Opportunity Appalachia Selects 29 High-Impact Projects Seeking Over $275 Million in Investment to Receive Pre-Development Support

Today, Opportunity Appalachia—a program of Appalachian Community Capital—and the state lead for Virginia, The University of Virginia’s College at Wise (UVA Wise)/Opportunity SWVA, announced the selection of 29 projects to participate in its program aimed at increasing job growth, business support, and investment in Central Appalachia. These projects are set to create over 2,700 jobs and attract over $270 million in financing. They target a diverse array of developments in housing, manufacturing, hospitality, and clean energy sectors. Other projects focus on community or arts and entertainment centers, co-working spaces and entrepreneurial-based initiatives.

The projects underscore the increasing investment potential in rural and downtown communities across Central Appalachia. Opportunity Appalachia will actively engage with private investors, banks, Community Development Financial Institutions, New Markets Tax Credits Program investors, Historic Tax Credit Program investors, Opportunity Zone investors, and federal agencies to highlight these communities and facilitate their access to necessary financing.

Opportunity Appalachia received 94 competitive applications for technical assistance from Eastern Kentucky, Southeast Ohio, East Tennessee, Western North Carolina, Southwest Virginia, and all of West Virginia, representing projects with anticipated costs over $620 million. From this impressive pool, 29 projects have been selected for participation.

Technical assistance will be provided to the selected projects, aiding in the development of investment prospectus, structuring financial transactions, conducting market research, operations planning, architectural design, and carrying out investor outreach.

Following the completion of technical assistance, an Investor Convening event will be held in early 2025, targeting both local and pre-vetted national investors, as well as federal and state funders. Additionally, a curated web-based platform hosting prospectus and pitch decks will be made available to facilitate investor due diligence.

Since 2020, Opportunity Appalachia has supported 58 projects seeking to secure $471 million for downtown and rural development. To date, $89 million has been raised toward these projects, with five projects having closed on their financing. 

This program is supported by the Appalachian Regional Commission, the US Department of Treasury CDFI Fund, Truist Bank, Dogwood Health Trust, the Benedum Foundation, US Bank, and M&T Bank.

“ARC is proud to support Opportunity Appalachia as they continue to invest and partner in growing our region’s rural communities,” said ARC Federal Co-Chair Gayle Manchin. “Our residents’ zip codes should not define their destinies. I’m optimistic about the new job opportunities and overall increased quality of life that will take hold in rural Appalachia as a result of these investments and Opportunity Appalachia’s collaborative approach to economic development.”

“We are excited to provide essential financial and technical support to our region, fostering investment in job-creating small businesses across sectors like clean energy, manufacturing, entrepreneurial support, the arts, and hospitality,” remarked Appalachian Community Capital (ACC) President & CEO Donna Gambrell, whose organization coordinates the Opportunity Appalachia effort. She added, “Our efforts will support the creation of 390 housing units, help establish or support over 340 businesses, create more than 2,700 new jobs, and attract over $270 million in public and private investments.”

“UVA Wise is committed to supporting community and economic development in the Appalachian region, and we’re proud to serve as Virginia’s lead entity for Opportunity Appalachia. In partnership with Appalachian Community Capital, we’re excited to announce support for these impressive projects, which will have significant impacts across the region and the state,” said Shannon Blevins, vice chancellor for administration, government relations and strategic initiatives at UVA Wise.

Opportunity Appalachia is led by a nine-member consortium of regional and national organizations with expertise in financing and marketing that will support local projects to develop sophisticated investment packets geared toward prospective investors.  Opportunity Appalachia partners include Appalachian Community CapitalOhioSE, Opportunity SWVA/UVA Wise, FaheMountain BizWorks, West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center, University of Tennessee Knoxville, Main Street America, and Coastal Enterprises

Opportunity Appalachia Selected Projects


  • 608 Main Street, Town of Clifton Forge, Clifton Forge, Va. – Rehabilitation of the former furniture company building to serve as the Chesapeake & Ohio Historical Society’s museum space on the ground floor and apartments above. Total costs estimated at $2 MM with creation of two jobs.
  • Appalachian Mercantile & Good Coffee, Town of Appalachia, Appalachia, Va. – Restoration of the downtown building to rehab and create new commercial spaces, provide overnight accommodations, short-stay rentals, and long-term middle-income housing options. Total costs estimated at $1.6 MM with creation of three jobs.
  • Lonesome Pine Motor Company, Gap Partnership LLC., Big Stone Gap, Va. – Revive the historic building to serve as retail space on the ground floor and affordable housing above. A second building will serve as a gallery with artist-in-residence space in the apartments above. Total costs estimated at $1.5 MM with creation of three permanent jobs. 
  • The Peake and Lavigne Buildings, Appalachian Rising Ventures LLC, Appalachia, Va.– Restoration of two downtown spaces to serve as retail or food service on the first floor and short-term rentals above. Total costs estimated at $3.1 MM with creation of six permanent jobs. 

Selected projects from other states can be found here.