Company News For the Record

For the Record - May 2018

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NORTHERN VIRGINIA
In March, management and IT services consulting firm Favor TechConsulting (FTC) celebrated its move to a 25,000-square-foot headquarters in Fairfax County. FTC is a minority- and service-disabled, veteran-owned government contractor that employs nearly 400 people, about 100 of whom are based at the company’s Tysons office. Last year, the company committed to a five-year, $1.6 million expansion plan that includes hiring up to 1,200 new employees. FTC moved into its new office in late December, leasing space in the Fairfax Square complex through 2025. (VirginiaBusiness.com) 

Arlington County-based Graham Holdings Co. has finalized a deal to transfer its Kaplan University education division to a newly created affiliate of Purdue University for $1. The school now is a part of a new nonprofit affiliated with Purdue, based in West Lafayette, Ind. The nonprofit will pay Graham to operate Kaplan University under a 30-year contract but has the option to buy out the contract after six years. Graham Holdings also will receive a share of the revenue generated from the new operation. (Washington Business Journal) 

A partnership of JM Zell and Hines expects to be at work on the tallest building in Alexandria — and one of the tallest in the region — as soon as late summer. Rising to 386 feet, 6 inches, at the tip of its mechanical screen, the 368-unit Carlyle Plaza South will tower over both the Capital Beltway and the Eisenhower Avenue corridor. The project is the first piece of Carlyle Plaza Two, a 6-acre site planned for four towers — office, residential or both. What comes next could depend on whether Amazon.com Inc. selects Northern Virginia, and specifically the Eisenhower Avenue corridor, for its second headquarters. (Washington Business Journal) 

Chantilly-based medical design firm RSG Architects has merged into Boston-based E4H Environments for Health Architecture. RSG Architects has changed its name to E4H but is maintaining its local operation. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. In addition to the new Chantilly office, E4H has locations in New England, New York, Tennessee and Texas. The E4H portfolio includes more than $6 billion in projects, including community hospitals, academic medical centers and life science laboratories. Services include health-care planning, architecture and interior design. RSG specialized in designing and delivering medical facilities since it was founded in 2000. (VirginiaBusiness.com) 

EASTERN VIRGINIA
The San Diego-based Green Flash brewery was sold in early April to an investment group called WC IPA LLC following a foreclosure by the company’s principal lender, Comerica Bank. Announcement of the sale came just a week after Green Flash closed its Virginia Beach brewery, which had operated for only 16 months. Green Flash had ambitious plans to become a national force in craft beer, distributing to all 50 states from its San Diego and Virginia bases, but it was unable to make payments on the $20 million loan it had with Comerica. (The San Diego Union Tribune)

Harbor Group International has sold a 17-story tower in downtown Norfolk to the city’s housing authority for $12 million. The Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority had leased space in the building, at 555 E. Main St., for its headquarters since June 2016. PNC Bank is one of the main tenants in the 125,000-square-foot building. The Norfolk-based real estate firm also recently bought a fully leased office tower in Northern Virginia for $226 million. The hefty price tag for One Dulles Tower, a 400,000-square-foot building in Herndon, came with the tenant: Amazon Web Services, a subsidiary of the e-commerce giant. (The Virginian-Pilot)

Old Dominion University plans to significantly expand its health sciences programs at the Virginia Beach Higher Education Center this fall. The university said the move will complement its health-sciences presence in Norfolk, introducing graduate programs in high-demand fields, such as telehealth, in Virginia Beach while enlarging other programs in the schools of Nursing and Community & Environmental Health in ODU’s College of Health Sciences. The expansion is expected to bring 850 additional students and 62 faculty members to the Virginia Beach site. ODU also expects to open a primary-care clinic, a substance-abuse prevention center and a training center for patient simulation in Virginia Beach. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

Stihl Inc. continues to expand in Virginia Beach. The U.S. division of Stihl Group has broken ground on a $25 million, 80,000-square-foot administration building. Besides the new administration space, the project will include improvements to an outdoor demonstration area for hands-on training, enhancements to the entry guardhouse and updates to traffic flow and security at the main entrance gate. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

Trader Interactive has moved its corporate headquarters in downtown Norfolk to a new location. The company moved from 150 Granby St. to Dominion Tower at 999 Waterside Drive. Trader Interactive has 250 employees in Norfolk. The company says the move will allow space for staff expansion; it plans to create 200 jobs during the next five years, with the majority of those positions in Norfolk. Trader Interactive will occupy 39,081 square feet on floors 19, 20 and 21 of Dominion Tower. The building sits on the Elizabeth River with floor-to-ceiling views of the downtown waterfront. The lease is the largest office transaction in Norfolk in the past two years. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

SHENANDOAH VALLEY
Waynesboro-based Lumos Networks Corp. is working on a project that will enable it to route bandwidth traffic from two undersea cables to data centers in Ashburn. Lumos plans to connect its fiber network to a building at 1632 Corporate Landing Parkway in Virginia Beach, which is being converted into a co-location facility operated by Globalinx Data Centers. The Globalinx facility is a short distance from the Cable Landing Station, where undersea cables will connect Virginia Beach with Spain and Brazil later this year. The two undersea cables are MAREA, jointly owned by Telefonica (Telxius), Microsoft and Facebook, and BRUSA, which is totally owned by Telefonica. (VirginiaBusiness.com) 

Shenandoah Valley Organic has bought property across from its North Liberty Street plant in Harrisonburg. The organic chicken processing company paid $900,000 to Massanutten Street LLC to acquire the properties at 778 and 779 Massanutten St. The parcels total more than 1.7 acres. (Daily News-Record)

Valley Health and the Winchester Cardiology and Vascular Medicine have agreed to form a closer arrangement after years of working together. Under the agreement, starting May 1, Valley Health will share governance with Winchester Cardiology while employees of Winchester Cardiology will continue to work for the cardiology practice. While the formal agreement only came recently, the move was years in the making. The arrangement is expected to improve patient access to care and to help develop new programs, such as telemedicine. (The Northern Virginia Daily)

SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA
Travel and hospitality were the bright spots over the past decade in a down labor market in Southwest Virginia. Even as overall employment fell 2.3 percent since 2001, jobs in the leisure sector increased by 14 percent, according to a new report from the Southwest Virginia Cultural Heritage Foundation and the Friends of Southwest Virginia. The report outlines growth — travel expenditures increasing by 56 percent from 2004 to 2016 — and promises more to come. Southwest Virginia accounts for more than a fifth of Virginia’s total land area and is home to two national parks, nine state parks and more than a thousand square miles of national and state forests. (SWVAToday.com) 

The Sunset-OptiNet transaction is now expected to close in May, the BVU Authority board was told in March. Officials from Duffield-based Sunset Digital Communications outlined steps they’re taking to complete the planned $50 million acquisition of BVU’s telecommunications division in the current fiscal year, which ends June 30. Sunset approached BVU about buying its fiber-optic network in 2015, and the deal was announced Feb. 5, 2016. Since that time, the deal has been consumed with obtaining a series of approvals from partners and funding agencies. (Bristol Herald Courier) 

The board of the University of Virginia’s College at Wise has taken an initial step toward creating its first graduate degree program. In March, the board approved the creation of a master’s program in teaching. The measure must be approved by the board of visitors, State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and the Virginia Department of Education. The earliest the program could start would be August 2019. (News release) 

The first microbrewery in Wythe County is set to open this spring in the old Gerta’s House of Music location on East Lee Highway. “But this is not Gerta’s; it is a new operation,” said owner David Blair. Gerta’s closed nearly two years ago. According to Blair, Tim Winsett will brew four craft beers on site. Blair is still contemplating the hours of operation but said they will probably be open for a few hours each evening on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. He hopes to open the microbrewery around May 1. (SWVAToday.com) 

ROANOKE/NEW RIVER VALLEY 
In its first deal in the Roanoke Valley region, Aria Legacy Group (ALG) has acquired West Creek Manor Apartments in Roanoke from the Virginia Housing Development Authority for $5.9 million. Joe Novoseller, ALG’s managing principal, said in a statement that Roanoke “is positioned among the nation’s leading mid-sized communities for economic growth and offers exceptional quality of life in terms of its location, outdoor and cultural activities, burgeoning food and music scene, and more.” Located on Westside Boulevard, the 197-unit apartment property was built in 1974 and renovated in 2010. ALG, based in Lakewood, N.J., acquires, owns and manages multifamily properties on the East Coast. (VirginiaBusiness.com) 

Ed Walker, a well-known developer in downtown Roanoke, has moved on to Buena Vista. Walker’s rehabilitation of more than a dozen buildings — with the help of historic tax credits — into apartments, restaurants and music venues is credited with contributing to the growth of downtown Roanoke. Now he is hoping he can inject some new life into Buena Vista where he recently purchased 16 properties for more than $1 million. Walker recently told Buena Vista’s City Council that he plans to have businesses up and running in each of the buildings within two years. He said he chose Buena Vista, with a population of 6,400, as a spot for redevelopment primarily because it has a good location three miles from Interstate 81, along the Maury River and near the Appalachian Trail and Blue Ridge Parkway.  (The Roanoke Times) 

The Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce plans to build a new office in Christiansburg’s commercial corridor off Peppers Ferry Road. The chamber has signed a 10-year lease on a 3,000-square-foot space with the option to purchase the building. Construction will begin soon, and the chamber hopes to move in by November. It will share the space with another tenant. (The Roanoke Times) 

State environmental regulators have approved an erosion, sediment and storm water control plan for the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP). The Department of Environmental Quality said detailed site plans specify engineering designs that will protect water quality in Virginia, during and after construction of the 303-mile pipeline, which will cut through some parts of Southwest Virginia. A day after DEQ’s action in late March, environmentalists dropped petitions by Gov. Ralph Northam’s office signed by more than 70,000 people that support stricter rules for the MVP. The activists also gave Northam an online petition signed by more than 62,000 people from around the country calling on the governor to stop the MVP and the larger Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which they said would threaten the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Appalachian Trail and miles of national forest land. (VCU Capital News Service) 

The Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine has landed an international medical conference. In June 2019, 500 scientists and physicians from around the world are expected to come to Roanoke for the annual meeting of the International Association of Medical Science Educators. (The Roanoke Times) 

CENTRAL VIRGINIA
A new push to revive the shuttered Colonial Downs racetrack is off to a running start with legislation signed into law by Gov. Ralph Northam in April to allow gambling on historical — not live — horse races. The legislation, sponsored by Del. Michael Webert, R-Fauquier, is aimed at reopening Colonial Downs in New Kent County by sweetening the purse for the proposed buyer of the track with the opportunity to offer gambling on machines that rely on a video archive of historical races, with only the odds supplied to bettors. However, Northam also issued an executive directive that would require the Virginia Racing Commission to place “reasonable limitations on the proliferation of gaming in Virginia” as it develops regulations to carry out the law. The governor also directed the commission to include “extensive stakeholder and public engagement” in the regulatory process. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Framatome, a designer and supplier of nuclear power equipment, plans to relocate its North American corporate headquarters from Charlotte, N.C., to Lynchburg. Paris-based AREVA NP was rebranded as Framatome in January. The company is known as Framatome Inc. in North America. The company has 1,300 employees in Lynchburg, 2,300 in North America and 14,000 globally. The company’s employment in Lynchburg is expected to grow with the relocation of its North American headquarters, according to the governor’s office. Framatome is owned by the EDF Group (75.5 percent), Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (19.5 percent) and Assystem (5 percent). (VirginiaBusiness.com)

A long-delayed merger between Henrico County-based insurer Genworth Financial Inc. and China Oceanwide Holdings Group Co. Ltd. is being extended for the fourth time, this time to July 1, as the proposed deal remains under review by some government regulatory agencies.  Genworth, an insurance company with thousands of employees in Virginia, announced in October 2016 that it had agreed to be acquired by China Oceanwide for $2.7 billion.  (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Hardywood Park Craft Brewery LLC, which has opened its new West Creek brewery and taproom in Goochland County, has completed a $1.3 million capital raise, according to regulatory filings. All of the company’s existing shareholders participated in this round, as well as 10 new investors, who are mostly from the Richmond area. Hardywood remains an independent, family-owned brewery. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

High Summit Partners LLC has set its sights on South Richmond, and the group is working with a few others to bring a small-batch brewery and tasting room for The Veil Brewing Co., plus apartments and other retail, to Forest Hill Avenue just south of the Boulevard Bridge. Until now, Birck Turnbull and Charles Bice — the duo behind High Summit Partners — have primarily focused on developments in Scott’s Addition, including The Veil’s acclaimed flagship location. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Hunton & Williams, which was founded in Richmond and operates its largest office here, is now called Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP. The name change is part of a merger, effective in early April, between Hunton & Williams and Texas law firm Andrews Kurth Kenyon LLP. The combined firm will be among the top 50 largest in the U.S. by headcount and revenue, with a projected annual revenue exceeding $750 million. It has more than 1,000 lawyers at 20 offices: 15 in the U.S. and five internationally. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

A former tobacco warehouse in downtown Richmond has officially opened its doors as a business incubator. The 1717 Innovation Center opened in Shockoe Bottom in March. The 42,000-square-foot center at 1717 E. Cary St. is a partnership between McLean-based Capital One and local incubator Startup Virginia, which moved from a smaller space in downtown Richmond into the new center. (VirginiaBusiness.com) 

Lidl plans to open a grocery store in Richmond in early May on the site of the former Colonial Downs off-track betting parlor on West Broad Street. The store will be the Germany-based discount grocer’s sixth in the Richmond area. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Richmond has one of the highest eviction rates in the country, according to new data covering dozens of states and compiled by a team led by the Princeton sociologist Matthew Desmond. His team found records for nearly 900,000 eviction judgments nationwide in 2016, meaning landlords were given the legal right to remove at least one in 50 renter households in the communities covered by this data. That figure was one in 25 in Milwaukee and one in nine in Richmond. And one in five renter households in Richmond were threatened with eviction in 2016. Their landlords began legal proceedings, even if those cases didn’t end with a lasting mark on a tenant’s record. (The New York Times)

As Charlottesville works on a future streetscape for East High Street, city planners are evaluating a layout for a five-story office building that would replace the Tarleton Oak service station. Tarleton Oak LLC has submitted a site plan for a two-phase project that would first see construction of the office building, followed by a 56-unit apartment complex. There would also be a 334-space parking structure to support both. (The Daily Progress)

SOUTHERN VIRGINIA
Gov. Ralph Northam announced in late March that Danville has been named a certified Work Ready Community — a nationally recognized designation by the state government and the American College Testing. In short, that means the city will attract new businesses and jobs because the city’s high school students have job-ready skills. Danville is the fifth Virginia community to receive the designation. (Danville Register & Bee)

Danville Utilities’ first solar farm is officially online more than two years after the project was first discussed. Talks began with Danville City Council in January 2016 for the 76-acre solar farm that will produce up to 6 megawatts of power, about 1.5 percent of the utility’s needs. Danville Utilities will purchase all energy created at the solar farm in Ringgold for the next 25 years at a lower rate than market value. (Danville Register & Bee)

Hampden-Sydney College has announced a $2 million gift from alumnus William L. Pannill for the school’s center for Rhetoric and Communication. The center will house not only the college’s 40-year-old rhetoric program but also the Ferguson Center for Public Speaking, student publications, the office of undergraduate research and a new center focused on public history. (Farmville Herald)

Emergency responders soon may get help lifting obese patients after the winner of IdeaFest, a Danville business-pitch competition, works to perfect a device. Brittany Horton, a senior in mechanical engineering at Virginia Tech, said she has been working with a team of students to come up with such a solution. So far, her team has created a prototype of a lifting mechanism, but now the project will be closer to reality with the $5,000 first-place prize money along with 25 hours of free consultations with The Launch Place staff. (Danville Register & Bee)

Microsoft Corp. says it’s making a major purchase of solar energy in Virginia. The company announced the deal in March to buy 315 megawatts from solar developer sPower, which is planning to build the state’s largest solar project. Microsoft has a data center in Mecklenburg County and has committed to getting 60 percent of its data centers’ energy from renewable sources by 2020. sPower’s proposed solar farms in Spotsylvania County will have more than 750,000 solar panels on more than 2,000 acres, according to Microsoft. (The Associated Press)

Ridgeway Family Health has had about 1,720 patient encounters since the site opened Dec. 1, which is about what had been expected, according to Barbara Jackman, executive director of the Martinsville-Henry County Coalition for Health and Wellness. Ridgeway Family Health is a federally qualified health center that, like Bassett Family Practice, are “DBAs” (or “doing business as”) the Martinsville-Henry County Coalition for Health and Wellness. “We received a federal grant of $950,602, which paid for almost all the renovation and equipment,” Jackman said. “The entire project was slightly over $1M (million) and the balance was paid by the Coalition.” (Martinsville Bulletin)

Southstone Behavioral Health Center in Halifax County had its formal opening in late March where it provided an early look at plans to expand services for troubled youth and grow into a facility employing up to 150 people. Southstone is a subsidiary of Acadia Healthcare, a multinational firm with 587 behavioral health facilities across 39 states as well as Puerto Rico and the United Kingdom. (South Boston News & Record)




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