"Regulatory hurdles that you face in other cities, you don't face here.”

Advisory

Why businesses are key to building a great place to live

City of Virginia Beach benefits from climate and geography. But it is its attitude towards businesses that has truly transformed the area

March 28, 2022

City of Virginia Beach

Patrick Duhaney
City Manager

City of Virginia Beach

Why businesses are key to building a great place to live

City of Virginia Beach benefits from climate and geography. But it is its attitude towards businesses that has truly transformed the area

November 9, 2021

City of Virginia Beach

Patrick Duhaney
City Manager

What makes a city a great place to live?

David Gulick, General Manager, Manufacturing Operations at City of Virginia Beach, says his city has hit a sweet spot:

“Virginia Beach is just an excellent place to live, raise a family and work. We've got a wonderful four season climate. We're centrally located with easy access to so many fun and exciting things. We've got the ocean and bay right next to us. We have access to things which you typically find in more urban areas, such as museums, a convention center, music venues, nice restaurants and shopping. But the neat thing is that we really don't have some of the challenges that come with some of the more dense urban areas.”

For Patrick Duhaney, City Manager at City of Virginia Beach, it’s about being a great place to do business:

“Virginia Beach is close to Washington DC, and not far from the New York metropolitan area. We have a low and simplified tax base, so the regulatory hurdles that you face in other cities, you don't face here.”

Being attractive to businesses has been a core part of the success of the city. Virginia Beach is now home to a growing number of local and international manufacturing companies, thanks in part to the Virginia Beach Economic Development Department. Part of Eco Dev’s function is to connect businesses through roundtables and foster meaningful collaborations between businesses.

It’s an approach that Christine Krauss, Virginia Beach Representative in the EU, says has given the city a great reputation overseas:

“The cost of doing business in Virginia Beach is lower than other regions in the United States. Currently, there are 200 international companies representing 27 countries operating in the Virginia Beach area. The city's Economic Development Department has been really helpful and supportive from the beginning until the end.”

Sunny Farms is one such business: the company chose Virginia Beach to build a 1.2 million square foot hydroponic farming facility, a relatively new approach to farming which will help ensure food security for the city. Jim Arnold, Founder at Sunny Farms LLC, says that Virginia Beach was clear that they wanted to do business from the outset:

“The city’s Deputy City Manager and Director of Economic Development, Taylor Adams, supported this from day one. He helped us with the contacts at the state, and then the state has given us a fund matching grant to set up. So they've been very supportive of us.”

Energy is another key component of keeping a city running and for Patrick Duhaney, it’s essential to have sustainable energy sources at the doorstep:

“We are growing our economic base with innovative jobs of the future. Virginia Beach has offshore data cables and an offshore wind project. We're focusing on those environmentally sustainable jobs and future high-tech jobs which will move us away from the old industries.”

Sustainability is built into the city’s rule book as Taylor Adams, explains:

“The Virginia Clean Economy Act has fundamentally changed the market here. Dominion energy has announced the first major offshore wind expansion in federal waters in the United States. It's over 2,500 megawatts. It's going to be enough renewable energy to power 650,000 homes. We know that just south of us, the Kitty Hawk project based on renewables will access the grid through our community.”

Such sustainable energy projects will allow Virginia Beach to continue to grow and develop a competitive advantage in sustainability industries.

For Adams, the present is good and the future of the city is even better:

“Virginia Beach is a destination for new and exciting industries that are growing in our country right now. We anticipate that over the next 15 years, the bulk of our energies will be spent simply exploring and maximizing these new opportunities. It's a very exciting time to be here.”

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