New spec building in works at The Point

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 29, 2006

SOUTH POINT — If two is good, then three must be better.

The Lawrence County Commission Thursday gave its blessing to an application to the Ohio Department of Development for funding for a third spec building at The Point industrial park.

Information about funding to expand an already existing business could come any day.

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Viviane Khounlavong, assistant director of the Lawrence Economic Development Corporation, said local officials are asking for a $500,000 grant and a $500,000 loan to build the new 32,800-square-feet spec building, but could also seek funding in the future from the Huntington-Ironton Empowerment Zone.

“Right now we’re shooting for (ODD) money to cover most of the cost,” she said. “But the empowerment zone has been a partner in development at The Point for some time.”

Local officials should know within 30-60 days if they get the money for the new spec building. It will be built on a parcel of land off Collins Avenue near the U.S. 52 entrance to the park.

This latest venture will be a first-of-its-kind for the park: It will be built to house four smaller tenants, as opposed to a single large one.

The plan is to build a shell that will be divided into units of 9,200 square feet, 4,500 square feet, 7,200 square feet and 11,900 square feet. Khounlavong said it is envisioned that the smaller spaces

would be more attractive to light industry, such as wood products.

South Point Mayor Bill Gaskin said the idea of having more tenants at the old South Point Ethanol site is welcome news after years of seeing the site set empty after the old plant closed.

“All this is working out real good,” he said. “I think we’re finally coming to where we should have been a long time ago— and where we were along time ago, having people working there.”

Meanwhile, local officials should find out any day now if the phase 3 of the Engines, Inc. development will get a requested $290,000 in Community Development Block Grant monies.

The CDBG funds would be used to help fund that outfit’s $1.9 million plans for the second spec building at the industrial park. Engines, Inc. already occupies the first spec building as well as four old vacant buildings left at the park from its previous occupants.

Cindy Caskey, fiscal officer with the Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization Community Development department, said phase 3 would add 50 new jobs to the local economy over a three-year period.

Engines, Inc. moved to the park in 2005.