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Creating an inventory of sites ready for development


Representatives from the West Virginia Development Office cited the lack of development-ready industrial sites as one of the top three barriers to attract businesses, create jobs and bolster investments in West Virginia. WV Forward is working with local, county and state officials to develop a multi-phase plan to create an inventory of sites ready for development. Shovel-ready sites are one of the most effective ways to lure new firms to the state, saving companies time and resources while reducing site location risk and development costs. To bolster economic opportunities, the state must improve its competitiveness and be able to move at the speed of business to showcase to outside investors that West Virginia is ready for business.
Aerial shot of West Virginia potential sites

Business testimonials:

Why Does West Virginia Need to Invest in Site Readiness Efforts?

I need to know the issues with the site, the time it will take to resolve them, and how much will it cost. West Virginia’s information just isn’t available.

- Cushman & Wakefield Site Selection Consultant
Site selection consultants do 90% of their research, information gathering, and filtering before ever contacting a [West Virginia] representative.

- Ernst &Young Site Selection Consultant
We’ve been interested in West Virginia sites in the past, but there have been too many unknowns to recommend moving forward to our Client.

- Site Selection Consultant

Moving at the Speed of Business

Construction workers at site.

Update on West Virginia Site Ready Efforts

A working document prepared by WV Forward, in collaboration with West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Centers, offers best practices and past and current in-state site readiness initiatives that illustrate possible actions to improve West Virginia's ability to attract and grow businesses statewide.

Read the Report on Moving at the Speed of Business.

Competing for business investment

Thirty-one states across the U.S. have adopted a site readiness or certification program. In order for West Virginia to compete for prospective business investments, there is a glaring need to create an inventory of sites ready for development.

States with and without a Site Certification/Readingess Program (as of 2018). See the list of site ready states in table format.
Site Readiness map of United States showing that West Virginia is among the few states that have no site readiness or certification program.
West Virginia offers a selection of sites with differing specifications to provide faster and cheaper paths to start up operations.
West Virginia has a lot of sizable vacant land, especially along the western and the tip of the eastern panhandle with Industrial Business Park and manufacturing opportunities as well.

Additional Resources

examples of wv forward in action

Aerial view of WV land

Readying brownfields sites for new investments

Focused on the revitalization and redevelopment of brownfields sites in communities across the state, WV Forward and the WV Brownfields Assistance Centers are collaborating to ready sites for business and prepare properties for potential investment opportunities.

An example from West Virginia (Pilot Project 2014-2017): 

The Northern Brownfields Assistance Center Site Ready Program attracted $46,976,500 in additional private and public funding, through deal structuring, site promotion, and related activities, created 131 jobs on targeted sites, and brought local and regional attention to selected sites.

  • $1.6 Billion

    auto-manufacturing plant
  • car
  • 4000

  • People

Examples of Success Models

The Alabama AdvantageSite Program is managed by the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, a collaboration between the private sector and state and local governments to prepare sites for development. Since the program’s inception in 2008, Alabama was able to locate 33 projects on AdvantageSites across the state, generating over $1.3 billion in investment and creating over 6,072 jobs.


West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Centers West Virginia National Guard .    Advantage Valley   WV Land Stewardship

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*Citations available upon request.