10 Northern Virginia localities form economic development group
Ten Northern Virginia cities and counties have banded together to form a regional economic development group.
The members of the Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance (NOVA EDA) include the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership, Arlington County, City of Fairfax, Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, City of Falls Church, Fauquier County, Loudoun County, City of Manassas, City of Manassas Park and the Prince William County Department of Economic Development.
In a joint news release, NOVA EDA members said the move was partly inspired by efforts to land Amazon’s Eastern headquarters, HQ2. The company strongly encouraged a regional response to its request for proposal. As a result, four Northern Virginia jurisdictions — Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax County and Loudoun County — worked together on a joint bid.
“This is a historic moment for Northern Virginia,” said Victor Hoskins, president and CEO of the Fairfax County EDA, who has been a strong proponent for forming a regional group. “We have plowed this road alone and been successful. Imagine what we can achieve when we work together.”
The successful Amazon bid bolstered the case for creation of a Northern Virginia regional economic development effort. “The need to leverage the lessons learned from the HQ2 experience is obvious,” said Bob Buchanan, principal at the Buchanan Group, a commercial real estate development company, and chair of the 2030 Group, an organization of Washington-area business leaders advocating for regional approaches to issues such as transportation and housing. “How can you not leverage this with a sense of togetherness, collaboration and cooperation?” he added.
The NOVA EDA also said regional collaboration also has been encouraged by state and local officials working on issues such as affordable housing, transportation and education. The group also will work more closely with the Virginia Economic Development Partnership; as a regional organization, NOVA EDA will have access to site-selection activities, conferences and company tours.
“Northern Virginia is known for its cultural and economic vibrancy,” Sharon Bulova, chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, said in a statement. “We have so much to offer workers and businesses, and them to us. It is essential that we work together as a region to manage economic development in a way that benefits communities throughout Northern Virginia. I believe NOVA EDA will do just that.”
NOVA EDA joins 16 other regional groups from across Virginia, including the Hampton Roads Economic Development Alliance and the Greater Richmond Partnership.