The Industrial Development Authority plans to buy property at the Cane Creek Centre in Ringgold in the hope of leasing it to a company that could possibly bring 61 new jobs and $5 million in investment.

The IDA board voted 5-0 to buy the property at 1350 Barker Road — the U.S. Green Energy property — for about $1.1 million during its meeting Tuesday morning. Board member John Laramore abstained from the vote because of a conflict of interest. Another board member, C.G. Hairston, was absent.

With the vote, the IDA has the right to buy the building and lease it back to eBio Nutritional Sciences under a lease-to-purchase agreement.

Under that agreement, eBio would lease the property, with lease payments applied to the principal on a 20-year mortgage. Once it is paid off, eBio would have the right to buy the property for $10.

EBio currently has an option to buy the property, but has asked the IDA to buy it and enter into a lease-to-purchase agreement with them, said Linwood Wright, consultant with the Danville Economic Development Office.

If for some reason an agreement is not reached, the IDA will not buy the property.

“The IDA has no intention to buy the building on a speculation basis,” Wright said.

If eBio brings the 61 jobs to the U.S. Green Energy property, they would pay an average annual salary of $63,000, Wright said.

EBio Nutritional Sciences formed from Engineered Biopharmaceuticals, which has been working at the Dan River Business Development Center for almost 10 years.

The company would manufacture a new form of Stevia, a natural sweetener, to supply large food and beverage companies. The company’s first customer would be Nestle.

As for the 20-year mortgage, monthly lease payments of $7,250 would be made by eBio, with $7,118 going to the bank and the remaining $132 going to the IDA.

The lease would be a “triple net lease,” with the tenant responsible for taxes, insurance and maintenance.

In other matters, the IDA passed a resolution following a closed session to buy property at 620 and 622 N. Main St. for as much as $25,000 from Virginia Community Capital.

The two addresses are in one building, and officials hope to attract a developer or a business to the site. It is located between 616 Farm to Table restaurant and another building the IDA revamped at 628 N. Main St.

“The idea is to get the building back to public control to make sure we can stabilize the building so it doesn’t deteriorate further,” said Danville Economic Development Director Telly Tucker.

Officials will evaluate the building and market it to developers, Tucker said.

“Now we will be able to have a contiguous development in that block [600 block of North Main Street] and I think ultimately, it will become marketable,” he said.

The IDA board also voted to donate 3.85 acres on Memorial Drive near the intersection at Main Street for development of the proposed Riverfront Park.

The property has an assessed value of $176,000.

Danville officials hope to build a riverfront park at Main Street and Memorial Drive between the White Mill site and King Memorial Bridge.

The IDA board also will consider allowing public comment at its meetings.

During Tuesday’s meeting, Neal Morris proposed possibly letting residents in attendance comment on agenda items. But IDA board member Richard Turner disagreed.

“I’m not sure we want to exclude anything that’s not on the agenda,” Turner said.

During an interview Tuesday afternoon, Morris said the board has allowed residents to comment during meetings.

“We’ve always allowed anybody that wanted to speak, to speak,” he said. “It just wasn’t on the agenda.”

Crane reports for the Register & Bee. He can be reached at (434) 791-7987.

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Crane reports for the Register & Bee. He can be reached at (434) 791-7987.

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