Company News For the Record

For the Record - July 2017

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EASTERN VIRGINIA
Work is expected to begin soon on a project to extend broadband internet service in the northern portion of Gloucester County. The county received a state grant of $193,000 from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development to bring service to an unserved area through a partnership with Cox Communications. The company agreed to pay about $146,000 to extend broadband connections to roughly 101 homes and eight businesses. (Daily Press)

Huntington Ingalls Industries delivered aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford to the U.S. Navy on June 1. The carrier completed acceptance trials on May 26. More than 5,000 shipbuilders in Newport News and thousands of suppliers across the U.S. contributed to construction of the ship. The Gerald R. Ford is the first in a class of next-generation aircraft carriers designed to replace Nimitz-class aircraft carriers. (News release)

CBRE|Hampton Roads announced the sale of adjoining properties in Chesapeake to Luck Stone Corp. and Allan Myers Corp. Luck Stone acquired 33 acres of industrial land with access to the N&P Beltline Railroad for $2.45 million to operate a distribution facility. Allan Myers purchased 29 acres that includes a small office building, upgraded wharf on the Elizabeth River and other improvements for $5.1 million. Allan Myers will operate an asphalt plant on the site. (VirginiaBusiness.com) 

Virginia opened in May its newest asset in drone technology research, a runway for unmanned aircraft. The $5.8 million state-funded project is known as the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems (MARS UAS) Airfield and is located at the NASA Wallops Flight Facility on the Eastern Shore. (News release)
 
In May, the biggest container ship ever to visit the East Coast called first at the Port of Virginia.  The Cosco Development has a capacity of 13,092 TEUs, or 20-foot-equivalent units. The ship is part of the new OCEAN Alliance, which includes three ocean carriers that agree to share space on vessels. Its weekly Asia-to-U.S. East Coast service includes 11 vessels ranging from 11,000 to 13,000 TEUs. By the end of May, an even larger ship, at 13,208 TEUs, had called on the port. (News release)

SHENANDOAH VALLEY
Lumos Networks Corp.’s stockholders have approved its acquisition by EQT Infrastructure. The transaction remains subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals. The merger is expected to be completed during the third quarter. Under the terms of the merger agreement, EQT Infrastructure will acquire all of Waynesboro-based Lumos Networks’ common stock for $950 million. Lumos Networks stockholders of record will receive $18 per share in cash. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

The Mount Jackson Town Council gave the final green light for preparations to begin construction of a solar farm. The council voted 6-0 to grant a special-use permit to Virginia Solar to built a 160-acre, 16.65-megawatt farm. The farm will be built on part of a 712-acre parcel that its owner, Planning Commissioner Robert Whitehurst, hopes to turn into an industrial site. The farm will generate electricity to be sold to Dominion Energy. (The Shenandoah Valley-Herald) 

The Shenandoah County Industrial Development Authority approved a resolution creating a county economic development director position. Now it’s up to the Board of Supervisors to decide whether to support the initiative aimed at boosting the county’s economy. The resolution states that the IDA offers to provide funding to hire and retain a full-time director with costs estimated at $150,000 per year. (Northern Virginia Daily)

Thirteen communities have banded together  to promote tourism stretching from Winchester to Lexington. The Shenandoah Valley Tourism Partnership unveiled its new marketing partnership and message during an event at the Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport in partnership with the Virginia Tourism Corp.’s “What’s New?” program. The Virginia Tourism Corp. is the state agency charged with marketing the state. (News Leader)

ROANOKE/NEW RIVER VALLEY
Amtrak is preparing for a new passenger service that will begin in Roanoke in the fall. It began running trains in June between Lynchburg and Roanoke, but the trains aren’t carrying any passengers. The nonscheduled trains are providing training for locomotive engineers and train conductors to learn the tracks and territory between the cities. The trains are expected to operate two times per day, five days a week. Amtrak is operating the trains in collaboration with the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT), and Norfolk Southern. When Amtrak’s Northeast Regional service begins, it will extend from Lynchburg to Roanoke and will operate one round-trip seven days per week. It will mark the first time that passenger rail service has been available in Roanoke in four decades. The Northeast Regional service will provide a same-seat trip to and from Roanoke and to Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York City, and other cities along the Northeast Corridor. (VirginiaBusiness.com) 
 
The Roanoke region’s economy continues to benefit from an annual marathon. The Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon, also known as “America’s Toughest Road Marathon,” was held for the eighth consecutive year in April. It drew 1,859 runners who generated more than $613,000 in economic impact. Those figures come from an analysis by the Roanoke Regional Partnership and Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission. Since its inception, the event has contributed more than $3.8 million to the local economy. A survey of the main race and related events determined that they created $349,005 in direct new sales activity, plus an additional $264,543 in indirect and induced spending for the total of $613,548 — up 3.6 percent from 2016. The economic impact was larger this year as a result of an increased number of participants from outside the Roanoke Region.(VirginiaBusiness.com)

A pledge from an anonymous donor is setting up a scholarship for Roanoke College students that will rank among the most generous in the nation, officials announced in June. The merit-based scholarship — which will be funded over time through a $2.35 million endowment — will cover full tuition, room and board, fees and other costs for its recipients. The donor, a local retired professor, structured the program to help exceptional students graduate virtually debt-free, according to the college. (The Roanoke Times)

SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA
Nonprofit organization Appalachian Voices co-hosted the 2017 Solar Fair in May along with the Solar Workgroup of Southwest Virginia. The goal of the event was to introduce more people to the benefits of going solar — from creating jobs and community wealth to saving energy and protecting the environment. Appalachian Voices awarded $500 each to two local high school teams who developed Solar in Your School project proposals: The Eastside High School Ecology Club from Coeburn and Ridgeview High School’s robotics team from Clintwood. Also that day, the Solar Workgroup launched Solarize Wise, a program to help make solar installations easier and more affordable for homeowners, businesses and farmers in Wise County. (News release) 

A ceremony held in May at the Lincoln Theatre in Marion introduced the first class for the Department of Physician Assistant studies at Emory & Henry College. The class of 30 students will undertake the graduate program at the college’s new Marion campus, established in the former Smyth County Community Hospital. The inaugural white-coat ceremony marks the students’ transition from the study of preclinical to clinical health sciences, and some consider it a rite of passage. (SWVAToday.com) 

Guynn Furniture began a liquidation sale in June in preparation for the closing of its downtown Wytheville store. The 115-year-old company began mailing out fliers announcing the closing in May. Store manager Doug Robinson, however, declined to comment. A release from the retailer said that Guynn’s stores in Galax, Hillsville and Independence would remain open. The company also was selling its 20,000-square-foot building in Wytheville, which included a warehouse. (SWVAToday.com) 

Health commissioners for Virginia and Tennessee are expected to decide in September whether to allow a merger between two health-care systems serving parts of their states. The officials are using a unique process to decide whether two large competitors can control the market in far southwestern Virginia and northeastern Tennessee. Mountain States and Wellmont said that without the merger, their systems would falter and that they would each be forced to close hospitals, seek an out-of-market partner or sell to outsiders. Opponents, including insurers, have said that allowing one health-care entity to control the market could reduce services and increase prices. (The Roanoke Times) 

Virginia Chamber of Commerce officials made a stop in Bristol in May to poll local business, government and health leaders about what they think the General Assembly needs to do to help business and economic development growth in the state. The chamber is gathering information from business leaders to compile Blueprint Virginia 2025 — an eight-year guideline for Virginia’s governor and legislators to follow when considering legislation that affects the state’s economy. Blueprint Virginia 2025 will be presented to the newly elected governor in December. (Bristol Herald Courier) 

CENTRAL VIRGINIA
Could Virginia be in the running to land the corporate headquarters of insurance giant Aetna? Gov. Terry McAuliffe has expressed an interest in getting Aetna’s headquarters for Virginia, Secretary of Commerce and Trade Todd P. Haymore said in late May. The governor reached out to Aetna officials by telephone several months ago after becoming aware of the company’s interest in relocating from Hartford, Conn., Haymore said. Aetna officials made no promises that Virginia would be selected. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

The Bear Island newsprint manufacturing mill in northern Hanover County is being closed, affecting 165 employees, its parent company announced in May. White Birch Paper Co., a Connecticut-based company that owns the plant, said it plans to idle papermaking operations at the local mill indefinitely. The company said it will supply customers from its three other paper mills in Canada. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Biotech company Indoor Biotechnologies has purchased the historic Silk Mills building in downtown Charlottesville with plans to develop the site as a center for arts, science and technology. The company, which designs and produces a variety of allergen test and treatment products for researchers and consumers, is currently headquartered in the building. (The Daily Progress)

Thalhimer Realty Partners Inc. has acquired a 75-unit apartment property near Church Hill in Richmond for $9.67 million. The seller was 2001 East Broad LP. The company said it has closed on the purchase of the 2001 East Apartments at 2001 E. Broad St. The property also includes two commercial suites.  The apartments offer a mix of studio, one- and two- bedroom units.  Monthly rental rates range from $875 to $1,600. (VirginiaBusiness.com) 

Two Richmond-based banks are combining to create a force in banking that Virginia hasn’t seen in decades. Union Bankshares Corp. plans to buy Xenith Bankshares Inc. in an all-stock transaction valued at $701.2 million. Combining the two financial institutions will strengthen Union Bankshares’ presence in Hampton Roads and expand it into North Carolina and Maryland. Union Bankshares, parent company of Union Bank & Trust, had identified heavily populated Hampton Roads as its highest priority for expansion, said John C. Asbury, Union’s president and CEO. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

NORTHERN VIRGINIA
Amazon Web Services Inc. (AWS) plans to expand its presence with a new East Coast corporate campus in Fairfax County. The project is expected to create up to 1,500 jobs. AWS, a subsidiary of Seattle-based Amazon.com, offers cloud computing services to businesses, government, and educational organizations. (VirginiaBusiness.com) 

Bechtel has completed the Stonewall Energy Facility, a natural gas-fired power plant in Loudoun County. The plant, run by Dallas-based Panda Power Funds, has created 27 jobs. Bechtel is a San Francisco-based engineering, construction and project management company, which has offices in Reston. According to Bechtel, more than 700 jobs were created during the construction of the facility. The 778-megawatt combined-cycle generating station will supply electricity to up to 778,000 homes. (VirginiaBusiness.com) 

Two flex-industrial buildings in Chantilly have sold for $19.9 million to Beckham Gumbin Ventures, a Scottsdale, Ariz.-based real estate and development company. The seller of the 245,888-square-foot office and warehouse space was the CIM Group, a real estate assets manager based in Los Angeles. Sullyfield Commerce Center I is a 146,011-square-foot building that is 95 percent leased to seven tenants, including Northrop Grumman. Sullyfield Commerce Center II is a 99,877-square-foot building that is 63 percent leased to two tenants, Northrop Grumman and CACI International. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

A New York company’s plan to build Northern Virginia’s largest Korean spa includes swim-up bars, 18,000 square feet of sauna areas and a kids’ playground. C. Castle Group purchased the former Securities and Exchange Commission operations center at 6432 General Green Way for $9.75 million. It plans to turn about two-thirds of the building into the family-oriented Spa Forest. (Washington Business Journal)

Concept Plus LLC, an IT service provider, plans to invest $140,000 to expand its IT operation to create a shared lab for application developers in Fairfax County. The project is expected to create 31 jobs. Concept Plus is a government IT contractor founded in 2008.  The company will receive funding and consultative services from Virginia Economic Development Partnership’s Virginia Jobs Investment Program, an incentive available to companies creating new jobs or experiencing technological change. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

CSRA plans to sell its corporate headquarters in Falls Church, but the company is not moving. The IT services firm will remain in place, leasing back space at its 275,000-square-foot facility. The move, which is expected to take place in the next 10 months, could generate $20 million to $50 million for the company. (Washington Business Journal)

The following Northern Virginia-based companies have made the 2017 Fortune 500 list: Freddie Mac, Capital One Financial, Hilton Worldwide Holdings and Booz Allen Hamilton in McLean; General Dynamics and Northrop Grumman in Falls Church; AES and CalAtlantic Group in Arlington; Leidos and NVR in Reston; and DXC Technology in Tysons.  The list, compiled by Fortune magazine, ranks the publicly traded companies in the U.S. based on gross revenue. (VirginiaBusiness.com) 

Granules India Ltd. plans to invest $35 million in expanding its pharmaceutical research and development and manufacturing operation in Fairfax County. The expansion is expected to create 102 jobs. Granules India is based in Hyderabad, India. The company is eligible to receive $750 per job from the Virginia Jobs Investment Program (VJIP), for a total of $76,500. VJIP funds are a reimbursement to the business after the employee has been working for the company for 90 days. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

SAIC is relocating its headquarters from McLean to Reston, effective July 1. The information technology company will occupy the building previously occupied by Scitor Corp., which SAIC acquired in 2015. The move is part of an effort to increase efficiencies and consolidate SAIC’s office leases in the Washington area. SAIC will continue to occupy several floors in its McLean location. (VirginiaBusiness.com) 

McLean-based media company Tegna Inc. has completed its spinoff of Cars.com, creating two publicly traded companies. With the completion of the spinoff, Dave Lougee was named Tegna’s president and CEO while joining the company’s board of directors. He succeeds Gracia Martore, who has retired. Cars.com began trading on the New York Stock Exchange on June 1 under the symbol CARS. Cars.com will be based in Chicago. Before becoming president and CEO, Lougee was president of Tegna Media, overseeing 46 broadcast stations in 38 markets. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

Wärtsilä, a Helsinki-based technology group, plans to acquire Herndon-based Greensmith Energy Management Systems Inc. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed. Greensmith provides advanced energy storage technologies and software solutions. Wärtsilä is a major provider of advanced technologies and lifecycle solutions for the marine and energy markets. Greensmith will operate as a separate business under Wärtsilä Energy Solutions. The transaction was expected to close by July. The Finnish company has 18,000 employees and had 2016 net sales totaling $5.3 billion. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

If the Washington Redskins want to build a new stadium in Loudoun County, they need to act fast. Land up for sale near the future Loudoun Gateway Metro Station —  a site rumored to be a prospective spot for the football team’s new stadium — is expected to sell quickly, county officials say. The property up for sale is a 280-acre parcel fronting the Dulles Greenway at the site of the once planned mixed-use district known as International City. The property includes 280 gross acres and about 165 usable acres. In April the real estate and investment management company overseeing the sale, Chicago-based JLL, told the Loudoun Times-Mirror it was guiding buyers anywhere from $800,000 an acre or more, meaning the property could sell for more than $130 million. “There’s really only one site that makes sense for [the Redskins] with all the things that they mentioned: Metro accessibility, enough land and land that’s not currently being used or planned to be used in some other way … 606 Loudoun Gateway,” said Supervisor Ron Meyer (R-Broad Run). (Loudoun Times-Mirror)

Windward Consulting, an information technology consulting company based in Herndon, is investing $825,000 to expand its headquarters in Fairfax County. The project is expected to create 97 jobs. Windward Consulting helps large organizations manage their data centers and networks. The company, formed in 1997, has nearly 200 employees and more than 500 clients around the globe. Windward will receive funding and consultative services from Virginia Economic Development Partnership’s Virginia Jobs Investment Program. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

SOUTHERNVIRGINIA
Eastman Chemical Co., a producer of advanced materials and specialty additives, will invest $11.7 million to expand its manufacturing operation in Henry County. The project is expected to create 15 additional jobs. The company will add a new equipment line in its performance films business.  The expansion will provide additional capacity to meet a growing market for paint protection and window film. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

The Halifax County Industrial Development Authority has been awarded a $590,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to step up efforts to put local brownfield industrial sites back into productive use. The award is the largest of five grants given by the EPA to Virginia localities. Other grant recipients are Bedford, Norfolk, Pulaski and Roanoke, which received amounts of either $200,000 or $300,000. (South Boston News & Record)

Martinsville has been designated as Virginia’s fourth certified Work Ready Community. The nationally recognized designation, conferred by the commonwealth and American College Testing, is targeted at attracting new businesses and jobs while strengthening the skill sets of high school students, job seekers and existing workers. Henry, Halifax and Pittsylvania counties also have been certified as Work Ready Communities. (News release)

For the fourth straight year, all members of the Industrial Electronic Technology class at Patrick Henry Community College passed their tests. They finished the program by passing the Level 1 Siemens Mechatronic Systems Certification Program exam, a critical credential for job placement in that field. The average score of the class was 82.9 percent. (Martinsville Bulletin)

Work has begun on a rural internet project in Pittsylvania County after a groundbreaking ceremony in May at the base of White Oak Mountain. The board of supervisors signed a tower lease with SCS Broadband in January that allows the company to put its equipment on county-owned towers. This agreement also brings a small revenue stream to the county, while still providing internet service to rural areas. Mid-Atlantic Broadband planned the route for the fiber optic line on White Oak Mountain and is planning to add that network to its open access fiber network. (Danville Register & Bee)




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