Company News For the Record

For the Record - July 2018

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EASTERN VIRGINIA
In a race for the deepest East Coast port, the Port of Virginia is about to leap ahead. The budget signed by Gov. Ralph Northam in June includes $350 million to kick-start a major dredging project in the shipping channel. If the project goes forward, shipping channels in the port of Hampton Roads will go from 50 feet to 55 feet in some places, surpassing Los Angeles, the busiest port in the nation. The dredging project, headed up by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, also will widen shipping channels in Hampton Roads up to 1,400 feet. The push to dredge is fueled by ultra-large container vessels more frequently criss-crossing the world, and the ability of ports along the East Coast like Virginia, Charleston and Savannah to accommodate them. (The Virginian-Pilot)

A low-cost airline will soon offer nonstop flights to Las Vegas from Norfolk International Airport. The flights will be available year-round starting Aug. 12 through Frontier Airlines. The airline company, headquartered in Denver, is an a la carte airline. Travelers will pay extra for baggage and food. Checked baggage is $30 each way while carry-on baggage is $35. The airline also will offer nonstop flights to Denver and Orlando. (The Virginian-Pilot)

The Batten family, which has owned The Virginian-Pilot for more than a century, sold the newspaper and its associated businesses to Chicago-based media conglomerate Tronc for $34 million. Tronc, formerly known as Tribune Publishing, is a publicly traded company that owns the Daily Press in Newport News, as well as The Baltimore Sun, The Chicago Tribune and The Orlando Sentinel, among other large media outlets nationwide. The acquisition includes Inside Business and Style Weekly. It also involves The Pilot’s properties, such as the downtown Norfolk headquarters, at 150 W. Brambleton Ave., and the printing plant in Virginia Beach. (The Virginian-Pilot)

Virginia Beach is tapping a tourism tax fund to buy garbage trucks. But several groups that represent businesses in the resort area aren’t happy that leaders want to take $1.4 million from the Tourism Investment Program to cover the shortfall in services. The groups sent a letter to the City Council and mayor in early June asking for the money to be paid back in five years with no interest. (The Virginian-Pilot)

Virginia Beach-based ECPI University has been designated a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education by the National Security Agency and U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The goal of the program is to reduce vulnerability in the national information infrastructure by promoting higher education and research in cyber defense and producing professionals with cyber defense expertise. (News release)

SHENANDOAH VALLEY
Blue Ridge Community College broke ground in May on a two-story biosciences facility that college officials think can spur further economic development in the Shenandoah Valley. Blue Ridge President John Downey said the $21 million project grew out of discussions with the college’s regional partners, including city and county economic developers, industry leaders and the Shenandoah Valley Partnership. The 40,000-square-foot building will train students in biomanufacturing and bioprocessing while also serving as the home for the college’s nursing and emergency medical programs. (The News Virginian)

Provides US Inc., a manufacturer of heat exchangers, will expand its Augusta County operation with an $867,000 investment to expand its facilities to meet increased demand. The project is expected to create 20 jobs. The company has secured 50,000 square feet of additional production space and will install new equipment. Provides US is based in Latina, Italy. The company’s first U.S. manufacturing facility opened in Augusta several years ago. This expansion will increase its workforce by nearly 50 percent. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

Winchester’s Economic Development Authority (EDA) is proposing a public-private partnership that would bring new commercial operations and up to four dozen apartments to the corner of North Kent and East Piccadilly streets in downtown Winchester. “It’s intended to be a mixed-use project with retail and parking on the ground floor, with residential above,” said Rob Seidel, of Providence Capital Partners LLC, a private development firm that would build the structure on land the EDA recently purchased. The EDA has purchased several buildings, which gave it total ownership of the entire northeast corner of North Kent and East Piccadilly streets. (The Winchester Star) 

NORTHERN VIRGINIA
Global construction firm Bechtel Corp. plans to move its headquarters from San Francisco to Reston by the end of the year, moving the company’s base of operations out of California for the first time in more than a century. The firm’s Reston office has functioned as a de facto “operational headquarters” since 2011, with chairman and chief executive Brendan Bechtel based there alongside about 1,300 employees.  About 150 managers and employees are being asked to relocate to Reston from Houston and San Francisco. (The Washington Post)

The private-equity firm Cerberus Capital Management LP is exploring the sale of DynCorp International Inc, a McLean-based defense contractor, a transaction that could fetch more than $1.3 billion. Cerberus has hired two investment banks that are soliciting offers from potential buyers. DynCorp could be valued at around eight times its 2018 earnings after taxes of $168 million. (Reuters)

France-based Capgemini says it has agreed to acquire the commercial cybersecurity arm of Reston-based Leidos Holdings Inc., another example of a Greater Washington government contractor divesting a commercial business so it can focus on helping the government protect its most sensitive networks from increasingly sophisticated adversaries. Capgemini says the Leidos cyber team of almost 500 cybersecurity professionals will help it meet growing customer demand in the U.S. for commercial enterprise security. The remaining 1,500 cyber pros at Leidos will focus on core government markets and customers in highly regulated industries, such as commercial health care and energy.  (Washington Business Journal)

A Leesburg-based real estate company is seeking to bring another major data-center cluster to Loudoun County at a 95-acre site near the Panda Stonewall Generating Plant. The $2 billion project, known as Loudoun West, is slated for an area already zoned industrial and would extend the surge of more than 70 data centers northwest to Leesburg. To date, most of the data centers are clustered in Ashburn’s Data Center Alley – the largest concentration of data warehouses in the country — about 10 miles west of Loudoun West. Plans call for four to seven data centers on the property. The project is led by Jack O’Donnell, the managing partner of Leesburg-based NV Real Estate 2, which acquired the property in 2016. (Loudoun Times-Mirror)

The College Board is expanding operations in Fairfax County. The nonprofit, formed in 1900 to broaden access to higher education, said that it will lease an additional 74,000 square feet at Reston Town Center, a move expected to retain 614 existing jobs and create 120 new ones. The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority to secure the project with the help of a $750,000 state grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

SOUTHERN VIRGINIA
Boston Lumber and its owner, Leigh Felton, finished up a long chapter in May when the Halifax County business enjoyed its last day of operation. Boston Lumber was started in 1918 by Felton’s great-grandfather with multiple investors. The corporate name was Boston Lumber Builders’ Corp., with sales of lumber and building materials and a construction company as well. (South Boston News & Record)

Danville and Pittsylvania County’s first solar farm, a 76-acre facility in Ringgold, is open for business. The facility is Virginia’s largest municipal utility solar project. It is expected to produce enough power to serve 1,200 homes in Danville and Pittsylvania County. That number accounts for approximately 1.5 percent of power needs of Danville Utility. (Danville Register & Bee)

Hampden-Sydney College has received a $1.5 million grant from Bartow Morgan Jr., a 1994 graduate, to endow a faculty position and support scholarship aid. Morgan, a college trustee who is chairman and CEO of BrandBank in Lawrenceville, Ga., made the gift in honor of Kenneth N. Townsend, a professor of economics and business. (The Farmville Herald)

The Southern Virginia Mega Site at Berry Hill has moved a step closer to having a new manufacturing plant as the Danville-Pittsylvania Regional Industrial Facility Authority in May formally accepted a $2.6 million Virginia Tobacco Commission grant to grade the site for an ongoing development project. Danville and Pittsylvania County will share in providing the other $2.6 million necessary for the $5.2 million total project, which has been in the works for more than a year. Last June, the authority signed a purchase agreement with the Bethesda, Md.-based Enviva Development Holdings LLC for a 168-acre tract at the industrial park. Enviva bills itself as the world’s largest producer of wood pellets, often used to fuel power plants. The company is expected to invest $120 million in the project and provide 80 jobs, according to Matt Rowe, economic development director for Pittsylvania County. (Danville Register & Bee)

The U.S. Supreme Court in May agreed to consider whether Virginia has the right to ban a uranium mine, reviving discussion about a deposit on the state’s southern border that’s said to be the nation’s richest source of the mineral used in nuclear reactors. The massive uranium deposit in Pittsylvania County, located at the midpoint of the state’s border with North Carolina, was discovered decades ago, but in the 1980s the General Assembly prohibited mining out of concerns about radioactivity. Lower courts had ruled against Virginia Uranium Inc., a company wanting to mine the deposit, in a legal challenge of the state’s ban. But the company asked the Supreme Court to review a split decision issued last year by the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. (The Associated Press)

No deadline; no waiting. Anyone wanting to apply for state funding for economic development projects through the GO Virginia Region 3 Council now can do so throughout the year. The decision to switch to an “open solicitation” process was made by the council in May, said Region 3 Technical Consultant Liz Povar. (Martinsville Bulletin)

CENTRAL VIRGINIA
Henrico County-based Altria Group Inc. has announced a new structure the company says will allow it to maximize its tobacco businesses while growing its noncombustible products, like e-cigarettes. The new structure includes: establishment of two divisions – core tobacco and innovative tobacco products; creation of a chief growth officer position to accelerate speed to market for innovative products and technologies; and alignment of product development efforts more directly to the core and innovative tobacco product business. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

Chesterfield County-based Avail Vapor LLC, which owns 101 e-vapor stores and manufactures e-liquids for electronic smoking devices, said it has added another company to its list of contract manufacturing customers. Avail said it will manufacture, label and package some e-liquid products for Glas LLC, a Los Angeles-based vaping device and e-liquid company. E-liquids are mixtures of flavorings, glycerin, propylene glycol and nicotine extract that are used in refillable vaping devices. Avail has a production site and analytical lab on Southlake Boulevard in Chesterfield. The company will make products for Glas LLC’s Basix line for national and international distribution. Avail also will sell six select e-liquids from Glas’ Basix line in each of its 101 stores. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Richmond-based Envera Health Inc., a growing company that offers services to health-care providers, has completed a new $2 million investment round. The company, founded in 2015, offers software and services to health-care providers such as hospital networks that help them better communicate with patients and coordinate services. The investors are two Richmond-based venture capital funds — NRV and Harbert Growth Partners  — and Atlanta-based investment firm Noro-Moseley Partners. The three firms have previously invested in Envera, having led a $14 million investment round in 2016 after the company acquired two area businesses: inHEALTH and MedVirginia, which were integrated into the business. Both NRV, founded in 2011, and Harbert Growth Partners, founded in 2002, invest in emerging, high-growth businesses. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Lingerfelt CommonWealth Partners LLC, a Richmond-based real estate management firm, plans to buy the Virginia Beach Resort Hotel & Conference Center for $19 million. Lingerfelt has hired Commonwealth Lodging Management LLC, a Virginia Beach-based hospitality management and consulting firm, to operate and manage the property. The 263,328-square-foot hotel and conference center at 2800 Shore Drive includes 295 suites on a 3.6-acre site along the Chesapeake Bay. Lingerfelt plans a $25 million renovation of the property. It will be rebranded as Delta Hotel by Marriott, a new, full-service brand designed for business and leisure travelers. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

Lynchburg Regional Airport will continue using the services of its sole fixed-base operator for another five years after Lynchburg City Council voted 6-1 in May to renew the lease for Aviation Resources Inc. Council member Randy Nelson opposed the extension. In April the Lynchburg Regional Airport commission unanimously recommended a one-year lease renewal to allow other potential FBOs to enter the market. Aviation Resources, which is owned by a Liberty University subsidiary, has provided aeronautical services such as fueling and aircraft maintenance at the airport since September 2015, when City Council authorized a three-year lease with the operator. That lease included a five-year renewal option. (The News & Advance)

Owens & Minor Inc. has named an interim chief financial officer, replacing the CFO who had been in that role at the Hanover County-based medical products distributor since 2013. Robert K. Snead, former group vice president of finance for global solutions, assumed the additional role of interim CFO on June 1. Snead succeeds Richard A. “Randy” Meier, executive vice president and chief financial officer, who the company said is leaving Owens & Minor to pursue other opportunities. The company is engaging a national firm to conduct a search for a permanent chief financial officer. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Five years after it was conceived, Riverside Village on Pantops is about to start construction on its third and final phase, delivering the retail portion of the promising mixed-use development clustered near the banks of the Rivanna in Albemarle County. Developer Stony Point Design/Build officially broke ground on the commercial phase of the project Thursday May 17, clearing the path for up to six storefronts with 24 two-bedroom apartments over the shops — four of which will be designated as affordable housing. The ink on the retail leases is not yet final, but Stony Point President Chris Henry said he’s exchanged a couple rounds of draft leases with three potential proprietors: a craft brew and pizza restaurant, a coffee shop and a gym. All three would be locally owned and locally operated, he said.  (The Daily Progress)

Sheltering Arms Hospital and VCU Health System have begun construction on a 114-bed rehabilitation facility that will be located on 25 acres in the West Creek Medical Park in Goochland County. The joint venture combines inpatient beds from both organizations to create a multimillion-dollar state-of-the-art destination hospital focused on caring for individuals who have survived strokes, spinal cord injuries or brain injuries, as well as those in need of general rehabilitation or various neurological diseases and disorders. (News release)

Thalhimer Realty Partners Inc., the investment and development subsidiary of Cushman & Wakefield|Thalhimer, has started construction on City View Marketplace, the next phase of its City View Landing development in the Manchester area of Richmond. Construction on the $25 million mixed-use development began in early May. The project includes five buildings totaling 13,270 square feet of commercial space and 161 apartment units. The apartment portion of the project is known as the Flats at City View. Also included in the development is a 2-acre pad site for a future grocery store. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

In response to an increasingly turbulent and unpredictable individual market, two major Richmond health systems have teamed up with an insurer to offer a plan of their own. Virginia Premier, a VCU Health-owned insurer, has filed plans with Virginia’s Bureau of Insurance to offer four plans next year, networking with Bon Secours and VCU Health providers. The move marks the insurer’s first foray into the Affordable Care Act’s marketplace. Virginia Premier CEO Linda Hines said talks began around last September when it became clear that the Richmond area would have only one insurance option on the individual market for this year. Virtually all the insurance companies had left the market, noted Tony Herbert, Bon Secours’ vice president for managed care. “When that occurred, we really did start talking about what some other options are,” Hines said. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

West Creek Financial Inc., a Henrico County-based point-of-sale financing firm, said in May that it has raised $7 million as it plans to increase its sales force by 70 people this year. Venture capital firm Summit Action LLC led the investment, which consists of convertible debt that could be turned into an equity stake in the company. Founded in 2015, West Creek Financial specializes in providing lease-to-own financing services for its clients in the retail industry. The company uses data analytics and machine learning technology to optimize underwriting, enabling retailers to make more sales to near-prime and subprime customers. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA
Appalachian Power has announced that it will become owner of the electric distribution system at Breaks Interstate Park. The company said it will replace a number of distribution poles, power transformers and above- and underground cable. The initial investment by the company is expected to be approximately $1 million. (Bristol Herald Courier) 

A 55,000-square-foot Hobby Lobby store in The Falls commercial center is expected to open in late August, employing 35 to 50 full- and part-time workers, according to a statement from the company. The store is located just off Cabela Drive near the center’s traffic circle. The Bristol store will mark the chain’s 13th in Virginia and its second in the Tri-Cities. Starting pay is expected to be about $10.45 for part-time associates and $15.70 per hour for full-time workers, according to the Oklahoma-based company. (Bristol Herald Courier)

Mohawk Industries will expand its manufacturing operation in Carroll County, thanks to a $95,000 grant from the Virginia Tobacco Commission. The project will preserve existing jobs and add several new positions at the carpet and flooring company’s Hillsville plant, according to a news release from the commission. The grant was awarded based on six new jobs, 120 retained jobs and $6.9 million in capital investment, said Jordan Butler, public relations coordinator for the commission. (Galax Gazette) 

Twin City firm Par Ventures LLC has finalized its acquisition of the Bristol Mall for $2.6 million. Par Ventures plans to lease space to a startup pharmaceutical company expected to produce and market cannabidiol oil. Par Ventures purchased the 486,000-square-foot mall from previous owners Sunstar Keshav Property LLC and 45.9 acres for slightly more than the assessed value of $2.24 million, deed documents show. In a statement issued in May, Par Ventures officials said its plans include building out the mall in two to three years while creating more than 500 jobs.  About 150 of those jobs are tied to Dharma Pharmaceuticals. Dharma anticipates performing a multimillion-dollar renovation of 80,000 square feet of the mall if it receives one of five available licenses to be issued by the Virginia Board of Pharmacy to operate a pharmaceutical processing facility.  (Bristol Herald Courier) 

The Virginia Information Technology Agency contract with Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC) is expected to create 40 jobs in Dickenson County by this fall. Earlier this year, the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority approved a loan of up to $2 million to the Dickenson County Industrial Development Authority to build out the second floor of a building in the Dickenson County Technology Park in Clintwood for SAIC. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

The Virginia Tobacco Commission says it will provide $6 million in new funds for 27 projects designed to spur job growth in Southwest and Southside Virginia. The commission approved $2.8 million for workforce development, $2.2 million for education programs and $1 million for a business park development. (The News and Advance) 

ROANOKE/NEW RIVER VALLEY
Appalachian Power Co. plans to build a 138-kilovolt substation and three miles of distribution line at the Greenfield Industrial Park in Botetourt County. The substation is expected to improve power reliability in the county and decrease the time needed for restorations during power outages, the company says. If the plans are approved by the county’s Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors, construction would start in summer 2019.  (The Roanoke Times) 

GE Power announced in early June a tentative plan to end more than 60 years of manufacturing at its Salem plant next year, a union official said. A local mainstay of high-tech manufacturing would be reduced to an engineering center and more than 250 people would lose their jobs, if sluggish business conditions in the power sector cause the company to mothball the plant’s manufacturing equipment. GE would continue to employ more than 200 professionals in its Power, Renewable Energy and Baker Hughes businesses based at the plant, which opened in 1955. (The Roanoke Times) 

The Virginia Tech Carilion health sciences campus in Roanoke is expected to have a substantial economic impact on the state’s economy within eight years. According to an economist from the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service, the impact will grow from $214 million today to $465.2 million annually by 2026. The addition of a second building for the research institute will create 828 jobs and generate $150 million in additional spending.  The economist described the study as “conservative,” since it did not consider the impact that additional undergraduate spending might have on Roanoke. (The Roanoke Times) 

The Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport continues to see traffic increase this year. April traffic was up 10.6 percent on a year-over-year basis, with 52,957 passengers compared with 47,860 in April 2017. Year-to-date 2018 traffic is up 5.5 percent.  At this pace, the airport says it is on track to have its busiest year since 2011. (News release) 

AAA recently awarded The Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center and its restaurant, The Regency Room - a Four Diamond rating. The renovated historic property is part of the Curio Collection by Hilton, a global portfolio of upscale hotels and resorts known for their individuality. According to Michael Quonce, the hotel’s public relations and advertising manager, this is the first time the property has received the four-diamond designation in 20 years, since requirements from AAA to gain the ranking changed in the 1990s. (VirginiaBusiness.com) 




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