In recent years, the consulting firm hired by CSX Railroad to certify such locations has announced industrial development at such sites to include: a wind turbine assembly facility in Amarillo, Texas, which is expected to become operational in 2011 and employ 275 engineering and production personnel; a titanium mini-mill facility in Laurens, S.C., that would see a $422 million investment and the eventual employment of 320; and, the sale of four mega sites to the likes of Volkswagen and Toyota in Tennessee.
So far, though, in Greensville County, the site identified and certified as a mega site hasn't attracted industrial development commitment -- at least, none has been announced since the site was certified by McCallum Sweeney Consulting, the consulting firm hired by CSX. In the January 2008 announcement of certification of the site, Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine said, "Site identification and development is the first step toward establishing Virginia as a contender for future major manufacturing projects. This certification by a well-respected consulting firm will open many doors for the Commonwealth to compete for banner economic development projects on a whole new level."
The Greensville County site, known in economic development circles as the Mid-Atlantic Advanced Manufacturing Center, encompasses 1,500 acres near Exit 13 of Interstate 95 -- about 3 miles north of Emporia. In order to get certification for the proposed mega site and manufacturing center, Greensville County worked with state and federal agencies, began land acquisition, and began laying the groundwork for supply of utilities, road and railway improvements.
According to Greensville County Administrator David Whittington, the Greensville County mega site received serious consideration from both Toyota and Volkswagen -- but, based on the current state of the economy neither company committed. In a letter to Emporia City Manager and Emporia City Council, Whittington stated that the "County is now focusing on industries that will create 400 jobs or invest at least $250 million in capital investment at the County's site."
Whittington noted that, "The Commonwealth of Virginia is now renewing its efforts regarding mega site development making $5 million available for mega site development." He asked that the City join with County efforts to secure some of that funding. If successful in securing at least a portion of those funds, through grant applications with the Virginia Economic Development Partnership and the Virginia Tobacco Commission, the County intends to use the funds to purchase real estate within the identified mega site. Much of the property within the mega site area is currently privately owned, however in order to get mega site certification, property owners committed to sell at some point in time for the purpose of industrial development. While other localities in Virginia are working toward mega site certification, Whittington noted in his correspondence that the Greensville County site is the only certified site in Virginia and one of only 15 certified mega sites in the United States. Emporia City Council endorsed the funding application.