Greater Richmond: Mid-Sized Market With Maximum Reach

Lower costs, an exceptional quality of life and first-class 21st century infrastructure are convincing big players to choose Richmond over larger markets.

By the BF Staff
From the September/October 2018 Issue

Recently there have been multiple announcements across the country where companies are locating major divisions away from higher-priced markets like New York City and Washington, DC to mid-sized MSAs where they can easily hire or recruit equitable talent at a fraction of the cost. This includes markets like the Richmond, VA region where salaries are 20 percent less on average and real estate costs nearly one-third than major metros in the Northeast.

Richmond, VA
Currently under construction in Greater Richmond is a $1-billion data center for Facebook. (Photo: Greater Richmond Partnership)

In the last few years alone, several companies have established a major presence or divisional headquarters in the Richmond Region, including:

  • CoStar, a leading provider of commercial real estate information and analytics, which brought their global HQ and more than 700 jobs to the region. CoStar CEO Andrew Florance, said, “Richmond provides a highly educated labor pool, a superior quality of life for our employees and a culture that aligns to our business model.”
  • Financial services company ICMA-RC located a division hiring 100 new positions and transferring 100 more from their D.C.-based office.
  • NJ-based AvePoint, an information technology company specializing in enterprise-class solutions, opened an operations division creating 100 new jobs in legal, finance, accounting and technology areas. “There was a huge advantage for us to moving a lot of our operations out of a very expensive area to an area which is more cost-effective, yet has a highly skilled workforce,” said AvePoint CEO Brian Brown.

“The Richmond Region is a proven location with 10 Fortune 1000 companies already headquartered here, said Barry Matherly, President/CEO of the Greater Richmond Partnership. “Companies looking for a lower cost location don’t have to worry about sacrificing quality talent.”

Between the Richmond Marine Terminal (part of the Port of Virginia) and Richmond International Airport enhancements, there is more than $45 million in recent infrastructure investment. When you add in a massive telecom investment of the international high-speed MAREA and BRUSA cables connecting directly through the region traveling to Bilbao, Spain and Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, with the ability to transmit up to 160 terabits of data per second across the ocean (16 million times faster than the average home connection), you get a combination that is hard to ignore, especially for information technology companies.

Facebook recently announced a $1 billion data center project that will use 100-percent renewable energy following the creation of a new incentive from Dominion Energy and a new data center tax reduction from Henrico County.

Thomson Reuters recently opened a cyber fusion facility based on the success of GE’s Cyber Security division also located in the region. Cyberstates has named Greater Richmond the second-highest concentration of technology workers in the U.S.

“Richmond is a great place to work for many reasons, including the exceptional universities, incredible talent and supportive government and nonprofit partners dedicated to continuous innovation,” said Buck Stinson, Head of Small Business Card at Capital One, the region’s largest employer.