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Charlotte County courts employer with 100 new jobs

SoVaNow.com / March 26, 2014
An unidentified cabinet maker is looking to establish a manufacturing plant in Charlotte County, prompting the Virginia Tobacco Commission to offer a grant of $930,000 to purchase a 50,000 square foot shell building and 43 acres of land. The grant request earned the support of the leaf commission’s Southside Economic Development Committee in February.

The proposed grant will come before the full Commission for final approval on May 22.

According to Tim Pfohl, acting director of the Tobacco Commission, Charlotte County is in active negotiations with the company, which is promising to bring at least 100 jobs and make a $2.5 million investment in the area.

Charlotte County administrator Russell B. “R. B.” Clark Jr.said he could not disclose additional information about the prospect, but confirmed the company is considering an expansion into a privately-owned building and land located in Charlotte County’s Heartland Industrial Park near Keysville.

“Charlotte County is the only county in the area they are looking at,” Pfohl told members of the Southside Economic Development Committee, according to meeting minutes posted on the Tobacco Commission’s website.

Though sites in North Carolina and New York reportedly are also under consideration by the prospect, Clark assured committee members on Feb. 27, “We have a letter of commitment from the president of the company and we’re speaking with him tomorrow afternoon [Feb. 28] to sort of finalize the proposal to make sure that all the conditions are understood.”

He added that Charlotte County is “really excited about [the prospect]” which “plans to hire primarily female employees, and they’re providing health insurance not only to the females but to the children and also provide a very nice retirement plan, which keeps the turnover down. A very high end product.”

When asked by Del. Danny Marshall (R-Danville) what plans the company may have for the accompanying 46 acres of land, Clark explained, “One parcel we’ve already got a commitment on to another company” — a Florida firm that has purchased assets of the rail yard repair facility.

Officials with the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) have been working with Charlotte County and the business prospect for some time. These officials agreed that a favorable recommendation from Southside Economic Development Committee to approve the $930,000 grant — even if non-binding — would show the prospect that “steps are under way to acquire this building and get it under the County IDA ownership so it can be made available to the prospect under a lease/purchase situation,” Pfohl said, according to the meeting minutes.

Currently, Charlotte County is negotiating with the private owner to transfer the property under an owner-financed lease purchase arrangement. The owner would be paid in full once the Tobacco Commission awards Charlotte County the $930,000 it is seeking.

Clark said he hopes to soon be able to make an economic development announcement naming the business prospect, but cannot specify a date for when that might happen. He described the firm as solid: “They’re in business in two other states now, and have a real strong balance sheet,” Clark said.

It would be the second new business this year to make Charlotte County its home. In January, Heartland Food Center announced it is coming to the Heartland Industrial Park in Keysville. Heartland Food Center is a public/private partnership between the Charlotte County IDA and the Virginia Aquaculture Network.

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