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Tobacco commission panel backs grant
Full commission to vote today

Tuesday, January 7, 2014


The special projects committee of the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission on Monday endorsed a grant request for $500,000 for a company to build a 60,000-square-foot facility in Henry County, creating 155 jobs.

That’s according to Del. Danny Marshall, who chairs the committee. The facility would be on lot 17A at Patriot Centre industrial park, Marshall said.

The company’s capital investment would be $27 million, said Marshall, R-Danville.

He asked for and was given a code name and does not know the name of the company, he said.

The grant would be based on a performance agreement, and if the company failed to live up to the agreement, it would have to repay certain amounts for parts of the agreement it did not meet, Marshall said.

“We don’t discuss projects,” said Mark Heath, president and CEO of the Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corp., who attended the meeting of the special projects committee in Richmond. “It’s another step. It still has to go before the full (tobacco) commission. Hopefully it will be helpful.”

The commission is scheduled to consider the request at its 10 a.m. meeting today in Richmond, according to Marshall.

The $500,000 would be in addition to any funding that would be available through the Tobacco Region Opportunity Fund (TROF), Heath said. The amount of possible TROF funding, which is based on a formula, has been determined, Heath said, but he declined to discuss the amount.

The TROF grant program provides “performance-based monetary grants to localities in Virginia’s tobacco producing region ... to assist in the creation of new jobs and investments, whether through new business attraction or existing business expansion,” says the tobacco commission website.

Heath said generally of the proposal, “There is no guarantee. We are just kicking the can down the road.” Sometimes proposals come to fruition and sometimes not, he said.

“It’s a project that we are working,” said Henry County Administrator Tim Hall. “As with all projects, we hope it will work out.”

At its meeting today, the tobacco commission also is scheduled to consider a grant request for $6.5 million to prepare two sites for future building construction at the Commonwealth Crossing Business Centre, according to Marshall and a Bulletin article. The special projects committee endorsed that request in late November.

One of the proposed buildings would be 100,000 square feet and the other would be 1,000,000 square feet, Marshall said in a previous interview. Local officials have not identified the names of two potential tenants interested in locating in the business center. Marshall said Monday he does not know the names.

The Patriot Centre and Commonwealth Crossing projects are unrelated, Marshall said.

“What we were told, they (companies in each project) both sound like they are coming,” he said. He added that tobacco commission funding is contingent on the companies coming here.


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