The following article by Kim Slowey is as published online for The CONSTRUCTION Broadsheet on January 17,2023.
Virginia invests $90M in ‘project ready’ sites
Virginia officials said Monday that the commonwealth will make 21 awards worth $90 million for industrial development projects that will make the state more competitive when it comes to attracting new investments.
The Virginia Business Ready Sites Program (VBRSP) grants, according to an announcement from Gov. Glenn Youngkin, will help draw new businesses – and assist existing ones in their expansions – by providing the necessary, “project ready” infrastructure at these sites.
The program targets those sites with at least 100 contiguous, developable acres. The commonwealth also considers those parcels in the western part of Virginia with at least 50 acres.
The largest single grant of $25 million went to the more than 2,000-acre Upper Magnolia Green site in Chesterfield County, Virginia. The county’s Economic Development Authority purchased the land for $13 million in 2020.
Chesterfield County will also be home to a future $1 billion LEGO Group factory where the company will make its interlocking Lego bricks. The company expects to begin manufacturing there in the second half of 2025.
Other VBRSP grant recipients include:
- $22.2 million for Commonwealth Crossing Business Park in Henry County;
- $11.6 million for Shannon Hill Regional Business Park in Louisa County;
- $7.2 million for Valley Innovation Park in Frederick County;
- $4.6 million for Staunton Crossing in the City of Staunton;
- $3.9 million for Nature’s Crossing Technology Center in the City of Waynesboro;
- $3.4 million for Fairwinds Landing in the City of Norfolk;
- $3.3 million for Alleghany Regional Commerce Center in Alleghany, County; and
- $3 million for North Fork, A UVA Discovery Park in Albemarle County.
The VBRSP, which was developed through a collaboration between government, business and industry, is competitive, and state officials make all award decisions.
“It is critical for Virginia to create a diverse portfolio of sites that are attractive to different industry sectors and meet varying location and infrastructure needs, and these grants are a major step in the right direction to help the Commonwealth catch up on site development,” said Jason El Koubi, Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) president and CEO.
“Additional funding for the Virginia Business Ready Sites Program will allow VEDP to expand the program and invest in more sites, enhancing the Commonwealth’s infrastructure and accelerating economic development in Virginia,” El Koubi said.
Photo caption: A $1 billion Lego factory is one of the recent projects that Virginia has drawn. LEGO store sign at Mall of America Credit: Runner1928 via Wikimedia (creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en)