The Loudoun County Department of Economic Development has said a feasibility study commissioned by Loudoun and Fauquier counties shows a livestock quarantine facility at Dulles Airport is feasible and could open as soon as summer 2019.
“Loudoun started developing a master plan for the equine sector three years ago, as part of the Rural Economy Business Development Strategy,” said Kellie Hinkle, Loudoun’s Agricultural Business Development Officer. “The quarantine facility represents a foundational piece of building that strategy.”
The Loudoun economic development office says it does not have a copy of the final study. The Fauquier County Department of Economic Development plans to brief the Fauquier Board of Supervisors Thursday, February 9. Fauquier Director of Economic Development Director Miles Friedman declined to release the study before then.
According to a memo to county supervisors by Loudoun County Department of Economic Development Director Buddy Rizer, the study projects a 50,000-square-foot equine quarantine facility with 48 stalls, processing an estimated 600 horses coming in to and out of the U.S. each year. It would cost an estimated $17.8 million to $25 million and take about 18 months to complete, cost $9.4 million a year to operate, and create 75 jobs.
Rizer also said three private companies have expressed interest in building and operating an equine quarantine facility at Dulles Airport, and that facility would mean the region can attract “world-class equine events” that could have an economic impact of $18.1 million a year.
Animals entering the U.S. must first be tested and isolated for several weeks to make sure they don’t bring in diseases or parasites. Currently, the only two quarantine facilities on the East Coast are at the JFK and Miami International airports.
Loudoun partnered with Fauquier County on an impact and feasibility study for the quarantine facility. Between Loudoun, Fauquier and Fairfax counties, there are almost 130 horse shows and events in Northern Virginia each year. Loudoun economic development officials say a facility for processing incoming livestock and pets at Dulles would reduce expense to the owners and stress on the animals.
“The equine industry contributes more than $180 million to Loudoun’s economy each year,” Rizer said. “Loudoun also has the most robust equine industry in Virginia, and is home to more than 15,000 horses.”
The study was conducted by HR&A, a real estate and economic development consulting firm, in consultation with a feasibility analysis and site planning advisor and an equestrian facility design advisor. The study cost $60,000, split evenly between Loudoun and Fauquier, and was finished in January.
In Loudoun, there will be a free, open to the public presentation on the possible facility March 30 from 6-9 p.m. at Harmony Hall in Hamilton as part of the 2017 Loudoun Equine Expo. Learn more at LoudounEquine.org/2017-equine-expo.