The Accomack County Economic Development Authority is the official new owner of the Bob Bloxom Agricultural Complex.
The Virginia Department of Agriculture, the former owner, transferred the property free of charge to the EDA early this week. By law, the Department of Ag was prohibited by law from renting or leasing out the complex to anything outside of agriculture or aquaculture producers. When Pacific Growers left the area in early 2020, the complex was mostly empty.
“Sadly that type of production doesn’t currently exist much here on the Shore anymore,” said Delegate Rob Bloxom, a member of the EDA. “They weren’t allowed to sublease.”
The facility was dedicated to Bloxom’s late father Bob, a former long time Delegate on the Eastern Shore and the first Secretary of Agriculture in Virginia’s long and storied history. Dedicated to Secretary Bloxom by Governor Bob McDonnell in 2011, the complex was intended to give commercial farmers and watermen the ability to flash freeze their products, which could then be held indefinitely and sold as fresh at better market prices.
The EDA has been working on the acquisition for the last year and a half, said EDA Chair Stella Rhode. The Virginia Department of Agriculture turned over the facility with no strings attached, which includes 30 acres of land, two large buildings and a weigh station.
“Now the EDA has to sit down and talk about what we do with it,” she said. “There are two ways to move forward, one is to sell it and let someone else repurpose it. Or the EDA can take the seafood portion and lease it out.”
The EDA is a political subdivision of the Commonwealth of Virginia. It’s board members are appointed by the Accomack County Board of Supervisors.
“This is for the working people of Accomack County. I’m tired of all these young kids leaving,” Rhode added. “What I want to do is look down the road 20 years and figure out a way for kids to stay here. That is really a main goal of mine, to use this to get some light industry using this site that would put workforce and jobs here.”
If someone is interested in potential use for the building, please contact Stella Rhode, chairman of the Accomack County EDA, call 757-710-2025 or call Rob Bloxom at 757-824-3456.