By December 26, 2017 Read More →

West Virginia EDA delays loan passage for Great Barrel company

By JORDAN NELSON

The Register-Herald

BECKLEY, W.Va. — The state Economic Development Authority has postponed making its decision to finalize approval of a loan to West Virginia Great Barrel Company, saying the company is still working to finalize a matching loan to finance its planned operations in Greenbrier County.

According to a report written by the Charleston Gazette-Mail, EDA members moved the decision for the $6 million loan on a 10-year term to the EDA’s January meeting.

The agency’s executive director, David Warne, said the EDA needs to know what entity will be matching its loan on the project before it can make a decision; however, the delay will not damage the company’s chances of receiving final approval.

Great Barrel co-founder Tom Crabtree said he was not at all surprised by the EDA’s decision to table the loan. He told The Register-Herald Saturday that Great Barrel is working with an organization that brings in funding with New Markets Tax Credit, which is a process that can take up to five months.

“So, more than likely, the EDA will table this for five or so months,” Crabtree said.

Great Barrel would turn white oak into whiskey barrels and bring dozens of jobs to the state, according to what company officials have stated in the past.

The EDA gave preliminary approval for the loan in October, making an assumption the loan gets final approval. It will make up less than 20 percent of the company’s financing, Crabtree said.

Crabtree said the EDA’s condition of approving the loan was based upon when Great Barrel has its bank financing in place.

“Financing a project of this magnitude takes time,” Crabtree said. “There’s a lot of steps to it, and we are currently working to get through them.”

Crabtree said he spoke Thursday with EDA officials who work with W.Va. Gov. Jim Justice’s Economic Development office and said they told him they were thrilled to learn he was working with New Markets Tax Credit.

“West Virginia has a very small opportunity to gain that kind of funding,” he said, “but White Sulphur Springs, where our site falls, is right in that census area for New Markets Tax Credits, and officials were happy to hear we were going through the process.

“The EDA has been very cooperative of us, and I know the loan will eventually go through.”

Email: jnelson@register-herald.com; follow on Twitter @jnelsonRH

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