Council did right thing

Published 10:09 pm Friday, January 23, 2009

The Suffolk City Council approved the controversial CenterPoint development in a vote during Wednesday’s meeting, capturing what could be the biggest development in years for Suffolk.

CenterPoint Properties, an Illinois-based developer, now has permission to develop the land it owns on U.S. Route 58. The plan, as conceived by CenterPoint, for the intermodal center includes 13 buildings, 5.8 million square feet of light and heavy industrial, distribution, office space and general commercial facilities, as well as a rail yard adjacent to the CSX rail line.

In a vote of 7-0, with Councilman Robert Barclay IV abstaining because one of his law clients is a consultant for CenterPoint, the council soundly gave their approval to CenterPoint, echoing our sentiments.

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The project, CenterPoint estimates, will bring about 3,000 jobs and millions of dollars in real estate taxes, both of which are sorely needed in these economic times. This doesn’t include the spin-off industries and retail developments, which are sure to come as a result of the project.

It is still unknown how the city will pay for widening Holland Road – a project for which CenterPoint proffered about $3.5 million. The project is estimated to cost between $54-94 million, depending on who is providing the estimate. Although there remains the question of funding, the project was coming to the region. The major question was if Suffolk was intuitive enough to land the project or let another city welcome the industry. Fortunately for Suffolk, our elected leadership did what was best for the city and its future, allowing CenterPoint to call Suffolk home.