While we have always been tremendously proud of our community development, real estate
development, and economic development work, we can now add “award winning” to our programming!
The Economic Development and Community Vitality team at Virginia Department of Housing and
Community Development is thrilled to announce that at the International Economic Development
Council (IEDC) annual conference in Oklahoma City, staff had the opportunity to accept three awards for
excellence. This is a high honor from an organization that supports and celebrates inclusive economic
development work around the world.
Gold for Entrepreneurship
From the program’s inception in 2015 through the 2021 round, the Community Business Launch (CBL)
program has completed 7 funding rounds, assisting 33 communities, creating 158 businesses and over
345 jobs, injecting over $2.64M in additional investment across Virginia. With an innovative approach
that brings small business training, direct grant opportunities, mentorship, and a suite of in-kind
resources designed to build resilient businesses this program is changing the landscape of walkable
commercial districts across the state.
“Anybody can award money to a deserving individual and anyone can teach classes to help businesses be more successful. It is how you deliver both that matters. If you ask people to come together and show them the benefit of community, you will be richer than any grant available. All of the finalists agreed in the end that the education and community they had built was far greater than any monetary prize they could be awarded.”Ked Meade, Director of Tourism and Economic Development for Big Stone Gap
Building on our results, the CBL team is working with Virginia State University to conduct an Impact
Study that will provide valuable information for potential expansions of CBL resources as well as a
focusing the existing resources into those activities that are most impactful for communities and
entrepreneurs. Stay tuned for more exciting news from this program!
Gold for Partnerships
Shifting from the hyperlocal approach of CBL, Virginia’s Growth and Opportunity (GO Virginia, or GOVA)
program encourages collaborative regional approaches to strengthen and diversify economies and
supporting the creation of high-value jobs in traded industry sectors. Created by the state legislature in
2017, GO Virginia drives transformational, long-term strategies that make regions more competitive.
With approximately $30 million in annual appropriations the program supports investments in four key
- Workforce development
- Sites/infrastructure development
- Start-up ecosystem
- Cluster-scale up activities
These projects provide sustained, growth-oriented, high-wage employment opportunities for residents, improve sector competitiveness, and provide the right environment for new and sustained capital investment. Long term these projects increase community wealth and tax revenues to the Commonwealth of Virginia and to localities.
“GO Virginia represents an exciting and innovative new state-level approach to economic development. The program encourages and rewards regional collaboration, which we believe is critical to the economic success of people and places. The program is transformational, not transactional, and allows regions to diversify their approach to economic development.”Sara Dunnigan, Deputy Director of Economic Development and Community Vitality for Virginia’s Department of Housing and Community Development
Bronze for Real Estate Development and Reuse
The Industrial Revitalization Fund (IRF) is one of the most competitive, catalytic, and utilized programs at DHCD. This is a unique program awards grants and loans to applicants reactivating vacant and blighted buildings which in turn creates jobs, improves individual properties, creates a renewed vitality in the community, and increases real estate tax assessments for local governments.
The Petersburg Ice and Coal redevelopment project had two interconnected goals: revitalization of a 150 year old building which had sat vacant for almost twenty years, and ensuring that the end use would act as a catalyst for further private investment in the area. The project combined historic tax credits, private lending, and an IRF loan to support the redevelopment into Trapezium Brewing, retail space, and residential units.
The project has achieved its goal of acting as a catalyst for job creation and further revitalization in Petersburg. The brewery component currently supports 30 employees. In addition, the most recent assessed value for the property is $1,399,200; an increase of over 600% from the pre-project assessment of $193,000. The Trapezium brand itself has grown in recent years to include expansions into Richmond and Amherst, Virginia. Beyond these numbers, the project had an impact in further demonstrating the market for new housing and business in Petersburg. In the years since, a number of other buildings in the area have been purchased for additional development, particularly for multifamily housing. This is important in a region that is home to a burgeoning industry cluster around advanced pharmaceutical manufacturing. Thanks to the catalytic nature of this project, the city will be better positioned to have new employees in this industry living in the city and contributing to its revitalization. DHCD’s involvement was critical to show that demand for new multifamily units in the market was real, which was central to this recent wave of investment.
These programs, and the impacts that they achieve for and with our partners, are the reason that we get out of bed in the morning. Stay tuned for exciting expansions to come!