Romanello shares how Henrico has all the right assets and is making all the right moves to support companies in the new era of business
Q&A with Anthony Romanello, Executive Director, Henrico Economic Development Authority
Published in Issue 6 | April 2021
Why should companies consider a location in Henrico?
Five Fortune 1000 companies and more than 25,000 businesses call Henrico home. We have all the assets you need to gain the competitive edge. We offer competitive tax rates that can be a game-changer for your bottom line. We’re in the middle of the U.S. eastern seaboard with Richmond International Airport, the Port of Virginia, two major interstates, and three class-I rail providers. Henrico also offers an unbeatable talent pipeline, thanks to 30 nearby educational institutions and a superior quality of life that attracts and retains workers.
Why has quality of life gained importance in site selection today?
COVID-19 has completely changed how we live and work. Businesses are more than ever focused on the needs of their workforce. Henrico offers an abundance of mixed-use communities, with several more in development. Our cost of living is 4% below the national average, and the average commute is 22 minutes. With Class IV rapids on the James River, more than 40 parks and recreational facilities, Greater Richmond’s arts and culture scene, and award-winning restaurants, Henrico checks all the boxes to keep your talent happy and productive.
How is Henrico enhancing its Internet infrastructure to handle business operations during and post pandemic?
The demand for data today is unsurpassed. Businesses have to be able to communicate with their employees at home and their partners across the world. The difference between winning and losing can be a fraction of a second, so those connections have to be vast, fast, and reliable. Four subsea cables connect Henrico to the world including Dunant, which offers a record-breaking 250 Tbps capacity. This year, DE-CIX will install a new datacenter-neutral and North America’s largest interconnection platform in Henrico, providing instant connection to DE-CIX’s 2,100-plus networks and 500 data centers around the world. And we’re building this all with an eye toward sustainability.
In what way is sustainability playing a role in Henrico’s growth plans?
Sustainability is a business imperative. Data center power needs are surging. Consumer expectations around environmental responsibility are increasing at the same time. Henrico has extraordinary access to renewable energy, and we’re investing even further in supplies that will benefit the global data center industry. Facebook’s Henrico data center is powered by 100% solar energy. Henrico businesses can tap into clean, renewable energy thanks to Dominion Energy’s 12-megawatt Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind farm. And we have an exciting proposal in the works for a sustainable mixed-use community called GreenCity.
Can you tell us about GreenCity and how it furthers Henrico’s commitment to sustainability?
We’re still in the initial stages, but GreenCity is a 200-acre, $2.3 billion eco-district that’s set to generate nearly 2.3 million square feet of office and retail space, a 17,000 seat arena, 2,400 housing units, and two hotels. It will also include open spaces, parks, and extensive trails. Several of its buildings will provide net-positive energy and water and produce zero waste. It’s a visionary approach to a community that will embody everything Henrico stands for–resiliency, innovation, and sustainability.