The Brunswick County Industrial Development Authority Board of Directors met electronically on Tuesday, May 12, 2020.

After closed session, the members approved for the IDA to purchase and own $5,000 in equipment for the Lake Country General Store, a new building opening on Hicks Street in Lawrenceville.

The members approved a vote of confidence for the Sledge & Barkley Project and gave authority to the IDA Business Director, Mike Dotti, to proceed with $35,000 in matching funds towards the Tobacco Commission Grant.

During the meeting Dotti said plans are in the works to form the Agriculture Refinement Center (ARC). A group is meeting in the former Sledge & Barkley building to discuss forming the group that would serve as a resource to local farmers and producers. Dotti said those attending were Dr. Alfonzo Seward, Cynthia Gregg, Everette Gibson and Charlette T. Woolridge, Ph.D. is serving as a mentor.

After the meeting Gregg said ARC will hopefully include areas for a farmers market, cold storage for produce, and maybe a quick freeze line produce.

Earlier Dotti said the Brunswick County IDA received a grant  $71,900 to off-set costs for three activities to assist prospective businesses to evaluate the benefits of the Sledge & Barkley property. These activities include: 1) Engineering & Architectural study with full architectural plans, 2) Historic Preservation Tax Incentive program Part 1 & 2 applications, and 3) Marketing materials from gathered information to showcase mixed-use concepts for redevelopment of the Sledge & Barkley property. The Sledge & Barkley building, a three-story building constructed in 1885, located at 307 N. Main Street, is situated in the center of the commercial block of Lawrenceville. In May 2019, the BCIDA purchased the property.

Dotti provided information on current projects.

307 North Main Street – formerly Sledge & Barkley building – Dotti has submitted information to Paige Pollard and the Commonwealth Preservation Group for review. The IDA is planning to develop the project using historic tax credits and grants and loans.

I-85 Project: Currently working on zoning requirement with the Town of Alberta. Requires emergency meeting with the IDA Board in May.

315 North Main – formally Elton Brown building. First floor construction completed and James River Cardiology has moved in and paying rent. The upper floor apartment plans are finished and the IDA is waiting for zoning change approval from the Town Zoning Commission and permit to be issued.

319 North Main Street – formally the florist building. The IDA closed on building. The roof repairs pending at a cost of $18,000 already approved by the IDA Board. Residential apartment approved by town attorney. Architectural plans pending. Previous tenant left stock. Contractor working on roof repair.

304 New Hicks Street – formally Walker Drug building. No activity. Seeking retail tenant. Building for sale. Roof repair pending. Needs to be done very soon.

Echo World – 9 employees working from home during COVID-19. Dotti said the Governor didn’t include all medical employees as essential employees and many Echo World employees were not able to work at home.

Virtual Pharmacy – Details of pharmacy after COVID-19 restrictions lifted.

Pop’s Bar and Grill, 123 Hicks Street – Tenant has purchased building. Construction pending: walk-in, exhaust hood, rest rooms installed. Floors being installed. Ceiling painted, bar framed out, gas line installed, kitchen equipment 80% purchased and stored. Additional kitchen equipment purchased from Gusti on April 28. Keith Buchanan to pick up in Richmond and deliver to Pop’s. Michael Byrne reviewing equipment list with Dotti.

Distribution Center – IDA has signed bids, waiting for IDA Board approval. Frito Lay – IDA waiting on final approval to move forward.

Satellite Brewery – no progress, talks ongoing.

Dance Studio – seeking

Karate Studio – seeking.

Dotti said the IDA staff has and will continue to meet with those seeking to open a business, purchase a building in the Towns of Lawrenceville and Alberta.