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If the city obtains a state grant to revitalize the vacant Sawyers Furniture building, seven new businesses could be created, Galax City Manager Keith Barker told Galax City Council on Monday.
Gov. Bob McDonnell recently announced a $3 million funding pool through the Industrial Revitalization Fund, which is intended to provide grants or loans to revitalize vacant industrial or commercial buildings.
Projects may be approved for up to $600,000 in funding. However, grants can only be awarded to locality-owned buildings and loans will be awarded to privately owned buildings.
Andrews Farms, owners of Sawyers Furniture building, said it is interested in pursuing the project.
Sawyers Furniture Company closed more than 15 years ago and its 24 acres and buildings, including a large 80,000-square-foot furniture plant, have been vacant and deteriorating since that time.
The city hopes to create seven tenant spaces between 5,700 and 10,000 square feet. Each space will have exterior access, an office and restroom area. Spaces would be flexible — a wall could be easily removed in order to create a larger area if needed, for example.
Rent would be competitive in order to provide a reasonable opportunity for a new business or industry starting out, Barker said. Prospective tenants would work through Crossroads Institute’s small business incubator and the Small Business Development Center in Galax to create a business plan and possibly secure funding for starting up their new business or industry.
Council approved a resolution in moving forward with applying for the grant.