Could Charlottesville Become a High(er)-Tech City?

(the Nest series continues)

Just wondering … as the trend of people, including younger people who don’t want cars moving to cities …

The WSJ lays out some of the reasons that tech companies are locating in cities

Still, escaping sprawl is only part of the explanation. There are also the distinct lifestyle advantages of setting up shop in the hurly-burly of real urban districts. Compared with previous generations, today’s younger techies are less interested in owning cars and big houses. They prefer to live in central locations, where they can rent an apartment and use transit or walk or bike to work, and where there are plenty of nearby options for socializing during nonwork hours.

“It’s not that young people wanted to live in Mountain View in the past,” Mr. Suster blogged. “In fact, so many did not that companies like Google & Yahoo had free buses with Wi-Fi from San Francisco to their Palo Alto and Sunnyvale headquarters.”

In light of several Charlottesville companies being noted on the Inc 500 and 5000, notably Willow Tree Apps, SNL, Search Mojo and Silverchair,

The Daily Progress wonders the same thing while identifying some of the challenges Charlottesville faces:

“… Miller cited reasonable business startup costs and an attractive community as positives for the area, but “there’s still some challenges that Charlottesville as a community must overcome,” she said.

“Charlottesville is great if you have kids and … many people from Northern Virginia will contact me and come here,” she said. But, “I think it’s difficult to keep the people that are younger … there’s still the glamour of the big city and I don’t know that we’ll ever achieve that.””

Over the years one of the most common factors I have heard is the lack of lateral mobility; one hopes that the City and County can aggressively recruit more technology companies to the area.

Wondering further – what would it take to bring a high-tech manufacturing firm to the region?

Another question – what impact will UVA’s Batten Institute continue to have on the technology environment in Charlottesville?

Last question – would a similar radio show/podcast be viable in Charlottesville?

How is technology changing the way New Yorkers live and work and what does it mean for you? That’s the question we hope to explore every week with this new segment.

More coverage at C-Ville

According to a study of key local industries released this year by the Thomas Jefferson Partnership for Economic Development, information technology and telecommunications companies make up the fourth largest industry group in Charlottesville. There are more than 130 firms that fit the description here, employing just over 2,000 people and paying them an average salary of $74,117—almost 50 percent higher than the city mean.

Charlottesville has been working on wooing tech for some time. In 2000, it started offering tax breaks to technology businesses. The nonprofit Charlottesville Business Innovation Council, formerly the Virginia Piedmont Technology Council, has been advocating for the industry for 15 years, and offering networking and education events to spur growth.

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