King George exploring second industrial park
King George County officials are negotiating with two landowners where the county wants to build a new industrial and technology park as it looks for a spot to lure more businesses.
The existing 149-acre King George County Industrial Park is full, and there’s nothing to offer economic development prospects there. During the past two years, the county had to pass on two projects that could have accounted for at least $520 million in investment and 220 jobs, says Nick Minor, the county’s economic development and tourism director.
“Those two hurt, and I wish I started working on this park two years ago just to win those two projects,” he says.
Minor’s vision for a second county industrial park starts with 48 county-owned acres near U.S. Route 301 and state Route 3, where the county owns a transportation depot, and continues with adjacent 28-acre and 107-acre privately owned plots; a third owner with 104 acres is interested in selling in the future. King George supervisors gave the county’s economic development authority authorization to purchase the properties in June; Minor says an agreement could be reached by December.
Minor believes the new site provides an excellent location: on a main corridor, within half a mile of water and sewer, and 10 minutes from Naval Support Facility Dahlgren. He sees a park catering to the base, which accounts for 11,000 of the county’s 13,000 jobs. In fiscal 2020, the base accounted for $472 million in local contracts, and 30% of its employees live in King George.
“They’re a [research and development] base, and we don’t have anything that necessarily complements what they do,” Minor says.
Minor estimates it will cost about $2 million to “get the site where someone could come in and start moving dirt.” The county will have to conduct engineering studies, perform impact reviews and get water and sewer infrastructure to the site. The county’s comprehensive plan also must be revised to include a new industrial park.
Gov. Glenn Younkin has pushed for more site readiness, and the General Assembly included $200 million in its 2022-2024 budget toward such initiatives.
Virginia Economic Development Partnership President and CEO Jason El Koubi calls such long-term investment critical.
“Generating capital investment and new jobs can be transformational for more rural communities, and King George County is prudent to consider strategic investments in this initiative,” El Koubi says.