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Ground was broken on Feb. 20, 2024, for a new Telework Center in King and Queen County that is anticipated to be a hub for economic development on the Middle Peninsula and a plus for workers who lose precious hours every week sitting in traffic.

The 7,000 square-foot building at 4521 Lewis B. Puller Memorial Highway will be anchored by the Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission (MPPDC) and Sentara Health in addition to housing a telework center for companies interested in doing business on the Middle Peninsula. It will include broadband Internet access, a draw for employees out commuting or seeking to work from home but unable to due to a lack of reliable connectivity.

The Telework Center, projected to open in December 2024, could become one of the largest employers on the Middle Peninsula, where approximately 33,000 workers commute out of the region daily, the largest number in the state. That puts a strain on local businesses to find adequate labor, increases congestion and adds up to less revenue for local businesses.

If only one-half of 1% of those commuters transition to the Telework Center, that’s 165 workers, on par with the largest private sector employers on the Middle Peninsula. Alternatively, roughly 16,000 cars travel Route 33 toward West Point on weekdays. If 1% of that traffic uses the Telework Center, that’s 160 workers.

“Our goal is to provide office space for teleworkers to retain both intellectual capital and salary so that these workers shop within the Middle Peninsula versus on the way home,” said Lewie Lawrence, Executive Director of the MPPDC. “That would increase local revenue for restaurants, grocery stores and other local businesses as well as reduce fuel consumption and roadway congestion, which adds more money to the family budget. If you pack the building, that is money that stays in the community.”

The center will have telework stations, parking and a bus stop. It will be the only municipally owned teleworking location on the Middle Peninsula for those who commute outside of the region for work. The facility will also provide services for home-based and small businesses, such as meeting space, virtual conferencing equipment and copying and faxing services.

Employers who embrace telework save money on office space and often benefit from increased productivity from workers who don’t feel the drain of commuting.

“We anticipate the Telework Center having a lot of positive implications for residents,” Lawrence said. Its success would pave the way for other jurisdictions on the Middle Peninsula to duplicate the model and open their own telework centers.

Funding partners for the project include the United States Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration, King and Queen County, Virginia Department of Transportation and MPPDC. The architects and builders of the Telework Center are Commonwealth Architects, Skanska and Connemara Corporation.

The Middle Peninsula is made up of the counties of Essex, Gloucester, King and Queen, King William, Mathews and Middlesex and the towns of Tappahannock, West Point and Urbanna.

MidPenRideShare is a free service operated by the Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission for residents, workers, commuters, and tourists in Virginia’s Middle peninsula (Counties of Essex, Gloucester, King and Queen, King William, Mathews, and Middlesex and the towns of Tappahannock, Urbanna, and West Point).
The Commission has partnered with the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) and their Virginia-wide ConnectingVA program to provide free ridematching to find carpools, vanpools, and all forms of public transportation, trip planning, and information on park-and-ride lots, bike share services, electric vehicle charging stations, and rewards.