Industries Economic Development

Gov. McDonnell announces two new businesses for Virginia

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Norfolk and Albemarle County got some good news Friday. New businesses are coming to their localities, and they’re bringing jobs.

Gov. Bob McDonnell announced that Belgium-based Katoen Natie (KTN), a worldwide global logistics provider, will establish a warehousing and distribution operation in Norfolk on a portion of the old Ford Motor Co. site.  After closing the plant in 2007, Ford sold it to Atlanta-based Jacoby Development, Inc., which said it planned to use the site for a green energy operation.

According to the governor, KTN will invest $10.5 million to purchase a portion of the former Ford plant from Jacoby and refurbish the 662,000-square-foot former body shop. KTN plans to invest an additional $1.5 million in new equipment. Fully staffed, the project is expected to create 225 new jobs.

“We have been working for a long time to bring this project to Virginia,” McDonnell said in announcing the project.  “The advantages of the Port of Virginia, as well as the opportunity to refurbish an existing, available property are the reasons that Katoen Natie chose Norfolk for the site of its East Coast warehousing and distribution facility. In addition to creating 225 new jobs for the Commonwealth, the company will further enhance port operations with the addition of this waterfront facility.”
Incorporated in 1854 as a cooperative in the port of Antwerp, Belgium, the original activities of Katoen Natie consisted included the reception and handling of goods on the docks, especially cotton and related goods. Today the company is ranked No. 1 worldwide in petrochemicals. Katoen Natie employs 9,300 employees in 28 countries.
“KTN chose the location due to its excellent proximity to the port and its appeal in attracting new customers to KTN. We see the Hampton Roads region and our Norfolk division as having a very bright future,” Frank Vingerhoets, President of KTN’s North America subsidiary, said in a statement. 

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with the City of Norfolk, the Hampton Roads Economic Development Alliance, the Virginia Port Authority and Jacoby Development, Inc to secure the project for Virginia. The company is eligible to receive benefits from the Virginia Enterprise Zone Program, administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development. Through its Virginia Jobs Investment Program, the Virginia Department of Business Assistance will provide funding and services to support the company’s recruitment and training activities.

Norfolk Mayor Paul D. Fraim welcomed the project.  “In these challenging times, we are grateful not only for their investment in our city, but particularly thankful for the value-added jobs they will create.”

Just more than an hour after the news about Katoen Natie, McDonnell said Virginia-based plans to open a new digital and screen print operation for custom apparel in Albemarle County. The company has a headquarters in McLean. “What began as an idea among three college classmates has grown into quite an entrepreneurial company. Albemarle County is the perfect fit for CustomInk’s expansion, as the region provides the workforce that the company is targeting, including recent UVA graduates,” the governor said.

A privately held company, CustomInk provides an online service that people use to design and order custom-decorated products, such as printed T-shirts and sweatshirts, for their groups and events. Clients include businesses, student groups, sport leagues and planners of family reunions.  Founded in 2000, the company employs more than 275 people, about 30 of whom now work out of the company’s
Charlottesville production facility. In the future, it will service a significant portion of CustomInk’s order volume. 

Company president Marc Katz called the expansion “an important step in CustomInk’s evolution.” He said in a statement that the Charlottesville area will provide good shipping coverage, staffing opportunities, and a high quality of life for the team.




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