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New IDA committee putting focus on properties’ best use

Members of the Halifax County Industrial Development Authority Properties and Prospects Committee met recently to discuss the committee’s roles and responsibilities as well as review an inventory of properties and their potential best uses.

Chairman Chris Lumsden and members Mattie Cowan and Garland Ricketts attended the meeting along with Authority Executive Director Matt Leonard and Riverstone Energy Center Executive Director Dr. Doug Corrigan also discussed the status of prospects and a marketing plan.

After being presented business cards and apparel to use when representing the authority, members reviewed the roles for the entire committee and special concentrations for each member to their specific area of responsibility.

Lumsden will concentrate on prospects and current clients, while Ricketts will focus on properties and Cowan on marketing.

Committee members decided to hold monthly meetings through June, with each meeting lasting approximately one and a half hours. After June they will determine the need to meet on a month-by-month basis.

During the open session meeting, the committee reviewed a listing of currently owned authority properties including maps and location tables. 

They discussed how the buildings are being used, their best recommended use and income and expenses associated with properties.

Corrigan suggested using one property for a potential bio-tech research and development facility used to advance the fields of bio-informatics and disease research and treatment in the area.

Also discussed was design work for renovations under way at Green View (former Daystrom building.

Leonard reported “two good responses” were received from two qualified firms for the $1.5 million project, and the committee recommended Leonard negotiate with one of the respondents.

In other action during the committee meeting, Leonard reviewed in detail the steps taken when vetting prospects.

He included one research and development prospect, one current prospect believed to be a good fit for Halifax and one prospect recently determined not to be a good fit for the county.

The vetting process includes Virginia Economic Development Partnership when needed, the executive director said.

The committee expressed satisfaction with the vetting process and documentation and offered assistance to Leonard whenever needed to vet or meet with prospects.

Leonard also presented a framework for a marketing plan to begin July 1.

Currently staff is reviewing the marketing plan which is being incorporated into budget planning.

Key aspects of the plan include collaterals, strategies, costs and sector prioritization, and it is being coordinated in conjunction with budget planning. The final plan is expected to be presented at the May board meeting.