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Regional News at a Glance

Econ Focus
First Quarter 2017


After a record-setting 25 million passengers passed through BWI Airport in 2016, the Board of Public Works in early February approved a $60 million construction contract for the expansion of the international terminal. The contract was awarded to Baltimore-based Whiting-Turner Contracting Co. The three-level, 70,000-square-foot extension will add six new gates, additional restrooms, and space for additional baggage operations, among other new features and modernizations. Total project costs could top $100 million, including the construction contract, and the new gates are expected to be open to travelers in summer 2018.


In early February, North Carolina's first commercial-scale wind farm became fully operational, with 104 wind turbines generating enough energy to power the equivalent of 60 homes a year. The Amazon Wind Farm U.S. East covers 22,000 acres near Elizabeth City, with the energy powering Amazon Web Services' data centers. The wind farm has a permanent crew of 17 technicians, and landowner rents and taxes will put more than $1 million into the local economy annually.


Spartanburg-based BMW Manufacturing announced in late January that it will give $300,000 to fund three years of a STEM education program in four Cherokee County middle schools. The program will begin in the fall and will be offered by Project Lead the Way, a nationwide nonprofit already operating in 164 other South Carolina schools. The University of South Carolina College of Engineering and Computing will provide training for Cherokee County teachers to implement the curriculum.


Nestlé USA, a subsidiary of the world's largest packaged-food company, will soon occupy the tallest building in Northern Virginia. The company will move its U.S. headquarters to Rosslyn this summer, bringing with it 750 jobs. Virginia lured Nestlé away from its current California location with $10 million in grant funds, in addition to $6 million in incentives from Arlington County. Nestlé will spend almost $40 million to take over 40 percent of a high-rise building that has sat empty since its construction was completed in 2013.


After a more than 10-year struggle to leave RFK Stadium, D.C. United will soon have a new home in Buzzard Point. The D.C. Zoning Commission approved the Major League Soccer club's plans for a new soccer venue on Feb. 16; a groundbreaking ceremony was held on Feb. 27. The District will cover $150 million in land and infrastructure costs, while United will spend $200 million for the 20,000-seat stadium. Audi has purchased naming rights in what has been reported as a multiyear, multimillion-dollar deal. The first game at Audi Field is slated for June 2018.


In February, EQT Corp. announced it won an auction for 53,400 acres in the Marcellus region. The acreage was previously held by Stone Energy, which filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in December 2016. The $527 million acquisition includes drilling rights on about 44,000 acres in the Utica Shale, as well as 174 Marcellus wells and 20 miles of gathering pipeline. The acreage spans Wetzel, Marshall, Tyler, and Marion counties and currently produces about 80 million cubic feet of natural gas per day.

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David A. Price (804) 697-8018