Despite a new regional alliance, NOVA ED ops won’t change much

Just after Micron announced its $3 billion expansion in Manassas in August 2018, where it will manufacture chips for self-driving cars, city Mayor Hal Parrish II spilled the beans.

The city did little, if anything at all, to let surrounding jurisdictions like Prince William County know they were talking with Micron about the major expansion, Parrish told us during an interview at a Prince William Chamber of Commerce networking event at Carmellos.

  • A total of 1,100 new Micron employees are expected to move the region over the next nine years to work at the newly expanded plant.
  • They’ll need homes, and they’ll have children who will need seats in area schools (Prince William County already has the most crowded classrooms in the region with a one-to-35-student-teacher to student ratio).
  • There are service-industry businesses like restaurants, and dry cleaners that will be needed to serve the new Micron employees and their families.
  • And, of course, there will be more cars affecting the region’s already clogged road network.

The Micron deal was started by the city’s economic development (ED) office, and the state later stepped in to help seal the deal. At $3 billion, it was and still is, the largest economic development deal in Virginia history, topping the $2.5 billion deal to bring Amazon to Crystal City.

Announced on Monday, the new Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance aims to better tell the story of the region to large companies that probably couldn’t find Fairfax or Prince Wiliam County on a map. It’s seven-member jurisdictions — to include Prince William and Fauquier counties, and the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park — will build on the success of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP), credited with landing Amazon and for creating the first Northern Virginia regional brand: “innovation lives here.”

The NOVA EDA, as it’s dubbed, will be able to provide specific info to prospective companies who might be looking to locate here.

  • “If you’re looking for the large office building on the Metro line in Crystal City, we’ve got that. If you’re looking for a large parcel of land for a data center, we’ve got that,” said Manassas Economic Development Director Patrick Small.
  • Think of it like a “one-call-does-it-all” approach for outside business leaders, who know nothing about the area, nor our geo-political boundaries, to get timely information.

But, NOVA EDA has no staff or no central director. There’s nothing that forces its fellow members to notify each other of potentially large deals that any one of them are pursuing.

Should lightning strike twice in Manassas City and another Micron-sized deal come along, Small admitted, “no,” he wouldn’t tell his neighbors about it until it was time to break ground for a new building.

 

 

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