Fast-Track Commercial Incentive Program: Key to Being Business-Friendly

Brian Tinsman
Digital Properties Manager

Take a road trip and it won’t take long to cross into a jurisdiction that claims to be “business friendly” or “open for business” on its welcome sign.

But what exactly does that mean?

For Loudoun County, Virginia, it means a coordinated effort between all departments of government, working with local jurisdictions and the private sector to ensure the best possible experience for business.

Our Executive Director Buddy Rizer recently joined the Grepoli Economic Development Podcast to discuss what that looks like in action. Of particular interest was the CyrusOne data center campus in Sterling that was constructed in six months:

How does the world’s fastest data center construction project happen in Loudoun County? It takes a coordinated effort by a county dedicated to being business-friendly.

“We learned what infrastructure was important, what permitting needed to be done, what the approval process needed to look like from a legal standpoint. We reverse-engineered that into our county,” Rizer explained. “We came up with a Fast-Track Commercial Incentive Program that guarantees any reasonable timeline can be met.

“We don’t want to do this every time and 180 days was quite a lift. But if a company says, ‘Look, we really need this,’ then we’re going to pull out all of the stops to make sure that our Fast-Track Program can let them get to market as quickly as possible.

“We have been told that it was the quickest build anywhere in the country and that on average, we are the fastest market that any of these data center companies work with.”

Since 2012, 40 companies have gone through the Fast-Track Program (as of November 2016). Those projects represent 4.5 million square feet of development, $2 billion worth of investment and more than 2,000 jobs to Loudoun County.

“We have the ability to give top of the stack review and accelerated timelines for review on a variety of projects that we consider to be economic development priorities,” Rizer explained. “We’ve never missed a deadline that a company has set forth.

“We start right up front, we bring everyone into a room with a client, the engineers, the lawyers, the county staff, and we talk about:

  1. How is this timeline going to go?
  2. What do we need to achieve?
  3. What is the timeline that we need to do it?
  4. What cuts can we make?
  5. What do we have to do?

“We put that into a plan and the company signs off on the plan, the county signs off on a plan, and we do everything we can to get things to market as quickly as we can.”

Listen to full GrepoliMN Podcast

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