The SOVA Innovation Hub project will be exempt from paying South Boston real estate and personal property taxes following a 6-0 vote of South Boston Town Council at Monday’s meeting to allow the exemptions.

The unanimous vote came after a public hearing where Tad Deriso, president and CEO of Mid-Atlantic Broadband Communities (MBC), and Mark Varah, chief financial officer for MBC, spoke in favor of the tax exemptions.

No one spoke in opposition to granting the tax exemptions during Monday’s public hearing.

MBC operates as a 501(c)(4) social welfare organization and therefore qualifies for tax-exempt status.

Corporations granted 501(c)(4) status by the Internal Revenue Service are exempt from federal income tax. However, unlike 501(c)(3) organizations, donations to 501(c)(4) entities are not tax-deductible for the individual or corporation making the donation.

MBC is preparing to make a $5 million capital investment in South Boston and is planning to convey a parcel of real estate with market value of $170,000 to the South Boston IDA.

Deriso, in a letter to town manager Tom Raab, explained that annual town revenue related to the unimproved parcel is estimated to be approximately $370, but that upon completion of improvements, the town revenue impact is estimated to be $10,500.

Assessed value and tax assessment (2018) of real property owned by MBC in South Boston for the parcel on which it is looking to build is $161,405, with a property tax in 2019 of $339.

Assessed value and tax assessment of personal property for motor vehicles owned by MBC in 2018 is $73,300 with a 2019 tax of $2,810; and assessed value in 2018 of fiber cable owned by MBC is $515,153, with a 2019 tax of $1,081.

Exemptions became effective immediately following passage of the ordinance at Monday’s meeting until the exemptions are revoked or for a term of 10 years.

MBC and Microsoft recently announced a partnership to build the SOVA Innovation Hub in South Boston.

MBC will invest $5 million in the construction of the Hub at the site once occupied by a tobacco warehouse on Wilborn Avenue in South Boston.

Microsoft, through its TechSpark Initiative, will use the space to encourage innovation and spur economic opportunities in the region, utilizing the SOVA Innovation hub as a base for its TechSpark efforts.

Initials plans call for MBC to build a two-story, 15,000 square-foot brick and glass facility at the site once occupied by a tobacco warehouse.

MBC will move from the Southern Virginia Technology Park to the new SOVA Innovation Hub when construction is complete.

TechSpark and other organizations will be utilizing the facility for different opportunities, such as training and conferencing.

Deriso and Varah noted during the public hearing MBC continues to provide economic development and community support programs and initiatives to South Boston and Halifax County, including support for the middle and high school robotics program and the IT Academy at the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center.

Council approves request to vacate lots in subdivision

South Boston Town Council voted unanimously on Monday to approve a request vacating blocks, lots and streets totaling 76.56 acres and including 10 tax parcels in the undeveloped Tuck, Bagwell and Dillard subdivision.

The subdivision is located on the northeast side of the intersection of James D. Hagood Highway and Cage Trail.

Gerald V. Lovelace, president of Lovelace Consulting LLC, made the submission on behalf of current property owners during council’s work session in May.

The subdivision was created and the plat recorded in 1953 by the law firm of Tuck, Bagwell and Dillard, and none of the original sub-dividers are living now, according to Lovelace.

None of the heirs currently live in Halifax County or plan to live in Halifax County in the future, Lovelace told council.

“They’re paying taxes on individual parcels and are trying to consolidate them into one parcel which they think will enhance its marketability,” Lovelace explained at the work session.

The plat contains five blocks and a total of 70 lots, and it contains all of Glenwood Lane, Lester Lane, Vista Court and a portion of Pine Tree Drive.

Council confirms appointments to service authority

Council confirmed the appointments of Mark Thackston and LaTonya Hamilton to the Halifax County Service Authority at Monday’s meeting.

Thackston and Hamilton, each of whom will serve a full term from 2019-2023, replace directors Joe Barkley and William “Bill” Snead, whose terms will expire on June 30.

Doug Ford reports for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact him at

Doug Ford covers news and sports for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact him at