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Southern Gap Development Receives VCEDA Support for Office Building Project



A project aimed at boosting economic development in Buchanan County received a significant financial boost as the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) approved a loan of up to $2.214 million. The loan will support the construction and development of an office building at the Southern Gap development in Buchanan County. This initiative is part of the broader efforts to revitalize the commercial property in the region.

Meanwhile, Russell County also benefitted from VCEDA support, securing a loan of up to $500,000 to aid in accommodating a new, undisclosed project in the area. The project is expected to create 75 full-time positions within the next three years. Additionally, VCEDA has granted $186,091 to Mountain Empire Community College to enhance workforce development and training programs in Wise County.

The meeting also saw other key decisions, including loan extensions and modifications. The recipients included the Virginia Coalfield Coalition, Inc., City of Norton IDA, Breaks Interstate Park Commission, Lee County Economic Development Authority, Dickenson County IDA, and Scott County Economic Development Authority.

VCEDA’s 2023 overview showcased a robust year in economic development projects with 15 new initiatives announced in the region. These projects are estimated to generate 297 full-time and 50 part-time jobs, along with a private investment of $25.05 million. The authority recorded 212 inquiries, 43 prospect visits, and completed 33 outreach marketing events across the US.

In 2023, VCEDA greenlit 41 loans and grants totaling $13.25 million, aligning with its objective to foster job creation and private investments. Throughout the year, VCEDA maintained an average of 25 active projects and facilitated 17 projects resulting in 424 total jobs and $25.95 million in private investments.

One notable achievement highlighted by VCEDA was the progress made towards the Coalfields Expressway project. In partnership with other entities, $7 million was raised to expand the roadway, with the first section becoming operational in November 2023. An additional $7 million federal funding was recently secured to further develop the expressway.

The meeting also welcomed Roger Rife as the new VCEDA board member representing Buchanan County. Rife replaces Carroll Branham, who did not seek re-election. The board remains committed to driving economic growth and job opportunities across the region.

Rachel Adams

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