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Tobacco commission committee set to consider Green View funding request

The Southside Economic Development Committee, an arm of the Virginia Tobacco Commission, is slated to meet Thursday morning in Roanoke to consider 10 grant applications.

Among the applications seeking funding is a $1.3 million request from the Halifax County Industrial Development Authority for Phase II rehab for reuse of Green View Advanced Manufacturing Center (former Daystrom building) located at Green’s Folly.

Tobacco commission staff has recommended award of the $1.3 million grant to be used for water sealing 391,000 square feet and renovations to 140,000 square feet as dried-in industrial and commercial space in the center.

A previous Southside Economic Development tobacco commission grant of $2.7 million enabled acquisition of the building and an initial phase of renovation of the 429,000 square foot complex of former Daystrom buildings envisioned for use as multi-tenant space.

According to the funding application, future requests to complete the site improvements are planned as the authority’s budget for the building includes further capital improvements totaling more than $3 million over the next three years.

The authority plans to make the additional improved space available to the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center for workforce development programs and also identifies space allocated for research and development as well as wood and products manufacturing business incubation, the application states.

In applying for the $1.3 million, the authority asked Halifax County Supervisors to approve $150,000 in matching funds at their meeting earlier this month. The money will come from the 2014 county budget.

As part of the total project budget of $1,492,000, the authority also has committed $42,000 of authority funds as a local match.

“Halifax needs to increase its employment in advanced manufacturing sectors,” the application reads. “It lacks ready space for the next large-scale manufacturers currently showing interest in moving or expanding into Halifax.

“Southern Virginia Higher Education Center, Halifax County’s workforce development entity, has used most of its space at its core campus and needs more space,” the application continues.

“Our business incubator’s assets are well-used but need a place to send start-ups once concept, business plan and start-up financing are ready. These needs grow out of Halifax’s decade-long investments to place itself on the threshold of the advanced, additive and composite manufacturing economy, with much help from the tobacco commission,” the application states.

“By sealing and readying portions of Green View in targeted ways, Halifax will be able to attract the interested industries which will bring increased employment and economic growth, while at the same time providing space to train those employees in the skills needed by these new industries.

“The commercial revenues generated by leasing space to manufacturers provides the operating capital for the training, research and development and start up commercialization spaces.

“By coalescing the building’s users — industries, educators, trainers and researchers — under one roof, they can combine their best thinking to identify next best steps and future needs to help each other’s missions. 

“Green View is a repurposing of the Daystrom Furniture facility, one of Halifax’s largest and most respected operations. Bringing life back to the building and grounds in ways that increase employment and economic growth and provide training to a waiting and willing workforce will better Halifax in tangible and intangible ways. Tangibly, Green View has the capacity to employ hundreds of workers and generate real estate and property taxes, as Daystrom once did, through leasable space, machinery and tools. Having ready product with easily accessible services will reduce the timeline of potential projects, thus helping Halifax County and region win projects,” the application concluded.

 

Agribusiness grant request for $29,410

The agribusiness committee of the tobacco commission met Tuesday in Roanoke and heard staff recommendations to support a $29,410 grant request from non-profit applicant Old Dominion Resource Conservation and Development Council, Inc. for the Heart of Virginia Buy Fresh/Buy Local Initiative.

The funding will be used for a regional agribusiness marketing initiative to increase marketing for producers in 10 Southside tobacco region counties including Halifax County.

The majority of the tobacco money will be used for printing 40,000 food guides, 20,000 in the spring and 20,000 in the fall.

The project is estimated to benefit 96 producers in the first year, according to the application.

“If every household in Virginia spent just $10 in local Virginia-grown food, $1.65 billion would be kept in our state to support farmers, fund our schools and contribute to healthier families,” the Old Dominion Resource Conservation and Development Council said.

The full tobacco commission is scheduled to meet Tuesday, Jan. 8, at 9 a.m. in Richmond when a decision is expected to be made on these two grant requests.