June 14, 2002

Ellen Qualls
(804) 786-2211, x2379

Jill Lawrence
(804) 371-0049
Governor Warner Dedicates Southwest Virginia's Newest Available Shell Building
-87,500-Square-Foot Building Made Possible Through Federal, State, County Partnerships -

WASHINGTON COUNTY - Governor Mark R. Warner today joined state, regional and local officials at the ribbon-cutting event for the new Glade Highlands shell building. Located on a 19-acre site in the Glade Highlands Industrial Park, the new 87,500-square-foot building is jointly owned by the Smyth-Washington Regional Industrial Facilities Authority.

“Experience has shown that over 70 percent of business prospects begin the site selection process with existing buildings,” said Governor Warner. “This new shell building will assist Washington and Smyth Counties in recruiting new businesses and, ultimately, provide quality jobs for Southwest Virginians.”

The Glade Highlands shell building is a product of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership’s (VEDP) Virginia Shell Building Initiative. Started in 1989, the initiative offers attractive financing to communities interested in constructing an industrial shell building. The Virginia Retirement System (VRS) provides funding, on a five-year loan basis, to competitively selected communities for the construction of market-driven shell buildings. VEDP pays the interest payments on behalf of the loan recipient (localities or local industrial development authorities) for up to five years. When a building is sold or at the end of five years, whichever comes first, the loan recipient pays the principal back to the VRS and the accrued interest payments back to VEDP.

To date, 11 shell building loans have been awarded and five buildings have been sold. From the five buildings sold, over $107 million has been invested and 1,016 new jobs have been created by the private sector. An additional $26 million in capital investment and 275 jobs can also be attributed to these buildings indirectly because prospects visited the existing shell buildings and purchased nearby sites.

The Glade Highlands shell building was awarded a VEDP loan during the fourth round of competition. The building was funded in conjunction with an Appalachian Regional Commission loan administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). Washington and Smyth Counties also received an Industrial Site Development Fund grant from DHCD in 2000 to assist in the development of the 302-acre Glade Highlands Industrial Park, which is located in an enterprise zone. VEDP, the Mount Rogers Partnership, the Smyth-Washington Regional Industrial Facilities Authority, the Washington County Industrial Development Authority, and the Smyth County Industrial Development Authority will market the new shell building and the rest of the park to industrial prospects.

“The shell building will help us market the park to high-quality industrial prospects. We look forward to the creation of some much-needed new jobs as a result of both the building and the site development of the industrial park, and we thank our state and federal partners for their assistance in this project,” said Con Smith, Chairman of the Smyth-Washington Regional Industrial Facilities Authority (SWIFA).

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership, a marketing organization, was created by the Virginia General Assembly in 1995 to encourage, stimulate, and support the development and expansion of the economy of the Commonwealth. The Partnership is a state authority, which is governed by a 15-member Board of Directors appointed by the Governor. To accomplish its objectives of promoting economic expansion within the Commonwealth, the Partnership focuses its efforts on business development and international trade.


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