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W.Va. business park welcomes Coast Guard

December 21, 2006|by DAVE McMILLION

BARDANE, W.Va. - Jim Ruland calls it the "most desirable business address in Jefferson County."

Every building in Jefferson Business Park has fiber optic access, and security cameras on the campus allow business owners to view their premises by cell phone or computer.

In other words, business owners can be at a remote location and check on their property, developers of the project said.

"We have been pioneering commercial business infrastructure in Jefferson County since 2003," said Ruland, a partner in RAI Properties LLC, the firm that developed the park in the Burr Industrial Park.

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"Today's launch of our new identity as Jefferson Business Park signals our continuing commitment to economic development in our part of West Virginia," said Ruland, a former Jefferson County Commission member.

Dozens of people turned out at the newly developed business park along W.Va. 9 Wednesday morning to get a close look at the 19-acre property.

The event not only served as a dedication of the park but also to celebrate the arrival of one of its tenants - the U.S. Coast Guard.

The U.S. Coast Guard is centralizing its Mariner Licensing and Documentation program with its National Maritime Center and moving the operation to the Eastern Panhandle.

Earlier this month, U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., announced that the new facility - which is expected to employ 250 people - would be built at the intersection of U.S. 11 and Edwin Miller Boulevard in Martinsburg, W.Va.

Until the facility can be built, the operation will be housed in a building in Jefferson Business Park, officials have said.

About 80 people will work in the temporary location, officials said.

"This is a great start. More is coming," Rear Admiral Brian Salerno of the U.S. Coast Guard headquarters in Washington, D.C., told a crowd of local business leaders and government officials at Tuesday's ceremony.

Among the offerings in Jefferson Business Park is a commercial building that offers about 41,000 square feet of "flex space," RAI officials said.

Flex space means that tenants who move into the building will be able to tell RAI developers exactly how they want their space to be configured for their businesses, RAI officials said.

RAI officials say 32,000 square feet of space in the commercial building has been leased and 9,000 square feet is available.

Other buildings in the business park include a 54,000-square-foot office space building, which has about 18,000 square feet of space already leased and 22,000 square feet of retail space.

Among the businesses in the park is a Division of Motor Vehicles regional office, a Bank of Charles Town branch, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Biztech and Fresenius Medical, which is the county's first kidney dialysis center.

Close to $7 million has been invested in the park, said Ruland, emphasizing that no government money or grants were used to build it.

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