PITTSYLVANIA COUNTY, Va. – Over two dozen state and local officials from Virginia and North Carolina posed for a photo at the Berry Hill Mega Site in Pittsylvania County Friday morning after Virginia's Secretary of Commerce and Trade announced the Mega Site had earned Tier 4 certification.
"The risks to a prospect if they make a decision to come here and they've got a plan on what they want to do. There's a clear path forward to get it done," Commerce and Trade secretary Brian Ball said.
The certification comes from the Virginia Economic Development Partnership's Virginia Business Ready Sites program.
Tier 4 certification means the land is graded and utilities like water and sewer lines are already in place or will be soon.
The Mega Site is only the seventh Tier 4 site in the state.
"We're going to work on lead generation, lead development, but we've got to have more sites, and this is a premier site for us," Ball said.
The Mega Site is made up of 13 lots of varying sizes.
Friday morning's announcement was held on lot 4.
"Technically," Pittsylvania County Economic Development Director Matt Rowe said, "this area that we're actually standing on right now would have met the state's criteria for a Tier 5 site. But we think it's more important, because of the types of clients that we're going after, ...to really certify the entire Mega Site."
Tier 5 is the highest certification a site can earn.
According to the Virginia Business Ready Sites program, Tier 5 sites are sites that are "shovel ready."
There are currently no such sites in the state.
Danville economic development director Telly Tucker said the Tier 4 certification could help the city attract a data center, which is something the city is trying to do by creating a special low property tax rate for data centers.
"It would be beneficial for any industry to have a site like this prepared. That's why we want to call attention and draw attention to this," Tucker said.
Rowe said getting the Mega Site to this point is something companies have been waiting for.
"They definitely have said that, 'When you guys get this site certified, we want to come see it,'" Rowe explained.
That means the certification could prove to be a mega step for the Mega Site.