EDA approves sale contracts

Published 8:59 pm Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Officials with QVC Suffolk asked for an extension of the deadline to finalize a sale of land from the city to QVC at the Economic Development Authority meeting Wednesday.

The land, about 18 acres in the Wilroy Industrial Park, is one of the last pieces of land the city still owns in the park. It has been up for sale since the 1980s, said Cindy Cave, economic development director.

QVC Suffolk is purchasing the land with the intent to develop it in the future, Cave said. It sits next to QVC’s current plot in the industrial park, where it maintains a million-square-foot distribution facility that employs about 500 people full-time, in addition to seasonal employees. The facility distributes products from several of the home shopping channel’s lines.

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Cave said she is pleased the city is finally able to sell the land.

“It’s all about money,” she said, adding that the sale would generate more tax revenue for the city. “Tax revenues are what economic development’s all about.”

The EDA approved an extension through May 1 for QVC to get the final report from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which must survey the land because a small part of it is wetlands. Cave said QVC likely will not develop the wetland part because of the exorbitant cost.

The amendment to the contract also approved an extension to May 1 of the deadline for QVC to submit development plans to the city. The deadline for closing on the property was extended to May 16, 2009.

Also at the meeting, the EDA approved a contract amendment for the sale of land to Preferred Freezer, a cold storage facility, in the Suffolk Industrial Park. The refrigerated warehouse service company operates 23 facilities nationwide, including one in Chesapeake. They are proposing a 170,000 square feet freezer warehouse, at a cost of about $30 million, that will employ about 45 people. The sale has been in the works since 2006, but has experienced delays because of issues involving neighboring land. The current contract states the land will be sold for about $414,640.