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Northern Virginia counties and cities form Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance (NOVA EDA) to lure companies and jobs

Crystal City, Home of the Second North American Headquarters for Amazon

Prompted partly by the success in luring Amazon, 10 Northern Virginia jurisdictions have formed an alliance to market themselves as a region to attract other companies, especially those in the high-tech arena.

Instead of trying to poach businesses from each other, or promote themselves at their neighbors’ expense, they will compete mainly as a group against other major metropolitan areas such as Boston and Silicon Valley to lure companies from outside the Washington area.

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The new Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance, or NOVA EDA, was formally announced Monday. It will include Fairfax, Arlington, Loudoun, Prince William and Fauquier counties, and the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas and Manassas Park.

Officials said the collaboration will strengthen Northern Virginia’s appeal to potential investors at a time when the area has attracted international interest because of Amazon’s high-profile decision to build its second headquarters, with 25,000 high-paying jobs, in Arlington’s Crystal City.

Although a memorandum of understanding signed by the 10 jurisdictions still allows them to act individually — and potentially compete as in the past — officials said they see numerous benefits in cooperating.

“Look at how successful this region has been in its own fractured way,” said Christopher Bruno, economic development director for Fairfax City. “Imagine how successful it can be now that we’re all pulling in the same direction.”

The move also appeared likely to add to Northern Virginia’s economic advantages over the District and the Maryland suburbs. Even before the Amazon decision in November, Northern Virginia accounted for well over half of the new jobs created in the Washington metropolitan area. That’s due to a mix of factors, including a lower corporate tax rate, weaker labor unions and better access to airports.

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