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IDA agrees to $181K loan; Money is for expanded Newman Concrete plant on 460

The Prince Edward County Industrial Development Authority (IDA) has agreed to lend almost $182,000 to W.C. Newman Co. to help build an expanded concrete plant on U.S. 460 near Hudson’s Bottom west of Farmville.

The money “…will be used to finance the purchase of new batch plant equipment, the erection of the plant and a concrete reclaimer,” County Economic Developer Sharon Carney’s staff report stated.

She said that the concrete company requested the financial assistance of $181,900.

In her report, she said the firm “has been a long-standing business in downtown Farmville. Due to the need of a renovated plant and the need to relocate further out from the downtown area, Robert Atkinson, [president and owner of W.C. Newman Co.,] partnered with Adams Construction from Roanoke to co-locate an asphalt plant and concrete plant together just west of town. …”

The agreed-to note is for $181,900 and would have a seven-year amortization

period with a five-year balloon. A five-percent simple interest rate was agreed to, and monthly installments would be $2,165, with interest.

The colloratal for the loan, according to the report, would be secured by first title interest liens on the equipment being purchased with the money.

Carney said the estimated budget to up-fit “just a new concrete plant is approximately $786,390, not including over $900,000 in site work.”

“To stay consistent with things we’ve done in the past, I’ve picked out equipment-type things that we can take a lien on,” Carney told the IDA.

“I think he’s a good guy. He’s been here for a long time,” she said of Atkinson.

IDA member Tim Tharpe, who owns Tharpe Trucking, noting his position as vice president with W.C. Newman Co., said Atkinson had “done his due diligence and has a very good business plan. Super guy, super guy.”

Tharpe abstained from voting on approving the loan.

“Robert has been here for a heck of a long time,” said IDA member Ken Copeland, Longwood University’s vice president for administration and finance. “[He] intends on staying here for a heck of a long time.”

“It is good for us,” Carney said, for the IDA to diversify its loan revenue.

“It was public knowledge that [Atkinson] got $2.2 million for his property [on West Third Street]. He’s reinvested all that money into land for the new facility … He’s got controlled debt,” Tharpe said.

“We’d like to attract more of that group. English Construction is probably one of the largest contractors in the state of Virginia,” Carney said.

W.C. Newman Co. is expected to be operational by June 2016, while Adams Construction Co. is expected to be operational by April 2016.

“The [existing] plant’s pretty old,” Atkinson told The Herald in an earlier interview.

“We’ve patched our patches over and over again. The physical plant itself … is pretty old. We’re also in this small lot here in the middle of town.”

The current location of the business offers no room for expansion or upgrading, Atkinson said. The property on 460 will allow for more room for a more modern and efficient operation, he said.