Funding develops new and existing business-ready industrial sites

DANVILLE—Governor Ralph Northam today continued his ‘Thank You, Virginia’ Tour, announcing that his proposed budget will include $150 million to expand the Virginia Business Ready Site Program. The new funding will dramatically increase the marketability of sites across the Commonwealth. These sites are designed to be move-in ready for any company, making them strategically important to securing investments and building Virginia’s economy. This is the largest amount of funding ever set aside by the Commonwealth for site development.

“These historic investments will be felt in every corner of the Commonwealth and represent an investment in our collective economic future,” said Governor Northam. “C​​ompanies want to invest here, and we can make it easier for them by preparing these industrial sites for their use. We have an opportunity to improve Virginia’s economy and create jobs for thousands of people—so we must take full advantage of it.”

Virginia has secured 900 new or expanding projects, 101,000 new jobs, and more than $80 billion in capital investment since 2018. That is four times more capital investment secured than under any previous Governor. For three years in a row, the Commonwealth has been named CNBC’s Top State for Business. Virginia holds more “Top State” titles than any other state in the nation.

These one-time funds will be used to develop a large variety of business-ready sites. Of the $150 million, $100 million is dedicated to the development of mega sites that can accommodate the substantial needs and short timelines of businesses considering major investments in the Commonwealth. The remaining $50 million is dedicated to the development of mid-sized sites all across Virginia. The more sites that are available, the more competitive Virginia is with other states.

“The availability of business-ready sites is one of the leading factors taken into account when companies and site selectors are deciding on a location for a new business operation, and for too long, Virginia has lagged behind in funding for site development,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “Expanding the Virginia Business Ready Site Program to this extent has the potential to create 20,000 new jobs for hardworking Virginians and enhances our already-nationally recognized business climate.”

As the best state for business, Virginia has a proven track record of attracting companies and investments. The Commonwealth can become even more business-friendly by increasing the availability and quality of business-ready sites. Other states spend tens of millions of dollars more annually on site development than Virginia does. These new sites ensure Virginia can improve upon our already historic job and investment numbers, as well as continue to rank as the best state for business.

The Virginia Business Ready Site Program develops and characterizes sites to enhance the Commonwealth’s infrastructure and promote its competitive business environment. The program identifies, assesses, and improves the readiness of potential industrial sites, which must contain a minimum of 100 contiguous, developable acres.

Virginia: The Country’s Strongest Economy

Virginia is now the country’s Top State for Business— and becoming an even better place to work.

Under Governor Northam, Virginia has secured $80 billion in capital investment and more than 100,000 jobs.

  • That’s four times more investment than any previous Governor.
  • Governor Northam opened his term by negotiating the plan to welcome Amazon’s new corporate headquarters to Virginia—a $2.5 billion investment that will result in at least 37,000 jobs. (More than 238 cities sought Amazon, but they picked Virginia.)
  • Historic investments in Agriculture and Forestry represent more than $290 million in new capital investment, nearly 1,100 new jobs, and commitments to purchase more than $539 million of Virginia-grown agriculture and Virginia successfully competed with California and Texas in landing forestry products.

Virginia is bringing manufacturing back to the United States—‘on-shoring’ jobs and investment, reversing a generation-long trend of watching them slowly drift overseas:

  • Micron is investing $3 billion to build semiconductors in Manassas—one of the largest manufacturing investments in the history of Virginia.
  • Thanks to Virginia’s investments, Wytheville has attracted the largest investment in Southwest Virginia in a generation—a major joint venture committing to employ 2,500 people to manufacture up to 60 billion medical gloves a year.
  • In Petersburg, Phlow Corporation executed a $354 million contract with the U.S. Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority to re-imagine domestic production of essential medications.
  • Its partner, AMPAC Fine Chemicals, is investing $25 million to expand manufacturing of active pharmaceutical ingredients here in the United States.
  • Next door, another partner, pharmaceutical manufacturer Civica Inc., is investing more than $124 million to establish its first in-house pharmaceutical manufacturing operation. The Civica plant will convert active pharmaceutical ingredients from AMPAC and Phlow into vials and syringes of finished medications for use in hospitals. The facility will employ more than 180 people to address chronic drug shortages and produce essential medication right here in Virginia, and not overseas.

People are working in Virginia.

Virginia’s unemployment rate is 3.8%–a full 1.0% below the national rate of 4.8%.

Virginia is investing in people:

Raising the minimum wage–for the first time in a generation–to $12 an hour by 2023. It had been just $7.25 an hour over the last 12 years. Creating free community college, for workers choosing high-need fields. Toughening safety standards and banning discrimination in the workplace. Providing eight weeks of paid parental leave for state employees for the birth or adoption of a child—and passing bipartisan legislation to sign it into law. Making historic investments in affordable housing—more than doubling the number of affordable housing units created and preserved each year. The Northam Administration has invested more than $145 million in the Virginia Housing Trust Fund–a 13-fold increase, up from just $11 million when Governor Northam took office.

Virginia is for broadband:

  • Virginia is on track to become one of the first states to achieve universal broadband access by 2024, thanks to historic investments. Virginia anticipates more than $2 billion in total broadband funding, to connect over 390,000 homes thanks to local and private sector matching funds that go beyond the $874 million in state appropriations under Governor Northam. When he took office in 2018, an estimated 660,000 Virginia homes and businesses remained without internet, while the state invested barely $4 million annually.

Virginia is leading in renewable energy:

  • Governor Northam signed the Virginia Clean Economy Act—to achieve 30% renewable energy by 2030, and setting Virginia on the path to a carbon-free electric grid by 2050.
  • That’s enabling Dominion Energy to build the country’s largest new renewable energy project and the country’s first federally licensed offshore wind farm, 27 miles off-shore from Virginia Beach. The project will provide up to 8.8 million megawatts per year–enough renewable electricity to power up to 660,000 homes.
  • And clean energy is creating jobs too. Virginia secured an agreement to establish the first offshore wind turbine blade facility in the United States—Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy is building a plant in Portsmouth to supply Dominion Energy’s offshore wind farm—and propelling a new manufacturing industry in Hampton Roads.
  • Virginia ranks fourth in solar installations made in 2020, behind only California, Texas and Florida. (Virginia jumped 15 spots, with installations increasing by a factor of more than 10 recently.)

And when COVID-19 hit, Virginia helped people and small businesses recover.

  • Virginia’s Rent Relief program is recognized as the best in the country—it both helps people stay in their homes, and protects landlords too.
  • The Rebuild Virginia economic recovery plan awarded more than $370 million to help sustain more than 3,000 small businesses and nonprofits during the pandemic.

It’s no surprise Virginia became the first state to earn CNBC’s ‘Top State’ honor over and over (winning in 2019, holding through 2020’s pandemic, winning again in 2021).

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