FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 12, 2004

Ellen Qualls
www.governor.virginia.gov
(804) 786-2211, x2379


Jill Vaughan
VEDP
(804) 371-0049
GOVERNOR WARNER ANNOUNCES WINNERS OF “VIRTUAL BUILDING” GRANTS
-Virginia Economic Development Partnership awards $15,000 to five Virginia communities-


RICHMOND - Governor Mark R. Warner today announced that five Virginia communities will receive $15,000 grants each to prepare a technology-driven Virtual Building program.

A Virtual Building is a business location where all of the preliminary planning and site work has been completed in order to start construction immediately. For example, the Virtual Building has been designed. The utilities are at the site. A development team is in place. Firm cost estimates and a construction schedule have been established. Lastly, the site plan permit has been obtained. This level of preplanning allows virtual building construction time frames to rival completion schedules of traditional industrial shell building build-outs.

Competitively selected from a pool of 11 statewide applicants, the following communities will receive grants:

• Campbell County
• Virginia’s Heartland Region (Amelia County, Buckingham County, Charlotte County, Cumberland County, Lunenburg County, and Prince Edward County)
• Crossroads Regional Industrial Facilities Authority (Wythe County)
• Southampton County
• Lee County

“I congratulate these five communities for taking the initiative and winning a grant in this innovative program,” said Governor Warner. “Virtual Buildings will spark attention from business prospects, while the communities save time and money in their economic development efforts. Virginia is setting a standard for future business recruitment.”

The grants represent the first awards from the Virginia Economic Development Partnership’s (VEDP) new Virtual Building Demonstration Grant Program. The purpose of this pilot grant program is to increase the inventory of marketable business properties in Virginia to better recruit new jobs and capital investment. Upon completion, the five new Virtual Buildings will immediately be placed on VirginiaScan®, VEDP’s web-based inventory of all available sites and buildings in the Commonwealth, located at www.YesVirginia.org.

The grant program will cover 50 percent of the development costs of the Virtual Building up to $15,000. Local governments and economic development organizations will then match this amount. Grant applications were evaluated on the lack of existing building product, the readiness of the site, the marketing strategy proposed for the property, the capacity to complete the project, and the economic distress of the community.

“As with every successful enterprise, economic development is also being transformed by the latest technology,” said Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade Michael J. Schewel. “We are pleased to assist these five projects and we hope more Virginia communities will recognize the benefits of marketing buildings in the virtual environment.”

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 recruitment, expansion and international trade. VEDP has offices in Virginia, Germany, Hong Kong, Mexico, Brazil, Korea and Japan.

VIRGINIA ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PARTNERSHIP

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