A key economic development strategy is having a portfolio of available sites ready for business expansion. Companies that intend on making new investments and expanding market opportunities prioritize sites that offer low development risk and fast speed to market. Known as “Business Ready,” these sites have land use and zoning approval, due diligence completed, and infrastructure in place. However, recent studies have shown there are a lack of these sites in Hampton Roads and Virginia, hampering business expansion and leading to missed jobs and revenues, including an estimated 28,000 direct jobs and between $170 million and $215 million in state annual revenues since 2016.
To address this, a team of local and regional partners, including the HRPDC, the Hampton Roads Alliance, and ReInvent Hampton Roads, developed the Hampton Roads Economic Development Sites Readiness Project in 2020, which builds off previous regional site inventories and assessments to advance priority sites for development. This initiative is a Virginia Growth and Opportunity (GO Virginia) grant-funded project and is the latest in several key milestones in an ongoing effort to improve the region’s portfolio of business ready sites. Three sites totaling 495 acres were initially selected for expanded development: (1) Shirley T. Holland/Isle of Wight, (2) Tech Center Research/Newport News, and (3) Innovation Park/Virginia Beach. By the end of 2022, environmental reports and road and utility infrastructure will be complete and the region will have a total of nine Business Ready sites to attract new investment. Business Ready status is certified by the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP).
As the first phase of the Hampton Roads Economic Development Sites Readiness Project nears completion, local and regional partners are working together and have identified seven new site development opportunities totaling 577 acres. This collaborative planning effort is preliminary and should be ready for another GO Virginia submission in the Spring of 2022.
The February Map of the Month shows a selected inventory of existing economic development sites in GO Virginia Region 5 (highlighted in blue). The sites on the map are all larger than 25 acres in size. Hampton Roads currently has six Business Ready sites, certified as Tier 4 or 5 by the VEDP (shown in pink). The three “advancing sites” are the recipients of the 2020 GO Virginia grant and are highlighted in yellow. Click on a site to learn about its classification along with a link to a full description at VEDP. The map can be switched to an aerial view by clicking on the box in the lower right corner.
A full inventory of sites throughout Hampton Roads and Virginia can be searched at VEDP. The data in the map is current as of November 2021.