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Cover Story


operational within 18 months,” says Seth Martindale, senior managing director for CBRE Consulting, who assists companies with site locations. To meet this need for speed, sites


Joe Hines of the Timmons Group, says sites dramatically increase their odds of landing a project when they are deemed “infrastructure ready.”


should be able to bring utilities to a new facility by the time it is built. That means all environmental permits have been approved, grading completed, rights-of-way for utilities acquired, and the property is properly zoned. Sites need these items already in place to compete in today’s market. Unfortunately, Virginia


odds by becoming “infrastructure ready,” essentially removing risks that could hold up site development. Economic development officials say


those efforts are bearing fruit — they’re seeing increased interest in permit-ready sites. “We’re in better shape than we were, say five years ago,” says Joe Hines, who leads economic development for the Richmond-based engineering firm Tim- mons Group. He assists the state on many economic development deals. “I’m very


bullish on the next five to 10 years for the Commonwealth of Virginia because we are starting to bring our product in line with the marketplace.”


Fast-track timelines Today the pace of business develop-


ment is accelerating. Companies want to begin construction within months of announcing the location of a new facility. “Most companies we’re working with want to move quickly and be up and


trails other states in site readiness, says Stephen Moret, president and CEO of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP). “While we are one of the best states to do business, we very often underperform when it comes to attracting high-quality manufacturing projects,” he says. “The most common reason is the lack of a well-prepared site. It’s a very significant competitive challenge for Virginia.” Virginia is especially deficient with


Moret


24 NOVEMBER 2018


Photo by Caroline Martin


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