IW OKs link with private partner

Published 9:38 pm Tuesday, January 12, 2010

ISLE OF WIGHT — A plan that would allow a private company to partner with Isle of Wight County to develop future phases of the Shirley T. Holland Intermodal Park has received unanimous support from the county’s Board of Supervisors.

“This just follows in what we’ve been planning for several years,” said Phillip Bradshaw, who was voted chairman of the Board of Supervisors during the meeting last week. “I think this is the opportune time.”

Isle of Wight County has been developing the intermodal park property, located on Route 460 near Windsor, for 10 years. Lisa Perry, the county’s economic development director, said the project is an important component of the county’s economy moving forward.

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“This development project has become the cornerstone of our economic development efforts to attract sustainable new jobs and investment to this community,” she said.

Perry said privatization could bring a financial windfall for the county.

“This privatization project could bring substantial revenue from the sale of the acreage in Phase III to a development partner and save the county millions of dollars in continued investment in the project over the next 20 years,” she said.

Supervisor Thomas Wright said privatizing the park will bring in “expertise that the county doesn’t have.”

With the board’s approval, the county will move forward with the development of a comprehensive request for proposals to solicit a private-sector partner. Perry said the RFP process would take nine months to a year to complete.

“In the meantime, we would continue work on our existing rezoning application and certain infrastructure improvements that would maximize the value of the property to prospective partners and ensure a strong return on our investment,” she said. Perry expects to have the RFP ready for potential partners by the first quarter of 2011.

“The economy should begin to recover at that point,” Perry said. “I think our timing really could not be better.”

The intermodal park is currently home to two warehouse/distribution centers, Cost Plus World Market and Safco Products Co.