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Economic groups team up
Reception helps kick off opening of UMW's Center for Economic Development

 FRA President Gene Bailey (center) introduces Martin Briley at Tuesday's reception.
ROBERT A. MARTIN/THE FREE LANCE-STAR
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Date published: 12/22/2011

BY BILL FREEHLING

Federal agencies should get out of Washington and move to where costs are lower in Virginia, newly appointed Virginia Economic Development Partnership CEO Martin Briley told Fredericksburg-area business leaders Tuesday night.

Briley made brief remarks during an open house reception held by the Fredericksburg Regional Alliance to celebrate the opening of its new office at the Eagle Village complex across U.S. 1 from the University of Mary Washington's Fredericksburg campus.

The FRA moved to the new space earlier this month. The organization will do contractual work for UMW's newly formed Center for Economic Development, which also recently moved into the Eagle Village office building.

Briley said his organization's top priority is "cherry-picking" businesses from Washington, Maryland and throughout the country to relocate to Virginia. He wants to grow the pipeline of businesses along Interstate 95 and specifically mentioned the prospects of the planned 1,100-acre Carmel Church Station mixed-use development in Caroline County. Briley hopes those efforts will offset the negative effects on Virginia's economy of looming federal budget cuts.

The FRA and UMW Center for Economic Development are teaming up to help efforts to bring new business activity to the area. Officials from both say being located in the same building will help. The Rappahannock Economic Development Corp., which provides small business loans, also recently moved to the Eagle Village office, as did UMW's finance staff.

The Center for Economic Development, which is headed by UMW vice president Meta Braymer, has small office spaces available for entrepreneurs as well as student and faculty researchers. Officials have dubbed a cluster of soon-to-be-built cubicles "hatchery row," hoping it will be an incubator for small businesses. Larger spaces are also available for businesses to rent temporarily. There is also space for conferences.

UMW's Small Business Development Center, which counsels new and prospective businesses, recently moved into the fourth-floor space from its former location at UMW's Stafford County campus.

Bill Freehling: 540/374-5405
Email: bfreehling@freelancestar.com