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REPRINT: BreakDown: The Berry Hill Industrial Park Announcement

Hey, we were wrong. But this announcement will happen soon. I’m flagging this into “Errors & Omissions” because I was totally wrong. But I’ll stand behind my words and admit my mistake.

I’m not deleting this article because the analysis of what will happen is still valid. I also want people to see how badly I was wrong. I don’t run from my mistakes.

Here’s the link to my full apology letter.

SouthsideCentral rarely reprints (reposts? republishes?) articles except for special situations, but this is one of those special situations. On Tuesday morning, Governor Terry McAuliffe will be making a Southside region job announcement from England. Back on June 14th, the Danville-Pittsylvania Regional Industrial Facility made the announcement of a land leasing deal for part of the Berry Hill Industrial Park. We published this BreakDown to let you know what would eventually happen.

Well, it’s happening on Tuesday morning. SouthsideCentral has had 100% confidence in this for over six months and we have been the only media source to go on record with our predictions.

SouthsideCentral is 100% confident that the governor will announce the future location of a parts supplier to the Rolls-Royce jet engine plant located in Prince George County.

Here’s the BreakDown article that we published last month. And remember, SouthsideCentral was right. Heh.

(Editor’s Note: Damn. We really, really, really, REALLY blew that, huh?)

On Monday, the Regional Industrial Facility Authority announced that a company was going to buy 300 acres of land in the Berry Hill Industrial Park and this would lead to a $250+ million investment in the region. Let’s take a comprehensive look at what has happened and what it means.

We call this a BreakDown.

Let’s start with the press release…

During its regularly scheduled meeting, the Danville-Pittsylvania Regional Industrial Facility Authority (RIFA) approved a purchase agreement with Wilmot Properties, LLC, for a project of regional significance in the Berry Hill Industrial Park in Pittsylvania County. The project will represent a significant private investment in the region, with a value in excess of $250 million. The agreement is for Lot 3B, a 300-acre tract of land located along Berry Hill Road.

Jessie Barksdale, RIFA and Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors Chairman stated, “This project, from our current understanding, would likely represent the largest single private investment ever in Pittsylvania County. Berry Hill Industrial Park was specifically developed for these types of large projects”.

Sherman Saunders, RIFA Vice-Chairman and Danville City Mayor stated, “It is exciting to know that our efforts and investment in the Berry Hill Industrial Park may result in such a regionally significant project, that would bring good jobs and shared revenue to our region. We look forward to more announcements for Berry Hill Industrial Park in the future”.

Due to confidentiality terms and the early phase of the proposed agreement, there will be no further comment at this time from Wilmot Properties, LLC, RIFA, or its Staff on the potential project.

Needless to say, SouthsideCentral was not surprised by this announcement one bit. Let’s take a look at what this all means. Let’s roll out a BreakDown Big Board.

  • This is real. Very real. Forget about the Job Busts that Danville has had in the past. This has absolutely no relation to that era at all. That era is dead and gone. Its ashes are blowing around somewhere (I hope you see what I did there).
  • If you try to trace down “Wilmot Properties, LLC” down, you’re going to run into a dead end quickly. That’s because it’s just a holding company formed to make this deal while the rest of the negotiations keep going. This is standard procedure in business deals like this, so stomp on all the conspiracy theories that will get spread about this.
  • This announcement and the announcements that will follow should obliterate any permitting roadblocks thrown up by the Army Corps of Engineers. The biggest roadblock was that the Corps wanted a specified end-user of the property before they issued construction permits. Now that the land is sold and an end-user is ready to start building, the permit process just got a lot easier.
  • RIFA, city & county staff and Dewberry are to be highly commended for their strategy of “Let’s bypass the Army Corps of Engineers by only asking to grade down a small part of the industrial park”. That allowed the permitting process to only go through the state process and helped seal this deal.
  • Needless to say, this isn’t going to be an instant process. However, you’re going to see announcements on this project over the next 2 to 12 months as things get finalized.
  • This deal is exactly why RIFA was created by the City of Danville & Pittsylvania County. The teamwork between the two municipalities are quite rare in the state, because most of the time economic development is a cutthroat business. It’s taken six years to get to this point, but it’s now all worth it.
  • It’s also quite fun to now point and laugh at all the naysayers that have said that nothing would ever come from the Berry Hill park or RIFA.

With all of that on the board, you want to know what the Big Project is going to be, don’t you? SouthsideCentral is 100% confident that we know what it’s all about. We don’t know the specific name of the company and exactly what they’ll be producing, but we know what will happen. The easiest analogy that I can make for this is to tell you to imagine a big set of dominoes placed just correctly so that when the first one is tipped, it sets off a chain reaction. Here’s a Big Board of the things that have happened and will happen to give you clues on what this is all about.

  • DCC pushes hard and builds up a very good precision machining program.
  • The Capstone project is announced at the Institute and the Gene Haas Center is created.
  • During the introduction to the Capstone program, we’re beat over the head with the reminder that there’s a big jet engine manufacturer in Prince George County that likes to have its parts suppliers located within a reasonable distance of the plant.
  • Highest quality jet engine parts are made using precision machining technology.
  • Pittsylvania County Schools already has a precision machining program at their vocational center with students completing it getting a FastForward pass to Year #2 at DCC.
  • Danville Public Schools comes up with this idea of starting a precision machining program at GW, with students completeing it getting a FastForward pass to Year #2 at DCC.
  • The city goes to the Tobacco Commission for funding to start the precision machining program at GW and gets turned down.
  • Miraculously, the city finds $1.6 million on their own to fund GW’s precision machining program.
  • Will all of those things in place, the Institute’s Capstone project will be able to spit out a steady stream of 30 to 40 certified precision machinists ever year.
  • A big company that decides to locate in the Berry Hill Industrial Park may start small in their first year but will quickly expand to the tune of 30-40 new jobs per year.
  • A big company like that wouldn’t locate in Southside Virginia without a guaranteed steady stream of certified precision machinists.
  • Locking in GW’s new precision machining program provides the Institute’s Capstone program with a steady stream of students.

That’s twelve giant dominoes that have been lined up perfectly to start the chain reaction. I think you get where I’m coming from. SouthsideCentral has been talking about this over the past year and it’s all coming together now.

And there you go, folks. That’s a comprehensive look at the land sale announcement and what it will lead to in the future. We call this a BreakDown.

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