Company News For the Record

For the Record - January 2018

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CENTRAL VIRGINIA
Dominion Energy has released a massive report on its coal ash ponds in Virginia, a review ordered by the General Assembly to assess existing contamination and develop estimates and options for excavating, recycling or, as the company previously proposed to do, consolidating and capping the ash on-site. It remained unclear whether the report would alter any of Dominion’s plans, which environmental groups, some local governments, nearby residents and state lawmakers argue could allow heavy metals to leach into waterways for decades to come. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Virginia ranked fifth on Forbes.com’s 2017 Best States for Business list. The commonwealth ranked sixth in 2016 and seventh in 2015. Virginia was in the top two spots on the list from the ranking’s inception in 2006 through 2013. North Carolina was ranked No. 1 on the list, followed by Texas, Utah and Nebraska. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

The deadline for a Chinese company’s proposed acquisition of Henrico County-based Genworth Financial Inc. has been extended yet again — this time to April 1 as the companies continue to seek regulatory clearance for the deal. Genworth, a seller of mortgage and long-term-care insurance, announced it has reached an agreement with China Oceanwide Holdings Group Co. Ltd. to extend the deadline from the previous date of Nov. 30. The proposed $2.7 billion acquisition was announced in October 2016, and the original deadline to complete the deal was Aug. 31. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

A group of 32 Chinese nationals who invested in an electric car company founded by Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe have sued him and other key figures involved in GreenTech Automotive, claiming they were lured into a “scam” under false pretenses. The suit, filed in Fairfax County Circuit Court, seeks damages of at least $17.92 million, the sum of the roughly $560,000 each investor put in through a controversial federal immigration program that allows foreigners to gain U.S. residency by investing in job-creating projects in economically struggling American regions. (Richmond Times-Dispatch) 

EASTERN VIRGINIA
The U.S. Navy is awarding BAE Systems’ ship repair yard in Norfolk a contract worth up to nearly $184 million, if all the options are exercised, for repair, modernization and maintenance work on the dock-landing ship USS Tortuga. Work on the vessel is scheduled to begin in January and to wrap up in May 2019, when the ship will be reactivated for service. The contract is enabling the yard, which employs about 870 people, to add nearly 100 full-time workers. (The Virginian-Pilot)

Norfolk-based Harbor Group International says it has made its largest purchase ever, buying 25 apartment complexes in five major metro areas for $1.8 billion. The real estate investment firm and management company bought a portfolio of 9,677 units from Lone Star Funds, a Dallas-based private-equity company. The apartments are in the Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Baltimore and the Washington, D.C., area. Harbor Group said it would invest another $80 million to upgrade the rentals. (The Virginian-Pilot)

Standard Calibrations Inc. (SCI) plans to expand its engineering operation in Chesapeake, creating 150 jobs. The global instrumentation and controls company will invest more than $508,500 on the expansion. SCI is seeing increased demand because of its work with high-profile data centers, such as those found in social media, software, financial, government and other related industries. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

TDI LLC has purchased a 2.59-acre site in Virginia Beach for $1.5 million. The site includes an 11,495-square-foot building that will be used for the company’s corporate headquarters in addition to space for manufacturing, printing and distribution. The Virginia Beach Development Authority approved an Economic Development Investment Program grant of $75,000 to the company based on $2.2 million of capital investment. The project is expected to create 10 to 15 jobs. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

Wilmik Inc., a business founded in 1983 in Virginia Beach, will more than double its size with an expansion and new location. The company provides concrete construction ranging from footings to stamped and dyed slabs for commercial and residential projects. Currently located at 1736 Virginia Beach Blvd., Wilmik has purchased a 1.09-acre site at 512 Central Drive in Virginia Beach, which will expand its corporate headquarters from 5,000 to 12,000 square feet. In addition, the company will add 12 to 15 jobs with annual salaries ranging from $41,600 to $62,400 per year excluding benefits. The company currently employs 60 people. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

SHENANDOAH VALLEY
Hutchins & Hutchins plans to expand in Augusta County. The small business assembles and distributes cleanroom supplies and equipment. It plans to invest $224,000 in expanding its warehouse, a project expected to create 15 jobs. The company also custom packs and co-packs supplies for the aerospace, biotech, food, government, medical, optical, pharmaceutical and tissue-bank industries. “With continued growth in the government, pharmaceutical fields and the recent opening of HutchMed Medical Supply, a division of Hutchins & Hutchins, expansion is a must,” Rebecca Wiseman, president of Hutchins & Hutchins Inc., said in a statement.  (VirginiaBusiness.com)

The U.S. Department of Transportation has approved SkyWest Airlines of Utah to serve as the new passenger carrier for Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport in Weyers Cave. Airport Executive Director Greg Campbell said the service by SkyWest between Weyers Cave and Washington Dulles International Airport in Northern Virginia and O’Hare International Airport in Chicago would begin April 1. “We have never had an airline of this scale and sophistication,” Campbell said. “We are excited about this. This is a real opportunity for the community.” He said SkyWest has a record of “phenomenal reliability and customer service.” SkyWest will use a 50-seat twin-engine jet model known as the CRJ200, which is manufactured by Bombardier of Canada. (The News Virginian)

A manufacturer of in-vehicle equipment storage solutions plans to open an operation in Shenandoah County, creating 60 jobs. TruckVault Inc. plans to spend $1.5 million to open the new operation. The company, based in Washington state, manufactures in-vehicle equipment storage for sportsmen, public safety and commercial use. Al Chandler, CEO of TruckVault, said in a statement that many states and cities were interested in TruckVault. “We chose Mount Jackson and Virginia primarily due to the progressive attitude shown to all Virginia citizens,” Chandler said. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

The Valley Health Surgery Center (VHSC) opened in Winchester in December. VHSC offers access to less-invasive techniques to diagnose and repair problems relating to otolaryngology, orthopedics, podiatry and neurosurgery. The facility is 21,759 square feet with three operating rooms, two procedure rooms and 20 patient holding bays, with room to expand. (News release)

SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA
The boards of directors of two area health-care systems have selected 11 people who will govern them when they merge to form Ballad Health. The new health system is being formed from the combination of Mountain States Health Alliance and Wellmont Health System. The Ballad board will include eight Tennessee residents, three from Virginia and two physicians. The board will officially assume its role with fiduciary responsibility for Ballad Health when the merger closes in early 2018. Mountain States serves parts of Tennessee, Virginia, Kentucky and North Carolina. Wellmont operates in Tennessee and Virginia.  (Bristol Herald Courier) 

The arrival of 2018 brings noticeable advancement of Chilhowie’s million-dollar project to revitalize old Main Street and its environs. The first phase of the downtown revitalization project will include façade improvements, concrete sidewalks, curb and guttering, brick accents and paving, stormwater system improvements, branding and marketing, clearance and demolition, and blight removal efforts. Town Manager John Clark said he hopes the former Superior Mills building can be taken down during the winter or early spring for revitalization efforts to move forward. (SWVAToday.com) 

Work can now begin on The Meadows site, approximately two years after the controversial project was announced. The Meadows is a 73-acre former plantation that is to be the site of a sports and retail complex. The project has secured permits from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and Abingdon, where the development will be located. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation and the town had all signed the memorandum of agreement regarding the project. (Bristol Herald Courier) 

The Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) has awarded a grant of up to $500,000 to the Southwest Virginia Community College Educational Foundation to be used for workforce development and training at the college. The funds will be used to provide scholarships to students in emerging fields such as information technology, unmanned aerial systems, agriculture and advanced manufacturing.  (SWVAToday.com) 

ROANOKE/NEW RIVER VALLEY
American Electric Power Co. (AEP) is investing $12.7 million in a transmission operation in downtown Roanoke that’s expected to create 102 jobs.  AEP, based in Columbus, Ohio, is modernizing, rebuilding, and expanding electricity transmission lines throughout its service area. AEP plans to occupy nearly 47,000 square feet on two floors of Appalachian Power’s renovated facility at 40 Franklin Road, SW. (Virginiabusiness.com) 

An apartment complex in Botetourt County has gotten a green light on rezoning and can move forward. The Cathcart Group of Charlottesville plans to build a 266-unit community on 17 acres near Exit 150 on Interstate 81. The county has said that it needs more affordable housing since 1,200 new manufacturing jobs are expected to be created in the next five years. (The Roanoke Times)

Virginia’s State Water Control Board voted in December to approve a water-quality certification  for the controversial Mountain Valley Pipeline. The board voted 5-2, following a recommendation from the state’s Department of Environmental Quality to approve certification. During the public debate on what was the last regulatory hurdle for the project, many environmental groups and landowners said the DEQ staff had not provided enough details to the board for it to make an informed decision on whether there was a “reasonable assurance” that water along the pipeline’s route would not be contaminated during construction. Since the Dec. 7, decision, two lawsuits have been filed against the state board challenging the certification.  (The Roanoke Times) 

The Virginia Tech Corporate Research Park wants to add upscale apartments to the park, which is home to 84 companies and research centers. It has joined forces with local technology entrepreneur John Olver who owns a seven-acre parcel around the park. While still in the early planning stages, Olver is aiming for a 350-unit project. The idea is to make the park a place where people can work, live and play.  (The Roanoke Times)

NORTHERN VIRGINIA
A manufacturer plans to spend $2.68 million in expanding its Spotsylvania County facility. The project is expected to create 25 jobs at the idX Corp. plant, which provides millwork, fixtures, décor and graphics in retail settings. In February 2017, idX announced it would create 150 jobs and invest $7.2 million in establishing a Virginia manufacturing operation in Spotsylvania. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

The Interstate 66 toll lanes opened in December in Washington’s Northern Virginia suburbs with prices so steep they could be among the highest drivers have paid for the privilege of traveling on a state-owned highway in the United States. Tolls hit $34.50 — or close to $3.50 a mile — to drive the 10-mile stretch from the Beltway to Washington during the height of the morning commute. From 5:30 to 9:30 a.m. eastbound and 3 to 7 p.m. westbound, Monday through Friday, tolls will fluctuate to maintain a minimum average speed of 45 mph; there is no cap on tolls. Put simply, as traffic increases, the toll rises to help manage the vehicles entering the roadway. The tolls change every six minutes. (The Washington Post) 

Mars, the McLean-based company best known for its confectionary brands like M&Ms and Snickers, announced in November that it will buy a minority stake in Kind, the maker of wildly popular snack bars. The deal values Kind at more than $4 billion, according to people briefed on the transaction, marking a significant valuation for one of the most prominent new food brands to hit store shelves in recent years. The minority investment — which could lead to Mars eventually buying all of Kind in the future, based on its history with similar investments — marks the latest effort by a legacy food giant to follow consumers’ healthier eating habits. (The New York Times) 

Shareholders of Dulles-based Orbital ATK Inc., a major aerospace and defense technologies company, have approved its proposed acquisition by Falls Church-based Northrop Grumman Corp. In November, holders of more than 99 percent of Orbital ATK’s common stock present at the shareholder’s meeting or represented by proxy voted in favor of the merger. The company expects the transaction to close in the first half of 2018, pending regulatory approvals. (VirginiaBusiness.com)




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