ODU’s regional economic forecast highlights northeast NC

Oct 31, 2006 – As the Albemarle Economic Development Commission continues to target businesses in Hampton Roads with its “Discover The Good Life Daily” campaign, Old Dominion University’s seventh annual State of the Region Report takes a look at the economic impact from neighboring North Carolina counties.

Published in Norfolk by ODU’s Regional Studies Institute, the State of the Region report examines a wide array of Hampton Roads issues, ranging from the economy to traffic. This year’s report is divided into seven parts, including “The North Carolina Connection.”

“The North Carolina Connection” report focuses on five counties that realistically might be candidates for inclusion in Hampton Roads by virtue of their location and possible economic and cultural connections. These include Camden, Pasquotank (home to Elizabeth City), Perquimans, Currituck and Gates. The Albemarle Economic Development Commission currently represents Elizabeth City, Pasquotank and Camden Counties and is courting Currituck County to join its ranks.

This thought-provoking report looks at the reality that many of the region’s workers are already commuting from North Carolina. With the opening of a new Highway 17 and an improved Highway 168, accessibility to the south is easy. In addition, recent trends in real estate, particularly the increasing prices in Hampton Roads, have resulted in many residents moving to nearby North Carolina counties in search of more affordable housing.

But there is more to the story than home value. Neighboring North Carolina also has excellent assets for business growth including land and infrastructure. “There are literally thousands of acres of land here that can help the growth of Hampton Roads businesses,” says Ray White, executive director of the AEDC. “We offer attractive incentives, access by road, rail or port, and ready labor.”