GRUNDY, VA – JANUARY 5, 2024 –  An up to $2.5 million grant to be used to develop an approximately 20-acre industrial site in the Phase II section of the Southern Gap Industrial Park in Buchanan County, Va., was closed recently between the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) and the Buchanan County Industrial Development Authority.

The Southern Gap development, a 3,153-acre area in Buchanan County, controlled by the IDA, has been developed through the years utilizing funding from the county and from VCEDA and is now home to hundreds of workers and several facilities including the primary customer service call center of the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC); Paul’s Fan Company which is Buchanan County’s largest manufacturing company including its BEAST aluminum trailer manufacturing division; the Southern Gap Transportation and Logistics Center which is operated by Southwest Virginia Community College and offers various workforce training solutions; and the new location of Appalachian Power Company’s Buchanan County office. Additionally, a new asphalt plant; the Buchanan County school bus garage; Southern Gap Outdoor Adventure; a portion of the Spearhead Trails Coal Canyon ATV trail system; a residential single family homes subdivision; a fire station; and various other recreational amenities including the Poplar Gap Park, call Southern Gap their home. Soon, Buchanan County’s new consolidated high school and new facilities for the Buchanan County Public Service Authority will also be located at Southern Gap.

Construction of the new Breaks Regional Airport which is adjacent to the area is underway and a section of the new US460/US121 (Coalfields Expressway) running from the Kentucky state line to Southern Gap is also open and by 2027, US460/US121 is scheduled to be completed from Southern Gap to the corporate limits of the Town of Grundy.

“With available developed property at Southern Gap being taken up at a rather rapid rate, the IDA was interested in staying ahead of the curve by going ahead and preparing an additional larger graded site at Southern Gap,” said VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel Jonathan Belcher. “Currently, the only two available graded sites are Site 4 and Site 5 which are both under seven acres each and Site 4 is already the location of a proposed new industrial shell building for which VCEDA approved up to a $1.5 million loan in June 2023.”

As a result of the activity taking place, the IDA currently lacks any developed sites for projects requiring more than six or seven acres. The new site identified will result in the county having an additional approximately 20-acre industrial site. 

“Given the current demand, it is paramount that all potential sites be located and developed to accommodate the current demand in development,” the IDA’s application for funding noted. “This 20-acre site will allow us to locate additional shell buildings and possibly break the site up into smaller parcels to accommodate different size projects as they come.”

It was also noted in the application that the site’s location in relation to the Coalfields Expressway and the future airport site further improve its marketability. 

“I’m very excited to announce this new development of additional industrial property,” said Buchanan County Economic Development Director Matt Fields. “As more projects have continued to locate in the industrial park, we have slowly ran out of marketable property. This will give the IDA much needed acreage to develop and attract prospects.”

About Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority and Southwest Virginia’s e-Region: The Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority, created by the Virginia General Assembly in 1988 to enhance and diversify the region’s economy and help create jobs, markets Southwest Virginia’s e-Region and its focus on electronic information technology, energy, education, emerging technologies, and entrepreneurship. VCEDA is a unique economic development organization that manages funds for economic development projects from a percentage of the coal and natural gas severance taxes paid by coal and natural gas companies that operate in the region. Located in southwestern Virginia, the region includes Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Tazewell, and Wise counties and the City of Norton. www.vceda.us or www.e-Region.org.