Company News For the Record

For the Record - January 2017

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Richmond began renovations in November on Monroe Park, a $6 million project expected to take up to a year-and-a-half to complete. Renovation of the city’s oldest park was made possible through a multiyear, $3 million private fundraising campaign. Altria and the Dominion Foundation each provided $500,000. Also, a major gift from The Beirne Carter Foundation will support sustainability and safety improvements at the park. The nonprofit Monroe Park Conservancy will operate the park after the renovation, and Virginia Commonwealth University will provide maintenance. (News release)

Virginia has moved up on the Forbes list of “Best States for Business.” The commonwealth ranks No. 6 on the 2016 list, up from No. 7 last year. Utah was named the top state for business for the third year in a row. Forbes noted that the commonwealth ranked as the top state for business as recently as 2013, “but higher business costs and a declining economic climate have pushed it lower.” (

Henrico County-based Eastern Virginia Bankshares Inc., the holding company for EVB, plans to combine with Southern National Bancorp of Virginia Inc., the McLean-based holding company for Sonabank. The deal, which is valued at $178.3 million, is expected to close in the second quarter, pending regulatory and shareholder approvals. The combined company will assume the Southern National Bancorp of Virginia name for the holding company and the Sonabank name for all banking operations. It will maintain its corporate headquarters in McLean and the Henrico headquarters for the bank in the Richmond area. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Stonebridge Shopping Center in Chesterfield County is under new ownership — and poised for more development. McLean-based S2 Capital Partners LLC has acquired the 8.1-acre retail center — part of the former Cloverleaf Mall property — for $12 million. The center includes two fully developed construction sites on which S2 Capital Partners will build 15,600 square feet of multi-tenant retail space. At completion, the total retail space will be 67,416 square feet. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

With about 300 ADP employees moving into a downtown Norfolk building, Carlos Rodriguez, the payroll and human resources company’s CEO, made his first visit to the city in early December for a ceremonial ribbon-cutting. ADP, a New Jersey-based company formerly known as Automatic Data Processing Inc., has begun moving into 2 Commercial Place, its new home for a customer service center that eventually will have 1,800 employees. (The Virginian-Pilot)

A study released in November by the College of William & Mary Law School’s Virginia Coastal Policy Center warns that sea-level rise could eventually cost the Hampton Roads region more than $100 million extra in damage and costs annually if no measures are taken to mitigate the risks of coastal flooding. The study, conducted by the North Carolina-based Research Triangle Institute, found that rising seas will pose ever-increasing threats to Hampton Roads’ roughly $100 billion worth of buildings, not including military installations and ports. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Smithfield-based Smithfield Foods said in November it is buying Clougherty Packing from Hormel Foods Corp. for $145 million in cash. Clougherty Packing is the parent company of Farmer John and Saag’s Specialty Meats. The sale also includes PFFJ farm operations in California, Arizona and Wyoming. Minnesota-based Hormel acquired Clougherty Packing in 2004. Smithfield Foods is the world’s largest pork processor and hog producer. (

The Navy aircraft carrier, USS Gerald R. Ford, is in the final stages of construction after cost overruns and a delay of more than a year. This carrier and those that will follow will replace the Nimitz-class carriers, which were first commissioned in 1975. Construction on the Ford, which currently is sitting at Newport News Shipbuilding, started in 2009. (The Associated Press)

Plenty of job seekers eager to work at the new Waterside District attended an open house hiring event at Sheraton Norfolk Waterside Hotel on Nov. 15. The mixed-use venue will feature music, live entertainment, events and festivals along with a range of regional and national culinary options. It is a $40 million overhaul and rebranding of the Waterside Festival Marketplace. The district is anticipated to fill 1,000 jobs before its April opening. (Inside Business)

James Madison University has begun a fundraising campaign to support its new College of Business Learning Complex. The university has raised more than $7 million toward its goal of more than $15 million for the facility. The learning complex is currently in the design phase with plans to break ground at the beginning of the 2018-19 academic year. It is slated to open for the 2020-21 academic year. (News release)

Waynesboro-based Lumos Networks Corp. has signed an agreement to acquire Clarity Communications Group, which operates a 730-mile fiber network in four Southeastern states. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The majority of Clarity’s operations and fiber mileage is in North Carolina. The company is based in Raleigh, N.C. Timothy G. Biltz, CEO of Lumos Networks, said he expects the deal to close in the first quarter of 2017. (

Mary Baldwin University will offer coeducational, three-year degree programs beginning next fall at its Staunton campus. The newly created coeducational unit called University College will offer residential programs open to men and women after their junior or senior years in high school. Men already are admitted to the university’s graduate and adult-degree programs but not to its residential college for women. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

A national grocery store anchor, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers Inc. and Valley Health Urgent Care, will be coming to the Rutherford Crossing Shopping Center in Winchester in 2017, according to the center’s developer. NVRetail said the tenants are expected to begin construction of their stores as part of a second phase of Rutherford Crossing. Phase one began in 2007 and includes tenants such as Lowe’s, Target and PetSmart. (

Shenandoah University has revealed the results of its most recent economic impact study. The study determined that in 2016, the overall economic impact from the university was an estimated $145.7 million and it supported roughly 1,500 jobs. These numbers compare favorably with the numbers from 2010, the first time the university conducted such a study. In 2010, the economic impact to Frederick County-Winchester was determined to be $90.4 million. (The Northern Virginia Daily)

Bristol City Council took the first step in November to rebrand its Industrial Development Authority as the Economic Development Authority. It also plans to disband the city’s Economic Development Committee, a move which will require a charter change by the Virginia General Assembly. The council held a public hearing and first reading for both enabling ordinances Nov. 8. (Bristol Herald Courier)

Virginia Intermont College has been sold for $3.3 million. The winning bid was placed by George Xu, who represents a company based in New York that operates a college in China. Xu said his plan is to renovate the campus and reopen it at a later date as a four-year college. (Bristol Herald Courier)

The Southwest Virginia Health Authority approved the merger in November between Mountain States Health Alliance and Wellmont Health System, which are based in Tennessee but have operations in Virginia. The merger plan has been forwarded to Virginia Commissioner of Health Marissa Levine for consideration. A similar process is underway in Tennessee. Both states must approve the merger for it to proceed. (Bristol Herald Courier)

The University of Virginia’s College at Wise held its first annual Girls Day in STEM-H in November. The event is designed to get young girls more involved in STEM-H courses and show them that careers in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and health are not just for men, according to a news release from U.Va.-Wise. Many girls lose interest in these fields by the time they reach high school, the release states. U.Va.-Wise plans to hold Girls Day in STEM-H every year. (Bristol Herald Courier)

The long-awaited Wal-Mart at Interstate 81’s Exit 19 in Abingdon opened Nov. 16. Construction began in October 2015. The store, which is open 24 hours, has about 300 full- and part-time employees. (Bristol Herald Courier)

Celanese plans to lay off 27 workers at its Giles County plant because of waning demand for the plant’s primary product, acetate tow, a material used in cigarette filters. After the layoffs, the plant will still employ more than 600 workers in Narrows. (The Roanoke Times)

Franklin County Distilleries plans to open a tasting room in Boones Mill where it already has a small production facility. The company makes White Label Corn Whiskey but plans to add more products to meet demand. (The Roanoke Times)

Roanoke-based Hollins University has received a record-setting gift from the charitable trust of an alumna that will be used to strengthen the university’s unrestricted endowment. The JSM Charitable Trust has pledged $20 million to the endowment fund. The commitment — arranged by Hollins graduate Elizabeth Hall McDonnell and her husband, James McDonnell III — marks the single largest gift received in the campus’s 175-year history. (The Roanoke Times)

The Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council, Virginia Western Community College and the City of Roanoke are creating RAMP – the Regional Acceleration and Mentorship program. RAMP will be located in downtown Roanoke and will house up to five technology companies that will receive programming and mentorship in hopes of helping them to achieve greater success in a shorter timeframe. The first class of RAMP startup companies is expected to start in mid-2017. (News release)

In November Roanoke Gas celebrated the completion of a 25-year, $100 million project that replaced about 200 miles of aging natural gas pipelines in the company’s regional distribution network. Some of the buried cast iron pipe that crews replaced dated back to the late 19th century. The Roanoke Gas distribution system includes about 1,100 miles of pipe and serves about 60,000 customers in a service area that includes the cities of Roanoke and Salem, the town of Vinton, Roanoke County and portions of Botetourt, Franklin and Montgomery counties. (The Roanoke Times)

The owner of high-end mall Tysons Galleria has bought the on-site Macy’s building and the property it sits on with an eye toward a redevelopment of the retail center. General Growth Properties purchased the 2.6-acre Macy’s site for $38 million. That purchase will allow General Growth Properties to move forward with a redevelopment of the Galleria, according to spokesman Kevin Berry. (Washington Business Journal)

A group of 17 high-powered CEOs led by  Russ Ramsey, Ted Leonsis and Peter Scher are forming an organization aimed at spurring economic growth in a region spanning from Baltimore to Richmond. The Greater Washington Partnership will focus on improving infrastructure, transit and workforce development, branding what has become known as a “megaregion” or “super region” as a hub for business and innovation. (Washington Business Journal)

Fairfax-based ManTech International Corp. must pay more than $2 million in damages to two former employees after a jury found the company retaliated against them for blowing the whistle on alleged fraud in a contract proposal. The Employment Law Group, a D.C.-based law firm that represented the employees, said ManTech was also ordered to pay $1.35 million in back pay and could be on the hook for “front pay” damages, meaning money they could have earned if they were rehired. (Washington Business Journal)

Reston-based government contractor Maximus plans to open a customer support center in Hampton. The company plans to spend $1.87 million to establish the call center, which is expected to create 189 jobs. Virginia competed against Pennsylvania and Texas for the project, according to Gov. Terry McAuliffe. The company provides business process management and technology solutions. (

Tysons Corner-based Nehemiah Security, a supplier of cybersecurity software and services, has acquired Siege Technologies, an advanced research and development company based in New Hampshire. The deal represents Nehemiah’s fourth cybersecurity acquisition since 2015. Financial details of the acquisition were not announced. (

Intertape Polymer Group plans to invest $22 million in several new manufacturing lines at its facility near Ringgold. The Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors voted to offer incentives of up to $144,319 over three years in machine and tools tax grants and a one-time building permit fee waiver. The group makes and sells “paper and film-based pressure sensitive and water activated tapes, polyethylene and specialized polyolefin films, woven coated fabrics and complementary packaging systems for industrial and retail use,” according to a news release. (Danville Register & Bee)

Work has begun on the 5.4-acre site that German grocery chain Lidl purchased last November at the intersection of Piedmont Drive and Piedmont Place in Danville. A building permit to construct a 36,000-square-foot grocery store was issued in November. The company announced its intention of expanding into the United States last year and opened its U.S. headquarters in Arlington. (Danville Register & Bee)

Microsoft Corp. has announced its fifth expansion in Mecklenburg County. The company will invest $251.6 million to expand its data center. The project will create 44 jobs. According to Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Microsoft has invested nearly $2 billion in its Mecklenburg facility since 2010 and created more than 250 jobs. McAuliffe approved a $500,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund to assist Mecklenburg County with the project. The Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission also approved $970,000 in Tobacco Region Opportunity Funds. (

Patrick Henry Community College has started renovations to its motorsports building, turning the roughly 53,000-square-foot building in the Patriot Centre into a place that will house a number of new programs. The goal is to use these programs to help with job training and other ways of developing a local workforce. (Martinsville Bulletin)

Runk & Pratt (R&P) had its rezoning request of 349 acres off of Country Club Road approved by the Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors, allowing the company to begin renovating the Altavista Country Club and constructing a senior living community. Hurt Town Mayor Gary Poindexter welcomed the company to the area. (Chatham Star Tribune)

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