Company News For the Record

For the Record - November 2018

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SOUTHERN VIRGINIA
The parent company of Danville-based American National Bank and Trust Co. has struck a deal to buy Roanoke-based HomeTown Bank and its parent company. American National, with 24 bank offices, will acquire HomeTown, which has six offices in the Roanoke and New River valleys, in a $95.6 million deal scheduled to close early next year. (Danville Register & Bee)

The Henrietta Lacks Commission visited South Boston as it continues planning for a cancer research and treatment center in Halifax County. Lacks was a one-time Clover resident whose death from cervical cancer in 1951 unexpectedly opened multiple paths of medical research. The commission was created by the General Assembly to oversee development of the Henrietta Lacks Life Science Center, envisioned as a $50 million, 200,000-square-foot medical research and treatment facility. (News & Record)

Two years after it announced plans for a $9.5 million investment and 35 new jobs, the Japanese company Kyocera SGS opened its facility in the Cyber Park in Danville. The Kyocera SGS Tech Hub LLC includes a 30,000-square-foot facility across the street from the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research. The company, which produces solid carbide rotary tools, had been operating in the nearby Gene Haas Center for Integrated Machining. (Danville Register & Bee)

The Mecklenburg County Board of Supervisors agreed to send a letter of support for the VCU-Community Memorial Hospital’s  request for $50,000 in Tobacco Commission grant funding to study the feasibility of turning the former hospital site in South Hill into an emergency preparedness training facility. (SoVaNow.com)

It seems the revitalization efforts in the River District, as well as Danville’s support for the historic tax credits, has caught the attention of a group that knows history. Richmond-based Preservation Virginia, a group established in 1889 that owns Historic Jamestowne in a public-private partnership, chose the city as the spot for its annual, two-day conference in October. “We thought about having it in Danville for the last couple of years because of the revitalization that’s happened in town in the River District,” said Sonja Ingram, preservation field services manager for the group. The group is a nonprofit that saves historic sites throughout the state. (Danville Register & Bee)

A total of 2,500 temporary jobs will become available at the Radial call centers in Martinsville in coming months. The company announced plans to add positions as it prepares for the Christmas season. Typically the company adds about 2,000 temporary positions. However, with the number of packages expected to rise this season, as well as residents wanting their purchases delivered quicker, Radial officials said it was time to increase the number of workers at the facility. (Martinsville Bulletin)
 

EASTERN VIRGINIA

The president of a Virginia seafood company pleaded guilty in federal court in September to netting millions by fraudulently labeling hundreds of thousands of pounds of recalled, old or returned foreign crabmeat as fresh Chesapeake blue crab, according to court records. Federal prosecutors in Virginia say Casey’s Seafood Inc. of Newport News mixed discount “distressed” crabmeat from Indonesia, Brazil and other locales with Chesapeake blue crab and labeled it as a “Product of the USA.” Casey’s sold nearly 360,000 pounds from 2012 to 2015, but the fraud may have begun as early as 2010, according to court documents. The crab was worth $4.3 million at wholesale prices and was sold in D.C., Maryland, Virginia and other states. (The Washington Post)

Chesapeake-based Dollar Tree is moving 700 jobs from North Carolina to Virginia. Dollar Tree announced in September it is closing Family Dollar’s Matthews, N.C.-based headquarters next fall. This will result in the transition of 700 employees to its new Summit Pointe headquarters, a 12-story office building in Chesapeake’s Greenbrier area. Two hundred jobs will be eliminated in Matthews because of the closing of Family Dollar’s headquarters, but a distribution center there will remain open. Dollar Tree bought Family Dollar more than three years ago for about $9.1 billion. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

Hampton Roads may have finally turned the corner after the debilitating recession of 10 years ago and sequestration that cut Defense Department spending starting in 2013. For the first time, the region had more jobs in 2017 than it did at its pre-recession height in mid-2007. And for the first time ever, the region’s gross domestic product, not adjusted for inflation, is expected to break $100 billion, according to the latest State of the Region report from Old Dominion University economists released in early October. (The Virginian-Pilot) 

The list of startup businesses inside Selden Market is growing again. The Downtown Norfolk Council announced three new tenants in the retail incubator at 208 E. Main St.: Slide Thru #FAM, KOR Vintage and Pure Lagos. Slide Thru is a restaurant featuring a mix of Filipino and American fare. KOR Vintage is a reseller of vintage and transformed apparel, accessories and home décor. Pure Lagos is an African art gallery and boutique. (Inside Business)

NORTHERN VIRGINIA

Nearly 10 months after learning that Amazon was searching for a new location for its second headquarters, a geographical website has predicted that the best location would be in Oatlands in Loudoun County. Reasons for Loudoun County’s selection included its proximity to Washington and location in a politically friendly state. (WUSA9)

Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Assisted Living Locators has launched a franchise in Fredericksburg. Franchise owners Eunice and Kwesi Thompson offer seniors and their families advice at no cost on short- and long-term care options, including in-home care, independent living, assisted living, memory care and retirement apartments throughout the greater Fredericksburg and central Virginia area. The franchise generates revenue from the referral fees paid by the facilities. (The Free Lance-Star)

Health-care information technology company Cerner Corp. will locate in the same Arlington building as Nestlé and its subsidiary, Gerber. North Kansas City, Mo.-based Cerner will lease 38,075 square feet of space at 1812 N. Moore St. in the Rosslyn area of Arlington. This will be the company’s first Virginia office. The company did not provide a timeline or number of employees that will occupy the space. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

McLean-based GTT Communications Inc., a major cloud networking provider, has acquired Access Point, a North Carolina-based communication services company. GTT paid $40 million in the Access Point acquisition. That amount includes $35 million in cash and 115,194 GTT shares valued at $5 million. GTT said Access Point, which has its headquarters in Cary, N.C., brings a roster of strategic U.S. clients, improving GTT’s presence in a variety of industries, including retail, manufacturing and energy. GTT also said Access Point’s broadband, internet and voice capabilities would enhance GTT’s market position in cloud networking. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

Solar power generation is coming to Culpeper. The county’s Board of Supervisors approved a conditional use permit request from Florida-based NextEra Energy Resources to operate a utility scale solar farm on up to 1,000 acres near Stevensburg. NextEra, which bills itself as the world’s largest generator of renewable energy, recently acquired the project from Texas-based Greenwood Energy. (Culpeper Star-Exponent)

Its completion is five years away at the earliest, but planning efforts continue for construction of a new Virginia Railway Express station in Crystal City. Despite the progress, “We have a long way to go,” acknowledged Sonali Soneji, VRE’s planning program administrator, in September. There is no funding yet identified to construct the station, but planning dollars are in hand and the concept design has been completed. The existing Crystal City platform is 400 feet long and serves one track. Officials aim to provide a two-track facility (with boarding in the middle) with longer platforms to handle 10-car trains, up from a maximum of eight cars today. (Inside NOVA)

CENTRAL VIRGINIA
Henrico County-based Altria Group Inc., the maker of Marlboro cigarettes, was in talks about a stake in Canadian cannabis producer Aphria Inc., the Globe and Mail reported in early October citing multiple sources. Details of the  investment were still being finalized though Altria has expressed interest in buying a minority stake in Aphria with the intention of eventually holding a majority, the report said. Sales of recreational marijuana became legal in Canada on Oct. 17. Altria and Aphria were not available for comment. (Reuters)

A landmark property, with about 150 years of history in the Lowesville community, is targeted to become a bed-and-breakfast and venue for weddings and special events. The Amherst County Planning Commission unanimously voted in September to recommend approval of a special exception request allowing the building formerly known as the Hite Store to be used for overnight stays and gatherings. The home, built around 1869, is located on seven acres with a portion fronting the Piney River. (Amherst New Era-Progress)

Recommendations from county staff to designate two areas near Forest as Urban Development Areas (UDAs) were denied by the Bedford County Board of Supervisors in September after residents raised concerns about development in Forest. The board voted 6-0 to prevent two areas at either end of Thomas Jefferson Road near Forest and New London from being designated as UDAs in Bedford County’s Comprehensive Plan. (The News & Advance)

The Bon Secours Richmond Health System will raze one of two Colonial Revival buildings at Richmond’s former Westhampton School to accommodate a $53 million mixed-use development on the property in the city’s West End, according to preliminary plans unveiled in September. The proposed plans — including a previously announced medical office building, two new mixed-use buildings and a parking deck — are projected to generate $524,000 in new real estate taxes for the city, but come at the expense of the majority of the structural footprint of the school, built in 1930. The remaining, easternmost portion of the school, which was built in 1917 and played an important role in the desegregation of public schools in Virginia, will serve as office space. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

CFA Institute, one of Charlottesville’s largest employers, eliminated 31 positions in September — the majority of which were local cuts. The financial industry credentialing organization, which employs more than 600 people in seven offices around the world, said the cuts came after “a strategic review” to accommodate its business growth and “strategic priorities.” The impact of the cuts is offset by 39 newly created positions, according to a company spokeswoman. (The Daily Progress)

Facebook expects to break ground early next year on the second phase of its eastern Henrico County data center development, which will total more than 2 million square feet when completed in late 2020, the company said in September. As the first phase of the project in White Oak Technology Park nears completion, the social media giant said it will invest an additional $750 million to expand the data center complex it launched last year with a $1 billion investment. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

The Lynchburg Office of Economic Development and Tourism presented its Year in Review in late September. The department engaged residents, business executives, community leaders and elected officials to create a five-year comprehensive plan, which was released earlier in the month. The population of Lynchburg in 2017 was 80,380, a 6.4 percent increase since 2010. Of individuals ages 25 to 64 in the city, 34.5 percent have a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared with the 31.8 percent national average.  (The News & Advance)

Markel Ventures, the investment arm of Henrico County-based specialty insurer Markel Corp., is buying a majority ownership stake in the Brahmin leather handbags and accessories business. Markel and Massachusetts-based Brahmin announced the deal late in September. Financial terms were not disclosed. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter. Brahmin, a family-owned business, sells its products at its own stores — it has six retail stores and four outlet locations — as well as through online sales and at department and specialty stores, including Nordstrom, Dillard’s and Macy’s. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Goochland County-based Performance Food Group Co. has agreed to pay $599,989 in back wages to settle findings that the company discriminated against women and African-Americans in hiring for some warehouse jobs. A review by the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs found hiring discrimination violations at four Performance Food Group facilities in Florence, S.C.; Hickory, N.C.; Batesville, Miss.; and Lebanon, Tenn. Publicly traded PFG is one of the nation’s largest food service companies, supplying food and food products to independent and chain restaurants such as Red Lobster and Outback Steakhouse, hospitals, retailers, schools, movie theaters, hotels and others. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership may have reached a dead end in its long-running quest to recover $1.4 million lost on a failed Appomattox business deal. In September, the Virginia Supreme Court declined to revisit a failed lawsuit seeking damages for the lost taxpayer money. The partnership also has asked the Virginia attorney general to attempt to recover a state grant given to Lindenburg Industry, but that office hasn’t yet acted. Lindenburg agreed to create a factory in Appomattox to manufacture catalytic converters and create 349 jobs in return for state incentives. (The Roanoke Times)

SHENANDOAH VALLEY
Christendom College in Front Royal has exceeded its $40 million fundraising campaign. The college raised more than $45 million. The campaign, titled “A Call to Greatness,” was publicly announced two years ago, with the aim to complete the effort to raise $40 million by the end of the college’s 40th anniversary celebrations in 2018 — the largest campaign in the college’s history. The college met and exceeded its three campaign goals: to raise funds for the Christ the King Chapel Project, double the endowment, and meet the college’s increasing annual fund needs due to student enrollment growth during the life of the campaign. (News release)

Direct Title Solutions in Winchester continues to grow. The real-estate settlement company at 12 N. Braddock St. has expanded into an adjoining building at 14 N. Braddock St., giving it more room to perform title and closing services for residential and commercial property transfers. Direct Title Solutions started in 2001 as a two-employee company working out of a basement. Today, 25 people work for the firm to provide title histories and recordings nationwide and real-estate closing services in Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland. (The Winchester Star)

Lord Fairfax Community College is expanding its access to training for heavy equipment operators, a course of study that was the first of its kind in the state when it began a year ago. The college will partner with two other colleges to provide greater access to training for heavy-equipment operators. A $4 million expenditure by the 23-member Virginia Community Colleges System is making the partnership possible. The money will be spent over two years to support curriculum development and accelerate workforce training in the fields of heavy construction and utility-scale solar energy. It is projected $1.4 million will go to the expansion of the heavy equipment operator program. Lord Fairfax Community College is joining with Piedmont Virginia and Germanna community colleges to develop heavy equipment operator statewide training. (The Winchester Star)

Mount Jackson Town Council members have unanimously approved the application to expand a solar farm off Turkey Knob Road by an additional 320 acres. Council members approved the 160-acre Mount Jackson I, the first of three projects that make up the farm, last year. Cypress Creek Renewables took over the project from Virginia Solar LLC in May and plans on breaking ground on the first phase next year. Despite the fact that projects II and III are on land adjacent to the first project underway, the permitting process starts back at square one. (Northern Virginia Daily)

SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA
State Street in Bristol, Tenn., and Bristol, Va., was named one of 15 great places by the American Planning Association (APA). The organization’s Great Places program annually recognizes streets, neighborhoods and public spaces for demonstrating exceptional character, quality and planning, according to the statement announcing this year’s winners. “Bristol was nominated for State Street for the work both localities have been doing on the street itself. A good many projects have been community-driven and led by both the Virginia side and the Tennessee side,” APA President Earl Anderson said in September. (Bristol Herald Courier)

BVU Authority power customers can expect to pay a bit less for electricity in the months ahead. The Tennessee Valley Authority recently approved BVU absorbing TVA’s planned base rate price increase that went into effect Oct. 1. That means most BVU customers won’t be charged the additional amount, which amounts to a projected saving of $555,000. An additional rate reduction is expected to be approved before the end of this year, President and CEO Don Bowman said. In August, the BVU board approved reducing the rates it charges power customers. A customer who uses 1,000 kilowatt hours per month is expected to save almost $5 per month or about $58 per year. If approved by TVA, that cut is expected to go into effect Dec. 1 and save ratepayers an estimated $1.2 million. (Bristol Herald Courier)

Emory & Henry College has established a new certification course for athletic trainers to help in filling much-needed positions in the region. Previously, students could obtain certification as an athletic trainer by either a four-year undergraduate course or two-year graduate course. Starting with this first course in May, the only path to certification as an athletic trainer is through the master’s program. (SWVAToday.com)

Tazewell County is hoping to take advantage of a federal grant to improve internet service in the county. At its Oct. 2 meeting, the Board of Supervisors authorized the wireless service authority to apply for a $4 million grant from the state Department of Housing and Community Development. Interim County Administrator Eric Young said the $4 million is what is available statewide from the federal government. He said the department of housing and community development is administering the funds in Virginia and the grant requires a 20 percent match. That money could come from the county or a private investor. (SWVAToday.com)

ROANOKE/NEW RIVER VALLEY
Eldor Corp. has begun production at its $75 million manufacturing facility in Botetourt County. The company makes ignition systems, electronic control units and hybrid and electric vehicle systems. In March 2016 the Italian company announced plans to locate its first North American plant in Daleville. It marked the biggest economic news in the county’s history and the largest  expansion of new manufacturing jobs in the Roanoke Valley since before the Great Recession a decade ago. The company has hired about 120 people and has plans to have 350 employees in the next four to five years. (The Roanoke Times)

Federal regulators have approved a plan to stabilize a section of the Jefferson National Forest where construction of a natural gas pipeline began but was later halted by a lawsuit raising environmental concerns. The measures required by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission — along with a separate decision by the U.S. Forest Service to reopen two of its roads that had been closed for construction — indicate that it could be months before work on the Mountain Valley Pipeline is allowed to resume in the forest. In July, a federal appeals court invalidated an approval by the Forest Service for a 3.5-mile segment of the buried pipeline to cross public woodlands in Monroe County, W.Va., and Giles and Montgomery counties. (The Roanoke Times)

As Franklin County works to bring broadband to more areas of the rural locality, it may partner with northern neighbors. A draft of what’s being called a “teaming agreement” with the Roanoke Valley Broadband Authority was presented to the Franklin County Broadband Authority, whose membership consists of the county Board of Supervisors. Steve Sandy, the county’s director of planning and community development, said the agreement would provide an opportunity for the two entities to work together. (The Roanoke Times)

LewisGale Regional Health System has acquired Virginia Orthopaedic. Nine of the practice’s 10 providers will remain with the new organization, LewisGale Physicians — Virginia Orthopedics. Virginia Orthopaedic was formed in 1999 and is located near LewisGale Medical Center in Salem. (The Roanoke Times)

Employees of Yokohama Tire Co. in Salem have ratified a new labor contract that will be in effect through Sept. 14, 2022, according to their union, United Steelworkers Local 1023. In a Facebook post, United Steelworkers, which represents about 600 employees at the plant, said the contract won approval with a majority of the popular vote. The union’s last contract, approved in 2014, was originally set to expire in May, but workers said an extension was agreed to while negotiations continued. (The Roanoke Times)




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