NORFOLK -The push is on to attract businesses to Hampton Roads.

At a gathering in downtown Norfolk Wednesday night, business leaders did their best to sell the region to companies that are looking to expand their markets.

The Virginia Economic Development Partnerships, Hampton Roads Economic Development Alliance, and The Virginia Port Authority then hosted site selection representatives Thursday.

The groups are giving consultants tours of the area, trying to persuade them to move their businesses in Hampton Roads.

Among the selling points is Virginia's deep water access. In 2015, super size cargo ships will start steaming through the Panama Canal. Hampton Roads is ready now.

'I think the number one attribute is the port,' said Bob Boyd, who is chairman of the Hampton Roads Economic Development Allianceandpresident of BB&T Hampton Roads Region.

Site developers, the people who drive where businesses locate, were touring the port and other parts of the region on Thursday as part of a three-day event.

'This is a two-day sprint to let these consultants know why Hampton Roads can be a great place for business,' said Russell Held of the Virginia Port Authority.

Boyd also touted the region's stable economy, due in large part to government and defense spending, and a highly skilled workforce, many of whom come right out of the military.

The social was held at Half Moone Cruise and Celebration Center on the downtown Norfolk Waterfront.

On Friday, Fortune 500 companies will take part in this effort.

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