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New manufacturer one step closer to getting tobacco funds

Southside Economic Development Committee of the Virginia Tobacco Commission met at the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center in South Boston on Tuesday afternoon giving a green light to Project Colt, the code name for a manufacturer of luxury custom designed and finished cabinetry committing to locate in Area A of Green View Advanced Manufacturing Center.

Committee members recommended the executive committee award $535,000 contingent on the use of competitive bidding for all construction activities in accordance with the Virginia Public Procurement Act, and receipt of required grant reports prior to disbursement.

Headquartered in Indianapolis, Ind., the company also manufactures in West Virginia.

The proposed manufacturing operation will be an expansion to meet product demand and to introduce a new product to the market.

According to information provided to the committee, the company plans to invest approximately $2.2 million in machinery and tools in 100,000 square feet of space.

This request for $535,000 in grant funding builds upon $2.7 million in previous tobacco commission investments for acquisition of the former Daystrom building, now being marketed as the Green View Manufacturing Center. Earlier tobacco commission funds were used for roof replacement and other improvements to the section of Green View being marketed to this cabinet manufacturing prospect.

The Halifax County Industrial Development Authority lists $210,000 of local match in addition to an intended governor’s opportunity fund request.

The Industrial Development Authority request was in excess of the amount available in Halifax County’s allocation, but according to Halifax County Industrial Development Authority Interim Executive Director Patsy Vaughan, local and tobacco commission staff have since identified two projects where available balances were de-obligated providing for sufficient funds in the allocation to support this request in full.

Also Tuesday afternoon, Southside Economic Development Committee members granted a one-year extension until Oct. 30, 2014 on a $2 million grant originally awarded in October 2008 for pad grading, sewer and electrical utilities at Riverstone Technology Park.

According to Vaughan, the Halifax County Industrial Development Authority requested the extension to use the remaining balance of $670,335 of which $400,000 is contracted with Dominion due to delays with the Corps of Engineers for the component of the project related to the electrical transmission line.

Dominion has provided a new estimated project timeline that identifies the engineering design package and permits being presented to the authority in fall 2014.

The involvement of the Corps is due to the proposed location of the line through federally owned or controlled lands associated with the Kerr Dam and Reservoir.

A portion of the Riverstone Park ready site development grant funding has been budgeted to expand parking by an additional 121 spaces bringing the total parking space from 146 to 267 including the required six handicapped parking spaces.

In other action Tuesday afternoon, members of the tobacco commission’s Southside Economic Development Committee removed the contingency pertaining to the Virginia Department of Transportation access road funds for the Day site on Highway 58, but allowed the county to retain the reimbursements received to date, contingent on all other remaining grant funds being de-obligated.

Vaughan explained the $99,456 grant was awarded in April 2009 “contingent on Virginia Department of Transportation funding for construction of an industrial access road to the Day site located behind Bojangles off Highway 58.

A total of $17,538.50 in payment requests were approved for invoices for wetland delineation and plans and specs for access road required for the Virginia Department of Transportation. 

That payment was made under the assumption the county would accept the $500,000 award from the Virginia Department of Transportation.

However, Halifax County Board of Supervisors chose to decline the Virginia Department of Transportation award due to potential delays in getting a prospect and running the risk of having to repay the money, so the contingency of the award was not met.

The access road is still an eligible project with the Virginia Department of Transportation, and the county has invested nearly $45,000 of its own funds on the project including costs for the access road that were never drawn down.

A current reimbursement request for $6,419.40 added to the $17,538.50 brings the total to date to $23,957.90, and beyond this amount, the authority requested the tobacco commission to de-obligate the balance on the grant.

The tobacco commission executive committee is scheduled to next meet to consider these recommendations from the Southside Economic Development Committee next Wednesday at 5 p.m. at the Institute for Advanced Learning in Danville.