Line For $471,000

The Halifax County Industrial Development Authority is in line to receive 21 percent of the $2.25 million in grant funding it sought from the Virginia Tobacco Commission after the Commission’s Southside Economic Development Committee met Thursday in Roanoke. The committee adopted a staff recommendation that the IDA’s project at Riverstone be awarded $471,000, according to Senator Frank Ruff, who serves on the committee and was present at the meeting. The request will now be forwarded to the full commission, which meets in Roanoke on April 29.

The requested $2,250,000 would go towards engineering and construction of mechanical and electrical service at a cost of $271,000; engineering and provision of at least 20 MVA of capacity of electrical power is needed and the upgrade will include additional electric infrastructure and the installation of another transformer, the IDA’s application states.

“It’s imperative to upgrade the Welco substation and upgrade the additional electric infrastructure including the installation of another transformer at a cost of roughly $2,000,000,” the application reads.

However, the committee’s staff recommendation states, “In follow-up conversations the county indicated the small data center is expected to create 15 jobs within three years and investment of $300,000 in equipment and electronics.

“Funding equipment for Dominion Virginia Power would set a precedent for purchase of equipment to be owned and utilized by a private utility for revenue generation,” the staff report reads.  “The majority of the lead time for power updates pertains to the engineering, which can shrink construction time frame by as much as two years, allowing a sufficient timeline for Dominion to invest in construction and infrastructure when the power supply is needed.

“TICR has requested a detailed budget from Dominion to justify the power upgrade expense including estimated breakdown of costs for engineering, site development and equipment. Staff recommends award of $471,000, contingent on at least 10 percent cash match by county, including $271,000 for building up-fit, contingent on an executed lease agreement for Riverstone One space prior to disbursement of funds, and $200,000 for engineering design of the power upgrades.”

During the meeting the committee also adopted a staff recommendation that a $185,000 grant be awarded to the Halifax Educational Foundation for LEED certification for the American Tobacco Warehouse that will house the new Business of Art and Design Program of the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center, which will become the R&D Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Center when completed.

“This request represents a change order to the existing contract,” staff wrote.  “Construction of the ‘conference center’s’ tiered classroom auditorium and pursing LEED certification were not budgeted in the original contract. Showcasing the renovated tobacco warehouse at the R&D Center for Advanced Manufacturing as LEED certified will serve as a model and leadership by example that can be emulated by students and partners involved with the center. Staff recommends award of $185,000.”