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Plan for $1.8 mil industry shell building goes forward / May 18, 2017

Halifax County is in line to get a $1,770,500 tobacco grant to proceed with construction of a manufacturing shell building at the Southern Virginia Technology Park on U.S. 58.

The county’s application for the money — to build a 37,500 square foot shell building — cleared the Southside Economic Development Committee yesterday, and the request will be taken up today by the full membership of the Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission, formerly the Virginia Tobacco Commission. The full commission must give final approval, although only rarely does it go against the recommendations of the economic development committee.

The building will be positioned in view of U.S. 58 near the entrance to the Southern Virginia Technology Park, formerly known as Riverstone. 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 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,” the grant request states.

The Halifax County Industrial Development Authority, which submitted the request, noted that the community has “sometimes lost” out in the competition for manufacturing jobs because Halifax County lacks a ready-made facility for target companies.

The application follows the IDA’s efforts in 2016 to recruit an overseas manufacturer of fractional horsepower motors and gearboxes. That effort, code-named “Project Pea,” was placed on hold when the unnamed company that was the focus of the recruitment effort puts its plans for expansion into the U.S. on hold. Project Pea was expected to create 127 new jobs, many in skilled manufacturing.

TIm Pfohl, grants director for the tobacco commission, noted the IDA’s request that earned the committee recommendation fits with “a strategy we discussed with [the IDA] after Pea to have a building ready” for other manufacturers that may want to locate in Halifax County.

The full commission is set to approve the grant request today.

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