In October 2006, Swedwood North America, a subsidiary of IKEA, announced it had decided to build its first U.S. manufacturing operation. Swedwood will locate the operation in Cane Creek Centre, an industrial park jointly developed by Pittsylvania County and the City of Danville. At this site the company expects to employ up to 740 people. They will help produce furniture for IKEA home furnishing stores in North America.
The Swedwood manufacturing facility represents a $281 million investment. The facility will be completed in phases, with Phase 1 to be completed by the end of 2007. At the end of this phase, the facility will cover 810,000 square feet and employ 270 people.
Local officials stressed the importance of matching Swedwood’s “fast-track” development schedule with a proactive approach. The county and city prepared the property in Cane Creek Centre for immediate occupancy. “The close proximity to many IKEA stores and distribution centers, coupled with good regional infrastructure and available land, make Danville ideal for this facility,” said Bengt Danielsson, North American president of Swedwood.
“All members of our Virginia team went to bat to win this project,” said Jeffrey M. Anderson, executive director of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP). The VEDP worked with the City of Danville and Pittsylvania County to secure the project. These localities were also assisted by a $3 million grant from the Governor’s Opportunity Fund. The grant was approved by Governor Timothy M. Kaine, who also helped provide a $1 million grant from the Virginia Investment Partnership program.
Another member of the Virginia team was the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission. It approved $2.3 million in Tobacco Region Opportunity Funds. Several other institutions indicate that the project may qualify for additional funds. For example, funds may be received from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, which administers the Virginia Enterprise Zone Program. Additional incentives focus on rail and economic access grants, as well as training assistance.