Despite hefty spending, Virginia industrial sites sit empty

EMPORIA, Va. (AP) — Virginia has little to show for spending more than $100 million in the past decade on land development in hopes of attracting manufacturing jobs to rural areas.

Most of the land on these megasites sits empty.

Top economic development officials and lawmakers say the state has lost out on billions of dollars of private investments because of a lack of locations sufficiently developed so plants can be operational within 18 months.

Officials say that has put Virginia at a disadvantage as other Southern states welcome advanced manufacturing projects such as car and aerospace factories and pharmaceutical and fertilizer plants.

Virginia Economic Development Partnership President and CEO Stephen Moret says his agency plans to present a plan on megasite development to lawmakers shortly.

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