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  • InterChange Announces $41.6M Expansion

    Monday, August 13, 2018

    HARRISONBURG — The InterChange Group is spending $41.6 million to construct a cold storage facility near Mount Crawford, bringing 88 full-time jobs to Rockingham County.
    Gov. Ralph Northam announced the 250,000-square-foot cold storage and blast freezing facility on Monday.


    InterChange, which provides industrial warehousing and logistics services, will nearly double its 115 employees locally, said President Devon Anders.

    Anders said the facility will offer blast freezing, which is primarily used to quickly freeze meat from area processing plants within 24 to 36 hours. A nearby cold storage facility allows the plants to operate without constructing a warehouse for storage, Anders said.

    "The quicker you get that process done the better," he said. "We have a very strong food processing component in the Valley and particularly in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County. ... To locate that close to our food manufacturers helps them to grow."

    The facility will more than quadruple the company's cold storage capacity. The property will be on a parcel south of Cecil Wampler Road and east of Interstate 81 at the end of Crowe Drive.

    Anders said InterChange has space for 9,000 pallets in a separate cold storage facility. The first phase of construction, expected to wrap up in May, will add room for about 13,000 pallets. Phase two, which could start within a year, will add space for 15,000 pallets.

    Anders said the $300,000 Rockingham County provided to support applications for state funding played "a pretty significant role" in the project.

    "This is a positive result of economic development efforts and working with established businesses in the Valley," said Casey Armstrong, the county's economic development director. "This is a good example of private and public groups coming together to really do something that benefits our core business, which is agriculture."

    Armstrong said a "large portion" of the building will be used for preserving poultry and other farm products to improve marketability.

    "That's the important thing for us, that it is aiding in the agricultural industry in Rockingham County," he said.

    The Board of Supervisors promised a $150,000 local match in May to support grant funding from the Virginia Department of Transportation's Economic Development Access Program.

    The grant, approved by the Commonwealth Transportation Board in June, gave the company $800,000 toward a $1.38 million expansion and extension of Crowe Drive from its intersection with Cecil Wampler Road to the property.

    Last month, the board approved a $150,000 match for an application to the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation's Economic Development Access Program. The application is seeking $450,000 in state funding to build a spur to the facility from the Shenandoah Valley Railroad, a short-line railroad that stretches from Staunton to Pleasant Valley, where it links up with a Norfolk Southern rail line.

    A press release from Northam's office said the DRPT funding has been approved, but Armstrong and Anders hadn't received word on the application as of Monday.

    Northam also approved a $300,000 grant from the Governor's Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund to assist with the project.

    "This project creates vital infrastructure for the large and growing cluster of food and beverage industries in the Shenandoah Valley, which in turn produce major markets for Virginia farmers," Northam said in the press release. "I am proud to support this effort that will bring new jobs and significant investment in the region, while also bolstering the manufacturing and agricultural sectors that are so important to our rural economies."

    The state will provide funding and services to support employee training through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program.

    Sen. Emmett Hanger, R-Mount Solon, called the project a "much-needed facility" in the area in the press release, while Bettina Ring, Virginia's secretary of agriculture and forestry, said it will "provide an important service within the increasingly sophisticated agricultural supply chain."

    County officials have said Rockingham expects to recoup its investment through real estate tax revenue in less than two years.

    In the press release, Pablo Cuevas, chairman of the Board of Supervisors, called InterChange "a shining example of a locally grown business that has adapted and expanded to meet market needs."
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