Governor McAuliffe Announces First Virginia Business Ready Sites Program Award Recipients
-Twenty-eight grants awarded to assist with industrial or commercial site assessment; four sites desi-
RICHMOND - Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced the first round of Virginia Business Ready Sites Program (VBRSP) grants to 28 projects across the Commonwealth. The VBRSP, administered by the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP), is a discretionary program established to help Virginia localities develop and market their existing industrial or commercial sites to prospective businesses, thus enhancing the Commonwealth’s infrastructure and promoting its competitive business environment.
“I am confident that the Virginia Business Ready Sites Program will be a powerful economic development tool to identify marketable sites for prospective businesses,” said Governor McAuliffe. “Every locality that requested funding and met the required guidelines will receive it, which is a huge testament to the motivation and commitment of Virginia’s communities and our partnership to ensure that the Commonwealth remains competitive in the global arena. These grants will be used to identify and assess large sites so they can be marketed for industrial or commercial purposes, thus increasing Virginia’s inventory. This new program goes hand-in-hand with our efforts to diversify and build a new Virginia economy, and I congratulate the award recipients and the four business ready sites.”
More than 20 Virginia localities were approved for more than $96,000 in funding to assess their industrial or commercial sites and receive a Site Characterization Tier Level. Four Virginia sites have been designated as business ready sites and 28 grants will be awarded during Phase I of the program. Tier 4 designations include: Commonwealth Crossing Business Centre in Henry County, New River Valley Commerce Park in Pulaski County, and Wildwood Commerce Park in Carroll County. The CenterPoint Intermodal Center in Suffolk is the first recognized site with Tier 4 and Tier 5 certifications, meaning all critical infrastructure components are in place.
Through this public-private partnership program, localities can apply for funding to identify marketable properties greater than 100 contiguous acres. Acreage readiness is ranked from Tier 1 to Tier 5, as outlined below.
• Tier 1: The site is not zoned and minimal or no due diligence has been performed;
• Tier 2: Owners have agreed to a competitive sale price and the comprehensive plan reflects that the site is intended for industrial or commercial development;
• Tier 3: Sites are zoned for commercial and industrial use, due diligence has been completed and the estimated costs of development have been quantified;
• Tier 4: All infrastructure is in place or will be deliverable within one year and all permit issues have been identified or quantified; and,
• Tier 5: All permits are in place and the site is ready for a disturbance permit.
“The Virginia Business Ready Sites Program provides an important avenue for localities to assess, better develop, and then market their large acreage sites for economic and job creation opportunities,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Todd Haymore. “With awards being made from Tazewell County to the City of Chesapeake, it is exciting to see most all regions of Virginia benefit from this new program.”
Applicants awarded can use the funds for retaining or reimbursement of a site development professional for site characterization. The VBRSP committee is comprised of state, regional, and local stakeholders, including VEDP, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, railroad representatives, utility representatives, civil engineers and other government, business and industry representatives.
Phase II of the Virginia Business Ready Sites Program will provide funds for site development. Applications for the site development grants will be accepted in 2017.