Turner Tract could be ready for use in two years

Published 3:57 pm Wednesday, August 27, 2008

COURTLAND—As archeologists complete their survey of the 474-acre property known as the Turner Tract, Southampton County’s Board of Supervisors learned this week that the site could be made ready to become an industrial park within two years.

Joe Hines, a consultant with the Timmons Group, presented concept plans to supervisors on Monday that show the property eventually accommodating 2.2 million square feet of flex space.

Additionally, the park could include a railroad spur to serve the businesses that locate there, walking and biking trails for the employees who work there and even a wetlands bank that could help the county pay for a portion of the projected $11 million to $14 million it will cost to develop the property.

Hines and economic development officials expect as many as 12 buildings eventually to fill the developable space. Those buildings would range in size from 25,000 square feet up to a million square feet, he said Monday.

Hines said the Turner project is really four projects in one. It will include onsite development of roads and utilities, storm water basins, and rough site grading; offsite utilities including a sewer pump station and water and sewer lines; construction of a 500,000-gallon water tank; and construction of wetlands banks and stream protection systems.

The work could be complete by the end of 2010, Hines said.

One of the major factors influencing the project’s cost, he added, is a decision that supervisors will face on routing of sewer lines. A cheaper alternative would send those lines straight down New Market Road to Rose Valley Road. The more expensive alternative, he said, would route them down Shady Brook Trail and ont , before turning onto Rose Valley.

While the second alternative would be more costly, it would make sewer service available along a portion of Route 671, increasing the potential of properties along that corridor to be used for industrial purposes, he said.

The Timmons Group is working with Southampton to identify sources of funds to help pay for the cost of the improvements. In addition to $9 million available from the sale of bonds, Hines said, the county should pursue help from the Virginia Department of Transportation for road-related improvement money. The wetlands bank also would contribute funds, he said.