Company News For the Record

For the Record - April 2017

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EASTERN VIRGINIA
The Virginia Beach City Council approved an ordinance to increase gap financing for Cavalier Associates LLC. The group is restoring the historic Cavalier Hotel and building two new hotels on the .oceanfront side of the 21-acre property. The company was asking for an additional $6.5 million in gap financing from the project’s sales tax revenue, on top of an already-approved $18 million. The Virginia Tourism Corp. next will review the financing plan. The developers are planning to build an Embassy Suites for conferences. (The Virginian-Pilot)

Divaris Real Estate Inc. has relocated and expanded its corporate headquarters in Virginia Beach to accommodate the firm’s growing staff. The company said it has added 17 employees in the past six months at its headquarters, prompting a move to a 17,500-square-foot space on the ninth floor at 4525 Main St. in the Town Center of Virginia Beach, the latest office tower to be completed in the city’s Central Business District. (Virginia Business)

Gloucester County’s economic development leaders expect to spend this year researching options for a new business park, which could include purchasing at least 200 acres of land. The acquisition would address what officials say is a major challenge in marketing the county to potential businesses — a lack of available space. Much of the county’s 70-acre business park off U.S. Route 17 is occupied. The business park is home to Sentara medical offices, the Gloucester-Mathews Care Clinic and Canon Virginia Inc. (Daily Press)

Profits soared by nearly 42 percent at Huntington Ingalls Industries in 2016, partly propelled by a fourth quarter that had triple-digit gains. More good news is on the horizon: HII’s Newport News Shipbuilding plans to hire 3,000 workers this year as it ramps up construction on aircraft carriers and submarines, a dramatic pivot from two rounds of earlier layoffs. Year-to-year, profits went from $404 million in 2015 to $573 million last year, an increase of 41.8 percent. (Daily Press)

A company known for historic redevelopment projects has nixed a $30 million mixed-use project in Suffolk over concerns about historic tax credits. Richmond-based The Monument Cos. had planned to rehabilitate a 10-acre industrial site on South Saratoga Street, where the Golden Peanut company formerly was located. Seventeen buildings still stand on the site, but Chris Johnson, one of the principals of The Monument Cos., said in January that the project won’t be financially viable without historic tax credits, and the future of that program is uncertain. (The Suffolk News-Herald)

Mythics, a Virginia Beach technology solutions consulting firm, will move its corporate headquarters to Town Center of Virginia Beach in an expansion that the company says will create 30 jobs. The company will expand operations by leasing the top floor of a building at 4525 Main Street Tower and the majority of the eighth floor for a total of nearly 39,000 square feet. Mythics is currently located at 1496 Great Neck Road. It plans to relocate 143 full-time employees to the new headquarters.  (VirginiaBusiness.com)

Norfolk has been selected to participate in Bloomberg Philanthropies’ What Works Cities initiative — one of the largest-ever national philanthropic efforts to enhance the use of data and evidence in the public sector. Norfolk will work to improve its ability to make data more consumable and readily available for city staff and residents. And, Norfolk will work to develop performance metrics to measure progress towards the city’s priority of safe, healthy and inclusive communities. (News release)

The Port of Virginia and the Georgia Ports Authority have filed a request with the Federal Maritime Commission to create the “East Coast Gateway Terminal Agreement.” The agreement encourages the port operators to work together to become more efficient and effective through sharing best practices in areas such as terminal operating systems, training, cargo handling, turn-times and infrastructure, as well as supporting the promotion of all-water routes from the U.S. East Coast via the Panama Canal. (Virginia Business)

Shamin Hotels, one of Central Virginia’s largest hotel operators, has purchased two hotels in the region. The company bought the 249-room Renaissance Portsmouth Norfolk Waterfront Hotel for $9.2 million and has plans to modernize the property. Shamin  also purchased the Crowne Plaza Hampton Marina Hotel for $5.65 million and will rebrand it under Hilton hotel’s new Tapestry brand. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

The U.S. 460 expansion project from Suffolk to Zuni is dead. The long-controversial plan, which was significantly pared down from prior plans, was too costly to score well in the new state transportation funding plan. That means it likely will wither on the vine without state funding. “As far as 460 is concerned, we will not be moving that project forward,” Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne said in January at the Commonwealth Transportation Board meeting. (The Virginian-Pilot)

Facing an ultimatum from the state and the possibility of having to shut its doors this summer, the board of the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame voted to move from Portsmouth to Virginia Beach. Hall of Fame officials acknowledged in November that they were considering relocating to the resort city, but the decision had not been finalized. The move could come as early as this summer, officials said. Town Center appears to be the most likely destination. (The Virginian-Pilot)

SHENANDOAH VALLEY
Pennsylvania-based 84 Lumber Co. plans to spend $3.9 million establishing a manufacturing operation in Frederick County, a project expected to create 100 jobs. Virginia competed against Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia for the investment. 84 Lumber is a privately held supplier of building materials, manufactured components and services for single- and multi-family residences and commercial buildings.  The Virginia Economic Development Partnership will support the 84 Lumber project through its Virginia Jobs Investment Program. (Virginia Business)

Filibuster Distillery will invest $795,000 to expand its whiskey production operation in Shenandoah County, creating eight jobs during the next three years.  The commonwealth is partnering with the county and the distillery on this project through the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development (AFID) Fund. Gov. Terry McAuliffe approved a $30,000 grant from the AFID Fund, which is being matched by local funds, to assist with the project. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

Lumos Networks Corp. has agreed to be acquired by Swedish investment firm EQT Infrastructure for about $950 million. Waynesboro-based Lumos is a fiber-based service provider in the mid-Atlantic, serving 24 markets in Virginia, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, Ohio and Kentucky. EQT is a an alternative investments firm with portfolio companies in Europe, Asia and the U.S. Completion of the transaction, which is subject to shareholder approval, regulatory approval and other customary closing conditions, is expected during the third quarter of 2017. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

Munters Corp. plans to invest $2.5 million to expand and upgrade equipment at its manufacturing operation in Buena Vista. The project is expected to create 100 jobs. Munters is a manufacturer of energy recovery systems, dehumidification systems and custom air handling equipment. Its largest customers are data centers and food and pharmaceutical companies. Founded in 1955, Munters has manufacturing and sales operations in 30 countries, employing nearly 2,700 workers. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

The sale of Wilson Trucking to Central Freight Lines in Texas will result in the layoff of the majority of the 100 Wilson employees in Fishersville, home to its IT department, personnel operation and overhead functions. However, Steve Gast, Wilson’s president and COO, expects the bulk of its 1,500 employees will continue to have jobs when the sale is finalized. (The News-Virginian)

ROANOKE/NEW RIVER VALLEY
Franklin County has a clear vision for the modern, campus-style business park it wants to create off of U.S Route 220, between Boones Mill and Rocky Mount. The park will have recreation and event spaces, with walking trails, a produce auction and perhaps an agricultural fair, among other things. The progress thus far has been largely intangible and behind the scenes, but Franklin County Economic Development Director Michael Burnette said that’s likely to change in 2017 because preparation of pad sites and business announcements are on the horizon. (The Roanoke Times)

The operators of Rising Silo Brewery in Blacksburg plan to open another brewery inside the old Price’s Fork Elementary School in Montgomery County, part of the Food Center project.  Most of the facility will be used for 16 residential units for adults age 55 and older, while the remainder will house the brewery, a farm-to-table restaurant and a space geared toward entrepreneurs in the food business. Plans call for the Food Center to open in late 2018 or early 2019, but another phase of 16 market-rate and income-restricted apartments will start afterward. The second set of apartments will require additional construction. (The Roanoke Times)

West Church LLC has selected Cushman & Wakefield|Thalhimer as the exclusive leasing representative for three downtown office buildings in Roanoke. One Ten Franklin, an 11-story, class A office tower, is the former headquarters for Norfolk Southern Corp. Another building, 220 Church Ave., more commonly known as the Commonwealth Building, is a historically significant office structure originally built for a U.S. Post Office and federal courthouse. The leasing assignment also includes the continued marketing of the BB&T office building at 310 First St. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

The Virginia law firm Woods Rogers PLC will donate $50,000 to the Virginia Western Community College Educational Foundation in support of the new RAMP technology business accelerator opening in downtown Roanoke. Under a five-year agreement, Woods Rogers will contribute $10,000 per year to RAMP beginning this year and concluding in 2021. The program is expected to start this June. (News release)

NORTHERN VIRGINIA
Arlington County-based BAE Systems Inc. has acquired Dayton, Ohio-based IAP Research. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. IAP is an engineering company focused on the development and production of electromagnetic launchers, power electronics and advanced materials. IAP employs approximately 40 people and has been a key subcontractor to BAE Systems for more than 10 years. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

The Barns at Hamilton Station Vineyards’ 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon was the top-scoring wine at the 2017 Virginia Wineries Association Governor’s Cup, the state’s premier competition.  While The Barns sources fruit from other locations in Virginia, the winery has three acres under vine and produces wine in Loudoun County. (Loudoun Times-Mirror)

Arlington-based FBR & Co., the region’s only major homegrown investment bank, has agreed to be acquired by Los Angeles-based B. Riley Financial Inc. in a $160.1 million stock deal. The companies expect to close the transaction by May 31. FBR has 260 employees. No layoffs are planned. FBR Chairman and CEO Richard Hendrix will become CEO of the combined investment banking and brokerage business, which will be a subsidiary of B. Riley Financial. The new unit will retain the FBR brand. (Washington Business Journal) 

Reston-based government IT firm STG Group Inc. plans to acquire Vienna-based Preferred Systems Solutions Inc., another government IT firm, for $119 million. STG said the transaction, expected to close during the first quarter, will be financed with a mix of debt and equity. A company spokesman could not be reached for comment. Specific questions about the financial aspects of the detail remain unanswered. (Washington Business Journal)

Gov. Terry McAuliffe has approved an agreement for the $500 million design and construction of Interstate 395 Express Lanes that will extend existing toll lanes to the state line with Washington, D.C. The project will continue a partnership with Transurban, the company that maintains toll lanes on Interstates 95 and 495 in the D.C. metro area. The project will be funded through public and private funds. Construction is expected to begin this summer, with completion scheduled for fall 2019.  (InsideNoVa.com)

SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA
The Bland County Planning Commission denied a request for a conditional-use permit by the nonprofit Urantia Garden Foundation, which hopes to build a retreat on a nearly $1 million piece of property in Rocky Gap. In denying the request, the commission said the project could be detrimental to the character of the neighborhood and the development of adjacent properties for the neighborhood, and might impair the value of nearby buildings or property. The 256-acre site is currently for sale for $900,000. The current zoning is agricultural; the requested use was for a recreational facility. (SWVAToday.com)

Bristol, Tenn.-based BurWil Construction broke ground on the first phase of construction of a new Dollar Tree in Abingdon. The 10,000-square-foot store will be between Lowe’s and Wellmont Urgent Care in the Falcon Place Shopping Center. A spokesman for Dollar Tree said the store is expected to open by Labor Day. Washington County Administrator Jason Berry said the county is not offering any incentives to Dollar Tree. If the store is successful, the county should benefit from the project financially, because it “will be a sales tax generator,” Berry said. (Bristol Herald Courier)

A more than $1.3 million plan to transform a one-time historic factory that has sat empty since the early 1990s into loft apartments got a nod of approval from the Marion Town Council in January. The council reviewed a proposal by businessman Joe Ellis to repurchase the Holston Harwood property from the town and convert it to housing. Ellis will repurchase the property from the town for $125,000. He plans to have renovations complete by July. (SWVAToday.com)

The Virginia Commissioner of Health postponed any decision on the proposed cooperative agreement between Mountain States Health Alliance and Wellmont Health System until June, much as the health commissioner did in January in Tennessee.  The two regional health systems want permission to combine facilities, employees and operations to form Ballad Health. This new time frame will give the health systems additional time to respond to a detailed series of requests for additional information from the Virginia health commissioner’s office. (Bristol Herald Courier)

SOUTHERN VIRGINIA
Appalachian Power announced plans in February for a new transmission line project intended to help Commonwealth Crossing Business Centre attract business. John Shepelwich, the company’s corporate communications manager, said the planned line will supply enough electricity to handle the needs of companies with advanced manufacturing processes. Construction of the line is to start as soon as a company firmly commits to locating in Commonwealth Crossing and should take about 18 months to finish, he said. (Martinsville Bulletin)

Following four fatal accidents at its Danville plant over a 12-month period, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. has reached a $1.75 million settlement with the state of Virginia that calls for the company to pay a $1 million fine and take steps to improve worker safety. The agreement between Goodyear, the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry’s Occupational Safety and Health (VOSH) program and the United Steelworkers, the labor union that represents the Danville workforce, was announced in February. In addition to the $1 million fine to be paid to the state, Goodyear will spend $750,000 in penalties on the elimination of numerous workplace hazards identified in 11 VOSH inspections conducted over 18 months. (Danville Register & Bee)

A project on its way to preserving nearly 50 historic tobacco barns in the Dan River Region is getting more help from JTI Leaf Services in Danville. The money will enable the project to offer barn repairs for a fourth year. Preservation Virginia’s Tobacco Barns Mini-Grants Project will receive an additional $100,000 from JTI to repair and restore more old tobacco barns in Pittsylvania and Halifax counties and Caswell County in North Carolina, said Preservation Virginia Field Representative Sonja Ingram. JTI has provided $100,000 for the project each year. (Danville Register & Bee)

A federal appeals court in February rejected Virginia Uranium Inc.’s bid to end the state’s decades-long ban on uranium mining so it can tap a huge deposit of the radioactive ore in Southern Virginia. A divided panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond upheld the ruling of a district judge, who in December 2015 threw out a lawsuit from Virginia Uranium. (The Associated Press)

CENTRAL VIRGINIA
The Albemarle County Board of Supervisors is considering the formation of a public body to help expand high-speed internet service in the county. “If the board wants to take another step in the direction of doing something about broadband, a wireless service authority might be something to consider,” said Deputy County Executive Bill Letteri.  Supervisors will hold a public hearing on June 7 to take comments on whether the authority should be formed. (Charlottesville Tomorrow)

The Jefferson Hotel received a five-star rating in the 2017 Forbes Travel Guide. The historic hotel in downtown Richmond earned the top award for the 16th straight year in the annual guide, formerly called the Mobil Travel Guide. It joined 174 other five-star hotels worldwide. Elsewhere in Virginia, Keswick Hall and Golf Club in Albemarle County — the sister property to The Jefferson Hotel — and the Inn at Little Washington in Rappahannock County received the Forbes Five-Star Award for hotel properties. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

The Lynchburg College board of trustees voted in February to change the institution’s name to University of Lynchburg, which will go into effect in fall 2018. According to officials, the name change was made in part to entice recruits who pass on the institution because of its college label.  “It’s not really that the institution has changed; it’s that it has adopted the appropriate name for what it does in terms of its programs and offerings,” Lynchburg College President Kenneth Garren said. Though technically already considered a university, the new name makes that designation apparent. (The News & Advance)

Hanover County-based Owens & Minor Inc. plans to open a client engagement center in downtown Richmond that will employ 500 people in jobs paying an average of about $52,700 a year. Owens & Minor, a Fortune 500 distributor of medical supplies, is leasing 90,000 square feet in the Riverfront Plaza building at 951 E. Byrd St., just a few blocks from where the company was founded in 1882 as a drug wholesaler. The company expects to make a capital investment of about $15 million over several years to equip the center. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)




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