State officials keeping eye on mega site

Robert Whitehurst Jr.

Robert Whitehurst Jr.

MOUNT JACKSON – State officials said Thursday there’s a growing need for large, industrial business sites, like that of Mount Jackson’s proposed mega site.

Robert Whitehurst Jr., who owns much of the mega site land, said during Monday’s Planning Commission meeting that unspecified state officials told him they’re excited by the prospect of the site.

“What they said was sites like the mega site are in low inventory; there’s not too many of that size in the state,” Whitehurst said.

The state officials Whitehurst spoke of work with the Virginia Economic Development Program. That organization works to facilitate business expansion in Virginia, as well as to attract new businesses to the state.

Vince Barnett, vice president of communications and promotions for the organization, said they had a team on site to assess its potential and that sites of similar character are in low supply in the state.

“Our current inventory of ready-to-go sites is less than 10 in the state,” Barnett said.

While it has not yet been implemented, Barnett said the organization is working on a grant program to help sites with development. He said they are working to assess which sites will receive funding, and while he mentioned it’s possible Mount Jackson will receive a grant, nothing has been finalized.

Given that the mega site’s completion is a long way off, Barnett said he could not say with certainty whether it will have any success in the competitive market of attracting business. He did say, however, that there’s much for a town to gain from a successful industrial site, and that sometimes it can mean making a gamble.

In the meantime, the organization will be keeping an eye on the site, offering support as needed and potentially notifying businesses of the opportunity.

“We’re always enthusiastic to have communities and localities to make products (sites) for development,” Barnett said.

Contact staff writer Jake Zuckerman at 540-465-5137 ext. 152, or jzuckerman@nvdaily.com

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