Despite Hefty Spending, Virginia Industrial Sites Sit Empty
Virginia’s push to create industrial megasites began in 2004, when several manufacturers were looking for locations in the southeastern part of the state. Virginia’s tobacco commission, an independent board that dispenses money from the national tobacco settlement, allocated $100 million to acquire land and build infrastructure. Nearly all of that was spent on eight sites in the state’s south and southwest. Grants and local government funds have also gone into the sites, which have not yet attracted the large tenants that economic developers there had hoped for. Some blame Virginia’s unwillingness to match the generous incentive offers of competing southern states. South Carolina, for example, beat out Virginia for a Volvo plant after offering the company $200 million in incentives. Virginia Governor Ralph Northam recently proposed spending another $20 million to improve infrastructure at the megasites.
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