A variety of sources have been dropping tantalizing tidbits about a pending announcement concerning the Greenbrier Resort.  The Governor and key legislative leaders are sworn to secrecy; one source tells me they had to sign confidentiality agreements.

Even Jim Justice, the talkative owner of the famed resort, has been uncharacteristically reserved.

I’m told the reason for the security is that the announcement concerns the relocation of an existing facility in another state to the Greenbrier.  Supporters of the project worry that if word gets out before the details are finalized, it could upset the deal.

However, speculation centers on a couple of possibilities: a professional athletic training facility, an NFL team training camp or another golf tournament. (The Greenbrier is already home to a PGA TOUR event.)  The announcement, which could come as early as next week, is not a ski resort, though Justice reportedly has plans for that as well.

One source says the new Greenbrier project won’t be an economic “game changer,” but it will bring prestige to the Mountain State, along with more tourists.

Meanwhile, site preparation is underway on the Greenbrier property for the proposed Greenbrier Medical Institute.  That $250 million project is billed as a world-class medical complex with famed physician Dr. James Andrews at the helm.

Sources say the total investment of all three projects will be around $400 million.

Last week, the state Legislature approved two tax credit programs that will benefit the Greenbrier, as well as other travel and tourism businesses.  The bill (HB 4184) renewed the Tourism Development Act that provides for a tax credit of up to $25 million over ten years for certain large-scale projects.

Tax credits are a double-edged sword.  Proponents argue they are important government tools that encourage business.  The lost future tax dollars, they contend, are secondary to the economic gains from additional employment.

However, detractors say tax credits are tantamount to the government picking winners and losers.  The competitive balance is tilted when the state reduces the tax liability of one company or one industry, but not another.

Jim Justice has his critics, those who say he can be bombastic or is sometimes slow to pay his bills.  However, he has singlehandedly revitalized the Greenbrier with boat loads of his own money.  Without Justice, the state’s historic resort would probably be closed and the state would not have its best commercial to the rest of the world—the internationally broadcast PGA Tour Greenbrier Classic.

And now Justice is getting ready to write another big check.  We’ll find out soon just how big.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Comments

  • Jack diamond

    God Bless Jim Justice!
    He is a singlehanded economic development tsunami in a state that doesn't get enough good news.

  • Flash

    The Greenbrier probably closed withou Jim's investment? You have zero proof for that. The Marriott would have managed the property quite well and it would still be open. I can't deny though that there wouldn't have been PGA tourney under Marriott.

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  • Budget Disaster

    $147 million taken from Rainy Day Fund to balance 2014-15 budget;

    State's Rainy Day Fund to Subsidize Dog & Horse Breeders

    Pay raises for teachers to attract and keep highly qualified educators in West Virginia classrooms was only slightly addressed this legislative session. After all, it is an election year.

    But the legislature returned to Charleston back in January to find a failing economy and revenues far less than what was anticipated. Calls for cost of living increases for retirees went unanswered. No additional dollars were made available to increase the number of State Police troopers we actually need to keep our counties safe. And cuts made this year to higher education, Health & Human Services, services for veterans and programs for senior citizens were made permanent.

    But hidden within the state's budget, passed on Friday by the legislature, is an allocation of $80 million which goes to the dog and horse breeders in West Virginia. Last year, the horse and dog racing industry received $87.6 million compliments of the West Virginia taxpayer.

    State Senators like Sam Cann hoped that no one would ever find out that Senator Cann voted to approve pork barrel funding for pet projects like horse and dog racing even though funding requests from many other agencies went ignored.

    How in the world could Senator Cann, in good conscience, approve reductions in funding for veterans, seniors and higher education.......and then turn a blind eye to the $87.6 million handed out last year to these dog and horse owners? Even worse, how could Senator Cann vote to subsidize the racing industry and at the same time vote to take millions out of the state's Rainy Day Fund for emergencies to balance the budget for next year? And make NO MISTAKE about this....$80 million out of the Rainy Day Fund went to the dog and horse racing industry.

    Is it just me? Does that make sense to you?

    I know that there are several hundred jobs associated with those who breed and race dogs and horses at racetrack/casinos in West Virginia. And I realize that Governor Earl Ray Tomblin's family is part of that business. But to subsidize dog and horse racing at the expense of other vital services, government programs and public education is beyond any reasonable logic for me.

    I obviously don't share Senator Cann's funding priorities. As a State Senator with a conscience I wouldn't have sought to eliminate the $80 million pork barrel subsidy to the dog and horse racing industry. At the very least, I would have advocated for a plan to phase the $80 million subsidy out over three to four years and dedicate that funding to other programs, vital services and competitive salaries for state employees, teachers, troopers and school employees.

    No one wants to see anyone lose their jobs. But if breeding and racing dogs and horses in West Virginia needs $80 million a year from taxpayers to stay afloat, then maybe it's time we pull in the life preserver and let the industry sink or swim on its own.

    {Commentary by Mike Queen on the Passage of the State Budget}

  • mepper

    "SLOW" to pay his bills??? How about DOESN'T pay his bills. If the tax-payers subsidize ANYTHING that the has a part of, the only winners will once again be the uber rich. Tax credits for that dirtbag is like giving the keys to a safe to John Dillinger. The ignorance of WV politicos NEVER ceases to amaze me.

  • BigJ

    The way I look at it is WV blows.So anything is a good thing.

  • Warning

    Thanks from removing my comment. Jimmy Boy Justice is buying you guys off too?

  • Harpers Ferry

    A new WVU Head Football Coach? PLEASE!!!!!

  • Warning

    While the Greenbrier gets a free ride on tax writeoffs the Greengrier County Tax man is increasing my/our property taxes. How does this "secret" help this West Virginian? It doesn't, it lines Jim Justices pockets. He's a businessman in it for the money, not your health!

  • Robert

    As long as what occurs enhances the resort experience I'm all for it. My concern is the property might end up simply being developed as any other might be with shopping, residences, medical centers, etc. so that the end result is some sort of planned community, or worse, some kind of amusement park tourist trap.

    Time will tell.

  • Medman

    According to some of the comments here, we should stop Justice and his obsession with creating more jobs or protecting the existing ones. Do any of these nuts remember the threat of selling or closing the Greenbriar before he put his money and energy into bring the Golf Classic, casino and expanding services? These people have no understanding of what is going on in the world.

  • Ray

    What I don't understand is why does a hole like glenville have a four year college and this area does not. If you want to add prestige to wv open a millitary college. Or a millitary school for children and get these kids off the streets. Open a four year college in Lewisburg we have plenty of room. That would bring prestige and honor to our area. Oh and use the proceedes from the school to fight drugs and help the homeless.

  • roye

    Yet, White Sulphur Springs is looking just like another downtrodden WV town. Does White Sulphur Springs get any town tax money from The Greenbrier? It's like the "haves" of The Greenbrier vs the "have nots" next door- very noticeable and very disturbing. Looks as if White Sulphur should be the one getting some kind of tax break.