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IDA moves forward with long-delayed shell building

SoVaNow.com / January 20, 2020




Three years after winning a tobacco grant for the project, the Halifax County Industrial Development Authority will move forward with the construction of a 50,000 square foot industrial shell building at the Southern Virginia Technology Park on U.S. 58-W.

The $3.4 million project cost will be underwritten with a $1,770,500 grant awarded by the Virginia Tobacco Commission in 2017. The IDA will provide matching funds to cover the remaining cost of the building.

“There is a strong demand” for pad-ready shell buildings that can be quickly adapted for a variety of manufacturing purposes, said IDA Executive Director Brian Brown, who took over leadership of the IDA as new executive director in September.

Brown said Halifax County has fielded a number of requests from prospective employers that are looking for expansion sites, and “we have a limited inventory where we are able to do so.

“By having something readily available, it makes it easier [for Halifax County] to be selected for a new industry,” said Brown. He added, “We believe this will help us attract someone quickly to the community.”

On Friday, the IDA board of directors approved a design-build contract with Samet Corporation to erect the building for a price not to exceed $3,407,754. With offices in Charlotte, Greensboro and Durham, N.C., the commercial contracting firm has a long background in construction of industrial, educational, business and civic properties.

The new shell building will go up near the entrance of the business park, formerly known as the Riverstone Technology Park, thus giving Halifax County a showcase building in plain sight of U.S. 58 west of South Boston.

In contrast to the more office-like setting of the SVTP, the new shell building will be designed to be “broadly attractive to various types of manufacturers,” according to the grant application. The 2017 application further stated, “The development of this shell building will speed the landing of a new business in one of Halifax IDA’s targeted sectors, broadly described as Advanced Manufacturing.”

Three years later, the IDA sees “an opportunity again for us to be able to market this building to a prospective industry,” said Brown, who took over as the IDA’s executive director following the departure of Matt Leonard in November 2018.

Construction is set to begin in March.

On Friday, the IDA also announced the hiring of a new deputy director, Tracy G. Mallard of South Boston. She takes over for departed deputy director Kristy Johnson.

Mallard recently worked as a data analyst for Noblis, based in Danville, where she managed large databases of hospital claims records, led corporate outreach efforts to develop and retain technology talent for the southern Virginia workforce, and developed web-based dashboards to communicate program performance results to government and business clients.

After leaving Noblis in February 2019, Mallard developed a consultancy in South Boston, working with local government and non-profit clients on talent development, health outcome evaluations, early childhood education and other initiatives.

She is a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, with a masters of public health from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and a doctorate of education from Lynchburg University in Lynchburg.

She begins her new job Feb. 1.

In other business, IDA directors agreed to lease storage space and a server room to Mid-Atlantic Broadband Communities Corp. after MBC departs the technology park for its new home at the SOVA Innovation Hub in South Boston. The IDA also agreed to a sixth extension of Sunshine Mill’s lease for storage space at the Daystrom building. The extended lease is for one year.



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how many empty building do we have now? What a waste of money!


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