Home Finally! Waynesboro receives $3.9M grant to develop property near exit 96

Finally! Waynesboro receives $3.9M grant to develop property near exit 96

Crystal Graham

natures crossing technology center waynesboro The City of Waynesboro was one of 22 localities to receive a Virginia Business Ready Site Program development grant for Nature’s Crossing Technology Center. The city received a grant in the amount of $3,911,144.

NCTC is located on the southeast edge of the city on Delphine Avenue near Interstate 64 at exit 96.

The land was purchased for $3.475 million in 2011 for the 170-acre property, then named Waynesboro Opportunity Park. At the time, a 20-year buildout was projected for the property, formerly owned by Roger Willetts of Afton, Staunton auto dealer Charlie Obaugh, and his son, Eric. At the time of the purchase, it was projected that the first five years would be spent on engineering and infrastructure development needed to get the property ready.

Twelve years later, the goal of the current project is to feature a walking trail, and access to the South River for fishing and boating and more, according to the city’s Economic Development website.

The property’s development potential is expansive – with two or three rail sidings and recreation space. The development options would include manufacturing or logistics businesses with room for offices or data centers.

According to the website, the NCTC is located in a Virginia Enterprise Zone and a Federal Opportunity Zone with investment and job creation grants possible depending on project parameters.

The grant was one of a total of $90 million for 21 sites across the Commonwealth.

Administered by the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, the program helps characterize and develop sites to enhance the Commonwealth’s infrastructure with more competitive project-ready sites, to attract new business and accelerate expansion in Virginia. The program’s goal is to identify, assess and improve the readiness of industrial sites with at least 100 contiguous, developable acres or 50 acres in the western part of the Commonwealth.

“The leading priority of the Virginia Business Ready Sites Program is to increase our project-ready sites portfolio across the Commonwealth, and this unprecedented site development funding is an important step forward in strengthening Virginia’s infrastructure,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin. “Prepared sites drive economic growth, and we have to move faster to attract new businesses. We are hitting the accelerator to build a best-in-class business environment so the Commonwealth can compete to win, and I have included the necessary additional funding for the VBRSP in my proposed budget.”

The Virginia Business Ready Sites Program was developed by a team of state, regional and local stakeholders including VEDP, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, railroad representatives, utility representatives, civil engineers, and other government, business, and industry representatives. Grants are considered on a competitive basis and made at the discretion of an investment committee composed of VEDP and Administration leaders.

“It is critical for Virginia to create a diverse portfolio of sites that are attractive to different industry sectors and meet varying location and infrastructure needs, and these grants are a major step in the right direction to help the Commonwealth catch up on site development,” said Jason El Koubi, VEDP President and CEO. “Additional funding for the Virginia Business Ready Sites Program will allow VEDP to expand the program and invest in more sites, enhancing the Commonwealth’s infrastructure and accelerating economic development in Virginia.”

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.