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County will erect shell building

The Cumberland County Board of Supervisors has agreed to lend $350,000 to the county’s industrial development authority (IDA) to build a shell building in the county’s business park.

Supervisors voted following a closed session on Jan. 12 to loan the money to the IDA to erect the 220-by-100-by-17-foot prefabricated building.

The building currently lies in pieces in a kit in the 75-acre park on Poorhouse Road. No business are located there, according to County Administrator and Attorney Vivian Seay Giles.

“[The IDA will] have a total available of $350,000 to try to get that building put up,” she said.

“Whenever someone buys or leases or occupies the building it would be worked into the equation,” she said of the IDA paying the county back.

“It’s actually a loan as opposed to an outright transfer,” Giles said.

The IDA paid more than $157,595 for the building using part of a $375,000 grant from

the Virginia Tobacco Commission.

“We get inquiries,” Giles said of a business potentially locating to the park.

Fred Shumaker

Fred Shumaker

“I supported the proposal with some reservations,” District Two Supervisor and Board Chairman Lloyd Banks said. “While I am not an advocate of speculative investments during a period of worldwide recession, I did want to encourage the opportunity to bring in new jobs to the county. In voting in favor of the loan from the county, I will be proactive in ensuring any future tenant of the space repay our citizens. With such a huge taxpayer investment, I would not support any future agreement to deed the property over to a prospective tenant without this repayment.”

Before the action was taken, supervisors entered into closed session with the IDA to discuss a perspective business were no previous announcement has been made, investment of public funds and consultation with legal council — all under the subject of development of the Cumberland Business Park.

“From there, we will try to get an occupant for it,” IDA Chairman Fred Shumaker said of the erection of the building.

“Absolutely,” he said when asked if he thought the erection of the building would entice business to move to the business park. “I think we would probably be the only county in about 11 counties that would have a standing shell building,” Shumaker said.

“That would definitely be an enticement for someone looking to start their business or to move to a larger area,” he said.

He said the IDA would soon start the process of getting the building up. “We don’t have an exact date at this time. As soon as we can secure some bids on the erection we will go ahead with it,” Shumaker said.