Goal: data center in two years

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, July 8, 2020

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Prince Edward County is making progress on its journey to fully marketing the land it purchased in May for the purpose of attracting data centers to its $1.5 million, 280-acre site off Persimmon Tree Fork Road.

Kate Pickett, the county’s director of economic development, explained what the county has been working on this summer with regard to this project.

A public hearing to rezone the land will be held Tuesday, July 14.

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The next step is to name the park.

“The county has also had collaborative meetings with staff from the state economic development organization, Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP), as well as Timmons Group, to name the data center park and to discuss the next steps moving forward,” she said.

She noted the county’s goal is to have a data center in the purchased location as soon as possible and alluded to a desired timeline.

“We hope that we can do this within the next two years,” she said. “After we have all of the rezoning settled, as well as decisions on taxes for data centers, we will be able to fully market the land.”

Pickett stated it is the county’s plan to apply for various grants to assist in making the park more attractive to companies looking to find a new data center site.

“Examples of such grant opportunities are the Tobacco Commission, GO Virginia, VEDP, (Virginia Department of Transportation) and (U.S. Economic Development Association),” she said. “Examples of work would be — preparing the land for development, extension of utilities, road improvements and marketing.”

She said it will not be the county’s responsibility to complete all the prep work of the land.

“Although we cannot speak in definitive terms because we do not know the situation in which this could all play out, it is anticipated that the data center company will prep much of the land itself or the county will receive assistance from the state once a company announces plans to locate on the site,” she said.

The county is responsible for working with the Town of Farmville to discuss and strategically plan for water and sewer, Pickett noted.

“We have already begun introductory discussions with the town, and we look forward to working with them on this project,” she said.