The U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration is awarding a $3 million grant to the Economic Development Authority of Amherst County to provide operational space to technology-based industries.
The money will be used to construct a 45,000-square-foot multi-tenant building in the Amelon Commerce Center in Madison Heights that EDA officials said would accelerate job growth and create additional economic opportunities.
This project, to be matched with $1.3 million in local funds, is expected to create 45 jobs, retain 24 jobs, and generate $3.25 million in private investment, according to a news release from the EDA.
The Amherst County economy took a significant hit when the Central Virginia Training Center, previously the county’s largest employer, closed in 2020.
“Without the financial help from the EDA this building would not be possible,” said Victoria Hanson, the EDA’s executive director, in the release. “There is a lack of industrial buildings in Amherst County and the region, leaving nowhere for businesses to expand. Many are working in tight, cramped buildings that are outdated and restrict their ability to grow. The multi-tenant building will provide multiple Amherst businesses the space they need to grow their businesses and add new jobs.”
Chad Eby, the EDA board’s chairman, said in the release the grant award is a major win for Amherst County and a culmination of years of work by EDA staff, board members and consultants.
“The success of this project falls in line with other major projects where the Amherst EDA has been the driving force with many more on the horizon,” Eby said in the release.
In a Sept. 1 announcement of the grant, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo said supporting job-creating innovators and entrepreneurs is a major focus of President Joe Biden’s administration.
“This EDA investment will accelerate the addition of good-paying jobs to the region’s economy by providing innovative businesses with the space they need to grow and succeed,” Raimondo said in a news release.
Hanson said the EDA knows of multiple businesses that need to expand into a larger space.
The new facility will be constructed on Lot 4 within the Amelon Commerce Center close to the U.S. 29 corridor.
“I’m proud that Virginia is a national leader when it comes to attracting new business in cutting-edge and growing industries,” U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., said in the release. “I am thrilled that this EDA grant will create good-paying tech jobs in Amherst County and provide support to continue growing the tech industry in Virginia.”
“I am pleased to see this vital funding go toward supporting technology industries in Amherst County,” U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., said in the release. “Investments like these are a step in the right direction in boosting job growth. I will continue advocating for the needs of Virginia businesses, workers, and the economy.”