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Amazon makes multibillion-dollar investment in Louisa County

Amazon is making an $11 billion investment in Louisa County, a significant piece of the $35 billion pie that the massive e-commerce giant plans to invest across Virginia by 2040.

Amazon Web Services will build two data center campuses in Louisa’s Technology Overlay District, making the company one of the largest private-sector employers in the county.

That’s welcome news to Louisa’s board of supervisors. But not necessarily surprising.

“This is not something we just pulled out of the hat. We’ve been targeting this type of investment in Louisa County for several years,” Supervisor Duane Adams told The Daily Progress. “We had proactively taken steps to attract these tech-driven industries. They saw it was a great place to look and ultimately decided we were a great area to locate.”

In January, Gov. Glenn Youngkin announced that Amazon would be making a big investment in localities throughout the commonwealth, creating at least 1,000 jobs in Virginia.

Adams expects the two Louisa data centers to create roughly 600 of those positions.

“With the highest concentration of tech talent in the U.S., Virginia boasts one of the largest data center workforces in the nation — an advantage that sets us apart and directly benefits an industry leader like AWS,” Caren Merrick, state secretary of commerce and trade, said in a January statement, announcing the statewide investment.

Amazon has a history with the state. Virginia is where it built its first data centers in 2006, and the company established its second headquarters in Arlington in 2018.

“These data centers will support computer servers, networking equipment and the AWS technology that helps people connect to friends and family, work remotely, shop online, and stream movies, TV shows, music, and video games,” Louisa County said in a statement.

Adams said he views the news as proof that Louisa is a “business-friendly county” and validates past investments the board has made in the Technology Overlay District, or TOD.

In an amendment the county approved early this year, it made clear the district was created to promote “the development of technology centers in areas of the County where existing or proposed infrastructure could adequately support the proposed uses.”

The increased tax revenue is expected to be used to fund county schools, parks, roads and essential services such as first responders.

Adams said he thinks Amazon chose Louisa in part because of its proximity to Charlottesville, Richmond, Fredericksburg and several major universities. Additionally, the county has plenty of space and cheap land.

But perhaps most importantly, the county has actively been seeking out this type of investment.

“I think what made Louisa attractive is our location, the infrastructure that already exists here in the county and the willingness of county government to work to attract that kind of investment,” Adams said. “We publically and specifically set out to attract them to Louisa County, and I think that hard work has paid off.”

That infrastructure includes high-voltage transmission lines, an interstate that runs the county’s entire southern border and adequate water access which is needed to keep the data center’s equipment from overheating.

“We brought in an investment that has very little drain on county services which allow us to increase the community tax base which allows us to grow services that the county needs to provide its citizens,” Adams said.

He insisted that no county tax revenue will go to Amazon.

“If there’s any tax incentive at all, it would come out of revenue generated by the data centers,” he said. “No taxpayer money will be directed back as an incentive to bring them here. That’s never been part of the deal.”

Roger Wehner, director of economic development for Amazon Web Services, said in a statement that the investment would build on the “rich partnership” between the state and the private company.

“We look forward to delivering and supporting programs that will benefit Louisa County residents,” Wehner said.

The Youngkin administration is celebrating the news as it continues its work to bring more Amazon data centers, and investment, to the commonwealth.

“With Virginia’s robust utility infrastructure, lower costs, great livability, and highly educated workforce we will continue to lead the way in the development of these new data center campuses,” Youngkin told The Daily Progress in a statement.


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