Shell

Construction on a shell building at the Southern Virginia Technology Park is underway. Upfront costs of the project led to a budget shortfall for the Halifax County Industrial Development Authority.

The prospect of a new industry in Halifax County known by the codename “Project Select” has come to a screeching halt. The unknown company is no longer pursuing Halifax County as a site location.

Riverstone Technology Park at 1030 Confroy Drive was the proposed site of Project Select. The Halifax County Industrial Development Authority’s board of directors earlier this year signed off on the construction of a 50,000-square-foot “shell building” to attract new business and industry to the county, and Samet Corporation, a Greensboro, North Carolina-based company, broke ground at the project site in March.

As part of the lease agreement with the unknown company bringing Project Select to the county, the IDA agreed to increase the square footage of the shell building to 150,000-square-feet and amend the construction contract accordingly. The IDA’s board of directors at its May meeting had approved a resolution on the lease agreement, economic development incentives and financing for Project Select.

“The cost of the building upfit, from 50,000-square-feet to 150,000-square-feet, grew to a point that it was no longer economically feasible,” said IDA executive director Brian Brown.

The Halifax County Board of Supervisors on Monday evening rescinded a pair of funding resolutions they had previously approved for Project Select.

“The final effort did not pan out,” said county administrator Scott Simpson as he told supervisors the county IDA had been informed Project Select had eliminated Halifax County from its search for a location.

He also said if anything about the project changed in the future, they could always adopt another resolution.

The board at its May business meeting had signed off on a support agreement for the financing of Project Select. American National Bank & Trust Company agreed to loan up to $6.5 million to the IDA for the project. The board at that time also signed off on a resolution approving economic development incentives and performance agreements for the project.

The resolution states the board agreed to appropriate $125,000 to the IDA to support the project. The county also planned to apply for a $175,000 grant from the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission to support the project.

The IDA in the meantime is moving forward with the construction of the shell building, and its recruitment efforts to find a tenant for the building.

At a groundbreaking ceremony for the building on March 6, the IDA and county officials alike expressed their enthusiasm about the prospective of new industry resulting from construction of the building.

“It is an exciting day here in Halifax,” Simpson said at the groundbreaking. “The construction of the shell building from historical experience is very beneficial to communities, to be able to have the right building available for prospective industries.”

Brown shared on Friday, following an IDA budget meeting, that the total cost of construction of the shell building is $3.6 million. Half of the original cost of the building — $3.4 million — was funded with a grant from the Tobacco Commission.

Miranda Baines is a staff writer for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at mbaines@gazettevirginian.com.

Miranda Baines is a staff writer for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at mbaines@gazettevirginian.com.