By Grace Mamon, Cardinal News
It takes three things to develop a megasite – time, money and patience. That’s according to Beth Doughty, Roanoke-based economic development advisor.
David Manley, executive director of Wythe County’s Joint Industrial Development Authority, said he would add deliberate planning and community buy-in to that list.
It’s a huge undertaking to develop megasites, often taking over a decade and costing millions of dollars. But it’s absolutely necessary in order to land large economic development projects.
“If you build it they will come. But if you don’t build it, you’re not even in the running,” said Jordan Butler, public relations director for the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission, which has invested millions into the state’s megasites.
Virginia has several competitive megasites – the largest and highest-profile being Berry Hill, which sits on 3,528 acres in Pittsylvania County.
This site has been considered for projects by Mazda and Toyota, Hyundai, and most recently, the Albemarle Corporation, a specialty chemicals company. These projects went to Savannah, Georgia; Huntsville, Alabama; and Chester County, South Carolina, respectively.