Company News For the Record

For the Record - May 2019

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NORTHERN VIRGINIA
George Mason University continues to reap benefits from renaming its law school after late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. A new gift of more than $50 million will support 13 new faculty chairs at the Antonin Scalia Law School in Arlington. It is the largest gift in the history of the Fairfax-based university. The donation is a bequest from the estate of late Judge Allison Rouse and his wife, Dorothy Rouse, a lawyer who died in May 2018. (Washington Business Journal)

Tysons-based M.C. Dean Inc. plans to expand its fabrication and distribution facility in Caroline County, creating 100 jobs. The electrical engineering firm plans to spend $25.1 million to add a product line at the Caroline facility. The expansion, which opens this summer, will double the company’s manufacturing capacity to support high-growth customers such as data centers, airports and health-care facilities. The site of the expansion was renamed the Caroline County Center for Innovation and Industry and adds more than 220 new acres of land to support future expansion. M.C. Dean opened its Caroline facility in 2006. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

Loudoun County officials have given the green light for “Silver District West" in Ashburn, one of the largest developments in the county’s history. The development would include a mix of town homes, apartments, offices and shops near two planned Metro stations. The bulk of the homes are planned as apartments, with a maximum of 381 set aside for town homes and 332 for other stacked, multifamily units. Detroit-based Soave Enterprises, the company behind the even larger Brambleton community, is now allowed to start work on the 161-acre property that will likely stretch over the next few decades. (Washington Business Journal)

Tysons-based Tegna Inc. is acquiring 11 local television stations in eight markets from Nexstar Media Group for $740 million in cash. Tegna said it would finance the transaction through available cash and borrowing under its existing credit facility. The stations became available after Texas-based Nexstar announced it would divest some operations to comply with ownership limits as part of a deal made late last year to combine with Chicago’s Tribune Media Co. Tegna’s purchase is contingent on the closing of the Nexstar-Tribune merger, which is expected in the second half of this year, as well as customary regulatory approvals. (Washington Business Journal)

EASTERN VIRGINIA
Colonial Williamsburg has shuttered Governor’s Inn, a budget hotel the foundation has operated since 1985. “Colonial Williamsburg no longer considers the hotel a strategic asset related to its core educational mission and is evaluating its options for the property,” foundation spokesman Joe Straw said in an email. While the hotel has 200 rooms, the foundation operated 128 when the hotel closed for the season. The hotel is at 506 N. Henry St. Land and improvements are valued at $5.1 million, according to the city’s online property records. The hotel was built in 1964 and Colonial Williamsburg bought the parcel for $2.2 million in 1985, according to online property records. (The Virginia Gazette)

The Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg finished its $7 million renovations in March. The project includes a transformation of 405 guest rooms, corridors and stairwells. Guests visiting the resort can expect a transition from the classic, rustic log cabin look, to a more modern lodge feel with dark wood tones mixed with bright and airy accents. The resort’s 79,000-square-foot indoor waterpark, attractions and eateries remained open during the rehabilitation. Great Wolf Lodge says this is the most extensive renovation since its opening in 2005. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

The commonwealth’s largest hotel operator has acquired another property on Virginia Beach’s Oceanfront. Chester-based Shamin Hotels says it has purchased the 214-room Sheraton Virginia Beach Oceanfront Hotel from Coastal Hospitality Associates LLC. The sale includes a roughly 300-space parking garage at 205 36th St. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The deal represents Shamin’s third recent hotel acquisition on Virginia Beach’s Oceanfront. Last summer, Shamin bought the Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront on 30th Street and the Hilton Garden Inn on 33rd Street from Gold Key|PHR Hotels & Resorts. Shamin now owns almost 50 hotels in Virginia, including 13 in Hampton Roads. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

As the number of Medicaid patients in the state increases by an additional 400,000, the needs will grow to support them. Sentara Healthcare and Optima Health donated $5.5 million to four nonprofits that will help support community health clinics and food banks, which in turn help Medicaid patients. The grant recipients are: the Virginia Community Healthcare Association ($2 million), Virginia Association of Free and Charitable Clinics ($1.5 million), Virginia Health Care Foundation ($1 million) and the Federation of Virginia Food Banks ($1 million). The four grants are in addition to more than $2 million donated by Sentara and Optima in 2018. (Inside Business)

Towne Insurance, a subsidiary of TowneBank, has acquired Richmond-based Straus, Itzkowitz & LeCompte Insurance. The deal marks Towne Insurance’s 23rd acquisition. Straus, Itzkowitz & LeCompte, a 151-year-old agency, is led by President Fred Itzkowitz and Executive Vice President Pettus LeCompte.  (VirginiaBusiness.com)

SHENANDOAH VALLEY
People who want to explore a college degree now will have the opportunity to do it from downtown Waynesboro. Blue Ridge Community College has opened its online outpost in Waynesboro at 110 N. Wayne Ave. At the online outpost, people can register for classes, take placement tests, pay tuition and work on online courses. While the center is for BRCC students, the hope is it also will inspire more people to inquire about continuing education. (The News Virginian)

The Clorox Co. wants to establish a kitty litter manufacturing operation in Frederick County that would create up to 100 jobs. But first the county must amend its comprehensive plan and rezone the property, according to Patrick Barker, executive director of the Frederick County Economic Development Authority. The property is off Interstate 81’s Exit 321 and adjacent to the Carmeuse Lime and Stone manufacturing facility in the Clearbrook area of the county. The facility would be Clorox’s second in Virginia. The company owns a manufacturing plant in Amherst that produces the company’s Glad-branded products. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

CVS Health is expanding its efforts to combat the opioid crisis in Virginia. Through the Aetna Foundation, the company pledged a $1 million grant for a program that matches survivors of drug overdoses with a team of people who can support them in their recovery. The grant will go to the Northern Shenandoah Valley Substance Abuse Coalition (NSVSAC) to help kick-start its Law Enforcement Overdose Intervention Program. State officials estimate that last year, more than 1,200 Virginians died from overdoses of opioids, including heroin, fentanyl and prescription opioids. According to a news release from the foundation, the partnership will reduce law enforcement, judicial and other costs while helping to prevent burnout of first responders. (WHSV)

The U.S. Department of Energy recently selected James Madison University to participate in a competition designed to provide college students with real-world experience in the wind industry. A dozen schools were picked for the 2020 Collegiate Wind Competition in Denver. Teams are challenged with various tasks, including building a model turbine, siting a wind plant and presenting a business plan. The Department of Energy hosts the competition to prepare students for the industry. The renewable energy sector is expected to expand further in coming years, and wind turbine technician jobs are listed among the fastest-growing positions. (WHSV)

A former outdoors store in Winchester has a new owner with plans to turn the property into a fitness center. WinVA Building LLC bought for $3.6 million a 54,425-square-foot property at 251 Commonwealth Court. The property was most recently assessed at $5.3 million, according to a Frederick County property record. WinVA Building lists its registered agent as Alfred John Galiani and its principal office in McLean. The Winchester property is a former Gander Mountain location and sits in the Interstate 81 Corridor. Gander Mountain closed the location in 2017 after the company had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Plans call for the property to be turned into a gym. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

SOUTHERN VIRGINIA
The registered nursing program at Danville Community College was named the No. 1 nursing program in Virginia in March. According to the award, given by RegisteredNursing.org, nursing programs were assessed on several factors that represent how well a program supports students toward licensure and beyond. Paul Fox, dean of the college’s arts, sciences and business division, said the school has had a 100% pass rate on the state board licensure exam for many years. (Star-Tribune)

With one solar farm already in operation and another four proposed, Pittsylvania County has become a hot spot for hosting renewable energy projects. The introduction of solar farms  not only has offered Danville Utilities more locally sourced energy, but also has given farmers another way to diversify their business. Of the five operating and proposed solar projects, three are contracted to send the electricity generated to power homes covered by Danville Utilities. (Danville Register & Bee)

GO TEC (Great Opportunities in Technology & Engineering Careers), a workforce development approach in Southern and Southwestern Virginia, was awarded $4.9 million, the largest grant to date from the GO Virginia Competitive Funding pool. The investment by GO Virginia is matched 1-to-1 by support from more than 15 local partners. Workforce training will be provided by seven higher education institutions to address current and future market demand in areas such as precision machining, welding, IT/cybersecurity, advanced materials and robotics, automation and mechatronics. At the foundational level, K-12 systems are creating Career Connection Labs that introduce middle school students to these in-demand occupations and then connect their training opportunities to high school and ultimately to higher education institutions. And at the policy level, businesses will be included on the leadership board. (The Gazette-Virginian)

A Richmond-based medical device company has been named the winner of the IdeaFest Pitch Competition in Danville. Almost 100 companies applied for the contest and 20 competed. Pocket Protector received a $5,000 cash prize in winning the competition. The Idea­Fest Pitch Competition, now in its sixth year, was held March 21 at Cottontail Weddings and Events. Pocket Protector’s device is designed to prevent pocket hematomas, or the buildup of blood, after pacemaker implantation. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

The results are in for the SR Education Group’s top online community colleges in the United States, and Patrick Henry Community College ranks second in Virginia. SR, an education research publisher, has published online rankings since 2009. It took several factors into account when determining the top community colleges in each eligible state, including retention rate, graduation rate, percentage of online enrollment data and the number of online associate degrees offered. The organization considered states with at least three regionally accredited schools offering at least one fully online associate degree, with 38 states and 423 colleges represented. Northern Virginia Community College was ranked No. 24 in the country and the best in Virginia. Danville Community College was No. 10 in Virginia. (Martinsville Bulletin)

ROANOKE/NEW RIVER VALLEY
Blacksburg is moving toward a $3.3 million deal with a real estate arm of Shelor Motor Mile for two-thirds of the old Blacksburg High School — after the town decided not to pay Montgomery County about the same amount for the entire property about two years ago. The town says a key reason it’s considering a deal now is that it would not have to pay the entire added cost of demolishing the old school building — something that became a sticking point during its unsuccessful negotiations with the county. (The Roanoke Times)

River Ridge Dermatology is relocating its Roanoke location to the third floor of 2110 Carolina Avenue SW in Roanoke, Krista Vannoy of Waldvogel Commercial Properties Inc. says. An entity tied to River Ridge Dermatology called KBJ Properties LLC bought for $1.77 million the three-story office building at 2110 Carolina Ave. SW, Vannoy says. The 12,980-square-foot building was most recently assessed at $1.8 million, according to online city records. River Ridge Dermatology will be relocating from an office in Roanoke at 3825 Electric Rd. The company also has locations in Blacksburg and Giles. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

Roanoke is about to become just the third Virginia locality to use a land bank to facilitate revitalization of tax delinquent properties into affordable housing. The Roanoke City Council in March approved contracting with Total Action for Progress to serve as the city’s land bank partner. The vote was 6-0 with Councilman Bill Bestpitch absent. Under the land bank process, properties the city has seized for unpaid taxes can be turned over to TAP, which will clear liens against them and renovate them for affordable rental housing or home-ownership opportunities. At the same time, the process would remove blight from city neighborhoods. (The Roanoke Times)

The Roanoke-based architecture firm SFCS has completed a merger with Kidwell Engineering and Design Inc. in Louisville, Ky. Kidwell’s 11 employees have joined SFCS, which now has 115 employees. The firms have worked together on more than 30 projects. Louisville is the SFCS’ fourth location. In addition to Roanoke, it has offices in Charlotte and Philadelphia. SFCS said the merger will provide clients a full range of architecture and engineering services, including design, planning, engineering, plumbing, fire protection and interior design. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA
The Blue Ridge Parkway, which runs through the western parts of Virginia and North Carolina, welcomed more than 14 million visitors in 2018. The parkway includes 369 miles of trails, 14 visitor centers, eight campgrounds, 10 concession operations and 15 picnic areas.  Visitation patterns on the Blue Ridge Parkway confirm that visitors use it in large numbers when it’s accessible. Weather and maintenance related closures continue to be the primary factor influencing parkway visitation through the years. (SWVAToday.com)

Tennessee-based Chasan LLC has purchased the Bristol Compressors building in Bristol, Virginia and plans to turn it into a multi-tenant building with a mix of office space, manufacturing production and warehouse spaces. Chasan LLC plans to replicate the success it had in Greeneville, Tenn. It acquired an old industrial building that was transformed into a structure housing multiple businesses. The former Magnavox building in Greeneville that was repurposed by Chasan now has 14 businesses employing more than 500 people. (Bristol Herald Courier)

Clarke Precision Machine Inc. is investing $750,000 to expand in Wythe County. The project will add a dozen jobs. The company provides welding, machining and fabrication services. With this expansion, Clarke will purchase new machinery and expand its Wytheville facility. The growth will enable the company to handle potential contracts in automotive, construction materials and other industries. The shop was founded in 1964 as Williams Manufacturing. Clarke acquired the company in 2015. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

Highland Dairy in Glade Spring is the pilot farm for a new design by DeLaval, a Sweden-based company providing milking equipment and solutions for dairy farmers. DeLaval dealers from across the country are expected to bring prospective buyers to the Glade Spring farm throughout the year to see the innovative milking parlor. The new parlor is a “double 16,” milking 32 cows at a time. (Bristol Herald Courier)

A law signed by Gov. Ralph Northam earlier this year directs the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission to conduct a study of casino gaming regulations and submit its report by Dec. 1. The legislation also establishes the framework for the Lottery Board to oversee gaming and would allow certain localities to conduct voter referendums on the subject. The law eventually could lead to the establishment of the $250 million Bristol Resort and Casino at the vacant Bristol Mall. The legislation must be re-enacted by the General Assembly during its 2020 session and, if it is, establish a series of deadlines. (The Roanoke Times)

A Virginia state budget amendment request to fund a $10 million extension of Pinnacle Parkway failed to gain support from the Virginia General Assembly during its most recent session. But developer Steve Johnson won’t say that puts a roadblock on his plan to build an amphitheater, adventure park and hotel with an indoor water park in Washington County. The project would connect U.S. Highway 58 in Virginia to U.S. Highway 11W in Tennessee through The Pinnacle, a retail and recreation site developed by Johnson. (Bristol Herald Courier)

The Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy has recommended 10 coalfield-region projects for millions of dollars in federal abandoned mine land reclamation funds, including ones with direct economic impact on Dickenson County. The big winners, if funding is approved, will be a conventional industry site development project — and an unconventional initiative to bring new residents to Southwest Virginia through a homesteading project. In a press release issued in March, Gov. Ralph Northam and Ninth District U.S. Rep. Morgan Griffith announced the recommendations, which still must be approved by the federal Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement. “These federal funds will assist Southwest Virginia in redeveloping and repurposing lands for new uses,” Griffith said in a statement. “The cleanup and new uses of the sites will create jobs, draw visitors, and enhance the quality of life. Reclamation will usher in new opportunities for our citizens and communities. I was pleased to spearhead the inclusion of Virginia in this federal program.” (Dickenson Star)

A Southwest Virginia construction company won the project of the year award for the third time in four years from the Associated General Contractors of Tennessee, Tri-Cities Branch. Quesenberry Construction, a general contractor and construction manager, won the award for the Daniel Boone Wilderness Trail Interpretive Center in Duffield, Va. The interpretive center is a 10,000-square-foot facility located a few hundred yards from the original trail footpath. It houses a number of exhibits related to the wilderness trail, plus a library, meeting space and theater. (Bristol Herald Courier)

Farron Smith made her last restaurant hot dog a few weeks ago, and she gets a little teary talking about it. On March 9, Smith and her husband, Bill, who have owned Skeeter’s World Famous Hot Dogs in Wytheville for 30 years, shut the door until they can find a buyer for the business. The couple had been thinking about selling before now, but when the manager who had run Skeeter’s for several years took ill, “it was a good transition point,” Bill Smith said. (Bristol Herald Courier)

The University of Virginia’s College at Wise now can offer reduced tuition to all students from the Appalachian region under legislation approved by Virginia lawmakers. The tuition offer is available to students who live in the Appalachian Regional Commission territory, which stretches from rural New York to Mississippi. The law is seen as one way for the liberal-arts college, a division of the University of Virginia, to counter the enrollment drop affecting most higher-education institutions. U.Va.-Wise is geographically closer to seven other state capitals than it is to Richmond. (Bristol Herald Courier)

Virginia Business College can now begin working toward opening — possibly later this year. In March, the state Council of Higher Education for Virginia unanimously approved provisional certification for the school planned for the former Virginia Intermont College campus in Bristol. Provisional certification gives Virginia Business College up to one year to make necessary repairs to campus buildings, recruit and hire a faculty and begin recruiting students. During that year, the council will make a site visit to make sure the facilities meet all relevant codes and review the credentials of faculty members. (Bristol Herald Courier)

CENTRAL VIRIGNIA

The owners of Regency mall want to continue its transformation by adding residential and other nonretail uses to the property and opening up part of the mall to create outdoor plazas. Owners The Rebkee Co. and Thalhimer Realty Partners have submitted a request to Henrico County to have the 36-acre property rezoned to an urban mixed-use district, which would allow residential, office, educational, cultural and other uses. The property at North Parham and Quioccasin roads is now zoned B-3, which allows for retail and commercial uses. Regency, which opened in 1975, is being transformed physically. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Implementation of broadband is on track for several hundred residents in and around the town of Appomattox through the Central Virginia Electric Cooperative. In April last year, the Appomattox County Board of Supervisors approved a tax rebate incentive for the cooperative for five years after each phase of the 450-mile network’s construction. CVEC received almost $1 million in grant funding from the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission to assist with the project, which includes bringing broadband to 13 surrounding counties including Amherst and Nelson counties. Total costs to construct the Appomattox portion of the project are estimated at $10 million. (News & Advance)

Dominion Energy is offering early retirement to a third of its 21,000 employees in the wake of its January merger with a South Carolina utility. Employees who are at least 55 years old who have been with the company for at least three years are eligible for the voluntary early retirement, Dominion President and CEO Thomas F. Farrell II said in an email to employees in March. The company would not divulge how many employees it expects to accept the offer or how much money it hopes to save. Richmond-based Dominion completed its takeover of SCANA Corp., the parent company of South Carolina Electric & Gas Co., in January. The merger creates areas where Dominion now has duplicate positions. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Momentum is building for a community-minded grocery store in downtown Lynchburg. More than 50 members of the community gathered in March at the Lynchburg Public Library to hear details about The Oasis Project, a citizen initiative to fill the void of fresh-food access for those who need it most. With nearly 39,000 people living in a food desert, Lynchburg has more residents living in a food desert than almost any other locality in the state — only Prince William County and Richmond and Roanoke cities have more, according to 2015 data from the United States Department of Agriculture. (News & Advance)

Sweet Briar College raised more than $2.2 million in the first 10 days of March. This total exceeded previous records from the last three years. The college has raised $7 million toward its overall goal of $10 million for fiscal year 2019. (News release)





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