Four communities in Virginia win over $8 million from the Industrial Revitalization Fund to reuse vacant or blighted properties

On August 2, 2023, the state of Virginia announced $8,250,000 in four Industrial Revitalization Fund (IRF) for the city of Staunton and the towns of Abingdon, Bluefield and Cape Charles.

I (Storm Cunningham) am particularly happy to see Staunton among the winners. I consider it to be the prettiest city in Virginia, and my wife and I visit it often. If you’ve seen the Anthony Hopkins movie Hearts in Atlantis, you’ve seen some of Staunton’s less-pretty neighborhoods.

These grants are intended to provide gap financing for construction projects aligned with local and regional economic revitalization strategies.

The revitalization of neglected structures is instrumental in driving economic growth and fostering thriving communities,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Caren Merrick.

As we announce these grants, we recognize their critical role in catalyzing regional partnerships and driving economic development,” she added.

IRF leverages local and private resources to achieve market-driven redevelopment of vacant and deteriorated industrial and commercial properties.

The program is targeted toward vacant non-residential structures whose poor condition creates physical and economic blight to the surrounding area in which the structure is located.

The four awarded projects will create over 125 jobs and leverage an additional $20 million in public and private investment.

“These remarkable projects are breathing new life into dilapidated structures that have hindered our economic progress, transforming them into vibrant small businesses and symbols of community pride,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin.

By harnessing the power of IRF grants, we are making strategic investments in the infrastructure, economy and vibrancy of Virginia and showcasing why Virginia is the best place to live, work and do business,” he continued.

Projects were reviewed and evaluated competitively, with an emphasis on those with a high level of blight, identification of impediments to economic development efforts, alignment with regional or local strategies, availability of matching resources, the level of community distress where the property is located and an identified and feasible end use.

Since 2012, the IRF program has funded 67 projects that have revitalized vacant, blighted buildings.

These projects have generated more than $208 million in other public and private investment and resulted in the creation of more than 1100 jobs across the Commonwealth of Virgnia.

Photo of Staunton, Virginia is by Storm Cunningham.

Learn more about the Industrial Revitalization Fund.

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