Grant helps industrial park prepare for prospects
After 10 years in the works, Commonwealth Crossing Business Centre in Henry County is on its way to “Tier 5” status, the state’s highest level of readiness for economic development prospects.
The Commonwealth of Virginia named the Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corp. as one of eight recipients of Virginia Business Ready Sites Program development grants. The $500,000 grant will help with the cost for an onsite water tank at Commonwealth Crossing.
“We are about $30-plus million for total cost,” Mark Heath, president and CEO of the local economic development group, says of the project. “Once the grant is complete and the water tank is built and in service, the project will be at Tier 5 status.”
The industrial park, which sits on the Virginia-North Carolina line, has received a number of grants over the years, including a $5 million grant in 2011 from the Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission. The 700-plus acre site is designed to attract “mega projects” involving more than $250 million in capital investment and the creation of more than 400 full-time jobs.
“Everything — the graded pad, all utilities and electricity — is in place now,” Heath says, adding that the industrial park also has Norfolk Southern rail service. “A company could come in and start construction right away. It’s ready to go.”
The Tier 5 designation from the state “removes any question about the project,” he adds. “We have been marketing this site actively for the last several years. Now we are just crossing the last ‘t’.”
The industrial park already has attracted interest from business prospects. “It’s been fairly active,” Heath says. “We have been seeing the kind of clients the Centre was designed for, both domestic and international.”