LESAGE — Business leaders from Huntington celebrated moving one step closer Wednesday to attracting manufacturing plant jobs to a business park in Green Bottom.
The Huntington Area Development Council (HADCO) held a ribbon cutting at the site of a 17-acre former farmland along W.Va. 2, deeming it “construction ready.”
David Lieving, president and CEO of HADCO, said the group spent approximately $500,000 to extend utilities to the land, including a 100,000-square-foot shell building at the site. In addition, HADCO conducted environmental studies and conducted risk assessments for the flood plain. The building is now move-in ready for any manufacturing business or warehouse distributor, he said.
“HADCO is working to prepare the site and make it more attractive to potential investors,” Lieving said. “That includes extending the utilities and performing a lot of the due diligence on the site that potential employers would be looking for.”
HADCO is seeking approximately $3.8 million to purchase the shell building or to lease it for $3.50 per square foot.
Employers will have an easier time moving into the site because HADCO has done a lot of the lengthy procedural work beforehand, benefiting from tax increment financing approved by the Cabell County Commission.
The Business Park in Green Bottom is the second site in the Huntington area identified by HADCO as prime for fasttrack development. Last week, the 95-acre Tri-State Aeroplex Industrial Park at the Huntington Tri-State Airport was deemed a “quality site” by American Electric Power.
HADCO board Chairman Spencer Murphy said construction-ready sites are becoming more useful in attracting new businesses that do not want hurdles to jump over before they can open.
The area itself will be seen as beneficial with its proximity to Cabell County and Wayne County high schools, which could provide a steady workforce, he said.
“One of the biggest tragedies is having people leave the state for manufacturing jobs,” he said.
Lieving said the goal now is to begin a marketing campaign for the site, mostly to out-of-state manufacturing companies. HADCO has already seen some interest in the property, but nothing concrete has materialized. Lieving said his dream would be to have a company from the automotive or metalworking industries.
“Those tend to be the higher-wage, higher-skilled jobs, and they have good benefits,” he said.
In the site already is Alcon Inc., a Swissowned eye care company, housed in a 75,000-square-foot facility built by HADCO. The company moved into the site in 2008, adding 350 jobs to the region.
The HADCO business park is located off W.Va. 2, north of Huntington and south of the Mason County line. The address of the available shell building is 8201 Fraziers Lane in Lesage.
Travis Crum is a reporter for The Herald-Dispatch. He may be reached by phone at 304-526-2801.