Officials on Wednesday broke ground on a new 104-acre pad site in the Alleghany Regional Commerce Center. Photo courtesy of the Alleghany Highlands Economic Development Corporation.

Officials in the Alleghany County area hope a 104-acre parcel in the local business park will attract new industry to the region.

The land, which will accommodate a building up to 750,000 square feet, is in the Alleghany Regional Commerce Center, a collaboration among Alleghany County, the city of Covington and a joint industrial development authority. The commerce center is between Covington and Clifton Forge, just off Interstate 64. 

In January, the Virginia Economic Development Partnership’s Virginia Business Ready Sites Program awarded $3.29 million toward developing the pad site. Along with about $6 million in bonds and loans secured by Covington and Alleghany County, that money will pay to finish grading and otherwise preparing the 104-acre site, and officials celebrated with a groundbreaking Wednesday.

“I think once we get this thing graded and going, there’s going to be quite a bit of interest in it,” Alleghany County Administrator Reid Walters said in an interview.

Walters also is chair of the Alleghany Highlands Economic Development Corporation, a public-private partnership that promotes Alleghany County, Covington and the towns of Clifton Forge and Iron Gate. The AHEDC is marketing the commerce center.

Businesses already established in the 313-acre park include the chemical manufacturer Balchem Corp., the metal fabricator Jenfab and home decor maker The Bacova Guild.

Officials tout as assets the park’s proximity to the interstate, available broadband and other infrastructure, and low cost of living. The Alleghany Highlands YMCA is near the entrance to the commerce park, and a 96-unit housing development is under construction nearby. 

Regardless of which specific businesses eventually locate at the park, both Alleghany County and Covington will benefit, thanks to a revenue-sharing agreement between them.

“The two localities are working together really well right now, and that’s very positive,” said Bryan Thompson, with the AHEDC. “That’s going to create even more momentum moving forward.”

Matt Busse is the business reporter for Cardinal News. Matt spent nearly 19 years at The News & Advance,...