Company News For the Record

For the Record - February 2019

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CENTRAL VIRGINIA
Dominion Energy Inc. has completed its merger with a South Carolina utility that was drowning in debt after the failure of a nuclear construction project. The Richmond-based energy giant paid $6.8 billion for SCANA Corp.’s stock and also is taking on SCANA’s consolidated net debts of $6.6 billion. Dominion was the only buyer that expressed interest in SCANA, the parent company of South Carolina Electric & Gas Co., after the company’s abandonment of a nuclear reactor construction project at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Social media outreach is one part of a marketing effort that’s ramping up as developers and construction crews plan a September date to open 21 New York-style luxury apartments with two penthouse suites in the circa-1905 Krise Building on Main Street in Lynchburg. The project had been in the planning stage since 2010. On Aug. 22, Krise Partners LLC consolidated financing efforts to begin construction. (News & Advance)

Lighthouse Labs, a Richmond-based nonprofit that provides mentoring and funding for startup businesses, has received a $300,000 grant from Henrico County-based Altria Group Inc. The funding will help support the mission of the nonprofit, which recruits early-stage startup companies that show potential to grow quickly. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Mosquito Squad, a Henrico County-based pest-control franchising company that has grown to have more than 250 franchisees, has been acquired. Authority Brands LLC, a Columbia, Md.-based home services franchising company, bought Mosquito Squad from its former parent company, Outdoor Living Brands. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

A new state report says the economy of Virginia continued to grow at a slower rate than the rest of the country in fiscal year 2018. Virginia’s latest Comprehensive Annual Financial Report says the state continues to fall behind the nation in most areas. Personal income grew 4.1 percent in Virginia compared with 4.5 percent in the U.S. Housing prices in Virginia rose 5 percent compared with 6.8 percent nationally. Virginia also lagged behind the national average in employment growth and the number of new building permits for privately owned housing. (The Associated Press)

NORTHERN VIRGINIA
Airbnb says its Virginia hosts earned a total of nearly $104 million in supplemental income while accommodating nearly 750,000 guests in 2018. The company said it now has about 10,200 Virginia hosts, typically earning about $5,500 annually in supplemental income. Arlington County led the commonwealth in guests with nearly 57,000 in 2018, generating $10.8 million in total income for hosts. Arlington was followed by Fairfax County, 31,300 guests, $6.6 million in income; Loudoun County, 20,500 guests, $3.1 million; Montgomery County, 17,800, $2.2 million; and Page County, 16,000, $2.2 million. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

The education technology company Blackboard is moving its corporate headquarters from the District to Reston in 2019, less than four years after striking a deal to remain in D.C. thanks to incentives from the city.  Blackboard will move its D.C. office to the Plaza America complex, where its Reston office is already located. It said 350 local employees will work out of the new office. (Washington Business Journal)

McLean-based Digital Intelligence Systems LLC (DISYS) has acquired Princeton Information, a New York-based staffing agency. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. DISYS is an IT consulting and managed services firm with 33 offices in the U.S. and abroad. Princeton Information, based in North Massapequa, N.Y., has locations in the U.S. and India. The company, founded in 1985, has nearly 500 employees in the U.S. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

IDEMIA, a French identification and authentication technology company, will relocate its North American Identity & Security headquarters to Reston from Billerica, Mass. Virginia competed with Washington, D.C., and Maryland for the project, which is expected to create more than 90 jobs. The company develops, manufactures and markets security technology products and services for the telecommunications, payments and identity markets. It has a global workforce of 14,000 employees. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

The large Potomac Shores development near Dumfries is expected to welcome a commuter train station in early 2022. The company that owns the tracks, CSX Transportation, approved a concept design in December that includes a station with retail space, a parking garage and two station towers, said Andrew Wagner, project manager for Potomac Shores. The design must be developed further and agreed upon by stakeholders, including Amtrak, Virginia Railway Express and the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation. The station was originally set to open in 2017. (Inside NOVA)

Manassas-based T.A.C. Ceramic Tile Co. was acquired by interior design firm Select Interior Concepts Inc. for about $43 million in cash.  T.A.C., founded in 1985, specializes in designing and installing interior flooring, including tile, hardwood and carpet. Anaheim, Calif.-based Select Interior will expand its residential design services and mid-Atlantic footprint, with a total of 31 locations — including 21 design centers across the U.S. (Washington Business Journal)

EASTERN VIRGINIA
Hampton Roads Catholic Federal Credit Union has merged with ABNB Federal Credit Union. Started in 1966, the Catholic credit union has about 1,000 members. It was started to serve members in Catholic parishes in Norfolk, Virginia Beach and Virginia’s Eastern Shore. ABNB has more than 56,000 members. (Inside Business)

The U.S. Navy has reached an agreement with Huntington Ingalls Industries for a block purchase of two aircraft carriers, the latest move toward an expanded fleet and a boost to HII’s Newport News shipyard. The deal will cover the future USS Enterprise, also known as CVN-80, now undergoing advance work in Newport News, plus the as-yet-unnamed CVN-81. These are the third and fourth carriers of the Gerald R. Ford class. Supporters say the move will create economies of scale while shoring up the small- and medium-size businesses that supply the shipyard with parts and services. Taxpayers will see a savings of $4 billion compared with purchasing the two ships separately, according to published reports. It also will provide a quicker path to expanding the carrier fleet from 11 to 12, part of a larger plan to achieve a 355-ship Navy. (Daily Press)

Inc. magazine included Virginia Beach in its top 50 places in the U.S. to start a business. The city was ranked No. 49 for being a “federal government startup breeding ground.” The list was created by Inc. and innovation policy company Startup Genome. The ranking is based on the Surge Cities Score, which ranks top 50 metro areas on seven indicators — from early-stage funding metrics to job creation. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

After months of sometimes-heated debate over the $3 million project, one of the Peninsula’s most prominent companies has landed a deal to build a private airplane hangar at the Newport News airport. The Peninsula Airport Commission voted 4-0 to approve a long-term lease allowing the W.M. Jordan Co. to build a nearly 15,000-square-foot building on about 1.5 acres. The hangar will park the company’s two planes. The deal brings to a close more than seven months of negotiations. The 15-year lease includes two, five-year options. (Daily Press)

Zoll Vineyards is establishing a winery in Gloucester County, the second on Virginia’s Middle Peninsula. The vineyard is expected to create 14 jobs. Zoll plans to use Virginia-grown grapes, honey and apples to produce wines, meads and cideries. The vineyard has committed to source all of its products from Virginia, which will lead to $221,000 in purchases, according to Gov. Ralph Northam. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

SHENANDOAH VALLEY
A building in downtown Waynesboro has opened as a space for an education and jobs initiative. One section will facilitate Blue Ridge Community College online classes and the other will cater to the career paths of cybersecurity students. The two projects will operate under one roof, which the city will pay $2,800 a month to rent, said City Manager Mike Hamp. The rent acts as the city’s local match to the $100,000 grant the General Assembly gave to the college to facilitate the space in Waynesboro. (News Leader)

Go Virginia has approved $64,800 for a grant to help put the Shenandoah Valley Talent Solutions Strategy into action. The Talent Solutions Strategy will cost $134,800 with valley localities contributing the remaining $70,000, according to a news release. Designed to assess barriers young people face entering middle- and high-skill jobs, the program aims to corral business leaders, guidance counselors and human resources. Shenandoah, Frederick, Clark, Page and Warren counties are partnering to put the plan into action. Long term, the goal of the strategy is to help bolster the workforce and improve recruitment throughout the Shenandoah Valley. (Northern Virginia Daily)

The Shenandoah Valley Workforce Development Board has rebranded its workforce centers in Winchester, Harrisonburg and Fishersville as Virginia Career Works centers. The name change was adopted by all 15 regional workforce boards in Virginia and the state’s Board for Workforce Development, creating a single identity for the career-building system. The renaming of the commonwealth’s career centers is intended to clarify the Board for Workforce Development’s mission to provide employment information, career development training opportunities, easy access to support programs, job search options, on-the-job training, work experiences, worker training and other business services. (The Winchester Star)

The Port of Virginia’s Virginia Inland Port (VIP) in Front Royal is undergoing $26 million in projects to improve efficiency. The Port of Virginia has received a $15.5 million grant to build a new bridge on state Route 658 that will run above existing railroad tracks. The idea is to separate vehicle and train traffic outside of the terminal. The grant, which will cover the entire cost of the project, comes from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) program. Inside the VIP terminal, the port is investing $3.3 million, which will be matched by $7.7 million from the state’s Rail Enhancement Fund, to expand capacity and improve cargo flow. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

SOUTHERN VIRGINIA
Danville is teaming up with Bristol and Portsmouth to persuade the General Assembly to legalize casinos in the commonwealth. Danville City Council voted unanimously in early January to adopt a resolution supporting legislation in the General Assembly that would enable and require a local referendum on construction of a casino resort in Danville and the other two cities. Bristol and Portsmouth passed similar resolutions in September and October, respectively. (Danville Register & Bee)

India-based Essel Propack, a specialty packaging company, plans to expand its manufacturing facility in Danville, creating 45 additional jobs. The 200,000-square-foot facility now has 252 employees. The expansion, expected to double production at the Danville plant, represents an investment of $31.2 million, according to the governor’s office. Essel Propack produces a variety of multilayer collapsible tubes and laminates used for packaging in personal care, food, pharmaceutical and industrial applications. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

Microsoft Corp. plans to expand its data center in Mecklenburg County, adding more than 100 employees to a workforce of about 300. The project is the company’s sixth expansion at the facility. In announcing the latest project, Gov. Ralph Northam noted that, when Microsoft unveiled plans to spend $499 million in creating the center in 2010, it represented the largest economic investment in Southern Virginia history The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with Mecklenburg and the General Assembly’s Major Employment and Investment (MEI) Project Approval Commission to secure the project for Virginia. Northam also approved a $1.5 million grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

A private real estate investment firm has agreed to construct at least 250,000 square feet of buildings or facilities in order to purchase about 53 acres in the Ringgold East Industrial Park from Pittsylvania County. A Pittsylvania County news release stated the property in the park would be sold to Greenville, S.C.-based RealtyLink for $1 million, which is double the current assessed value. Once constructed, the shell building — an empty structure without a known tenant — will give the county’s economic development team a new vacant building to market to advanced manufacturing or large-scale distribution companies, including large name-brand e-commerce and light manufacturing companies. (Danville Register & Bee)

The Virginia Housing Development Authority recently awarded a grant that will help Prince Edward County and the Town of Farmville organize a strategic plan to address affordable housing needs in the county. VHDA awarded STEPS Inc. and the Affordable Housing Coalition $20,000 to develop the plan, according to an announcement by STEPS. (The Farmville Herald)

SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA
A new study shows Amtrak service to the Twin City would likely be well-supported and not overly expensive to operate — but making it a reality could still take many years. A crowd of about 50 people heard details of the study in December during a meeting at The Bristol Hotel. The study was prepared by AECOM, an international design, consulting and construction firm, in collaboration with the Community Transportation Association of America. The study was funded through a series of grants. Rich Sampson of Community Transportation of America said logical next steps include a state-initiated feasibility study — now on hold — and communicating continued interest from local residents to state and federal officials. (Bristol Herald Courier)

Gov. Ralph Northam wants to set aside $175,000 for an independent study of gambling options in Virginia, a proposal that could put the brakes on bills to legalize casinos and sports betting. The study — which would involve several state agencies and boards — would be due to the governor and General Assembly by Nov. 1. That timeline doesn’t match up with the one sought by backers of a casino project proposed for Bristol, where city leaders see gambling as a way to revitalize an economically struggling area. Proponents of the Bristol casino are hoping to get legislation passed that will allow city residents to vote on the idea in the November election. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Nearly 90 percent of 500 people who live along Interstate 81 in Virginia said in a poll that they favor investing $2 billion to improve the corridor, and a majority said they’d like to see a toll placed on freight trucks to pay for it. The results of the survey of registered voters, starting in Bristol, Va., and ending in Washington, D.C., were released in December. The poll was conducted by the Virginia Transportation Construction Alliance in conjunction with researchers at Public Opinion Strategies, a public opinion and research firm. The survey was a follow-up to a November report released by VTCA and the American Road & Transportation Builders Association that found that a $2 billion investment in the interstate would stimulate $4.3 billion in business activity in the cities, counties and rural areas immediately along the interstate. (Bristol Herald Courier)

To combat declining enrollment, University of Virginia’s College at Wise hopes to offer reduced tuition rates to any student from the Appalachian region, making the cost of attendance equal or near that charged for Virginia residents. The federally defined Appalachian region stretches from southern New York to northern Alabama, encompassing all or part of 13 states. U.Va.’s board of visitors, which also oversees the College at Wise, signaled approval for the effort at its December meeting but did not take a formal vote and approved standard 2018-19 tuition rates. If legislation is approved in the Virginia General Assembly this session, U.Va.-Wise may be able to adjust its tuition rates ahead of the coming school year. (The Daily Progress)

ROANOKE/NEW RIVER VALLEY
First Baptist Church of Roanoke bought a 20,000-square-foot television station property at 401 Third St. in Roanoke for $1.2 million. Two parking lots on Church Avenue were included in the deal. Graham Media Group of Virginia sold the property, pending its relocation to 821 Fifth St., NE. In December, plans called for the company to remain at its current location for another five months.  (VirginiaBusiness.com)

Humm Kombucha broke through a delay in its Roanoke factory project before the end of 2018. Trucks using a rock path dropped off building materials at a city business park and departed, leaving construction for another day, but meeting a city deadline to get started. Work had to start before Dec. 31. It was the first noticeable progress toward local, industrial-scale production of a lightly effervescent beverage called kombucha, a first for the city. Humm Kombucha, based in Oregon, chose the site at the Roanoke Centre for Industry and Technology in October 2017 for a brewery serving its East Coast markets. The land was part of a $1.8 million package of state and local government incentives. (The Roanoke Times)

Tourism surveys conducted this year show that Rockbridge County, Lexington and Buena Vista earned a $38 return on every $1 they invested in their tourism budget. Visitors who stayed in the area’s hotels, motels, and bed and breakfasts in 2017 brought in at least $66 million in revenue and $6.6 million in taxes, according to survey results. The Rockbridge Regional Tourism Board commissioned the surveys. Director of Marketing Patty Williams said the tourism department tries to conduct surveys about every five years. (The Roanoke Times)

Rosie’s Gaming Emporium in Vinton will have about 125 employees with an average income of $40,000, plus benefits, said Mike Donovan, the chief marketing officer for Colonial Downs Group, at a groundbreaking event in December. The betting parlor is a resurrection of an off-track site that closed four years ago on Vinyard Road. The project is expected to generate $1.5 million in taxes annually, with one-third going to Vinton, Donovan said. The company expects customers to travel from surrounding counties, providing more money to the town. (The Roanoke Times)

A clerical error raised a snag in an ongoing disagreement over the potential sale of Roanoke’s historic Dumas Center. In December, a circuit judge sustained Total Action for Progress’ objection to a lawsuit recently filed against it by Dumas Hotel Legacy Group Inc. His decision was based on a mistake in the plaintiff’s initial complaint filing, which names the suing party simply as “Dumas Legacy Group Inc.” and excludes the word “Hotel.” The judge also granted the Dumas group 21 days to refile its pleading, using the proper name, and allowing the case to be heard further. After the December hearing, Melvin Hill, the attorney for the plaintiffs, said he intends to do just that. (The Roanoke Times)





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