VSD finds Town Center area ideal for operations
January 01, 2009 2:01 AM

by Joan Tupponce


The windows of VSD LLC don’t look out on the ocean, but Fred Stewart likes what he sees in the company’s surroundings near the Town Center of Virginia Beach.

“This is a real up-and-coming area,” says Stewart, VSD’s business development manager. “The Town Center is a business, cultural, lifestyle center. It’s a fantastic location.”  The Town Center spans 17 city blocks in the city’s central business district and includes upscale shops, luxury residences, a hotel and several restaurants.

Virginia Beach has been the headquarters of VSD since the company began in 2001. (VSD was acquired by Virginia Beach-based Q.E.D. Systems Inc. in 2006.) VSD provides computer-based training, software, consulting services and analysis techniques to the government and industry. “We also offer media services such as 3-D modeling and animation as well as graphic design,” Stewart says.

Despite the recession, VSD continues to grow. When it opened, the company had three employees. Now it has 55 in offices in Washington and Philadelphia, in addition to Virginia Beach.

Six months ago, VSD started a publishing company and launched a magazine called Proven Human Integration. “The magazine offers space for academic and business discussions with regards to human systems integration,” Stewart says.

VSD’s clients include Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Joint Forces Command, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Virginia Department of Transportation and the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Being in Virginia Beach is a plus for the company. “We’re very fortunate,” Stewart says. “Virginia Beach has been good to us. The location allows us to interact and interface with a lot of other companies in the Hampton Roads area.”

There’s more to Virginia Beach than its well-known boardwalk and beachfront, he notes.  Visitors who come to the city before mid-March can take a whale-watching boat trip sponsored by the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center.

Those who prefer to stay inside can catch a show at the new Sandler Center for the Performing Arts at the Town Center of Virginia Beach. During January, the 1,300 seat theater will feature performances by Wynton Marsalis and Les Ballets Trockadero De Monte Carlo. 

The city’s economy

The tourism industry is one of the main economic drivers in Virginia Beach. About 2.73 million overnight visitors stayed in Virginia Beach in 2007, spending $889.9 million, an increase from $857 million in 2006. Visitor expenditures generated $78.4 million in taxes and fees paid to the city in 2007. Virginia Beach’s biggest employers include Oceana Naval Air Station, its Dam Neck annex and Little Creek Naval Amphibious Base, which together employ about 30,000 active-duty and civilian personnel. Other large employers include auto insurer GEICO with about 2,000 employees, the Navy Exchange Service Command with 1,888 employees, power tool manufacturer Stihl Inc. with 1,863 employees and managed health- care provider Amerigroup Corp. with about 1,400 employees. Virginia
Beach has seven main business corridors that house light-industrial and commercial and retail development.

Where to stay

Business and leisure travelers have discovered the Westin Virginia Beach Town Center. The 38-story property is Virginia’s tallest structure. Amenities include a heated indoor pool and a workout facility. Those who want to watch the sun rise over the water may prefer the oceanfront Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront Hotel. The 21-story luxury property features a rooftop bar and pool. Other popular hotels include the Virginia Beach Resort Hotel and Conference Center where the “Chesapeake Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean” and The Founders Inn and Spa.

Where to eat

Virginia Beach is a seafood lover’s paradise. You’ll find fresh seafood as well as gorgeous views of Lynnhaven Inlet at One-Fish Two-Fish. Another casual dining option is Tautog’s on the oceanfront. The restaurant is situated in an old beach cottage that once served as a doctor’s office. Also on the oceanfront is Catch 31 at the Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront Hotel. The seafood restaurant has an outdoor bar with fire pits that help keep patrons warm in the off-season. Coastal Grill is located about 10 minutes from the oceanfront. In business since 1989, the restaurant is a favorite among locals.

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