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Tobacco Commission awards $535,000 grant

Acting on a recommendation of the Southside Economic Development Committee, on Thursday the Virginia Tobacco Commission Executive Committee met in Danville and awarded a $535,000 grant 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.

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.

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.

During the Halifax County Industrial Development Authority board meeting earlier this month, board members ratified closing out several projects so this excess money could be used to help fund the Colt Project.

According to Vaughan, funds that had been obligated to the Day site, Greenview Manufacturing, substation improvements at ABB and the MBC expansion will now be used to help locate the cabinet manufacturer in Greenview.

Also during the authority board meeting, members voted to have a construction and development consultant prepare a request for proposals for fee-based design/build proposals for the up-fit for Section A of Green View Advanced Manufacturing Center for Project Colt.

In a separate matter Thursday, tobacco commission 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.

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 Thursday, tobacco commission members 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.

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.