Virginia Is Keeping Pace

A stable business climate, east coast location, and strong talent pipeline support steady growth in the commonwealth.

By BF Editors
From the May / June 2024 Issue


Virginia’s economy continues to show positive growth, with a business-friendly climate attracting companies from both traditional and emerging industries. Virginia has a 10-year high in labor force participation — 200,000 more Virginians are employed today than in January 2022. Officials are committed to preparing the workforce to acquire in-demand, marketable skills, so they can grow the talent pipeline for current and future employers.

Through the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) and organizations at all levels in the state, strategic ecosystems for key industry sectors are being established, improving connections between talent and businesses. Meanwhile, investments in site development will enhance the Commonwealth’s infrastructure with more project-ready sites.

Virginia economy
Richmond, Virginia skyline (Credit- Creative Dog Media, Courtesy of VEDP)


The state is addressing housing supply shortages, energy costs, and individual taxes to reduce the cost of living in Virginia, modernizing regulatory processes to reduce business costs, and strengthening a statewide culture conducive to entrepreneurship. These investments and implementation of policies that impact job growth and business investment aim to ensure Virginia is a promising place to live, work, and do business.

Virginia holds a strategic mid-Atlantic location with proximity to key global and domestic economic hubs, magnified by world-class infrastructure. Located within a one-day drive of nearly half of U.S. consumers, Virginia’s highway network is the second densest in the southeast and every region has access to at least one of 16 commercial airports.

Virginia holds a strategic mid-Atlantic location with proximity to key global and domestic economic hubs, magnified by world-class infrastructure.

The Port of Virginia, named a Top Performing Port in North America (S&P Global, World Bank), is in the process of a $1.4 billion modernization and expansion project that will create the deepest and widest commercial shipping channels and harbor on the East Coast.

Virginia was also ranked the No. 1 state in the U.S. for Education by CNBC. Across industries, Virginia’s workforce is one of the most educated populations in the country, and the Commonwealth continues to raise the bar when it comes to talent development to ensure Virginians are prepared for the jobs of today and the future.

Home to the largest data center market in the U.S., a high concentration of tech workers, and a varied manufacturing base, Virginia’s industries are as diverse as its geography.

Virginia is strengthening ecosystems around core industry clusters critical to employment growth that encompass knowledge work (business services, software and cybersecurity, financial services, aerospace and defense), manufacturing, and transportation and logistics.

Hampton, VA: High Visibility Lifestyle & Commerce Hub

Hampton, Virginia, the Coastal Virginia city located at the center of the historic and scenic Hampton Roads metropolitan statistical area (MSA), features potential development sites where Interstates 64 and 664 converge. With 160,000 vehicles daily traversing the highway overlooking its grounds, the campus is the site of nationally-recognized event venues Hampton Coliseum, Hampton Roads Convention Center, and new Hampton Virginia Aquaplex.

Hundreds of thousands of guests visit the waterfront campus annually for conventions, concerts, sporting events, and consumer shows. And now, developable parcels on the site exhibit the opportunity to enhance the current event venues with the addition of a mix of uses. Hampton city officials envision the three-venue campus as a vibrant lifestyle hub and commerce center featuring popular restaurants, a second headquarters hotel, and family entertainment.

Virginia economy
This site in Hampton, VA where I-64 and I-664 converge features Hampton Convention Center and Hampton Coliseum — and now multiple sites for development. (Credit- Hampton Convention & Visitor Bureau)


The site features five separate parcels of varying sizes — ranging from 3.7 acres, 10.6 acres, 13 acres, 20.49 acres, and 22.25 acres. All of these present stellar locations within view of the interstate. Developers can virtually visit the site and tour the campus, the venues and parcels ( through a three-dimensional model and 360 Matterport tour. While the digital tour helps to showcase the venues and serves the needs of meeting and event planners, it was strategically produced to allow developers to see the size, accessibility, and potential of the available parcels.

“There is no site like this one in Hampton Roads. It is a virtual welcome sign for the region. When you see the campus from the Interstate, you know you have arrived,” said Steven Lynch, Interim Director of Hampton Economic Development. “From its initial conception, the vision for the campus has included a second headquarters hotel, exciting and unique dining, entertainment, and retail.”

“There is no site like this one in Hampton Roads. It is a virtual welcome sign for the region. When you see the campus from the Interstate, you know you have arrived.”

— Steven Lynch, Interim Director, Hampton Economic Development


Joining the iconic Hampton Coliseum in 2005, the 344,000-square-foot Hampton Roads Convention Center with capacity for 14,000 guests was soon complemented by a 295-suite Embassy Suites headquarters hotel. The third of the three anchor venues opened in October 2022. The Hampton Virginia Aquaplex, a $29.6-million aquatic center, was designed as a sports tourism venue to host regional and national swimming and diving events. It is the largest competitive aquatic center in Virginia and the only one in the Coastal Virginia region, featuring a 50-meter pool, a 25-yard programming pool, and an outdoor splash park.

There are also nearly 450 residential units including townhouses, condominiums and apartments adjacent to the available parcels. A linear park ideal for cycling, walking, and running extends the length of the waterfront campus between landmarks Bluebird Gap Farm, a working urban farm and park with animals typically found on Virginia farms, and Air Power Park, an outdoor display of aircraft and a paddle-craft boat ramp with access to Newmarket Creek and Coliseum Lake.

“The site’s architecturally appealing assets capture the interest of every driver that passes the site,” said Lynch. “This kind of visibility for a development is rare in Virginia. A developer with vision will understand and see the potential for the future development.”

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