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18 hours ago, I miss RVA said:

We (as a city/metro) have to want it bad enough to do EVERYTHING possible to make RVA as competitive as possible to land those kinds of corporate relos. As one poster from Charlotte pointed out previously, the powers that be in Charlotte WANTED the city to become a big, national city - and went full nuclear on boosterism. They got a hub, they went all-in to plug the city and to recruit, recruit, recruit companies to come there. (Yes, banking regs helped - but you get the point - you can't snag businesses if you don't boost the living hell out of a city/metro). RVA lags way behind a lot of cities (the Nashvilles & Raleighs of the world) in the BIGGEST blue-chip recruitment tool - the airport. Everything else being equal, that RIC can't touch RDU or BNA is the biggest stumbling block to RVA's moving up the hierarchy of cities. Pre-pandemic, when RIC was touting it had topped 4M passengers, RDU was at around 14M and BNA at more than 18M. THAT is the elephant in the room that needs to be addressed if RVA is going to be able to compete with those kinds of mid-level cities that are gobbling up big wins for companies like Amazon and Oracle. We fix that - everything else will begin to fall into place.

This.  The City, Henrico, Chesterfield et al need to band together and market RVA.  If a corporate office/relo chooses Henrico over downtown, it's still good for the metro.  Same for a distribution center in Hanover.  It means people, jobs, and disposable income.  While political integration of Richmond and the counties is unrealistic in the near future, they need to form an alliance and think as a region, even if it is only for marketing.  Doing this will let the world know that the Richmond MSA is open for business (after all, the Commonwealth is routinely named the number one state for business).

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30 minutes ago, Wahoo 07 said:

This.  The City, Henrico, Chesterfield et al need to band together and market RVA.  If a corporate office/relo chooses Henrico over downtown, it's still good for the metro.  Same for a distribution center in Hanover.  It means people, jobs, and disposable income.  While political integration of Richmond and the counties is unrealistic in the near future, they need to form an alliance and think as a region, even if it is only for marketing.  Doing this will let the world know that the Richmond MSA is open for business (after all, the Commonwealth is routinely named the number one state for business).

they do, they just don't do it very well.

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1 hour ago, Wahoo 07 said:

This.  The City, Henrico, Chesterfield et al need to band together and market RVA.  If a corporate office/relo chooses Henrico over downtown, it's still good for the metro.  Same for a distribution center in Hanover.  It means people, jobs, and disposable income.  While political integration of Richmond and the counties is unrealistic in the near future, they need to form an alliance and think as a region, even if it is only for marketing.  Doing this will let the world know that the Richmond MSA is open for business (after all, the Commonwealth is routinely named the number one state for business).

THANK YOU!!! That is EXACTLY right! Sadly - for at least the last 50 years, the powers that be in city, Chesterfield and Henrico (much less so Hanover) have treated economic development and population gain/loss as a zero-sum game - every locality out for itself. That's not to say there is anything wrong with healthy 'competition' -- however -- when it is done to the detriment of the metro (and certainly to the city) in the manner that has prevailed in the RVA region in the majority of cases (yes, there are exceptions), then there is something inherently wrong with the system that is fostering this zero-sum mentality. (And I think we have generally agreed the problem is in the independent city status that was brought into being in 1871.) It is extremely difficult to build a solid business-friendly coalition of regional cooperation when every locality is entrenched and looking out only for itself. Does not a rising tide lift all boats?

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Agree, we need to work as a region, which we do somewhat through the Greater Richmond Partnership, and really harness this third shot we have for expansive growth.  I feel we finally have the momentum and pieces in place after a long period of relative stagnation. By my estimate, we've had two periods previously where we were poised for big growth, and yet it didn't happen. The 1970s-early 80s, which we've covered a lot on several threads (e.g., possible Piedmont hub, but then the negative effects of the deregulation of interstate banking, the likely crippling results of the annexation battle and how racial tensions held back the region, etc.). But what I find really interesting is our first shot in the late 19th/early 20th century. In 1860, Richmond and Charleston vied for the largest city in the south after New Orleans. Then from 1870-1890, Richmond was by far and away the largest (again, after NOLA). In 1900, Atlanta moved up, but still neck and neck with Richmond (and Richmond was likely actually still larger as the city had yet to annex Manchester). It's not until 1910 that you see Atlanta pull ahead, but even then it's still pretty close, and then by 1920 the gap grows wider, though Richmond still remains much bigger than Charlotte, Raleigh, and Nashville for several decades. I found this short article highlighting Richmond's aggressive campaign in 1913 to get picked as one of the 12 Federal Reserve Banks really interesting as the city clearly saw itself as this dynamic, growing metropolis. Read pages 4-10. So fascinating. Everything at that moment pointed to Richmond being one of the major new south cities.  And yet, we slowed down and kind of stalled out (really low city growth in the 1920s and 30s). At the same time we succeeded landing the Federal Reserve, we also went all in on enshrining the city as the home of the Lost Cause, and I think that must have hurt us in many ways tangible and intangible. 

Link to Richmond's 1913 Federal Reserve effort: https://fraser.stlouisfed.org/title/econ-focus-federal-reserve-bank-richmond-3941/winter-2007-476936/federal-reserve-504047

Link to city population (scroll to bottom and you can pick all decades from 1840 on): https://www.biggestuscities.com/

Edited by flaneur
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