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Future jobs under construction in Halifax County

Phase I site work is continuing at the location of the future NOVI Energy wood-fired power plant off Plywood Road in South Boston, and on the other side of town, roof demolition on the former Daystrom building got under way Monday.

J. E. Burton Construction Co. has been awarded the contract for both jobs.

Grading and foundation construction at the power plant site continues after the IDA closed on the NOVI property Dec. 19.

The major contract for construction of the plant is expected to be awarded in April, according to Halifax County Industrial Development Authority (IDA) Executive Director Mike Sexton.

NOVI Energy announced plans to spend approximately $150 million to construct the plant that is expected to go on-line in 2013 creating 40 full-time jobs and $700,000 in new taxes annually.

An additional 75 jobs are expected to be created in the agribusiness sector to fill the needs for fueling the power plant, IDA officials said.

Meanwhile, in the Sinai community demolition of the roof and other related work is in full swing on the 438,000 square foot Green View Advanced Manufacturing Center (former Daystrom building).

Earlier this month, IDA ratified a construction contract awarding the contract for building renovations to low bidder J. E. Burton Construction Company.

The contract award for demolition projects totaled $166,541 and did not include roof replacement or installation of a fire suppression and alarm system, according to IDA Development Director Patsy Vaughan, who added those projects are expected to be bid out to subcontractors.

Although Burton was the low bidder, Vaughan explained the contract came in combination with McDannald Construction Company who also is working jointly with Burton Construction Company on the Green View project.

Bids were opened on Dec. 22.

The contract was awarded for lump sums for demolition of areas B and B1 at the manufacturing center and site demolition and contractor fees.

Vaughan said it is anticipated the work to be accomplished within the contract for the Green View Advanced Manufacturing Center will take approximately six months.

In addition to roof demolition and replacement, other work includes repainting the interior and cleaning the floors of the building.
The IDA closed on the Sinai property Dec. 28 purchasing the former Daystrom building from Fred D. Godley using $900,000 in tobacco commission funding.

In addition to the money to buy the Green View Center, the IDA was awarded a $1.8 million grant to up-fit the building by completely removing the roof.

Vaughan said total renovations are expected to cost less than $2 million and will not exceed the money the IDA has been awarded for the project.

IDA officials said last fall they have a “strong written commitment” from a prospect that wants to occupy over 78,000 square feet of space in the building.

“This is not a speculative venture,” said IDA Executive Director Mike Sexton of the IDA’s purchase of the building that has been vacant since furniture manufacturing ceased in 1991 and had an original asking price of $6.9 million when first placed on the market.

“A large part of the building is committed,” Sexton said noting the IDA has a tenant for the part of the facility labeled as Area B.
Currently two tenants occupy about 40,000 square feet of the building, Schaffer Cabinet Works using 10,000 square feet, and Sunshine Mills using storage warehouse space in about 30,000 square feet.

Sexton described the prospective manufacturer seeking to locate in Area B of the building as “an energy related straight forward manufacturer” who will offer jobs that “pay well but don’t require special training.”

In October the executive director said, “The bulk of people who are out of work here will be able to apply and get jobs here. They will need a few engineers and supervisors, but it will be a traditional manufacturing industry.”

Using tobacco commission funding, the former furniture factory, located on 34-acres, is being rehabilitated to house a variety of tenants, Sexton explained.

A total of four buildings at the former Daystrom site contain 438,000 square feet, and the IDA is working to attract other companies as tenants to the building.

“There’s a lot to be done, but it is a very good building in a good location,” Sexton said. “We’re excited about it. We need inexpensive manufacturing space for some of these companies to get started up in.”

The goal is to attract small to medium size start-up companies offering a lower cost space the companies can grow into, Sexton said, adding each project would be negotiated independently with each requiring different up-fits to their individual spaces.

The 438,000 square foot building presently is divided into a 95,000 square foot section in Area A with 15,000 square feet in office space.

Area B, which the current prospect is anticipated to locate in, contains 78,500 square feet; and Area C and D each contain 43,500 square feet.

Two metal shell buildings containing 70,000 square feet and 30,000 square feet of auxiliary space are located on the back of the building, Sexton said.

The facility also has access to rail, natural gas and more water and sewer than would ever be needed, he added.