Dex, the truck recycling subsidiary of Volvo that has occupied the shell building in Floyd County’s Commerce Park since 2006, is leaving and relocating to North Carolina — a double-whammy that comes on the heels of loss of the anchor tenant for the new Innovation Center scheduled to open this fall.
Dex company officials announced Wednesday they will be leaving by July or August of this year — a loss of 31 jobs at the Commerce Park facility and idling a building that the county bought after it went into bankruptcy following the death of the original owner.
Earlier this year, BC Genesis, the bio-tech start up slated to anchor the new Innovation Center that is nearing completion in the Commerce Park, moved out of its temporary offices at The Jacksonville Center after hours after going through the major part of a $900,000 tobacco commission grant.
The move comes as a cash-strapped county government is poised to approve a tight budget with now room for problems in the coming fiscal year that begins on July 1.
Darin Redmon, the Dex manager in Floyd, said the county’s lack of convenient access to a major highway was one of the overriding reasons for the decision to relocate.
The company opened its Floyd operation in 2006 with lots of fanfare, sparing the county from the need to purchase the shell building that has set vacant for years after Virginia Beach developer Robert Smithwick built it in 2002 with a provision that the county would buy it if it wasn’t leased.
The Dex lease saved Floyd County from having to purchase the building in 2006 but the agreement included a provision that if the company did not remain in Floyd, the county would still have to purchase the structure. Smithwick died and his company went into foreclosure and The Bank of Floyd ended up owning the property until the county purchased it in an effort to convince Dex to renew its lease late last year.
But Dex stalled until the announcement Wednesday that it was packing up and leaving at the end of the summer.
Floyd County Economic Director Lydeanna Martin has said in the past that we are at a “resume disadvantage” here because of a lack of things like close access to a major highway system. With Interstate 81 more than 20 miles away on a winding Virginia Route 8 and Interstate 77 even further in Carroll County on two-lane U.S. 221, Floyd County faces transportation issues.
Other factors that companies looking for a business location consider is closeness to medical facilities and the availability of natural gas. Floyd County lacks both.
Floyd County will look for a new tenant to either lease or buy the building but that challenge comes at a time when new tenants are so sought for the new innovation center.
Dex came to Floyd County with a package of tax concessions. When those concessions ran out, the company had little reason to remain, even though the county bought the building and tried to accommodate the company’s demands.
So they are leaving.