The Commonwealth Crossing Business Centre in Henry County will receive $22,237,705 from the Virginia Business Ready Sites Program (VBRSP), Gov. Glenn Youngkin announced Monday.
“The leading priority of the Virginia Business Ready Sites Program is to increase our project-ready sites portfolio across the Commonwealth, and this unprecedented site development funding is an important step forward in strengthening Virginia’s infrastructure,” Youngkin said.
“This grant is spectacular news for our community,” said Jim Adams, chairman of the Henry County Board of Supervisors. “I’d like to thank the Governor, the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, County staff and the team at the Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corporation. We’ve had tremendous success attracting industries to Commonwealth Crossing Business Centre and the funds from this grant will help us build on that momentum.”
County Administrator Dale Wagoner said the funds “will allow us to grade an additional 93-acres on Lot #2 at Commonwealth Crossing Business Centre, which will give us a 150-acre pad to market to industries. This pad will make Henry County very appealing to economic development prospects. It’ll be the only site in Virginia more than 100-acres with rail access and all utilities in place.”
“This grant funding is fantastic news for Commonwealth Crossing and it opens up great possibilities for industry relocating here. Henry County is making huge strides towards bringing in new investments, manufacturing jobs and economic growth,” said Del. Wren Williams, R-Stuart. “This is a big win for Southside Virginia. I will keep working to re-shore our industries and revitalize our home here in Virginia.”
The park in Henry County is among 21 sites to receive a total of $90 million in development grants, Youngkin said.
Administered by the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP), the discretionary grant program helps characterize and develop sites to enhance the Commonwealth’s infrastructure with more competitive project-ready sites, to attract new business and accelerate expansion in Virginia, according to a release from Youngkin’s office. The program’s goal is to identify, assess, and improve the readiness of industrial sites with at least 100 contiguous, developable acres or 50 acres in the western part of the Commonwealth.
“Prepared sites drive economic growth, and we have to move faster to attract new businesses. We are hitting the accelerator to build a best-in-class business environment so the Commonwealth can compete to win, and I have included the necessary additional funding for the VBRSP in my proposed budget,” Youngkin said.
The program has two components: site characterization to assess and designate a site’s current level of development; and site development to further develop a pool of potential sites across the Commonwealth. Localities can apply for grants to assist with the costs associated with the initial assessment and the development required to increase a site’s current designation level.
“Speed to market is an increasingly crucial factor in site selection decisions for economic development projects, and we are making strategic infrastructure investments to ensure a robust portfolio of sites,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Caren Merrick. “These Virginia Business Ready Sites Program grant awards will enhance 21 sites around the Commonwealth, helping to ensure that site demands across a wide spectrum of project parameters can be met and that all regions participate in Virginia’s economic growth.”
“It is critical for Virginia to create a diverse portfolio of sites that are attractive to different industry sectors and meet varying location and infrastructure needs, and these grants are a major step in the right direction to help the Commonwealth catch up on site development,” said Jason El Koubi, VEDP President and CEO. “Additional funding for the Virginia Business Ready Sites Program will allow VEDP to expand the program and invest in more sites, enhancing the Commonwealth’s infrastructure and accelerating economic development in Virginia.”
The Virginia Business Ready Sites Program was developed by a team of state, regional, and local stakeholders including VEDP, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, railroad representatives, utility representatives, civil engineers, and other government, business, and industry representatives. Grants are considered on a competitive basis and made at the discretion of an investment committee composed of VEDP and Administration leaders.