DANVILLE, Va. (WFXR) — As Gov. Ralph Northam visited Danville Thursday afternoon for his ‘Thank You, Virginia’ tour, he announced that his proposed budget will include $150 million to expand the Virginia Business Ready Site Program.
According to a statement released by the governor’s office on Thursday, Dec. 16, the new funding — which is the largest amount of funding ever set aside by Virginia for site development — will dramatically increase the marketability of sites across the Commonwealth.
Officials say these site are designed to be move-in ready for any company, making them strategically significant for securing investments and building Virginia’s economy.
“These historic investments will be felt in every corner of the Commonwealth and represent an investment in our collective economic future,” said Northam after his appearance at Danville’s Institute for Advanced Learning and Research. “Companies 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.”
Thursday’s statement says that Virginia has secured 900 new or expanding projects; 101,000 new jobs; and more than $80 billion in capital investment since 2018, which is four times more capital investment than secured under any previous governor.
In addition, not only has the Commonwealth been named CNBC’s Top State for Business for three years in a row, but Virginia reportedly holds more “Top State” titles than any other state in the nation.
According to Northam’s office, these one-time funds will be used to develop a large variety of business-ready sites.
Of the $150 million funding, officials say that $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.
Pittsylvania County officials say those funds will help enhance the Southern Virginia Megasite at Berry Hill, which is the largest mega site in the southeast.
“The Berry Hill site represents the pinnacle of our area’s economic transformation,” said Bob Warren, chairman of the Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors. “The industry that locates here will have a massive impact on our entire region – not just Danville and Pittsylvania County, but all of the localities around us in Virginia and North Carolina. We’ve believed in transformation and growth, and we thank the State of Virginia and Governor Northam for having that same belief and making the investments needed to make this happen.”
Meanwhile, the remaining $50 million of that $150 million investment is set to fund the development of mid-sized sites all across Virginia, the governor’s statement says.
“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,” Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball said. “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.”
According to officials, the Virginia Business Ready Site Program develops and characterizes sites to enhance the Commonwealth’s infrastructure and promote its competitive business environment by identifying, assessing, and improving the readiness of potential industrial sites, which need to have at least 100 contiguous, developable acres.
While Virginia already has a stellar track record of attracting companies and investments, the governor’s office says the Commonwealth can become even more business-friendly by increasing the availability and quality of business-ready sites.