Company News For the Record

For the Record - September 2017

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The College of William & Mary will lease and operate the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation’s historic Kimball Theatre while William & Mary’s own theater is being renovated. The theater had been slated to close in July under a financial restructuring that the foundation announced in June. The 3.5-year agreement with William & Mary, which runs through January 2021 and has options for annual renewals, will provide a venue for the college’s instruction and programming during the upcoming renovation of the Phi Beta Kappa Hall theater. (

Dominion Energy Virginia has signed an agreement with a Danish company to build two wind turbines off the coast of Virginia Beach. Dominion and DONG Energy of Denmark have reached an agreement and strategic partnership to build the two, 6-megawatt turbines as part of a research project. The announcement revives an effort previously known as the Virginia Offshore Wind Technology Advancement Project. It was dropped 14 months ago from a U.S. Department of Energy program that would have contributed $40 million. (

Two lawsuits have been filed challenging Dominion Energy’s plans to build a transmission line over the James River near Historic Jamestowne. The suits seek to block the transmission line and require the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to prepare an environmental impact statement for the project rather than the less rigorous environmental assessment that the corps already conducted. National Trust for Historic Preservation and Preservation Virginia filed one lawsuit.  The other was brought  by the National Parks Conservation Association. Dominion says the line is the best, most cost-effective way to ensure reliable power on the Peninsula as it closes coal-fired units in response to federal pollution standards. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)  

The Navy formally welcomed the aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford into the fleet in July at Naval Station Norfolk. President Donald J. Trump placed the ship into commission, praising a crew that must master complex systems. He also singled out Newport News Shipbuilding, the exclusive builder of nuclear-powered carriers for the U.S. Navy. (Daily Press)

The Port of Virginia handled a record volume of cargo in its most recent fiscal year. The port reported handling 2.76 million TEUs (a maritime measurement that equals 20-foot-equivalent units) in the fiscal year that ended June 30. That represents a growth of 7.3 percent over last year. The number of containers moved by rail was up 11.3 percent to 568,894, and total truck containers grew 4.6 percent to 950,311. (

Waynesboro-based Lumos Networks Corp., a fiber-based service provider, has signed a multiyear agreement with Virginia Military Institute (VMI) to provide 1.5 gigabit of dedicated internet service to its Lexington campus. Lumos also will provide VMI with a 1 gigabit dedicated internet connection at the Rockbridge Area Network Authority (RANA) data center. The data center is connected to the Lumos network. (

Luray is looking to add a tourism zone. Similar to a traditional enterprise zone, a tourism zone enables new and existing businesses to take advantage of state and local tax credits and deductions. Any city, county or town may establish one or more tourism zones, by ordinance according to Virginia law. Localities may then grant tax incentives to tourism-driven businesses, including lodging, dining, retail, meeting and sports facilities, outdoor recreation areas, theme parks and event venues. (Page News and Courier)

Waynesboro’s planned Nature’s Crossing Technology Center will receive a $216,500 state grant for a development program aimed at getting industrial sites ready for manufacturers and other businesses looking to build or relocate. Greg Hitchin, director of economic development and tourism for Waynesboro, said the funds will be used for engineering work for the water and sewer needs at the 170-acre site. Hitchin said the funds will pay for approximately 50 percent of the work. He added that the city could be recruiting manufacturers to Nature’s Crossing early in the next decade. (The News Virginian)

Less than three weeks after launching a fundraising campaign to preserve three local Civil War sites, the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation received a major boost from the federal government. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke has announced the disbursement of $4.2 million to the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation for preservation efforts at 10 state battlefields. Of that amount, $1.7 million will go to the battlefields foundation and the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, with $1.3 million going to the Opequon Battlefield in Winchester and more than $408,000 going to the New Market Battlefield. (The Shenandoah Valley-Herald)

Persistent cancellations and late flights by its commercial carrier led Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport to ask the U.S. Department of Transportation to rebid flight service for the Weyers Cave airport. Airport Executive Director Greg Campbell said the carrier, ViaAir, has been inconsistent in its delivery of service after getting a contract last November to provide daily flights to and from Charlotte, N.C., and twice-weekly service to and from Orlando, Fla. Recently, more than half of the flights ViaAir is contracted to provide to and from the airport have been delayed or canceled, Campbell said. (The News Virginian)

Housing Opportunities Made Equal of Virginia Inc. (HOME) and Wells Fargo Bank announced a partnership agreement aimed at increasing homeownership opportunities and expanding mortgage lending for African-Americans and African-American neighborhoods in the Richmond area. The partnership provides more than $4 million in financial support to HOME. It was described as one of the largest agreements ever between a financial institution and an individual fair housing organization. (

Markel Corp., a Henrico County-based specialty insurance company, plans to buy a Texas-based insurance firm in a cash deal valued at $919 million. Markel has agreed to pay $21 per share for all of the outstanding shares of State National Companies Inc., a seller of property and casualty insurance. The deal must get approval from State National’s shareholders and state insurance regulators, although two large blocks of shareholders are in favor of the deal. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Campbell County officials announced in August that an 82-room Tru by Hilton hotel would be built on a 4.1-acre parcel of land. Centra, meanwhile, expected to complete the purchase of an adjacent 48 acres for about $7.7 million so it can build a health-care facility. (The News & Advance)

A legal standoff between the Virginia Information Technologies Agency and Northrop Grumman over access to a data center in Southwest Virginia has ended in a settlement instead of court. The state requested access to the data center to repair what it described as an “inoperative” mainframe system that serves as emergency backup in case of a disaster at the primary data center the company runs in Chester. The agreement does not settle the broader legal battle the agency and company are waging over the terms of disentanglement from a once-heralded deal that each side has accused the other of breaching. It also does not affect a pending state request for a pretrial injunction to require Northrop Grumman to perform several technical duties necessary to allow the transition of messaging services to a new vendor that has waited almost a year to begin work. (Richmond Times-Dispatch) 

Packaging company WestRock Co. has expanded its presence in Australia. The company, which has its headquarters in Richmond and an administrative office in Norcross, Ga., bought Hanna Group Pty Ltd, or Hannapak, one of Australia’s leading providers of folding cartons to markets including beverage, food, confectionery and health care. WestRock said it paid 75 million Australian dollars (roughly $59.8 million at the time of the announcement). (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

A proposed mixed-use project that would redevelop yet another section of Tysons has received the thumbs-up from Fairfax County planning commissioners. The planning commission voted unanimously July 13 to recommend the Board of Supervisors approve the rezoning for International Place at Tysons. The project would be built on 5.4 acres in an area bounded by Route 7, Gallows Road, Boone Boulevard and Howard Avenue. The project would have only one building, consisting of a concrete-and-steel base with two levels of commercial space interspersed with two parking levels, topped by four stories of multifamily residential units. (Inside NOVA) 

Franklin Capital Strategies, a financial strategies firm, has opened an office in Vienna. Paul Franklin, a third generation financial adviser who has worked in the industry since 2009, founded the firm. The company also has a location in Cleveland. (News release) 

Top officials at the General Services Administration and FBI committed in early August to crafting a new plan within 120 days to move the nation’s top law enforcement agency into a consolidated headquarters after abruptly canceling their years-long search for a new facility the month before.  The previous project was axed because of a lack of funding, concerns about cost escalations and a potential reduction in value of the FBI’s J. Edgar Hoover Building in downtown D.C. It was to be exchanged as partial value for a new building at one of three potential sites. Two sites were in Maryland, and the other was in Springfield. (Washington Business Journal) 

Hogan Lovells plans to move its Northern Virginia office to Boro Tower, a 20-story office tower under construction at The Boro in Tysons. The Meridian Group, which is developing The Boro, said Hogan Lovells, a global law firm with more than 45 offices, will occupy the tower’s entire 17th floor and half of its 16th floor. The law firm now has its offices at Park Place II in McLean. About 70 attorneys and staff will be moving to Boro Tower. Located within walking distance of the Greensboro Metro station, The Boro will include a mix of office, residential, retail, entertainment and open park space. ( 

A Kaiser Permanente affiliate plans to build a $200 million medical center on a long-vacant lot on Minnieville Road, according to a request under review by Prince William County. The five-story building would house an urgent-care center and specialist offices managed by the Rockville, Md.-based Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Mid-Atlantic States. Expected to open by early 2021, the medical center will include adult and pediatric care, women’s health services and outpatient surgery, as well as a pharmacy, lab, optometrist’s office and MRI suite, according to the submitted plans. The site is expected to employ 185 when it is completed as well as about 200 temporary workers during construction. Another 60 jobs will be created with future expansion. (Inside NOVA) 

Loudoun County is once again the richest county in the U.S., according to the latest Census Bureau estimates, based on 2015 data. The county boasts a median household income just shy of $126,000. While Loudoun takes the top spot, half of the richest counties in America are within an hour of the District of Columbia.  In second place is nearby Falls Church. Technically an independent city, Falls Church is considered by the Census Bureau to be equivalent to a county. Other D.C. suburbs with high earnings include Fairfax and Arlington counties and Howard County in Maryland. (Loudoun Times-Mirror) 

Reston-based NII Holdings Inc., which operates Nextel phone sales and services in Brazil, announced in July that Scandinavian telecom company AINMT Holdings AB had purchased a stake in Nextel Brazil with the expectation of more to come. With a $50 million investment, AINMT takes a 30 percent stake in Nextel Brazil. AINMT has the option to make an additional $150 million investment, which would increase its stake in the company to 60 percent. The option must be exercised by Nov. 15 and, if picked up, would close by the first quarter of 2018. (Washington Business Journal) 

Nomadic Display is expanding in Fairfax County. The trade show display company plans to spend $940,000 on the project, creating 30 jobs. Nomadic Display, which relocated its headquarters from Springfield to the Lorton area of Fairfax County in September 2016, will hire new employees by 2019. Sixty-one employees will be retrained. Virginia competed with North Carolina for the project. Nomadic Display creates displays used by companies to market their businesses at airports, corporate events, shopping malls, showrooms and trade shows. ( 

The Northern Virginia Technology Council (NVTC) announced a new academic partnership with Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) to help the school understand what skills information technology companies really want in their new hires. The two will conduct research this year on the region’s cyber workforce needs, while giving NOVA more access and exposure to NVTC’s business membership. (Washington Business Journal) 

During the first half of this year, Prince William County snagged nine economic development projects that are expected to produce $746 million in capital investment and create 636 jobs. The nine projects represent a broad spectrum of industries, including manufacturing, data centers, commercial real estate, outdoor retail and utility support services. In the last five calendar years (2012-2016), projects closed by the Prince William County Department of Economic Development announced plans to invest nearly $4 billion and create about 2,600 jobs. (  

Trustify, an IT company that connects clients to private investigators, plans to create 184 jobs in a $1.04 million expansion of its operations in Arlington County. The Virginia Economic Development Partnership will support Trustify’s job creation through its Virginia Jobs Investment Program. Trustify, founded in 2015, puts clients from across the U.S. in touch with a network of vetted private investigators. Its services for businesses include trust and safety checks, business intelligence, fraud and loss protection, and financial investigations. ( 

The high-occupancy toll lanes system on Interstate 66 is five months away, but drivers inside the Capital Beltway already are noticing testing of the system. Drivers are passing under the gantries, which house cameras and electronic equipment to communicate with E-ZPass transponders. Virginia Department of Transportation officials, however, say drivers don’t have to worry about getting charged for trips until the system goes live in December. The implementation of rush-hour HOT lanes will kick off a series of improvements along one of the region’s most heavily traveled highways, which experiences eight to 10 hours of congestion daily, including weekends. A separate project next year will add an eastbound lane between the Dulles Connector Road and Fairfax Drive in Arlington. And, outside the Beltway, a $2.3 billion expansion will add toll lanes. (The Washington Post) 

In the city of Martinsville, more opioid painkillers are given out as prescriptions per person than anywhere else in the United States. That comes from a report released in July by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That report, called “Vital Signs,” detailed the number of opioid painkillers given out by prescription in 59,000 pharmacies across America from 2010 to 2015. On the one hand, the report found the majority of local areas saw a decrease in the total number prescribed over those five years. Doctors in Martinsville, however, still give out more per person than any other city or county in the nation. (Martinsville Bulletin)

Area medical providers plan to review the results of a recent regional health survey and determine how to improve health and access to care in the Dan River Region. It also found that cancer was the second-leading cause of death in Danville and Pittsylvania County in 2013, even though the health district had a lower incidence rate than the state that year. The Dan River Region Health Equity Report also found that about three of four residents 18 or older in the Pittsylvania-Danville Health District were told by a health-care professional they were obese or overweight in 2015. (Danville Register & Bee)

More than 200 employees will be impacted by an upcoming layoff at Danville’s Telvista call center. According to a notice posted July 31 on the Virginia WARN website — the Worker Adjustment and Retaining Notification Act — 222 employees will be affected by the mass layoff in late September. The move is the result of reduced demand from one customer, according to the company. (Danville Register & Bee)

A trolley bus route began operation in Danville in August. The service is available 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. every Saturday and 4 to 11 p.m. the first Friday of each month. The Mainline trolley bus route will run from Ballou Park to the River District (including the Danville Science Center/Community Market/Crossing at the Dan) to North Main Street at Moana Place. There are 40 stops along the route, said Danville Transportation Director Marc Adelman. The route’s schedule — based on responses from a survey — is geared toward shopping and other activities in the River District downtown, Adelman said. (Danville Register & Bee)

JennChem, a maker of chemical roof support and sealing products, will invest $5 million to establish a manufacturing operation for heavy-duty conveyor systems in Russell County. The conveyor systems structures will be used primarily by the mining industry, in addition to the automotive, aviation, construction, electronics and transportation industries. Virginia competed against Pennsylvania and West Virginia for the project. The Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) approved a loan of up to $1.5 million to the Industrial Development Authority of Russell County for the purchase and renovation of the building for this project. Gov. Terry McAuliffe approved a $100,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund, and the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission approved $215,000 in Tobacco Region Opportunity Funds for the company. ( 

A new downtown brewery is planned for the long-vacant former Hayes Furniture building in downtown Bristol. State Street Brewing Co. is expected to open at 801 State St., once the two-story, 20,000-square-foot building has been rehabilitated and brewing equipment installed, according to new co-owner Debi Denney. She and her husband, Larry Denney, recently acquired the property, which she calls the “best property” in downtown. They plan to lease the ground floor to their sons-in-law, Kent and Kody Pierson, to establish and operate the brewery. (Bristol Herald Courier)

An August vote by the Virginia Coalfield Coalition (VCC) cleared the way for Duffield-based Sunset Digital Communications to acquire BVU’s OptiNet network in Southwest Virginia. Sunset will assume an operational role in VCC’s 4G wireless network. Sunset first announced its intention to buy the fiber-optic network for $50 million in February 2016. The August vote occurred at the end of a nearly five-hour meeting at which VCC, Sunset, BVU and Scott County Telephone Cooperative reviewed the deal. The Scott County group operates part of the VCC network and will operate more cell towers if the agreement is finalized. Sunset expected the deal to close in September, assuming the remaining details were resolved. (Bristol Herald Courier) 

Senior citizens and their families in Tazewell County will soon have another option when it comes to care, due in part to a Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority loan to the Appalachian Agency for Senior Citizens (AASC). VCEDA closed in July on the loan of up to $250,000 to AASC to be used to finance building construction and costs for the development of an adult day care/multipurpose senior services facility in the Falls Mills area of Tazewell County. AASC is a nonprofit Virginia corporation serving Buchanan, Dickenson, Russell and Tazewell counties. ( 

Halloween brings the return of Amtrak passenger service to Roanoke. On Oct. 31, service begins after a 38-year hiatus. According to preliminary plans, Amtrak will operate one daily train that will depart Roanoke about 6:20 a.m. and cruise at a top speed of 79 mph, reaching Washington, D.C., in five hours. The train is expected to seat 494 passengers on weekdays and 422 on weekends for its run to the nation’s capital. Ticket prices have not been set. The state rail agency, Amtrak and Norfolk Southern Corp. are partners in the project. (The Roanoke Times) 

Commonwealth Care of Roanoke Inc. was the only Virginia employer honored with an award for outstanding safety performance during the recent annual meeting of MEMIC Group, a workers’ compensation specialty insurer, based in Portland, Maine. Only nine other employers out of more than 20,000 MEMIC policyholders received an award. Commonwealth Care has 12 long-term and rehabilitation care centers in Virginia employing more than 1,600 people. (News release) 

Construction is underway in Roanoke County on Tru hotel, one of Hilton Worldwide’s newest brands. The 82-room project is going up near Gander Mountain in Hollins.  The $8 million, four-story hotel is expected to create more than 30 jobs. “This project demonstrates continued economic expansion in Roanoke County and confirms the growth in tourism in the Roanoke region,” Joseph P. McNamara, chairman of the Roanoke County Board of Supervisors, said in a statement.  The hotel is scheduled to be completed next summer. (News release) 

Franklin Plaza, a five-story, 136,455-square-foot office building in downtown Roanoke has sold for $6.3 million. The buyer is an affiliate of Time Equities Inc. in New York. The property is 50 percent occupied. Tenants include the Commonwealth of Virginia, Union Bankshares and BB&T Securities. Located in the city’s Central Business District, the property has access to Interstate 581, and amenities are within walking distance. ( 

In the second quarter, West Central Virginia, which includes Roanoke and the surrounding area, saw a 7 percent increase in the sale of residential homes compared with the same time last year. According to a report by Virginia Realtors Association, it was one of the biggest increases across the state, trailing a 10 percent boost for Southwest Virginia and an 8.2 percent increase in Central Virginia.  Statewide, the increase in home sales was 5.3 percent.  Realtors in West Central Virginia closed transactions on 2,903 homes, up from 2,713 homes in the second quarter of 2016. The average number of days on the market dropped to 54 for the second quarter for all regions in the state, 14.3 percent lower than last year’s second quarter average of 63 days. Statewide, the aggregate median sales price was $288,000, an increase of 3.2 percent, compared with the same time last year.  (News release) 

Whitebarrel Winery in Christiansburg is expanding to Blacksburg. It plans to open a wine and tapas bar later this year in The Brownstone building at 301 S. Main St.  The 1,600-square-foot space will feature Whitebarrel’s wines along with other wines, ciders and meads from across Virginia. The tapas bar will offer Virginia produce and cheeses and a rotating menu to introduce local foods designed to complement the available wines. The new venture is expected to create 20 jobs. (The Roanoke Times) 

Della Watkins, executive director of the Taubman Museum in Roanoke, is leaving. Her last day will be Sept. 8. After four years at the Taubman, Watkins has accepted a job as executive director for the Columbia Museum of Art in South Carolina. Under her leadership, the Taubman earned reaccreditation from the American Alliance of Museums and built a $2 million special exhibitions gallery. During her tenure, the museum’s operating budget has been stabilized at about $2.7 million annually. The museum’s board has begun the search for her replacement. Cindy Petersen, the museum’s deputy director of education and visitor engagement, will serve as interim director. (The Roanoke Times)

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