Commonwealth Crossing in Henry County. Photo by Dean-Paul Stephens.
Commonwealth Crossing in Henry County. Photo by Dean-Paul Stephens.

An allocation of more than $22 million to Henry County’s Commonwealth Crossing Business Park represents one of the largest industrial site investments in the governor’s Virginia Business Ready Sites Program. 

On Monday, Governor Glenn Youngkin’s office announced it would distribute $90 million among more than 20 industrial sites across the state, in the hopes of improving Virginia’s readiness in attracting and keeping companies wanting to operate in the state. 

“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,” Youngkin said in a statement. “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.”

While Upper Magnolia Green in Chesterfield County received the largest portion at $25,000,000, Henry County’s Commonwealth Crossing Business Park came in second with $22,237,705. 

The New London Business and Technology Center in Bedford County received the smallest allocation at $63,750. (See the full list.)

Like other industrial sites, Commonwealth Crossing serves as a sort of workforce initiative asset by providing, among other things, space for businesses looking to operate in the area. Started in 2008, the industrial park consists of a little over 700 acres. The park has managed to make a name for itself in the years it’s been in operation. 

“We obviously think it’s great news,” said Economic Development Corporation President Mark Heath. “We’re thankful that the governor and his team decided to make that allocation to us.” 

Heath admits that while the allocation is large, it wasn’t completely unexpected. Heath said Commonwealth Crossing and the other recipients each applied for funds. Unlike other applicants, however, Commonwealth Crossing was among those that received its full-requested amount, according to Heath. 

He added that state officials are familiar with Commonwealth Crossing and they have established a good rapport.  

“We have been working with the state for years,” Heath said. “They have helped us a lot with the projects that are there. They know us well, they know what Commonwealth Crossing is all about. They know us and our organization and we are glad they had confidence in us to make that kind of allocation, it is a big number obviously.”   

Heath added that it probably helped they applied with $9 million in matching funds, while emphasizing they went through the same process as everyone else who received funding. 

“We were one of the communities that went through that process,” Heath said. “The state and their team rated the communities that applied to determine which made the best case.” 

This coincides with information provided by the governor’s office, which states the allocation of funds was a two-step process. The first entailed assessing sites for their current level of development while the second is actual site development. Heath said that almost the entirety of awarded funds will go toward infrastructure and construction, specifically the completion of the park’s second lot, a 200-acre site the park is currently developing. 

“It’s going to give the state a 200-acre site, it’s going to be pretty unique in the state of Virginia.” Heath said. “We have (leveled) 57 acres, we have 93 more to (level).”

Currently the park is home to two businesses. These include Crown Holdings and Poland-based Press Glass which, at the time of their opening in 2021 and 2019, created a little over 125 and 200 jobs respectively. 

Dean-Paul Stephens

Dean-Paul Stephens is a reporter for Cardinal News. He is based in Martinsville. Reach him at dean@cardinalnews.org.