Wed04162014

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Board extends option to purchase 343 acres adjacent to Industrial Park

The King George Board of Supervisors recently authorized Travis Quesenberry, county administrator, to execute an extension to an option agreement for the county to purchase 343 acres in the Sealston area of the county for $10 million, based on a price of $29,149 per acre.


The county’s six-month option to purchase costs $2,000 and now extends to Jan. 11, 2014. The property is comprised of four large parcels owned by Plentiful Farm Family Limited Partnership and Mount View Family Limited Partnership.

 

PROPERTY LOCATION
The property is located on the north side of Route 3 (Kings Highway) at the intersection of Route 605 (Bloomsbury Road), and is contiguous to the King George Industrial Park.

The plan would be to incorporate the acreage into the industrial park after property transfers are completed by any approved buyer wishing to establish a business on all or part of the acreage.

The action to extend the option took place on June 25, which mirrored similar action taken near the beginning of this year, on Jan. 15.

POTENTIAL NEW BUSINESS?
The current option to purchase struck in January followed a closed meeting session for discussion of a prospective business or industry where no previous announcement has been made of the business’ or industry’s interest in locating its facilities in the community.

Such sessions have become commonplace, again, by the Board in recent months, as well as similar closed meeting sessions by the Economic Development Authority, which operates the King George Industrial Park and an additional 25 acres that is contiguous to the property on which the current option was obtained.

The closed meetings and the recent action continue to fuel hope that some significant potential economic development could pan out in that area of the county.    

FIRST OPTIONED IN 2007
But county officials and residents alike have learned not to get their hopes up too high.

The 343-acre property was originally optioned for purchase by the county back in 2007. Those were better economic times prior to the sliding crash first obvious in late 2008, with some of its effects immediate, but with most still rippling through the economic environment over time.

There was cause for joy in January 2009, when the county and the state both announced that a deal had been struck for a grocery store chain to establish a distribution warehouse on 100 acres on Route 3 adjacent to the King George Industrial Park, part of the 343-acre tract.

That deal was coddled along while Harris Teeter continued to ask for extensions to allow its “due diligence.”

ECONOMY BLAMED
Then, the grocery store chain announced it was canceling in early August 2010, with the downturn in the economy largely blamed.

The land option to purchase the property in question had since been allowed to lapse, but was reinitiated, as noted, this past January.

The county has continued to recruit industries to the industrial park that would provide sound investment and quality jobs.

Nicole Thompson, director of Economic Development since May 2009, has worked diligently to bring businesses to the county, whether in the industrial park or elsewhere. The county is currently looking to fill the position that she will vacate at the end of this month, since she is leaving to take a position in Colorado.
It is expected that the county will continue her marketing efforts and work with prospects interested in locating in King George.

COUNTY HAS TEN APPLICATIONS FOR OPEN POSITION
The position of Director of Economic Development is coming vacant on July 24.

The vacancy notice notes that the position will remain open until filled, with the application review process to begin earlier this week on Monday, July 15. As of that date, the county had received ten applications for the position.

The hiring salary range is advertised at $61,372 to $100,036, depending on qualifications. Applicant requirements include any combination of experience and education equivalent to graduation from an accredited college or university with major course work in business administration, marketing, public administration, economics, planning, engineering or related field, with extensive professional experience in economic development, marketing or planning related activities, preferably in local, state or regional government.

Travis Quesenberry, county administrator, has noted that he would assume Thompson’s duties with assistance from executive assistant Marcy Feltner during any interim vacancy prior to filling the position.

Phyllis Cook

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