Grant expected to help sell industrial lots

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Economic development officials in Danville and Pittsylvania County are hoping to prove the truth in the axiom, “If you build it, they will come.”
The Danville-Pittsylvania Regional Industrial Facility Authority has received a $2.27 million grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration to grade and ready two lots — one 33 acres and the other 64 acres — in the Cane Creek Centre industrial park. The project also is being funded with help from a $426,568 grant from the Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission.
Cane Creek, already home to Yorktowne Cabinetry and Swedwood factories, is designed to attract advanced manufacturing companies. Jeremy Stratton, Danville’s director of economic development, says that several companies looked at other lots recently, but so far, the park has not had any takers.
“It’s hard for companies to look at rolling hills and visualize that as a location for their operation. So it’s much more attractive to them when they can actually look at a graded lot,” says Stratton. “And if we give them a graded site, we’re basically giving them a three- to six-month head start on construction and about a 30 percent savings on their construction costs.”
The federal grant was awarded on the premise that construction-ready lots would attract $27 million to $45 million in private investment and generate 500 to 800 jobs. Stratton expects the site preparation to be completed by the end of the year, but marketing of the lots will begin while the work is being done.

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