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2010-08-25 / News Briefs

Chesterfield outperforms other local governments

Gwen Sadler

While economic development is down nearly everywhere, the county is outperforming neighboring jurisdictions when it comes to landing new projects, reported Will Davis, the county’s economic development director, during a Chesterfield Business Council breakfast meeting last week.

New investment in Chesterfield was off 36 percent for the fiscal year ending June 30 compared to the previous year.

But Davis was upbeat with numerous signs of business activity: Bon Secours is working on a $30 million facility in the Watkins Centre; the 5,000-plus home planned community (which includes considerable commercial development) of Roseland is about to break ground; and SportsQuest is under construction.

Other highlights include a $20 million expansion of DuPont to produce automotive batteries, a new YMCA expected to be approved this week in the western Route 360 corridor, and the 40th store opened at Westchester Commons.

There is additional retail activity: Garden Ridge will become another anchor store at Chesterfield Towne Center, the new shopping center near the mall that includes a Costco is under construction, Milepost 5 has opened a new location in the former Darryl’s location on Midlothian Turnpike, and Pearson Honda has begun the process of relocating to Hull Street Road.

Chesterfield is getting state funding to widen Route 10 east of Interstate 95. Groundbreaking for the diamond interchange of Interstate 295 into the Meadowville Technology Park is tentatively scheduled by year’s end and to be completed in 18 months. The county’s economic development department believes that will solve the major shortcoming for developing the 1,300-acre park.

Davis also said the county is working on 154 active prospects, calling that level “steady.” But he noted that prospects now take six months to decide instead of three months.

He pointed to the increased importance of the Chesterfield Airport and the improved, new entrance being considered. Davis’ staff is also evaluating a tourism program that includes a focus on both history and sports.

He listed several concerns for future growth: The county is running low on land zoned industrial, prospects are mentioning the conditions of county roads as a business objection, and whether there are sufficient incentives at the state level to coax some businesses to locate here.

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