TEGNA elects new director
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/tegna-elects-new-director#When:19:53:00ZTEGNA has elected Change.org President Jennifer Dulski to its board of directors.
The term begins immediately and brings the total number of directors at TEGNA to 11.
Dulski joined Change.org in 2013, which promotes social change through technology. Since Dulski joined Change.org, it was tripled to 150 million users worldwide.
Previously she spent two years leading global product at Google. She was co-founder and CEO of Dealmap, which helped people find and share local deals. Google bought the company in 2011.
She held a number of positions at Yahoo!, serving as group vice president and general manager of local and commerce in her last role there.2016-05-06T19:53:00+00:00
CSC completes acquisition of Xchanging
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/csc-completes-acquisition-xchanging#When:08:42:00ZCSC announced Thursday it has completed the acquisition of London-based Xchanging plc.
The acquisition will expand CSC’s market coverage and grow the range of services of both companies.
The agreement was accepted by Xchanging’s shareholders and was approved by regulators and boards of both companies.
Xchanging provides technology business solutions to companies in the global insurance and financial services, health care, manufacturing, real estate and the public sector.
CSC, based in Tysons, says the acquisition brings:
-Insurance software Xuber
-Domain expertise and leadership in London’s insurance market
-Leading position providing property and wealth management business processing services
“We are delighted to have the Xchanging team join CSC to create a dynamic technology leader,” Mike Lawrie, CSC’s chairman, president and CEO., said in a statement. “The addition of Xchanging is another step toward our goal of becoming a leader in the key geographies and markets we serve. Xchanging’s people and offerings portfolio are a complement to CSC’s existing business, which will allow us to demonstrate our commitment to areas such as the London market and the commercial insurance industry.”2016-05-06T08:42:00+00:00
Protecting your investment in a startup
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/protecting-your-investment-in-a-startup#When:20:59:00ZInvesting in a startup has a high potential rate of return, but, since so many businesses fail each year, it is also one of the riskiest investments one can make. Because the risk of losing one’s investment in a startup is very real, investors should enter a new venture with their eyes wide open and should size the investment appropriately to avoid jeopardizing their overall financial stability.
The 2015 Virginia Chamber of Commerce’s State of the Commonwealth report states that most businesses started in Virginia “are able to survive for at least a year.” But the Chamber’s data suggests that these nascent small businesses “are not necessarily well equipped to deal with the tasks they subsequently confront as they attempt to grow.” While the Chamber and its partners certainly aspire to improve the odds for Virginia’s newest businesses, this finding serves as a warning for potential investors in such ventures.
When starting out, new business owners may be disinclined to use banks as lenders due to bureaucratic hassles and tight restrictions on lending (just ask anyone who has applied for a mortgage recently about banking red tape). Instead, they often seek capital investment from those closest to them; friends and family. But a smart individual investor, who is usually putting his or her own family’s capital at risk with the startup capital outlay, will place restrictions on the borrower and establish clear boundaries for the investment.
Prior to releasing any funds to a new business, an investor should insist upon reviewing the venture’s business plan. A business plan delineates the owner’s intentions for the entity as well as its roadmap for growth. To protect an investment, then, a lender is well advised to carefully analyze the plan to determine if the owner’s projections are realistic. Investors should also insist on periodic updates on the company and possibly access to the company’s books.
From the investor’s perspective, the ideal corporate structure for a new business is an LLC, since owners and investors cannot be held liable for the young company’s debts and unpaid bills. Without the protections of an LLC, vendors and stakeholders can hold investors personally responsible for what is owed. And remember, the newly formed LLC will, of course, be responsible for providing investors with K-1s, but a passive investor cannot deduct losses until he is also experiencing passive investment gains (PIGs).
If an investor has a specific timeframe for a return on his or her investment in a new business, it might be best to invest in the form of a loan. Since dividends are not guaranteed, loaning money with a defined term can provide the investor with an income stream of regular loan payments with interest and will enable the lender to be higher in the capital structure of a company, which could mitigate downside if things go bad. It is recommended that investors lend to new businesses at a risk premium to compensate for the speculative nature of the enterprise and the illiquidity of the investment. Investors should even go as far as to insist upon a lien. And, of course, they should make the loan official with proper legal documentation.
Another option for the startup investor is to receive preferred stock in exchange for the investment. Preferred stock can be structured to be converted to common stock at a later date. The preferred stock option also enables the investor to be higher up in the capital structure than the owner, which is advisable in a risky, illiquid venture.
Certain business types have much higher margins than others and, therefore, offer a greater likelihood that investors will be paid back. The best route to success for the investor is to support a business with differentiating factors and with the potential for positive cash flow in the near-term. Ideally, an investor wants the business to produce cash to pay interest or dividends with a path for liquidity.
Finally, an investor should go in to the new business venture prepared to walk away and should refrain from throwing good money after bad. If an investor is open to investing a total of $150,000 in the new entity, for example, he or she may only want to commit $100,000 initially. That way, the investor can re-evaluate the business’s performance over time and has options; to invest again later if profits are on the near horizon or, alternatively, to limit the capital outlay if things are headed south.
While not assured of high rates of return, those investors who place careful restrictions on a startup investment and go into the venture informed and protected, can certainly increase the odds of positive outcomes.
Michael Joyce, CFA, CFP, founder and president of JoycePayne Partners of Bethlehem and Richmond, Va., is responsible for overall invest¬ment strategy, management of investment portfo¬lios and financial counseling services. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.orgT20:59:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/GlenForestDr_7200_Lease-45.jpg
Colliers International | Richmond will relocate its Henrico office to Glen Forest Office Park
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/colliers-international-richmond-will-relocate-its-henrico-office-to-glen-fo#When:20:26:00ZUsually commercial real estate companies find space to help other companies move. Yet in a portfolio sale that helps a Boston-based player expand its footprint in the Richmond market, Colliers International | Richmond found itself a new home as well.
The company signed a 12,375-square-foot lease that will relocate its West End office in the Southern States Headquarters Building off West Broad Street to a building in the Glen Forest Office Park off Forest Avenue in Henrico.
The building at 7200 Glen Forest Drive is one of four in a 150,000-square-foot portfolio that was sold to Grander Capital for an undisclosed price. The seller was Chevy Chase Land Co. Colliers International | Richmond represented both parties in the sale of the properties, and simultaneously leased the largest space.
Grander Capital owns two other properties in Henrico, including a building on North Parham Road and one on Discovery Drive.
“They’re acquisitive and expecting to expand more,” said David Williams, managing director of Collier’s Richmond office. “We’re already working with them on a variety of things in Richmond and other markets.”
Chris Wallace in the firm’s Richmond office, Chris Todd from Colliers’ Norfolk office and Bill Kaye out of Colliers’ Washington, D.C., office handled negotiations on behalf of the buyer and seller. Wallace and Kit Tyler handled lease negotiations on behalf of the lessee.
Colliers expects to move its staff of 45 by Thanksgiving. Its new building, built in 1986, includes 36,363 square feet on three floors. It is bordered by I-64, Broad Street and Glenside Drive. Colliers will occupy the entire second floor. The company has been in its current location at 6606 W. Broad St. since 2004.
Besides being a business opportunity, with Colliers leasing the portfolio space for Grander, “the new office gives us a clean slate,” said Williams. “We want to hire across the board. We have hired millennials, and we’ll continue to do so because there will be more of them soon than anyone else. The floor plan will allow for open collaboration and space to maintain confidentiality for our clients. It will be a good mix.”
Collier also likes the new location, about a quarter of a mile from where it is now. While some companies are flocking back to downtown or to development hotspots such as Scott’s Addition in the city, Williams said a poll of Colliers’ employees found that most of them liked the area. “From a client centric perspective, you can’t get a better logistical location than this. It’s easy access in and out to get to our clients and for them to come to us,” said Williams.
This office will be the primary location for sales, leasing, and brokerage operations. Colliers maintains two other offices in the Richmond area, at 5316 Patterson Avenue and a downtown location in the James Center at 1021 E. Cary St.2016-05-05T20:26:00+00:00
Franklin Johnston Group buys land for $24 million apartment project
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/franklin-johnston-group-buys-land-for-24-million-apartment-project#When:20:13:00ZThe Franklin Johnston group (FJG) said Thursday that it has closed on the purchase of six-acres of property in the Campostella section of Norfolk where it plans to build a $24 million affordable housing apartment community.
The Clairmont Apartments at Campostella Station will be a gated community of 152 apartments. The company said in a press release that rent for the community would range from $690-$995 for one-,two- and three- bedroom apartments.
Wells Fargo is the investment-limited partner for the project.
“We appreciate the opportunity to bring excellent, affordable housing to the Campostella community,” Steve Cooper, senior vice president of development for FJG, said in a statement. “This neighborhood has a rich history, but it’s been underserved with quality apartment homes for far too long. We expect Clairmont to rent up very quickly.”
Once development of Campostella’s newest community is complete in 2017, FJG said it would begin constructing 25 single-family homes adjacent to the property.2016-05-05T20:13:00+00:00
Parkway Atrium office building in Herndon gets loan for recapitalization
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/parkway-atrium-office-building-in-herndon-gets-loan-for-recapitalization#When:20:09:00ZNXT Capital, based out of Chicago, has provided a $22.3 million first mortgage loan to finance the recapitalization of Parkway Atrium, a 184,000-square-foot, Class-B office building in Herndon.
According to NXT, the property is centrally located near the Dulles Toll Road, Fairfax County Parkway, the Washington Beltway, Route 7 and I-66. It also offers access to Washington D.C.’s central business district and Dulles International Airport.
Historically, General Service Administration tenants have occupied the property. Going forward, the property will undergo extensive renovations to appeal to a wide variety of potential tenants.
Cary Abod and Robert Carey in the Washington D.C., office of Holiday Fenoglio Fowler LP placed the loan with NXT.
NXT Capital’s Real Estate Finance group primarily serves experienced real estate investors with non-recourse first mortgages of $10 million to $40 million for properties in major markets.2016-05-05T20:09:00+00:00
Altria Group ranks third on Barron’s financial performance list
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/altria-group-ranks-third-on-barrons-financial-performance-list#When:20:38:00ZHenrico County-based Altria Group Inc. placed third in a ranking aimed at identifying companies doing the best job of boosting sales and investing for growth.
Altria is the highest ranking of 13 Virginia-based companies on this year’s Barron’s 500 list. The list, now in its 18th year, ranks large publicly traded companies based on three financial measurements.
The other Virginia companies listed are General Dynamics, Hilton Worldwide, CarMax, Capital One Financial, Northrop Grumman, Markel, Owens & Minor, Performance Food Group, Dollar Tree, WestRock, Dominion Resources, AES, Genworth Financial and Norfolk Southern.
The top ranked company on the list was Valley Forge, Pa.-based AmerisourceBergen, a drug distributor, which was ranked No. 149 last year.
The list was compiled by HOLT, a unit of Credit Suisse. It compared companies’ performance on three equally weighted factors: median three-year cash-flow based return on investment (CFROI), one-year change in CFROI relative to the three-year median and sales growth in the latest fiscal year.
Altria moved up to third this year from No. 196 on last year’s list. The parent company of the cigarette company Philip Morris USA received an “A” in each of the three financial measurements.
The rankings of the other Virginia companies are:
General Dynamics: No. 16, up from No. 184 last year
Hilton: 50, up from 72
CarMax: 76, up from 140
Capital One: 96, up from 374
Northrop Grumman: 129, up from 437
Markel: 184, not ranked (NR) last year
Owens & Minor: 197, up from 392
Performance Food Group: 212, NR
Dollar Tree: 289, down from 206
WestRock: 387, NR
Dominion Resources: 406, up from 458
AES: 445, down from 250
Genworth: 451, up from 490
Norfolk Southern: 463, down from 370
Besides Altria and AmerisourceBergen, the other companies ranking in the top 10 on the Barron’s list are:
Gilead Sciences (No. 2)
Marriott International (No. 4)
Reynolds American (No. 5)
Wyndham Worldwide (No. 6)
Biogen (No. 7)
Arthur G. Gallagher (No. 8)
S&P Global (No. 9)
Facebook (No. 10)2016-05-04T20:38:00+00:00
Kohlberg & Co. acquires Interstate Hotels
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/kohlberg-co.-acquires-interstate-hotels#When:20:14:00ZPrivate equity firm Kohlberg & Co. LLC has acquired Interstate Hotels & Resorts, an Arlington-based company that provides third-party hotel management.
Kohlberg purchased Interstate Hotels from Thayer Lodging and Jin Jiang International Hotels, which purchased the company in 2010. An acquisition price was not disclosed.
"The partnership with Kohlberg will enhance the company's current management processes, with Interstate continuing to lead from a solid position, remaining focused on providing intuitive service to guests, and developing the best talent to deliver exceptional returns for owners,” Jim Abrahamson, Interstate's CEO, said in a statement.
In a statement, the company said it also would continue its merger and acquisition activities.
Following the acquisition, Interstate Hotels’ senior management will remain in place.
Interstate employs more than 30,000 people at 425 properties in the U.S. and nine other countries.
Moelis & Co. LLC served as financial adviser, and Morris, Manning and Martin LLP served as legal counsel to Interstate.
Jefferies LLC served as financial adviser, and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP served as legal counsel to Kohlberg. Antares Capital, Madison Capital, TIAA and MetLife are providing debt financing for the transaction.2016-05-04T20:14:00+00:00
Sutherland Global Services to expand Chesapeake operations
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/sutherland-global-services-to-expand-chesapeake-operations#When:08:45:00ZSutherland Global Services plans to expand its Chesapeake operations, adding 200 additional consultants to its Insurance Center of Excellence.
The Chesapeake location currently has 320 insurance business consultants. Twenty percent of the center’s employees are veterans.
Sutherland Global Services, headquartered in New York, is one of the largest BPO (business process outsourcing) companies in the world, with more than 38,000 employees in locations worldwide.2016-05-04T08:45:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/image001.jpeg
Lansdowne Resort completes first phase of multimillion-dollar renovation
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/lansdowne-resort-completes-first-phase-of-multimillion-dollar-renovation#When:20:58:00ZLansdowne Resort and Spa in Leesburg has completed the first phase of a multimillion-dollar renovation. All of the resort’s 296 rooms have been updated with amenities focused around a theme that highlights the resort’s location in Loudoun County and the county’s growing wine industry.
For instance, there are “wine cask” nightstands, drinking glasses made from recycled wine bottles and artwork shown in frames made from wine corks. Loudoun is home to more than 45 wineries and 20 craft breweries (many of which are within 30 minutes of the resort).
Lansdowne is located 25 miles away from Washington, D.C., and 8 miles from Washington Dulles International Airport. It includes a 12,000-square-foot spa and 45-hole golf course on 476 acres along the banks of the Potomac River.
The upgrades are part of the resort’s 25th anniversary.2016-05-02T20:58:00+00:00
Beacon Roofing Supply Co. acquires Michigan roofing supplier
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/beacon-roofing-supply-co.-acquires-michigan-roofing-supplier#When:18:45:00ZBeacon Roofing Supply Co. announced Monday it has acquired Fox Brothers Co., a Michigan-based distributor of roofing, siding, windows and related products.
Fox Brothers, headquartered in Lansing, Mich., was founded more than 30 years ago.
“Fox has built a reputation as a high quality supplier of residential roofing and related building materials that will strengthen our existing Michigan business,” Paul Isabella, CEO and president of Beacon Roofing Supply, said in a statement.
Herndon-based Beacon Roofing Supply is the largest publicly traded distributor of residential and commercial roofing materials and related building products.2016-05-02T18:45:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Seth_Harris_Headshot.jpg
Seth Harris joins Capital Square 1031 in Richmond
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/seth-harris-joins-capital-square-1031-in-richmond#When:18:42:00ZRichmond-based Capital Square 1031 LLC said Monday that Seth Harris, a commercial real estate veteran with more than a decade of experience, has joined the firm as executive vice president of investments.
According to Capital Square, Harris has a successful track record of closing more than $3 billion in acquisition, finance and refinance transactions.
Harris joins the company from Landmark Apartment Trust, where he spent 11 years, ultimately as vice president of financial services. During his tenure, he completed about $1.3 billion in multifamily refinance and disposition transactions, purchased 56 multifamily properties and closed $900 million in multifamily financing from agencies, banks, insurance companies and CMBS lenders.
Harris earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and a master’s degree in real estate with a concentration in finance and investment from New York University.
Capital Square 1031 specializes in the creation and management of commercial real estate investment programs for Section 1031 exchange investors and other investors using the Delaware Statutory Trust structure. As of Jan. 31, the company said it oversees a national portfolio of 40 real estate assets valued at approximately $375 million.2016-05-02T18:42:00+00:00
Coffee, gas and free Wi-FI
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/coffee-gas-and-free-wi-fi#When:15:46:00ZOwners of commercial real estate are increasingly looking to free Wi-Fi to give them a competitive edge.
WaWa, a convenience store retailer known for its fresh-to-order food, and Comcast have teamed up to outfit more than 700 Wawa stores in Delaware, Florida, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia with access to free Wi-Fi.
As part of a new collaboration between the companies, Comcast Business’s Enterprise Solutions unit installed the managed public/private Wi-Fi network, along with managed broadband, and the team will support both services for Wawa going forward.
There is no charge to use the service.
As part of Wawa's continued focus on becoming a one-stop-shop for its customers' needs, the company said it has turned to technology to evolve the in-store experience. The company needed a fast, reliable Wi-Fi solution to enable a consistent experience for its mobile application, and getting online through Xfinity WiFi allows all Wawa patrons to take advantage of a free connection without having to rely on their cellular service.
“At Wawa we exist to fulfill customers lives every day, and part of this commitment means creating meaningful customer connection points that add the highest level of value and convenience,” Carol Jensen, chief marketing officer for Wawa, said in a statement.
Bill Stemper, president of Comcast Business, noted that as more businesses look to improve the customer experience at branch locations, reliable Wi-Fi has become a cornerstone for attracting and retaining customers.
To meet Wawa’s needs, Comcast Business’s Enterprise Solutions team designed and built an enterprise-grade Managed Wi-Fi and broadband solution that includes public Xfinity WiFi for Wawa customers and private access Wi-Fi for associates and vendors. The scope of the business services implementation includes Wawa locations in and out of Comcast's traditional service areas.2016-05-02T15:46:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/85698.jpg
DSW opens new stores in Virginia Beach and Suffolk
Shoe retailer DSW has opened new stores at Pembroke Mall in Virginia Beach and at Harbour View In Suffolk.
The 16,000-square-foot Pembroke Mall store stocks 21,000 pairs of men's and women's shoes, including name brand and designer shoes and accessories. It's located at 4588 Virginia Beach Blvd.
The 12,000-square-foot store, which stocks the same number of shoes, is located at 1011 University Boulevard in the Hampton Roads Crossing development, anchored by the Kroger Marketplace.
For people who want to shop at home, customers can now order online from dsw.com and use in-store pick-up to get their shoes at their local DSW store.
The stores give DSW a total of five in the Hampton Roads market.
DSW Shoe Warehouse, based in Dublin, Ohio, operates 478 stores in 42 states. It also supplies footwear to 387 locations in the U.S.2016-05-02T15:33:00+00:00
JES Foundation Repair takes on new partner and announces new CEO
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/jes-foundation-repair-takes-on-new-partner-and-announces-new-ceo#When:14:47:00ZJES Foundation Repair (JES) announced on Monday that it has brought on Matt Malone and private equity firm, Succession Capital Partners, as new partners in the rapidly growing, 23-year-old structural engineering firm in Virginia Beach.
Malone will become CEO of JES, overseeing the day-to-day operations of the company, which now has five offices and more than 300 employees.
Jesse Waltz, the co-founder of JES with his wife, Stella, will continue as the company’s president, chief consultant and member of the newly formed board of directors.
Waltz, who started the company in 1993, posted more than $35 million in gross revenue in 2016.
Waltz said in a statement that the move is intended to take JES to the next level. "I have been looking for a CEO to head up JES for several years." Waltz said. "We've been blessed with phenomenal growth and have a great team already in place However, I felt we needed an operations expert like Matt Malone and Succession Capital team to continue the growth and integrity of the JES brand through maximizing efficiencies."
Malone said he sees great potential and opportunity in JES. "In my experience, JES is perfectly poised to continue its trajectory to the next level in its transformation from its humble beginnings as a ‘mom and pop shop’ to a regional leader in the industry."
Malone brings more than 20 years of experience in management, investment and growth strategies focused on growing small, family-owned businesses.
"… Our part of the partnership will be to not only provide additional capital, but to leverage our operational expertise to drive efficiency in all areas of the operation, improve and invest in infrastructure and solidify the success of JES through the attention to detail."
Besides continuing its growth in the original core regions in Hampton Roads, greater Richmond, Northern Virginia and Greater Washington D.C., JES plans to open an additional office in Maryland and to transition its brand at its newly acquired offices in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and Indianapolis.
Oracle buying Arlington-based Opower for $532 million
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/oracle-buying-arlington-based-opower-for-532-million#When:14:12:00ZArlington-based Opower announced Monday it has entered into an agreement to be acquired by Redwood Shores, Calif.-based Oracle for about $532 million, net of Opower’s cash.
Opower’s platform stores and analyzes more than 600 billion meter reads from 60 million utility end customers, enabling utilities to meet regulatory requirements, decrease costs and improve customer satisfaction. Oracle offers cloud applications and platform services.
“Utilities want modern technology solutions that work together to meet their evolving customer, operational and compliance needs,” Rodger Smith, senior vice president and general manager of Oracle Utilities Global Business Unit, said in a statement. “Together, Oracle Utilities and Opower will be the largest provider of mission-critical cloud services to utilities.”
“The combination will provide the industry with the most modern, complete cloud applications for the entire utility value chain, from meter to grid to end-customers,” Dan Yates, Opower’s CEO and co-founder, said in a statement. “We are excited to join Oracle and to bring even more value to our customers as part of the Oracle Utilities Industry Cloud Platform.”
Opower’s board of directors has approved the transaction, which is expected to close this year.2016-05-02T14:12:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Uncommon_Charlottesville2.jpg
Hardywood Park Craft Brewery opening Charlottesville location
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hardywood-park-craft-brewery-opening-charlottesville-location#When:13:10:00ZHardywood Park Craft Brewery has announced its first expansion outside of the Richmond-area.
The Richmond-based brewery is investing $300,000 to open a brewery and taproom at Uncommon, a residential and retail development currently under construction in Charlottesville. The new location, slated to open in September, will create 16 jobs.
Hardywood’s facility at 1000 W. Main St. will feature a 3.5 barrel brewery; 1,100 square-foot taproom and outdoor beer garden.
The taproom will include 12 Hardywood draft beers, nitrogenated coffee and local kombucha tea.
Hardywood will keep its headquarters in Richmond and is starting construction on a production facility in Goochland County in May.
Hardywood will be the anchor tenant in the Charlottesville development occupying 3,367 square feet. It will be joining Purvelo, a spin studio that will be leasing 1,960 square feet.
John Pritzlaff of Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer handled the lease negotiations on behalf of landlord CA Ventures, a Chicago-based real estate firm.2016-05-02T13:10:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/ChefFrank-7690.pngExecutive Chef Anthony Frank photo by Mark Rhodes.
A millennial mindset
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/a-millennial-mindset#When:10:00:00ZUnique experiences, good food, connectivity.
Those are some of the major trends shaping the meetings and convention industry in Virginia, an industry on the upswing. In fact, planners say 2016 promises to be the best year in recent memory.
“We’re doing more meetings than we’ve ever done,” says Rick Eisenman, the former vice president of the Virginia Society of Association Executives Inc. and the owner of a meeting-planning firm in Richmond.
“We are seeing more hospitality revenue than ever,” concurs Jeff Schmid, president of the Virginia chapter of Meeting Professionals International.
The occupancy and average daily revenue (ADR) rates at hotels throughout the state help bear out the rosy predictions. Some areas saw healthy increases in occupancy last year, while others saw only marginal increases, but none of the areas surveyed by STR Inc., a hotel market data company, reported downward trends.
In the Richmond region, for instance, occupancy rose from 64 percent in 2014 to 65.2 percent in 2015, while ADR rates increased from $89.31 to $98.66.
In Northern Virginia, STR figures show that occupancy rose from 71.6 percent to 72.7 percent. The ADR increased from $128.62 to $133.92, the highest rate in the state in 2015.
Two areas — Chesapeake/Suffolk and Staunton/Harrisonburg — each saw occupancy increases of 3 percent. Chesapeake/Suffolk’s rate bumped up to 65.7 percent in 2015 with an ADR of $72.12 while Staunton/Harrisonburg’s rate was 60.4 percent with an ADR of $85.31.
Overall, statewide hotel occupancy rates in Virginia last year were 61.6 percent — below the national average of 65.6 percent, according to the STR Inc.
Still, the future is still looking better than the past. With the recession of eight years ago in the rearview mirror and a dip in government meetings due to sequestration leveling off, meeting planners remain optimistic, in part because of an uptick in medical meetings.
Todd Bertka, vice president for convention marketing and sales with the Virginia Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau, sees medical meetings as an emerging market for Hampton Roads. “We’re in a growth mode,” he says.
Other jurisdictions have gotten serious about attracting medical meetings as well. In Alexandria, staffers are being trained to negotiate the web of federal regulations that come into play when biotech, pharmaceutical, medical-device and health-care firms meet. Lorraine Lloyd, senior vice president of sales for the convention and visitors association, says that a million medical meetings took place across the country last year, and Alexandria is trying to ensure that more of them come its way.
One cloud, however, dims the sunny outlook for the meetings and convention industry: While meetings have become more numerous and frequent, most aren’t as long as they used to be. What was once a three-day conclave typically has been pared to a day-and-a-half.
“People don’t want to be out of the office that much,” Eisenman says. “It’s not no frills. There still gets to be fun, but budgets are being cut.”
Such abbreviated schedules make easy access to a facility nearly as important to meeting planners as price. Eisenman and Schmid say space — is there enough of it and is it configured in the right way —and service — can the facility handle a mass influx of people — are other top concerns. Add to that list of basics a more recent must-have: connectivity, free and available throughout a venue.
The influence of young workers attending business conclaves has hastened the shift from fast Internet service being a nice-to-have to a necessity. For the so-called millennials, electronic sharing is a way of life, and they are unwilling to do without it. Other prevalent trends in the meetings and planning industry also can be traced to the outsized influence of the millennial mindset. They include the demise of the rubber chicken.
Healthy, distinctive food
Generic, bland food once ruled the table at meetings and conventions, but it just doesn’t cut the mustard, anymore. Like their leisure travel counterparts, meeting goers want more distinctive fare, and the healthier and more local, the better.
“People have a lot of memories of who they were with and what they ate,” says Kristin McGrath, vice president of sales and services for Richmond Regional Tourism, a nonprofit destination marketing organization. “We’re definitely seeing more planners ask about the food.”
“Millennials want to be able to share their experiences,” says Schmid, and that includes being able to post pictures of what they eat. No one is likely to bother to take a selfie with a plate of chicken a la king. However, oysters in the Tidewater area, peanut soup in Richmond or ramen noodle beer in Northern Virginia? Those can log some hits and buzz.
Executive Chef Anthony Frank exemplifies the move toward more Facebook-worthy foods. The executive chef and food and beverage director at Williamsburg Lodge and Woodlands Conference Center has banquet menus that feature regional dishes such as braised collard greens and cornmeal-fried catfish, and he does frequent “pints and pairings,” using craft beers from local breweries.
Frank is able to draw on 90 acres of gardens in Williamsburg to boost his farm-to-table credentials, yet he says being served foods that are hormone-free, steroid-free, sustainable and free-range, no matter what their origin, is just as important to his convention clients.
Convention goers also want a special experience. More and more travelers want to participate in offbeat activities, not just observe them, and this desire is refiguring the on- and off-site events offered during meetings.
In Alexandra, for instance, team-building groups can brainstorm clues a la Sherlock Holmes or Edgar Allan Poe in a locked-room mystery called Escape Room Live. “We pride ourselves on offering off-site activities,” says Lloyd.
It’s got to be “experiential,” says Jennifer Ritter, director of sales for Visit Loudoun. On-site, Ritter notes, the conference center at Lansdowne has reimagined some of its common space as the casual gathering areas millennials prefer.
Off-site meeting bait in Ritter’s county includes Topgolf, a driving range that bills itself as an entertainment complex — which happens to bake its own bread. “It is very cool, very hip,” she says. The new indoor skydiving facility, iFly, should be another draw for meeting planners in search of hard-to-duplicate experiences for their braver clients.
Many participatory activities offered across the state strive to be indigenous to the area as a way of being “authentic,” another popular adjective that describes what travelers seek these days.
In Roanoke, team spirit can be forged by dangling off the end of a rope in a rock-climbing class. Meeting goers want to “get away from the same old, same old,” says Alex Michaels, director of sales for the Roanoke Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau.
At equine-centered Middleburg, Salamander Resort & Spa offers leadership building activities through an EquiSpective program that promises to explore communication styles and techniques by uniting horses and humans.
Virginia wineries, in general, have been part of the locovore movement for years, and they are a common off-site outing for many meeting goers. They, too, are going beyond tastings to offer hands-on experiences. At Early Mountain Vineyards in Madison, business groups can participate in wine blending. “The overall corporate market is looking for more unique things to keep attendees’ interest,” says Susan Holland, the vineyard’s corporate sales manager.
Altruism also plays a role at today’s meetings. Frank, the Williamsburg chef, says that young meeting attendees not only want to eat healthier, they want to eat more responsibly. He serves coffee that is single-sourced directly from Rwandan growers, meaning the African farmers see more of the profit without a middleman. That back story on the java helps satisfy the do-good impulses of young meeting goers.
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a movement in which companies embrace charitable activities as part of their business model, and CSR plays a role in where some millennials choose to work. The convention and meeting industry has responded to that trend by facilitating more team-building exercises centered on local charitable efforts.
In Loudoun County and other jurisdictions, tourism offices help coordinate volunteer opportunities for meeting goers, whether they want to pack meals for the hungry, build bikes for needy children, or help with a blood drive. In Virginia Beach, activities to support the large military presence there are particularly popular.
“Part of being sustainable is giving back,” says Sally Noona, director of sales and marketing for Virginia Beach’s convention center. She describes the changes affecting her business as “a cultural shift.”
Noona might just as well have said a generational shift. Like other aspects of society, the meetings and convention industry is witnessing a baton being passed, and part of its job is to be ready for the handoff.
List of Conference Hotels
2016-04-29T10:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/salamander-group-7039.pngL-R: Ian Carter, Prem Devadas, Rita McClenny, Krissy Gathright, Mark Carrier, Kimberly Christner, Eric Terry and Neil Amin.
State of the industry
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/state-of-the-industry#When:10:00:00ZFor an engaging discussion on the state of Virginia’s tourism/hospitality industry, get a group of C-suite executives together in a relaxed setting. That was the idea behind a roundtable sponsored by Virginia Business and the Virginia Restaurant, Lodging Travel Association (VRLTA) at the Salamander Resort & Spa in Middleburg. Some of the biggest names in Virginia weighed in on a range of industry issues – from competition with Airbnb to international investment. Participating were: Neil Amin , CEO, Shamin Hotels; Mark Carrier , president, B.F. Saul Co. Hospitality Group; Ian Carter , president, global development, a rchitecture, design and construction, Hilton Worldwide; Kimberly Christner , president and CEO, Cornerstone Hospitality; Prem Devadas , president, Salamander Hotels & Resorts; Krissy Gathright, COO, A pple Hospitality REIT; and Rita McClenny, president, Virginia Tourism Corp.
Paula Squires, managing editor at Virginia Business, and Eric Terry, president of VRLTA, served as the moderators. An edited transcript follows.
Squires: Let’s start with the state of the industry. It terms of inventory is Virginia competitive and up to date?
Ian Carter: As a general statement I would say, yes, we’re pretty competitive. You know it is a pretty diverse state. We’re close to D.C. on the edge of the northern part of the state. We’ve got beaches. We’ve got resorts. We gauge the health of the state on inventory that we already have and how that performs. In our case, we’ve got close to 22,000 rooms in operation in the state. We’ve got a pipeline of just under 4,000 rooms, meaning hotels that are going to open in the next two years. More than half of those are under construction. We see good representation of our brands and others.
We’ve seen development be pretty strong in the last really twenty-four months. We’ve seen a kind of resurgence down in Virginia Beach. We have a great Hilton there, and we’ve built [another] hotel, just a couple hundred yards from it, Hilton Garden Inn. Both are performing extremely well. So that gives you some idea of the vibrancy of the economy, generally, but two areas of not-so-strong performance would be the per diem type spending, government related or military.
Mark Carrier: Picking up on Ian’s comment, I would say because a majority of our Virginia distribution is in the Washington, D.C., suburbs we tend to over index on business related to government contractors … So areas like Crystal City, Tysons Corner, or Dulles. We have actually performed low in national trends for a number of years. We had greater stability when the market declined in the 2007-2009 timeframe, but we have not seen the same demand growth as perhaps the nation. The way we’ve gone through everything from government shutdowns to wrangling over the budget, sequester, etc. It has an inordinate impact in a flow through sense to our primary clients whether that be a company like Mitre or Booz Allen or a range of organizations like that. That combined with, let’s call it stability in the [government federal lodging] per diem, doesn’t change the pricing dynamic too effectively for us. So we’ve been a little bit caught between those realities in Northern Virginia. When we look at our data against, say, even national averages, we do recognize in our commercial hotels that that is a big, big factor. Now on one hand, when the whole industry crashed, everyone was saying, “Wow, you’re lucky because you’re in D.C.,” and now we have that as somewhat of a dampening effect on the ability to grow.
Eric Terry: Kimberly Christner, who’s at the far end of the table, is one of our board members, and she’s really doing exciting projects in different parts of the state. She’s got the Craddock Terry out in Lynchburg. She’s developing the Sessions Hotel in Bristol, and she’s done some small projects and small developments. I wanted to have Kimberly join us today to give a different perspective of what’s happening in other parts of the state. So Kimberly do you have any quick thoughts on that?
Kimberly Christner: There are a lot of great properties in Virginia. One of the things we found in what we’re doing with developing historic buildings is recreating authentic experiences. We found that we can play in the big cities with all of the other players sitting at the table, or we can go into the rural and tertiary markets and find our own piece of business there. What we found is in those markets, when the demand of the recession hits or we have a government cutback or whatever, we don’t suffer as much as they do in the city markets. Our properties are smaller. Our services are great, but the staffing is more limited, and so we’ve kind of played in the independent game a lot and we’ve partnered. We have couple of Hilton Curio hotels getting ready to come on the market, and we’re member preferred with the Craddock Terry Hotel in Historic Hotels of America with that property. Those properties, they’re 30- to 120-room properties depending on the market. These projects really are where I think the trend is going, which is why Hilton and Marriott and Starwood — big companies — are trying to pick off those little independent properties because they know that you can’t create that in a brand necessarily. It’s an independent property. It’s an authentic experience. Each experience in unique to that property. So, in all the towns and places that we go, that’s what we do. That gets us No. 1 on Trip Advisor. It gets us a $60 dollar premium on our rates. It gets us a 40 percent greater occupancy than the rest of the community. So it helps us quite a bit and, for us, that’s a great market. We have about eight hotels that will open in 2017 and 2018 that are all boutiques in Virginia, and we’re excited about that.
Terry: I went to the opening for Bolling Wilson in Wytheville, which is only what, 30 rooms?
Christner: Thirty Rooms.
Terry: I pulled into town, and the street was shut down and most of the population in Wytheville was at the grand opening. All the community support for that blew me away in terms of how excited they were.
Christner: Yeah, projects like that, we’re leveraging everything we can leverage. The traditional financing does not work, and lending does not work in those projects. So we’re going after historic tax credits, new market tax credits. We just got lucky enough to get the first tourism growth fund, where the governor gave us $150,000 dollars as a grant for one of our projects out in Southwest Virginia. All of those programs help us get these projects done … I think we’re probably the only company that’s doing multiple projects like that. I know Neil’s done his Hampton Inn in downtown Richmond, and there’s some ones and twos that people are doing. People are afraid of those little tertiary markets. It’s kind of scary out there, and it’s hard to attract business sometimes, but once people know you’re there, I mean, Trip Advisor kind of does it for us. So it’s great.
Rita McClenny: Well, I’ll say from the state standpoint, we are always trying to grow length of stay. Right now, about three nights is the average stay for the visitor. Our focus is on families, and leisure is king in terms of visitors who come to the commonwealth of Virginia. [Tourism] does have an impact, whether it’s military, government meetings and in Southwest Virginia in particular — which has been impacted by the [decline of the] coal industry — for the hotels, like Kimberly’s type of products with these unique characteristics that are very authentic, they do have a draw. It is as if you are looking through a window.
Now culinary has had a definite impact on the reason that people are traveling, and they want to go and have a lot of experiences for the entire family. During the day, mom is doing something slightly different from dad, the kids want to have their own thing to do, but at the end they come together for that evening meal, and then they have that piece of evening entertainment together. So, that draws the family back together. Diversifying this product really helps.
…From our standpoint [with] marketing, right now we’re in Delaware to Charlotte, Raleigh abd Greensboro. We desperately want to get to Boston and to New York. We just don’t have the financial resources to be in that marketplace, but where we are, we’re digital. Our buy is 99 percent digital for recruitment and getting “Virginia is for Lovers” in the marketplace. We are in all the platforms. Hulu is an example, Travel Zoo, Trip Advisor.
With all these drivers, the sports, the history, the outdoors — and the outdoors includes everything that you can think of from the beach, to the mountains, to fishing, to golfing, to biking. Cycling is something that we see as an emerging leisure time activity that families want to engage in. So trails are very popular because, again, it’s connectivity and making that experience easy for the traveler to build an itinerary based on their desires and things that they love and want to do together with their families.
We haven’t forgotten about the boomers, but the millennial really is the focus because it’s the 80 million-person market with young families who we want to create legacies and traditions for them to come to Virginia. But we need to expand, from the marketing standpoint, the markets that we’re in. We need to be in the rich Northeast, heavily populated places, because people are driving to Virginia. So are the Canadians.
Terry: Coming back here one of my impressions is that in smaller markets like Williamsburg, and even to some extent Virginia Beach, we’ve not seen the level of investment that you see in other states. Neil and Krissy, your companies have invested in the state, I’d be interested in your thoughts. How do you see Virginia today versus other markets?
Neil Amin: Virginia, unlike our neighboring states, hasn’t seen a lot of new construction or new hotel products since the last recession. We had a lot of product come in ’05 to ’08. We haven’t really had much product come in since then. So I think there is a lot of opportunity in markets to put in some fresh, new product that caters to the emerging trends in our industry. One of the things that we’re focused on is the millennials … We’re focused on providing that product along with the culinary aspect, the arts aspect, and really bringing in a different type of traveler to Virginia that may not have looked at Virginia, but may have looked at Charleston or Savannah but will now come to Virginia because we have that bundled product.
Krissy Gathright: Richmond, Virginia, is a good example of a market that we would like to invest in. There’s diverse demand generators. You have government, you have universities, you have medical, you have a stable corporate base, and you have amazing opportunities for leisure with the river, culinary experiences. Normally you don’t hear me say as an owner, “ Let’s go ahead and build a ton of new hotels,” because I always get a little bit nervous. We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves and have supply exceed demand, but for the most part, in our Virginia hotels, it’s been pretty healthy in terms of supply-demand balance. In the Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads markets, there have been impacts from cutbacks in [the federal] government and military, but you are starting to see some additional projects pick back up. With Virginia Beach, it’s really exciting to see the investment in new product upgrading that area and in the arena project [being developed in the city.]
Gong back to Richmond, Richmond is the area where actually I welcome the additional supply. We opened our Marriott Residence Inn and our Marriott Courtyard downtown … When we developed those particular assets, we incorporated the local flare and the local feel. We have a beautiful Courtyard, it’s right across from bars and restaurants, or you can go grab your Starbucks at the bistro. It’s very much a community feel. You’ve got the high-speed internet access. We’re starting to bring, you know, Netflix into your room. You can bring your own device. So you are seeing the product adapt to that, and Richmond, I believe, still has room to grow with the base that we have. I would love to see — our downtown Richmond Marriott is located near the coliseum there — so, if we had a wish list, it would be to see that facility be able to upgrade. I went to the University of Virginia, so I would compare it to “I’d like to see a John Paul Jones.” So that might be a little bit aggressive, but a facility like that, what a game changer. We have so many great things going for us, but if we could add a few more upgrades to the amenities right there in that market. You already have apartments, and it’s exciting to walk to work now and see people walking their dogs in the apartment next door and to see that life in the restaurants and the retail. So, if we can just work on adding a few additional things. It would nice maybe, even to see our Richmond Marriott — which is large for us with 400-plus units — there’s potentially opportunity to do an even bigger size, you know, a convention hotel if we can just bring that all together. We love Virginia. It’s an exciting place to be.
Terry: Prem what are your thoughts? You obviously have a big resort investment here.
Prem Devadas: Yes, but it is a one of a kind … I started my Virginia experience in Richmond, taking over the Jefferson Hotel in the ‘90s, actually taking it back from a flag property and making it an independent luxury [hotel] and, in those days, it was not as common. We have a fundamental belief that if you can really develop a special project that is from a luxury standpoint, clearly top of the market, then you can almost, in many markets, establish a rate that can make that property successful.
Squires: As you do new projects, how does it go with the financing? Also would anyone like to comment on what appears to be an increasing trend of international investment? We’ve seen a Chinese company, Anbang, purchase the Waldorf Astoria. More recently Anbang led a consortium to acquire Starwood, although it later backed away from the bid.
Amin: Lenders are looking for people who have a proven track record. Lenders are still looking for good developers, good product, good locations and of course good brands … In terms of the international, I think it’s hard to create Hilton, Marriott or Starwoods. It’s hard to create a huge organization with that much distribution, that much marketing power and scale. So it’s clearly a very attractive asset. Obviously these international companies see the value of that. I think they’re trying to get money out of their own countries, which are not doing as well, and are focusing more on higher yielding assets here in the U.S.
Carter: It’s a trend, and we see it as something that absolutely is important to us as an industry because that money could go anywhere … First of all, these are big investors who you clearly want to be aligned with if you can. They do have different ways of doing business and therefore are difficult … It’s also very important because many of these companies are also influential in terms of how they operate within China. So as we try and develop within China, our real opportunity is not just to serve Chinese guests as they move around, which is clearly massive, but it’s the outflow.
Where do the Chinese travelers go? When I sat on the [tourism board] in California, one of the most resonating statistics for me is that the average Chinese traveler into California (and this was probably in 2011-12), spent seven times the average European traveler in a one-week period. Now that’s on lodging, restaurants and in luxury goods, primarily. That’s an interesting stat, because if you can ensure that you’re the one attracting those travelers in the longer term, as freedom of movement from China and less group travel and more individual travel comes about, you can start to influence the kind of spend that you get. In our case, what we’re trying to do is attract them into our loyalty program.
Carrier: Picking up on the point earlier about capital availability from a debt perspective, there has been a greater discipline around underwriting from the lenders side that has created an interesting dynamic… If you go and look at the nationwide distribution of new hotel construction, I would say 17 of the top 20 branches of new development are associated either with Marriott, Hilton or IHG into their brand products. It’s the strong getting stronger. So if Neil or I went in and said, “I’m going to pitch a Hilton Garden Inn or a Homewood,” that passes the real smell test with the lender. If you go in and say, “Well, I’m going to do some other brand family,” you have a lot more difficulty. I have a lot of admiration for Cornerstone and what you’re doing because that independent/creative way takes a lot of expertise and work. It’s not that you’re just stitching together a normal bank loan. You’re often bringing together the public, private partnership… for the good of that community. So, we’re in an interesting place. The more solid underwriting has created a situation where you’re probably eliminating some supply growth that might not be warranted, because the hurdles to get there are just more business.
Terry: When I first got here, I started looking at reports for this market, and we actually had some contraction in the number of rooms in a lot of Virginia markets. When you look at markets like Williamsburg and others that have a lot of really old product, I think those are where there will be some opportunities for growth is to replace that with some better stuff.
McClenny: I think also world policy can impact travel. If you talk about Visa waiver programs and if the Chinese want to have their citizens be able to travel to certain parts of the world … they have a lot of control over that. There used to be these shopping trips, and they put the brakes on those, where there hundreds of thousands of Chinese coming for that single purpose that Ian mentioned, spending. The average that I heard a couple of years ago was $6,000 discretionary spending while they were traveling outside of China. So, certainly these programs that we see that the U.S. government have a say in, as well as the corresponding
Christner: Mark is exactly right. It is a big patchwork quilt by the time we get done with it, and it takes longer. I mean, it’s not like when you buy a branded property, and they basically give you a hotel in a box, you add some water, it pops up, and you have a hotel. It’s much harder to create a product that feels authentic, yet you’re manufacturing that authenticity in some way. Trying to bring that together is challenging, and it takes a lot longer to develop. It takes a lot more skill with the staff that you have to run it, and then financing, of course, is a real bear because most of our products are not in big city markets and most of them are one-off. So, you have a track record of running hotels, but you don’t have a track record of running a hotel in that city, in that location, of that particular product.
The interesting thing that we’re finding is that we’re not only giving the unique hotel experience, but the things that go with it to tell the story of the building or the community in a subtle way that creates an interest and intrigue for the guest while they’re there. So the experience overall is not just the beauty of the building or the services that are offered, but what story that comes with it and what experience they can go back and tell their friends that you can only have at that property … What we do also in the towns is that we’re changing economic development in downtown communities. We creating that welcome mat, that catalyst of growth for other things to happen.
One example that’s pretty strong is in Lynchburg and what we’ve done with the Craddock Terry Hotel. It opened about eight years ago. We were the first really big thing to open in downtown. I mean it was pretty dark down there. The city, was working on their plan. Now there are over 3,500 hundred people living and working in downtown. There are restaurants there, and it’s all entrepreneurial. It’s not your Starbucks on the corner. It’s the coffee shop, the White Hart café.
Devadas: I think along the same subject that authenticity is important. Lifestyle is … a term but whether it’s independent or soft branded you still can’t walk away from the fundamentals of very good service and quality. I think where I at least have seen some of those fail it’s been … not delivering on service, and then I think probably one of the biggest challenges in that space is that a lot of people who are looking for that experience are looking for great food experiences. So actually the level of food experience that you have to create and sustain is expected and that takes a lot more work.
Christner: I think you’re exactly right, Prem, that they’re looking for more than just a great story at a hotel. They’re looking for that service that comes along with it. The bed and breakfast community really started this whole thing. They started the whole experiential travel, and it kind of was born from that … I think that’s really where it started in those individualized services and now you have so many really, really great boutique hotels that have that service style you’re talking about, Prem, and some at affordable luxury prices. So you’ve got your luxury prices where it’s very, very, high end, and you’ve got your affordable luxury boutique hotel giving that person that is looking for that experience but doesn’t have quite the finances to do the luxury end but still gets that great experience.
Devadas: We like to think that we’re affordable luxury.
Gathright: Well, I do think it’s healthy to have that diversity of product … If I’m going in for a quick business trip, I might choose a Hilton Garden Inn, but if I’m going for a girl’s weekend, I’m going to your resort and to use the spa, and it’s very healthy for the travel industry to support that diversity of product.
Terry: My impression is that Virginia is underrepresented in the boutique and lifestyle product. I look at the opening of the Quirk Hotel in Richmond, which has really been exciting and, you know, people are gravitating towards that … What are your thoughts the boutique and lifestyle hotels across the state?
Christner: Prem’s property, like this property here, you can only have so many of this high level of quality property in the state or it becomes oversaturated. It’s not as special anymore, and I think that we have to be mindful of that in the communities that we’re in and where we’re developing properties. I think there is definitely an opportunity to build different levels of boutique hotels. So, your high-end boutique hotel that offers a much more luxurious service and your mid-scale boutique hotel — we probably don’t have enough of them, and I’m working on that. I have seven coming. Give me time.
McClenny: Given the personality of the town, like the Graduate Hotel going into Charlottesville. It’s really meant to accommodate for a college kind of town and those experiences. We have some interesting inquiries now that we see a bit of a trend with sports towns, college towns and the medical piece, and it’s some pretty robust interest in Virginia around those kinds of elements in geography.
Christner: Virginia is a historical place. We have so much history in Virginia of varying things that I think what Rita is saying is right. There’s a lot of different places you can go to experience a lot of different things.
Amin: I look at all of these new properties as assets for our state. Somebody will come to Virginia, they may stay in Lynchburg and they may stay in Charlottesville. You know, see different places while they’re here. We’re not competing with Virginia. We’re trying to bring people to Virginia, and all these things that we’re doing, all these new hotels and new experiences are bringing people from the Northeast. And maybe instead of going to Florida for, you know, spring break, they’ll come to Virginia and experience what Virginia has to offer. So I think it is all complimentary, and I think we do have a need for a few more. In some of our urban locations we probably don’t have as many boutique or lifestyle hotels. I think there is a need for some of that product.
Carrier: I would love to touch on this for our friends from Virginia Business, to think about our industry because often times the breadth, depth, size, the numbers of people we employ, all of that is a little bit lost because we’re disaggregated. It’s not one employer that you point to and that one employer is employing 10,000 people in the state. But this industry is one that is an export business, because anyone that comes from out of country and comes here and spends money, that’s an export as far as the USDA counts it. If you thought about people traveling in from New York or Massachusetts or whatever and spending money here in our state, that’s like an export, because we’re getting their money for products that we have here. It’s physically delivered here in the state.
So one of the things about hotels and tourism in particular, it’s one of the most tax accretive businesses that you can have in the location. It’s why many communities really love having hotels, because we not only pay sales tax; we pay property tax, personal property tax, BPOL [business, professional occupational licensing taxes] in many cases, transportation taxes. The amount of positive contribution to the community through taxation is highly significant, and we often get together in public-private partnerships to put together pieces of community infrastructure like a conference center or other coliseum type facilities to create benefit to the overall community. So, I do think it’s kind of important as a takeaway to recognize that the industry is big. Now tying into that and going to Eric and Rita’s work, we need to be competitive. We need to fund these agencies in a way that their voice can get out and help us compete. There’s a huge ROI [return on investment[ on doing it and not just for the business people, but also for the communities that have the facilities and the restaurants, to shopping, whatever. It’s just tremendous.
Terry: The struggle is how do you create that sense of urgency? It’s a facilities investment, too, things like the arena in Richmond … things that draw people for bigger things.
McClenny: And the competition, you know we’re ranked No. 9 in visitor spending in the U.S., and our budget is down to No. 21. You know there’s incongruency in what we’re able to do from the impact that is being made vs. the investment we’re making in the marketplace and competing with other states.
Devadas: I also think that helping to drive quality development and quality assets is really important no matter what level you’re at. I can tell you that for this resort it’s not important to the guest who is traveling from afar to come here and have 50 wineries. It’s important to have 50 really great wineries or 10 great wineries or five — the same with other types of activities. I can tell you having spent many years in Charleston that you know people marvel at Charleston today and how it’s developed and what a hot hotel market it is. I can take it back to the very early years and a decision made that assistance was going to be given to create quality activities. The marketing was going to be very focused in Travel and Leisure and Conde Nast and not skewing in a different direction. Frankly it all started to feed on each other, and it all resulted in high- quality hotel product, at many different levels, but high-quality service and great attractions that really end up driving rate. So I think that, for Virginia, we also have this great opportunity to do that, to really continue to drive a higher quality, a higher rate. You know, a longer stay, all of those things.
Terry: I kind of equate it to the tipping point, and I think Charleston is the best example. You know Richmond could be Charleston.
Devadas: Charleston wasn’t Charleston a long time ago.
Gathright: Well, continued investment in infrastructure and amenities drives the additional demand. The additional demand can support the additional hotels, and when you open additional hotels then you’re employing, you’re adding more jobs and vendors. You support, you have more business.
Terry: Where you see the workforce today? I know, Prem, that’s been a challenge for you out here in place where it’s hard to get workforce.
Devadas: Listen, it’s hard everywhere. Everywhere in the country it becomes increasingly the biggest operational challenge, and it’s going to become more difficult because of wage and benefit policies that are going to be passed. Having said that, I think it has caused us to look at our models, the way that we operate, the way that we deliver service, the flexibility that we can exercise with staff full time and part time. I think it has a lot to do with training. So, it’s just going to become a bigger and bigger challenge. It has been a challenge for years from a food and beverage standpoint, and that’s causing us to look at different policies like drug testing for example. You know I was surprised but happy to see that the Four Seasons is continuing pre- hiring drug testing.
Christner: In some of my markets, we’re not close to anything, and trying to find quality people is tough. I think with food and beverage, some positive things have happened. Cooking is now a cool thing. They have cooking shows, and you know everybody wants to be a cook, but they don’t talk about the wait staff and the people that serve and how to be a true great career service person in the wait staff industry. There are some really talented people that make a lot of money doing a great job.
Carrier: One of the secrets about our industry is that it is a fantastic business to grow in. Yes, we have a lot of entry-level jobs, but we also have management, sales, accounting, marketing, digital, human resources, you name it. Virtually any specialty that somebody has in the world of business exists in the hotel universe, and it’s an industry that rewards growth from within. You can collect a group of hotel owners and executives, and we all love telling you the stories of when we started as a dishwasher. I started as a waiter. So that’s one of the great things — we’re a tremendous pathway-to-success industry. But we do have a lot of team member needs that are at entry levels. We have challenges in our country now with public policy issues that relate to immigration, Visa programs and people that are coming in seasonally. I’ve got a brother who operates a resort hotel that in the summer they absolutely could not be in business if they didn’t have foreign folks who come in and work for the summer.
The Affordable Care Act also has been a huge issue for many of us. It has changed the dynamic around providing health care for a lot of people. We’re literally facing a wage-and-hour thing right now with these rules that may be promulgated on what makes somebody exempt or nonexempt, and it is a big hit to our industry, because many of our team members, as they are growing in their management careers, becoming an exempt manager is a big step. So, there are some mega D.C. public policy issues affecting our world of employment.
Devadas: We need to tell the story. How you start from the ground up, what you can achieve. I mean that story is a real story. It’s a true story.
Carrier: I’d say also, Eric, thank you for your service with Virginia Tech because it is one of the gems of the state. The hospitality program is one that has provided many team members for many of us. Our connectivity to the educational resources, the more we can do to strengthen that so that the voices of owners, operators and the real range of the industry can be presented to the students in a more granular way — the better.
Amin: I think our industry could do a better job of talking about the benefits and the skill sets. In India, people want to be in the hospitality industry. It’s perceived as a great career path. It kills me when I see some of our associates — if they’re leaving us they may go become a receptionist at a medical office. I’m wondering why is that perceived to be a better job with zero upward mobility than being in the hospitality industry?
When we’re recruiting, we’re educating them from the very beginning that this is not about the job that you have today. This is about the job you’re going to have three years from now or five years from now or 10 years from now.
Terry: Let’s talk about the growth of some of these alternative-lodging opportunities, you know Home Away, Airbnb. I spoke to all the other states the other day. We do a kind of a monthly call. I said, my takeaways [on a successful push to delay a state law regulating Airbnbs in Virginia during the last General Assembly session] are this: while as an industry we came together and we did a really great job -- we showed up, we were there -- we were still perceived to be the guys who wanted to keep another industry out. The folks that really resonated were the cities and counties who said, “I don’t want to regulate this kind of thing” and the bed and breakfasts who were amazingly effective at saying “I have to do all these things, why don’t they?” I don’t think we’re ever going to be able to attack this at a federal level the way we want. I think it’s going to be state by state, and we’ve got to win enough of those that finally Airbnb says, “Okay, we want to go public, so we’re going to have to solve this problem,” or whatever they’re going to do. To me that’s the trigger point of that whole discussion.
Gathright: You have to use the competition, whether it’s Airbnb or the next guy that comes later on, to innovate and as an industry find better ways to deliver high quality experience to the guest. So the competition will make us stronger. They need to play by the same rules, but the competition will make us stronger.
Terry: Expedia is the other 800-pound gorilla that we’ve got to figure out.
Carrier: Most people don’t understand that if you’re an independent hotel you’re paying something between 20 to 30 percent of that room revenue as a commission or as a margin to Expedia. So think of a retailer that’s giving away 20 to 30 percent of the revenue. Recognizing that the revenue is governed by the market forces that keep prices where they keep them, it’s really out of whack with the benefit provided, and it’s a real challenge for our industry.
Carter: It is the 800 pound-gorilla. There are times when you love them to be around and there are times when you hate them to be around. At the same time you want some equanimity on pricing and you know at 20 percent, it’s a big number for what it really delivers. Our plan is we want to try and persuade a guest that’s been conditioned over the last 15 years to disbelieve what we’re about to tell them and that is to come to us direct, and you will get the best price and the best deal. Unfortunately we should’ve been saying that 15 years ago.
Carrier: The online digital world has changed dramatically over that 15-year window, and these guys are really smart. They are focused and well financed, and they have huge stock multiples that they’re deploying to get better at what they do, which is to intermediate our business. So, I applaud the steps that Hilton have taken on behalf of their owners and franchisees and their brands … Their promise to the consumer is stronger than anyone else can make … As a consumer if you can go directly to the brand and get the best deal, what’s not to like about that?
Gathright: The way that the current model works, Expedia or other OTAs [online travel agencies], have a tremendous amount of data. That’s valuable data, but when they come through the distribution system to your hotel, they keep the data and you know they have their own programs and loyalty programs. It would be ideal if they could be more of a customer acquisition partner so that you could source customers who weren’t traditionally loyal customers, who are infrequent travelers and then have the opportunity to convert them to more loyal customers to your particular hotel. And then you pay them a reasonable fee for that customer acquisition vs. you know competing for the same guest … The hotelier at the end of the day, you control the stay, and you control the rates and inventory. You know there have to be ways as we continue to evolve through the ever-changing distribution landscape to adapt the models to be more hopefully beneficial to all parties that are involved.2016-04-29T10:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Amin-7646.pngNeil Amin will soon open a restaurant and bar on the roof of a Richmond building housing two hotels. By Mark Rhodes
More than ‘fun and games’
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/more-than-fun-and-games#When:10:00:00ZTake an iconic travel slogan in a state blessed with natural beauty and history, increase funding for marketing and infrastructure, and what do you get?
A second-to-none tourism industry.
That’s the industry’s goal. But are we there yet? Not quite. While Virginia is competitive, it hasn’t ascended to the top of the Ferris wheel, say industry executives. Nor is it a tiny teacup player. What holds Virginia back, they say, are several challenges: outdated product, the need for improved infrastructure such as sports arenas and convention centers, and more marketing funds to make a push into affluent Northeastern markets such as Boston and New York.
By many measures, Virginia’s tourism industry is thriving. In 2014, domestic travelers spent $22.4 billion on lodging, transportation, food and recreation, supporting 216,900 jobs and generating $1.5 billion in state and local taxes.
In fact, Virginia ranks ninth among the 50 states and Washington, D.C., in domestic traveler spending. Yet the state falls to No. 21 based on its 2014 state budget of $18.6 million for tourism. That figure pales when compared with heavy-hitting tourism states such as Florida and California that spent nearly four times as much — $69.4 million and $64.4 million in 2014 — according to the U. S. Travel Association.
The Old Dominion is home to many large hospitality companies. Hilton Worldwide Inc. in McLean is a global giant with holdings in 100 countries. It, along with other players such as Apple REIT Hospitality, Shamin Hotels and Cornerstone Hospitality, are investing in new properties in Virginia.
Sparking the growth is the rise of millennial travelers and their families, an increasing recognition of Virginia’s award-winning culinary scene and a heightened focus on authentic experiences — from feasting on Virginia’s homegrown oysters to cycling from Richmond to Washington, D.C.
With the potential for new growth, though, are operational pressures. The industry struggles to find enough skilled people to staff positions. It’s the target of cyber criminals intent on hacking the hotels’ large cache of personal credit-card data. Throw in increased competition from Airbnb and other players in the short-term online rental industry, and it becomes apparent that the industry behind those carefree vacation images is anything but carefree.
“It’s not fun and games,” says Mark Carrier, president of B.F. Saul Hospitality Group in Northern Virginia and the 2015 vice chairman of the American Hotel and Lodging Association. The AHLA is a national association representing the 1.8 million-employee U.S. lodging industry. In Virginia that includes 1,495 properties and 45,092 lodging jobs.
“It’s a real business with a real return on investment that benefits the community. Things like the governor’s focus on Dulles Airport is huge when you think of that as a massive piece of public infrastructure and the need to get more passenger traffic through.’’ Carrier was referring to the $50 million in the state’s recently passed biennial budget that’s earmarked for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which manages Dulles. The idea behind the money is to cut fees charged to airlines to make Dulles more competitive, driving up domestic traveler traffic.
That’s the kind of public support, say industry insiders, that will help Virginia take tourism to the next level. During a recent gathering of C-suite executives for a roundtable discussion on Virginia’s tourism and hospitality industry at the Salamander Resort & Spa in Middleburg (see story and transcript), the overall mood was optimistic.
Ian Carter, president of global development, architecture, design and construction for Hilton, has served on state tourism boards in Florida and California. “As a general statement, I would say, yes, we’re pretty competitive.’’
Virginia is a diverse state, he notes. “We’re close to D.C. on the edge of the northern part of the state. We’ve got beaches. We’ve got resorts.”
Hilton gauges the health of the state by looking at the performance of its inventory in Virginia. “In our case, we’ve got close to 22,000 rooms in operation in the state,” says Carter. “We’ve got a pipeline of just under 4,000 rooms, meaning hotels that are going to open in the next two years. More than half of those are under construction. We see good representation of our brands and others.”
Another good sign for Virginia? Hotel occupancy rates are on the rise. They averaged 61.6 percent in 2015, compared with 59.7 percent in 2014, according to STR Inc., a hotel market data company. Meanwhile, the average daily rate per room (ADR) increased from $99.93 to $103.96.
Government’s double-edged sword
When it comes to room-rate revenue, Virginia — the No. 1 state for U S. defense expenditures with $54.7 billion spent here in 2014 — is hurt by federal lodging per-diem rates, says Eric Terry, president of the Virginia Restaurant, Lodging & Travel Association.
Terry grew up in Virginia and returned in 2014 after working for years in the Texas hospitality industry. He fingers the government’s reimbursement rate as “just a killer” for Virginia’s hospitality markets. The national standard rate for 2016 is $89 per night.
Reimbursement is based on location of government work activities, so the rate varies across the commonwealth. It is influenced by things such as seasonality and an area’s average daily rates. In May, per-diem rates ranged from $96 in Williamsburg, up from $89 in February, to $121 in Richmond and $226 in Northern Virginia.
“The military in this state has competed with the hotel industry by building large hotels on base, for instance at Fort Lee in Petersburg and at Langley. And now the Department of Defense is negotiating even lower, below-the-standard per-diem rates. It’s a huge concern for us. That’s our biggest impediment to new development in the state,” he said during an interview with Virginia Business.
The location of some of Virginia’s resorts is another challenge, according to Doug Henkel, who leads CBRE’s MidSouth hotel brokerage practice in Norfolk. “They’re not all well located or have ease of access. Look at Kingsmill in Williamsburg as an example. It’s 45 minutes from two airports and two hours from Washington. D.C. You have to have a reason to be there. The same is true for the resorts in the western part of the state,” he says. “... I think Virginia could do a better job of marketing its resorts.”
More and longer visitor stays would help raise room revenue. Rita McClenny, president and CEO of the Virginia Tourism Corp., says her agency is trying to increase the average length of stay for domestic visitors, which currently is about three days.
To do that, Virginia markets a diversity of attractions: history, food, wine and craft beer, the arts, sports and outdoor recreation. “We haven’t forgotten about boomers, but the millennial really is the focus,” says McClenny, “because it’s the 80-million-person market with young families who we want to create legacies and traditions for them to continue to come to Virginia.”
If more marketing dollars become available, McClenny has a wish list. “We desperately want to get to Boston and New York. We just don’t have the financial resources to be in that marketplace.” Instead, she explains, the state’s buy “is 99 percent digital for getting ‘Virginia is For Lover’s’ in the marketplace. ”
With a steady uptick in the amount of domestic travel expenditures in Virginia every year since 2009, hospitality companies are trying to tap into the growth with new product. New hotels and brands are going up across Virginia. For instance, downtown Norfolk looks forward to next year’s opening of a new 300-room hotel and conference center, Norfolk Hilton The Main, which will make the city more competitive as a convention and meeting destination.
Apple REIT Hospitality, based in Richmond, has a portfolio of nearly 200 hotels in 32 states. It recently completed two adjoining hotels in Richmond’s Shockoe Slip: a 135-room Courtyard by Marriott and a 75-suite Residence Inn by Marriott for extended stays.
“Richmond, Va. is a good example of a market that we would like to invest in,” says Krissy Gathright, the company’s executive vice president and COO. “There’s diverse demand generators. You have government, you have universities, you have medical, you have a stable corporate base, and you have amazing opportunities for leisure with the river, the culinary experiences … ’’
Gathright added that she’d like to see an upgraded Richmond Coliseum, something like the modern John Paul Jones arena in Charlottesville. Currently, the city’s aging Coliseum is located near Apple REIT’s downtown Marriott.
The 45-year-old, dome-shaped facility is so outdated that Terry says he got this reaction from an out-of-town visitor. “I was standing beside it with a person who does trade shows across the country and he pointed at it and said, ‘What is that?’ ”
Plans for a new sports/entertainment arena in Virginia Beach are encouraging, adds Terry. The privately financed, 18,000-seat venue will be built across from the Virginia Beach Convention Center, providing new space for sports and other events expected to draw more tourists.
In the pipeline
Another company with projects in the pipeline is Shamin Hotels, based in Chester. One of Central Virginia’s largest hotel operators, it plans to start construction this year on two new hotels in the suburban Short Pump corridor of Henrico County. It also recently invested more than $40 million to open two hotels in a former office tower in downtown Richmond: a 100-room Homewood Suites and a 144-room Hampton Inn & Suites (both Hilton brands). The properties have a ground-level restaurant, fitness center and a soon-to-open rooftop bar and restaurant that will offer commanding views of the James River and state Capitol.
“There is a lot of opportunity to put in some fresh, new product that really caters to the emerging trends in our industry. One of the things that we’re focused on is the millennials,” says Neil Amin, Shamin’s CEO. “Guests previously cared about consistency, and now they care about experience, and I think that trend is here to stay. I think the millennial generation brought that trend to us … They want that unique experience whenever they travel.”
Boutique lifestyle hotels
Which sets up the perfect segue to one of the biggest trends in the hospitality industry: the rise of the upscale, boutique lifestyle hotel. Kimberly Christner, president and CEO of Cornerstone Hospitality in Williamsburg, heads a company that is developing small boutique properties throughout Virginia.
One of its projects is the Craddock Terry Hotel on the waterfront in downtown Lynchburg. The historic hook is that the building used to be a shoe factory. Cornerstone took that story and ran with it, serving the hotel’s continental breakfast in an old-fashioned, wooden shoeshine box and labeling its rooms with shoe-shaped signs.
The result has been a rousing success. The 44-room hotel, which opened in 2007, will soon add 56 more rooms and a rooftop venue with banquet space and bar and restaurant service. Christner likes to point out that the Craddock Terry, one of the first historic reuse projects in Lynchburg, sparked other downtown redevelopment.
Cornerstone also operates the Bolling Wilson Hotel in Wytheville, and it’s developing the Sessions Hotel in Bristol. “We have about eight hotels that will open in 2017 and 2018 that are all boutiques in Virginia, and we’re excited about that,” Christner says.
Typically, the hotels have 30 to 120 rooms. “These projects really are where I think the trend is going,” says Christner, “which is why Hilton and Marriott and Starwood — big companies — are trying to pick off those little independent properties, because they know that you can’t create that in a brand necessarily.”
Traditional financing does not work for these adaptive reuse projects. Christner says her company relies on state and federal historic tax credits, grants and low-interest loan programs to help pay for renovations.
One new welcome form of support is the Virginia Tourism Growth Fund. Cornerstone Hospitality and its partners received the first grant of $250,000 for their Western Front Hotel project in St. Paul, a town of about 1,000 in Southwest Virginia. The matching grant fund began this year to help spur new projects that enhance tourism.
The $7.2 million, 37-room hotel, scheduled to open in spring 2017, will create 13 full-time and 20 part-time jobs. It’s expected to host visitors who come to visit Spearhead Trails, an area with more than 100 miles of trails. “Growing our tourism industry is an essential strategy for diversifying and building a new Virginia economy,” Gov. Terry McAuliffe said in announcing the grant in February.
Another luxury boutique hotel, the 74-room Quirk Hotel in Richmond, has drawn rave reviews for its authentic feel and adjoining art gallery. It opened last September in the city’s arts district in a renovated, 100-year-old Italian Renaissance building that used to house a dry-goods department store.
At the high end of the spectrum are full-scale resorts like the Salamander Resort & Spa in Middleburg. Opened in 2013, it was Virginia’s first new major resort in years. Today, the 340-acre, equestrian-themed resort, located an hour away from Washington, D.C., and 35 minutes from the international gateway of Washington Dulles International Airport, attracts leisure and business travelers. They are drawn by Salamander’s well-heeled location in the heart of Virginia’s horse country and a wide range of amenities — from a luxury spa to an equestrian center and cooking studio.
Prem Devadas, president of Salmander Hotels & Resorts, says the resort’s business is 50 percent leisure and 50 percent group travel. “We really are drawing groups that are looking for a unique, excellent destination, so we’re vying with resorts on the West Coast, the East Coast, Florida and New England,” he says. Many of these groups have never come to Virginia before, he adds, “let alone Northern Virginia.”
Other group business comes from D.C., Maryland and Virginia, with corporate groups, including Hilton Worldwide and law firms, holding meetings and annual retreats at Salamander. “It’s been very exciting to be able to establish a destination,” says Devadas.
Another luxury property, the one-million-square-foot MGM National Harbor, in Prince George’s County, Md., is scheduled to open in the fourth quarter. Located off the banks of the Potomac River, National Harbor already is a tourist destination with a marina, carousel, 180-foot-high Capital Wheel, 150 shops, including a Tanger Outlet Center, and 30 restaurants.
The addition of a $1.3 billion destination resort and casino located just a short ride away from Northern Virginia across the Woodrow Wilson Bridge is expected to impact Virginia tourism and not necessarily in a good way. “I think they will capture some very large groups,” says McClenny.
MGM officials say they plan to deliver a fully appointed property along the lines of a Bellagio (a Las Vegas resort), with a 308-room luxury hotel, a spa, 3,000-seat theater, restaurants and meeting and convention space. “They’re adding a Vegas-style casino with shows and all that stuff. I’d love to think it’s not going to have too big an impact, and it might be more group than transient,” says B.F. Saul’s Carrier. “I do think it will create demand because there isn’t a Vegas-style casino around.’’
One problem may be transportation in terms of getting there, he added, since the Woodrow Wilson Bridge gets crowded with traffic, and there’s no train or Metro stop at National Harbor. The Metro bus system does service the project, and a stop is planned for the new casino resort.
Terry expects the resort to bring wage pressures, since he says casinos typically pay more than other hospitality properties. “From an employment point of view, it’s going to create some real problems for our hotels and stuff on this side of the bridge.” Plus, there’s the initial curiosity factor in a state that doesn’t allow casino gambling. “I think there’s going to be a long line of Virginians just going there to spend money and leave it in that state versus ours,” says Terry.
One nearby locality, Alexandria, is studying ways to respond to what is expected to be a new regional attraction. Located just across the river via water taxi, Alexandria already competes with National Harbor for restaurant and retail business. Yet, its city officials also envision collaborative opportunities such as international trade shows, job fairs and a waterfront performing arts program.
Not all group business wants a casino environment, says McClenny, who is optimistic that those groups will keep coming to Virginia. “They’re going to target a certain segment of the market, the groups and the singles, but other people with their families who are going for something else, they’re going to keep doing the something else.”
HOSPITALITY ROUNDTABLE: State of the industry
MEETINGS AND CONVENTIONS: A millennial mindset2016-04-29T10:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Homa3793.pngScott Homa looks to public and private sources for his reports. Photo by Mark Rhodes
Spotting the trends
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/spotting-the-trends#When:10:00:00ZScott Homa says he’s been a real estate nerd since childhood. He speculates that his condition was brought on by his first sight of the New York skyline. “The mystique, the skyscrapers,” he recalls.
That early glimpse of what heights commercial real estate could reach put Homa on the path to his current job, which he relishes: vice president of mid-Atlantic research for JLL, a global provider of commercial real estate information and services.
Homa’s arrival at JLL was practically preordained. High school and college internships with commercial real estate firms were followed by a degree in finance from Georgetown University. Within a year of his 2003 graduation, he had landed a job as a real estate analyst. Not long after that he went to work for JLL (formerly known as Jones Lang Lasalle).
Homa was one of the first hires of Vice President John Sikaitis, who was also new to JLL when Homa interviewed for a job 11 years ago. Hiring Homa, Sikaitis says, remains one his best decisions.
“We try to create research that inspires actions,” says Sikaitis, who is in charge of JLL’s office and local markets research for the Americas. “Our clients come to us for deep, substantial advice,” and that is what Homa provides. He repeatedly has won JLL’s VIP award, a testimony to his devotion to his job.
Homa’s assignment has three phases. First, using a network of public and private sources, he assembles masses of commercial real estate information, ranging from the granular to the macro, from boots-on-the-ground to broad economic trends. Then, he has to synthesize and analyze it.
“I love to figure out the dynamic,” he says.
That assessment, according to Sikaitis, requires the intellect to understand lots of disparate ideas, the organization to track a slew of data points, the confidence to believe in your findings, and, yes, even a geeky love for real estate.
“You need to be intrigued by the crane in the sky,” explains Sikaitis.
JLL counts owners, developers, tenants, public entities and potential investors among its clients, so the third element of Homa’s job is one somewhat outside the box for many researchers: Doing a face-to-face presentation of his findings.
“We want our people to be in front of clients on an everyday basis,” Sikaitis says, “not just heads down, pushing something out on a PDF. Scott’s DNA was perfectly suited to be a consultant, not a front-facing salesperson, but he has shifted into that [role] and is seamless at it now.”
Jim Gillen is one of the many JLL clients who have come to rely on what Homa calls his story of the market. The senior director in asset management for Invesco Real Estate, which manages about $70 billion in properties worldwide, says that he tries to meet with the researcher and his team every time he is in Washington, even if he has no specific agenda.
“Scott doesn’t just provide facts and figures,” Gillen says. “He gets behind the numbers to what is driving the numbers.”
What has been driving the numbers lately, Homa says, is transit-oriented development. People, especially millennials, want a walkable, car-free, integrated space where they can live and work, and the evidence of that is the number of mixed-use real estate projects going up along Metro’s new Silver Line in Northern Virginia, even while less-connected markets struggle with high vacancy rates. Homa expects that this type of development will be a defining trend for years to come.
Recently, the researcher says, he spent time taking pictures of the half-demolished Washington Post building in downtown Washington. He and JJL played a role in Fannie Mae deciding to use the site for its new headquarters.
“That block is going to be so activated,” he says with enthusiasm. “I am such a real estate nerd. I get a kick out of seeing development take hold that we had a part in.”
Years in the industry: 13
Where did you grow up? A slew of places: Chicago; Louisville, Ky.; Fairfield County, Conn.; Baltimore; Miami; Northern Virginia; and Washington, D.C.
Where did you go to school? Gilman School in Baltimore. Georgetown University.
Family: Wife, Jessica, executive director of the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine. They have two young children, Cooper and Maddie, and a terrier named Pepper.
Hobbies: Homa has recently joined his wife on the yoga mat to counteract his sedentary hours at the office. “Sitting is the new smoking,” he says.
Favorite app or mobile site: Twitter.
Favorite reads: “I love politics and current events, so I spend most of my time reading daily or weekly publications such as The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and The Economist. My favorite book is ‘You Can Negotiate Anything’ by Herb Cohen.”
On the bucket list: A trip to Walt Disney World with his son.2016-04-29T10:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/IMG_0194.pngThe stately 4,895-square-foot house includes high door frames and other updates. Photos courtesy Joyner Fine Properties
Fan home with a personality
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/fan-home-with-a-personality#When:10:00:00ZSeven-foot, four-inch door frames to accommodate basketball players are only one of the amenities that helped sell the home of former VCU head basketball coach Shaka Smart in Richmond’s popular Fan district.
The 4,895-square foot, brick Colonial Revival home at 2701 Park Ave. fetched $1.26 million earlier this year, a little below the listed price of $1.4 million.
“It’s a spectacular house,” says Bill Gallasch, who along with his wife, Ceci Amrhein-Gallasch, served as the listing agents for the sale. The couple works for Joyner Fine Properties in Richmond.
“All of the door frames were raised — they’re normally six-foot, eight-inches — to accommodate the basketball players that would hang out there,” says Gallasch. The affect was dramatic. “It opened things up, made the ceilings seem taller.”
Maya and Shaka Smart renovated the 98-year home before he became head basketball coach at the University of Texas last year. “It met all of today’s standards,” says Gallasch.
The couple knocked out a wall to open up the kitchen and converted a double-car garage into a first-floor laundry and powder room.
Upgrading the home’s Wi-Fi capability was another project. “They could do everything from their phone,” says Gallasch. “One of the neat things they had was a TV in the wall, and when it was turned off it became a mirror. That stayed with the house.”
The three-story brick home, with a slate roof, has six bedrooms, four baths, and a basement with a recreation room and wine cellar. Gallasch says one of the Smarts’ favorite places to relax was the back of the house, which sports two Charleston-style open porches with awnings.
The new owners are a couple from Hanover County who moved to the Fan to enjoy the amenities of city living and to be close to their grandchildren.2016-04-29T10:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/_N2A8212.pngTim Dudley, vice president of SVN Motleys, auctions off a 288-acre farm in Gordonsville.
Calling all bidders
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/calling-all-bidders#When:10:00:00Z“Let’s start at a million! One million dollars! One bidder, one bidder, one …”
“400!” “We have $400,000! Now five!”
On a warm March day, auctioneer Tim Dudley’s rapid-fire patter rings out over a loudspeaker to a small crowd of about 50 people gathered on a grassy meadow in front of a clapboard 19th-century farmhouse.
At one time, the house was a pristine white. Now, after years of disrepair, large swaths of bare, weathered gray wood peek through the home’s peeling paint.
Still, 25 people have registered to bid on this sprawling, 288-acre historic farm in Gordonsville that has fallen into bankruptcy. It’s being sold at auction by Richmond-based Motleys Asset Group on behalf of the loan holder, Colonial Farm Credit of Mechanicsville. A private buyer originally purchased the farm estate for $900,000 in 2006 but couldn’t keep up the payments so Colonial Farm foreclosed on the property, necessitating the auction. (The property owner in the foreclosure must consent to holding the auction on the property site, otherwise the auction is held at the local courthouse.)
After six minutes of steady, incremental bidding, the auction slows to a stop. Dudley exclaims, “It’s been sold for $755,000!”
The winning bidder is cattle and hog farmer Charles S. Rosson, who bought the property with his son, Charles A. Rosson. He has been eyeing the property for years. “I’ve got cattle across the road here,” he says. “We just need extra land for livestock.”
Like other registered bidders, the Rossons had to bring a $25,000 certified check as an initial deposit to qualify for the bidding. A 10 percent deposit is due within 10 days after the auction, and the deal must close within 30 days. In addition to the Rossons’ bid of $755,000, they also must pay a mandatory 10 percent buyer’s fee of $75,500 to Motleys. As the trustee selling the property, Colonial Farm Credit had already paid all delinquent taxes on the farm prior to the auction.
“You have 25 registered bidders looking to buy a farm that’s [valued] almost at a million dollars. That’s good for all of us,” says Dudley, vice president of SVN Motleys, the commercial real estate brokerage division of Motleys. “That’s letting people know that the economy is starting to turn back again.”
Increasingly, auctions are being used to sell not only residential properties in Virginia but also commercial and agricultural real estate and high-end historic properties.
“We’ve seen a big increase [in commercial sales] over the last, I’d say, 10 years,” says Motleys CEO Mark Motley. In his industry, he adds, the preferred term for auctions is “accelerated sales.”
Though real estate auctions are a popular and accepted sales tool in nations such as Australia and New Zealand, people in the U.S. have long attached a stigma to auctions — largely a holdover from foreclosure auctions in the Great Depression. In the past, buyers might think an auction signaled that a property was distressed or damaged. Now buyers and sellers are becoming more educated about the auction process and are more willing to participate, Motley says.
Marketing and advertising
For sellers, full-service real estate marketing and auction firms such as Motleys offer more than just auctioneering; they conduct targeted marketing campaigns, create slick advertising and actively seek out buyers they believe would make a good match for the property.
For instance, when Motleys sold Meadow Event Park, the Caroline County home of the State Fair of Virginia, in 2012, it found a winning bidder in Memphis, Tenn.-based fairground management company Universal Fairs. Two weeks after buying the park and the rights to the State Fair for $5.45 million, Universal Fairs turned around and sold Meadow Farm Event Park and the State Fair to its current owner, the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation.
Last year when Motleys oversaw the foreclosure auctions of Salem-based Old Virginia Brick, it sold the company’s corporate headquarters site to a Roanoke attorney and shopping center developer for $1.7 million; a competing brick manufacturer purchased the defunct Old Virginia Brick’s Madison Heights manufacturing facility for $687,500.
“The actual auction is a very small portion of what we do,” says John S. Nicholls, president-elect of the National Auctioneers Association and CEO of Fredericksburg-based Nicholls Auction Marketing Group. “We consider ourselves an accelerated marketing firm. Everything culminates in the auction event. … Marketing is everything. The auction only takes 10 minutes on these deals but it takes 90 days of meetings planning the event.”
In February, Nicholls’s firm facilitated the $1.7 million auction of two historic buildings that were previously the home of the Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center. Conducted in cooperation with Cushman & Wakefield, and Thalhimer, the auction attracted a crowd of 120 people and 10 registered bidders. No plans have been announced by the winning bidder, LaPlata, Md.-based Battle Creek Construction, but Nicholls says he’s heard that the buildings may be developed as a mixed-use property combining office space, residential units and dining.
“This project screamed that it needed a guerilla marketing campaign,” Nicholls says. “It screamed that it needed to be an event, and that’s what we brought to the table. We did a huge guerilla marketing campaign and targeted marketing, and that culminated with 120 people at the auction. … How long this could have languished on the market with a traditional [real estate listing], who knows? There’s really no impetus to act on a static listing. We give them an impetus to act, knowing that an event is taking place. The looking and waiting is over.”
Jon Gollinger, CEO of Accelerated Marketing Partners in Boston, says, “It’s a very powerful tool if you can bring the market to a property. … If you have 10 bidders on something, you can be pretty confident you’re going to achieve fair market value.”
Offering a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to get a better than usual deal on a property “creates a very strong incentive for individuals within the marketplace to bid,” he says. “If we can get three to four bidders per property … then we feel comfortable that the market is going to deliver a fair market value. Now we may not like that value, but we can be sure we’ve delivered market value by creating that kind of competitive market.”
Gollinger’s firm auctioned off 29 condominiums at the riverfront community of Rocketts Landing in 45 minutes in 2014, bringing in $7.3 million. “We were very happy,” says Rocketts Landing developer Jason Vickers-Smith, CEO of the WVS Cos. “We were able to sell out all our remaining inventory we had at Rocketts Landing.”
Not long after development began at Rocketts Landing in eastern Henrico County, the market went into recession, recalls Vickers-Smith, and his company was faced with carrying costs such as property taxes, maintenance, construction loan interest and homeowners’ association fees on unsold units while waiting for the market to improve. “By doing the auction, we were able to really accelerate the sales,” he says. “In all likelihood it would have taken us two to three years to get the same numbers by conventional methods.”
An auction isn’t a good match for every property. Yet it’s a good vehicle to induce sales when the market is slow or you’re selling a unique property without comparable properties in the market, such as a historic mansion or farm, Gollinger says.
In some cases, like with GOP frontrunner Donald Trump, a bidder can pick up properties at auction for a steal. In 2012, Trump bought Albemarle House, the former home of John and Patricia Kluge, for $6.5 million. The 45-room, Neo-Georgian mansion, built by the late John Kluge — a billionaire media mogul —originally was listed at $100 million.
Trump swooped in after the creditor for the property repossessed the home just outside Charlottesville and filed a foreclosure lawsuit after Patricia Kluge, who acquired the house in a divorce, defaulted on millions in loans. (Trump’s big bargain may have less to do with the art of the deal and more to do with the fact that he bought up all the surrounding property, including the mansion’s front yard, virtually ensuring no one else would bid on the house.) The property, now operated as a boutique bed-and-breakfast, is part of the Trump Hotel Collection.
Before buying Albemarle House, Trump purchased Patricia Kluge’s winery, also on the property, for $6 million at a foreclosure auction. It includes hundreds of acres in a private setting with spectacular scenery.
For large, high-dollar commercial properties, though, an auction usually isn’t the best way to go. In March a foreclosure auction of the $185 million James Center office complex in Richmond was canceled at the eleventh hour.
“This sale in Richmond would have been the largest foreclosure I have ever done in 35 years,” says attorney William H. Casterline Jr. of Blankingship & Keith PC in Fairfax, who represented the James Center’s mortgage holder.
He can’t speak to the specifics of the James Center other than to say registered bidders would have had to bring a $5 million deposit to the sale. In most cases, however, Casterline says, the lender will form a special entity to purchase a high-dollar property like an office park from itself and then market the property through traditional commercial real estate channels.
“You rarely find purchasers willing to buy a multimillion-dollar property at a foreclosure [auction] and that’s because foreclosures are distressed sales. They occur very quickly and all the normal sorts of due diligence you do in commercial real estate are reduced,” he says. “The field of potential buyers is fairly small and their opportunity to do due diligence is just so restricted that we don’t see too many third-party sales at this level.”2016-04-29T10:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/CVA_Carmax.pngCarMax expects to open 13 to 16 stores and hire 1,600 new employees. AP Photo/Steve Helber
CarMax outlines changes for next two years
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/carmax-outlines-changes-for-next-two-years#When:10:00:00ZThe next two years could mark a significant growth period for CarMax, including new stores, new employees and new leadership.
During that time the used-car retailer plans to open 13 to 16 new stores each year.
CarMax also plans to hire 1,600 new store employees. Mostly sales positions, the jobs will be based in the Los Angeles, Southern Florida, Northern Virginia and Baltimore areas. The stores’ expansion plan “creates a great opportunity to add new associates to our team,” says CarMax spokeswoman Beth Singer.
The company also is filling 50 technology positions at new offices in downtown Richmond and at its Goochland County headquarters about 10 miles away. The downtown office will be in a renovated historic building on the city’s Canal Walk. “This space is the best solution for our needs,” Singer says. “Richmond is a vibrant place to work and a popular destination.”
The technology positions will include a wide range of roles such as analysts, application architects, product managers, software developers, IT configuration specialists, and social and web content strategists.
Singer says the downtown location should help CarMax attract the type of talent it is seeking. “We are looking for people who are innovative and well educated in the field and know where technology is going so they can meet the needs of our customers by making the buying process seamless,” she says.
CarMax data shows that an online search already is a critical part of the car- buying experience. “Currently approximately 90 percent of CarMax purchasers start on carmax.com or the CarMax mobile app,” Singer says. “Of those, about 65 percent are looking at the website on a tablet or on their phone.”
On the management front, CarMax promoted Bill Nash to president in February as part of a multiyear management succession plan. Nash, 46, had been executive vice president for human resources and administrative services since 2012.
Nash is expected to succeed CEO Tom Folliard when he retires before the end of this year. Folliard, 51, has been with CarMax for 23 years and became CEO in 2006. During his tenure, the company’s revenues more than doubled and its net income quadrupled.2016-04-29T10:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Gmu_law_school.pngGMU’s law school plans to change its name July 1. Photo courtesy Wikipedia
Gifts prompt GMU’s plans to rename its law school
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/gifts-prompt-gmus-plans-to-rename-its-law-school#When:10:00:00ZGeorge Mason University plans to rename its law school after the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.
GMU announced the move after receiving $30 million in donations to support the law school, which is located in Arlington. The combined gifts are the largest received by the university.
The school’s proposed new name is the Antonin Scalia Law School. The name change, which must be approved by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, is expected to take effect on July 1. GMU established the law school in 1979.
GMU first announced the law school’s name would be Antonin Scalia School of Law. That was quickly dropped when its acronym (ASSoL) provoked jokes on social media.
Scalia, a McLean resident who served 30 years on the Supreme Court, spoke at the dedication of the law school building in 1999 and was a guest lecturer at the university. He died earlier this year during a vacation in Texas.
The $30 million in gifts includes $10 million from the Charles Koch Foundation and $20 million from an anonymous donor.
Koch, a politically influential industrialist, has been a frequent GMU donor. The Associated Press reported that he gave nearly $48 million to the university from 2011 to 2014, with much of the money supporting GMU’s Mercatus Center think tank in Arlington and its Institute for Humane Studies.
Koch is co-owner with his brother, David, of Koch Industries, a conglomerate based in Wichita, Kan.
The $20 million gift came to George Mason through a donor who approached Leonard A. Leo of the Federalist Society, a friend of Scalia and his family. The donor asked that the university name the law school in Scalia’s honor. Leo said the family supports the move.
GMU said the gifts will be made to its foundation over the next five years. Beginning this fall, each entering class will receive about $2 million in scholarships, which will be guaranteed for all three years of law school.
The law school hopes to increase the size of each entering class by about 55 students.2016-04-29T10:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/291694LOGO.pngThe AccuTec decision will create 53 jobs and retain 138.
Blades maker to expand Augusta County plant
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/blades-maker-to-expand-augusta-county-plant#When:10:00:00ZAccuTec Blades’ 60-year history in Augusta County played into the company’s decision to stay and invest $5.37 million to expand its manufacturing operations.
The move, announced in February, will create 53 jobs and retain 138.
The company, which started as American Safety Razor in Brooklyn in 1875, moved to Augusta County in 1956 with two divisions: shaving razors — it was the largest private, wet-shaving manufacturer in the world — and a specialty division that made blades for medical and industrial use.
In 2010, Energizer acquired the company for $301 million and merged the shaving unit with its Schick business. That move left the specialty division in Verona. “It didn’t fit into Energizer’s personal-care line and batteries businesses,” says Rick Gagliano, AccuTec’s president and CEO.
The specialty business was bought by a New Jersey investment group last September, and it took the name AccuTec Blades Inc. “In 2015, we went through an unsettled period of closing and selling. We had customers clamoring for our product, and we were turning them away,” Gagliano says. “With the new ownership, we were able to open up the floodgates and hire people. We have been swamped with orders that we are rushing to fill.”
The uptick in business provided the impetus for the company to invest more in its building and equipment to produce specialized orders for customers. The company makes blades used in nearly 30 industries ranging from medical services to construction.
“We are the largest manufacturer of that range of products in the U.S.,” Gagliano says. “There are only about two manufacturers in Japan that are larger than us.”
Before a decision was made to stay in Augusta, “we did have some other states courting us,” Gagliano says, noting that another option was to move manufacturing to Mexico. “We already had some manufacturing in Mexico.”
The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with Augusta and the Shenandoah Valley Partnership to secure the project for Virginia. “They came up with grant money — $125,000 from the Commonwealth Opportunity Fund and a matching $125,000 from Augusta County — and money to assist us in setting up training programs,” Gagliano says. The company is also eligible to receive sales and use tax exemptions on manufacturing equipment.
The company expects to add jobs during the next two to three years. “We want to increase our size about 33 percent,” Gagliano says. “We have already started the hiring process.”2016-04-29T10:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/SOVA_ideafest.pngFour winners split $10,000 in prize money at IdeaFest. Photo by Veronica Garabelli
Danville pitch competition spurs innovation
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/danville-pitch-competition-spurs-innovation#When:10:00:00ZFrom food to gadgets, nothing was off the table at IdeaFest, a business pitch competition held April 1 at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research in Danville.
Nineteen groups competed for $10,000 in available funds, which was split among four winners. The $5,000 grand prize went to Park and Diamond Inc., a team of Virginia Tech students that pitched an innovative bike helmet.
The other winners were from North Carolina. They include: UChef, which came in second for a monthly delivery service that teaches cooking; Trio Labs, which snagged third place for a new, 3-D printing technology concept; and FiYABox, which won an audience choice award for a portable lunch box that heats food on the go.
“I had never been to Danville but do plan to return,” says Mary Coggins, owner and founder of Charlotte-based UChef, which is launching this summer. “I enjoyed meeting the IdeaFest and [event sponsor Launch Place] team and see the value in a continued relationship.”
The competition, now in its third year, drew almost 70 applicants from 12 states. That’s up from about 40 applicants when the contest was first held in 2014. The prize money also has doubled since 2014.
“We have no idea if someone is actually going to bring an idea back here to base here, but it’s just the fact of getting them here, getting them exposed to Danville,” says Freddie Wydner, who is director of agribusiness development for Pittsylvania County.
Wydner founded IdeaFest with Jeff Gignac, Lauren Mathena and Varun Sadana. They developed plans for the competition in 2013 during the Middle Border Forward fellowship. The program encouraged young leaders to have a positive impact on the Danville region, an area that has faced high unemployment since the decline of the tobacco, textile and furniture industries.
“I want people to understand — especially going through economic hard times — you don’t have to rely on an employer if you can come up with an idea that will create value,” says Gignac, a trust officer at American National Bank & Trust Co. in Danville.
That message of empowerment reached at least one Danville native. Ashley Henry is a single mom and waitress from Danville who says the event made her grow a little bit stronger. She currently has to rely on government assistance but would like to change that.
“I want to get away from that,” she says. “I want to start a business and … be able to grow with my children and not grow old on my children.”2016-04-29T10:00:00+00:00
People - May 2016
Ann A. Adams has been named vice president in human resources at Norfolk Southern Corp., Norfolk. Since 2012, she has served as assistant vice president human resources. She succeeds Juan K. Cunningham, who retired earlier this year. (Daily Press)
S.L. Nusbaum Realty Co., based in Norfolk, announced that four people in the company have been named senior vice presidents. They are: Robert “Bob” G. Butcher III , John M. Profilet , Murray S. Rosenbach and Nathan A. Sho r. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Tiffany Phillips has been promoted to director of membership for the Greater Williamsburg Chamber & Tourism Alliance. She has been with the alliance for nine years. (Daily Press)
Taylor Made Diagnostics President Caroline Taylor has been selected as the 2016 Virginia Small Business Person of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration. Taylor Made Diagnostics is based in Chesapeake. (Daily Press)
Lillian Beasley Beahm , named to the Virginia Board of Audiology and Speech-language Pathology. She is an audiologist at Carilion Clinic in Roanoke. (News release)
Harvey D. Brookins Jr. has been named vice president and city executive of National Bank’s new Roanoke loan production office. He has over 20 years of banking experience, including 10 years of commercial banking experience in Roanoke and the New River Valley. (News release)
Deborah Flipp o , economic de velopment program manager for Draper Aden Associates in Blacksburg, has been elected president of the Virginia Economic Developers Association. (The Roanoke Times)
Michael J. Friedlander has been named Virginia Tech’s inaugural vice president for health sciences and technology. Friedlander also will continue as executive director of the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute in Roanoke. (News release)
Thomas “Tom” Greco , named CEO, Advance Auto Parts, Roanoke. He was the head of Frito-Lay North America. Greco will succeed George Sherman, who was serving as Advance’s interim CEO and will continue to serve as the company’s president, a position he has held since 2013. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Roanoke-based Kissito Healthcare announced the following new employees: Robert McClintock , chief operating officer; Kathy Sanders , chief nursing officer; and Joe Alesantrino, vice president of finance. Josh McGill iard has been promoted to vice president of integrated care and PACE executive director. (The Roanoke Times)
Former Roanoke sportscaster Matt Pumo has returned to the city as the general manager at WDBJ. Pumo has 10 years of experience as a station manager, including the last four at WCWG in Greensboro, N.C. (The Roanoke Times)
Jim Bove has joined Patrick Henry Community College in Martinsville as the public relations and marketing manager. He succeeds Kris Landrum, who retired at the end of March after 31 years with the college. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Rodney Bryant has been named the new public works director for the town of Chatham. Bryant succeeds Bob Hanson, who retired at the end of March. (Chatham Star-Tribune)
Sentara Halifax Regional Hospital’s chief operating officer, Thomas S. Kluge , has accepted the position of president at Hampshire Memorial and War Memorial hospitals in West Virginia. The appointment is effective May 6. (The Gazette-Virginian)
Danville has named Ken Larking city manager. Larking joined the city three years ago, serving most recently as interim city manager. He succeeds Joe King, who retired Nov. 30 and died less than a month after his retirement. (Chatham Star-Tribune)
Pittsylvania County Administrator Clarence Monday announced plans to retire Dec. 31 due to family health issues. Monday took office in 2014. (Danville Register & Bee)
Dr. Michael A. Moore has been recognized with the 2016 Consortium for Southeastern Hypertension Control’s Lifetime Achievement Award. He is a nephrologist at the Danville Regional Medical Center. (Work It, SoVa)
Four communities have been accepted into Virginia Main Street program, a statewide downtown revitalization project. The newly designated localities include Danville, Gloucester Courthouse, Lexington and Wytheville. With the new designations, there now are 29 designated Virginia Main Street communities. New business openings, expansions and relocations in the Virginia’s Main Street communities last year realized a net gain of 800 jobs. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Kenny Brooks , coach of the women’s basketball team at James Madison University, has been named the new head women’s basketball coach at Virginia Tech. (News release)
Kathleen LaSala has been named dean of the Eleanor Wade Custer School of Nursing at Shenandoah University in Winchester. LaSala will begin her new position June 30. She currently is associate dean of academic affairs and professor of nursing at the University of South Carolina College of Nursing in Columbia, S.C. (News release)
An Augusta County woman has been named Virginia Farm Bureau Federation’s (VFBF) 2016 Farm Woman of the Year. Sue Ann Sheets , of Churchville, received the award during the VFBF Spring Conference in Richmond March 11 through 13. (News Leader)
Jeff and Robin Tickle announced a $2.5 million gift to create an endowment for JMU’s engineering department. The Tickles gave a $1 million gift 10 years ago to create a research endowment for students interested in math and science. Tickle earned a business degree at JMU and now owns a private development company in Bristol, Tenn. (Daily News-Record)
John Wilkinson has been hired as Augusta County’s director of community development. He was the county’s zoning administrator for 16 years. (Augusta Free Press)
Stephen Cassada y, recognized by Barron’s as the No. 1 financial adviser in Virginia for 2016 on its annual list of America’s Top 1,200 Financial Advisors State-by State. Cassaday is the president and CEO of Cassaday and Co. in McLean. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Herndon-based Beacon Roofing Supply Inc. has named Gregory T. Jorgensen chief accounting officer. Jorgensen was vice president of financial reporting, technical accounting and policy at Hertz Global Holdings Inc. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
J.D. Kuhn has been promoted from senior vice president and controller to chief financial officer, Salient CRGT Inc., Fairfax. He succeeds Ted Dunn, who retired. (News release)
Joseph Mitchell has been named senior vice president of university partnerships, Revature, Reston. He is the former executive director of enterprise partnerships for Pearson. (News release)
Jeff Novak has been elected to the board of the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation. Novak is vice president of public policy and chief litigation and compliance counsel for AOL in Dulles. (News release)
Scott A. Price of Alexandria, named to the Virginia Lottery Board. He is director of constituent services, Office of U.S. Senator Mark R. Warner. (News release)
Caleb Vuljanic has been elected an assurance partner, Dixon Hughes Goodman, Tysons Corner. Vuljanic was a member of the firm’s professional standards group. (News release)
Loretta Cataldi has joined the Shopping Center Group in Richmond. Cataldi is a licensed broker in Virginia; Washington, D.C.; and Maryland. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Susan Dubuque and Roger Neathawk received the Mike Hughes Ad Persons of the Year award at the Richmond Ad Club’s Richmond Show April 1. Neathawk and Dubuque are the co-founders of ndp, an advertising agency based in Richmond with offices in Roanoke and Chattanooga, Tenn. (News release)
Bernie Niemei er, the preside nt and publisher of Virginia Business, has been named to the Sweet Briar College board of directors. He is a past board chair of LEAD Virginia (News release)
Beth Rilee-Kelley, The Martin Agency’s chief operating officer, has been named president of the Richmond advertising agency. She and will retain her COO duties and title. (News release)
The Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing, a research center in Prince George County, has named William T. Powers III president and CEO. Powers was chief financial officer for Rolls-Royce North America in Reston. He succeeds Joseph Moody, who retired in March. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
Dr. Reg Seeto has been named to the board of directors of Richmond-based Virginia Bio. Seeto is vice president, head of partnering and strategy at MedImmune, based in Gaithersburg, Md. (VirginiaBusiness.com)2016-04-29T10:00:00+00:00
For the Record - May 2016
BAE Systems Norfolk shipyard laid off 170 workers in March. Two hundred employees also have been told that their layoff warnings have been extended, and they could be let go on or about April 30, according to a company spokesman. The workforce reduction is due to reduced numbers of surface-combatant ships in Norfolk and delays to the Navy’s maintenance plan. The latest cuts at BAE’s Norfolk yard follow 400 last fall. The workforce there now is approximately 900. (The Virginian-Pilot)
Movement Mortgage plans to create 200 or more jobs after it moves an operations center from Virginia Beach to Norfolk. The move, expected in about a year, also will include the transfer of between 550 and 600 workers to Norfolk. The company used to be based in Virginia Beach, but it moved its headquarters to Indian Land, S.C., last year in exchange for $53 million in tax incentives, according to the Charlotte Observer. (The Virginia-Pilot)
The Mariners’ Museum and other donors are turning over more than 600 artifacts from the SS United States to the group spearheading the famed ocean liner’s return to passenger service. The collection ranges from furniture and glassware to photographs and historic documents. It was made possible by The Mariners’ Museum, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, the Sarah Forbes estate and the collection of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Hunnicutt III. (The Daily News)
Newport News Shipbuilding could cut about 300 more jobs late this year as it continues to deal with a drop in workload, shipyard President Matt Mulherin told workers in April. However, not all the news is bad. In a statement to employees, Mulherin said the company is recalling 75 unionized workers included among 738 layoffs in early February. Those employees work in the Preparation and Treatment Department. (Daily Press)
Norfolk Southern is investing $8.2 million and adding 165 jobs at its corporate headquarters in Norfolk. The expansion is due to the consolidation of the company’s Norfolk and Atlanta corporate offices and the closure of its Roanoke office building. Norfolk Southern now employs 1,050 in the Norfolk region and more than 1,350 in Roanoke. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
The S.B. Ballard Construction Co. in Virginia Beach submitted a proposal in March to build a new football stadium for Old Dominion University. The plan would deliver at a cost under $124 million a new stadium that would open in 2018, in time for the Monarch’s first home game that year. Reportedly, financing for the stadium would come from university funding and new revenue generated by the stadium and fundraising. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International , which promotes unmanned vehicles, launched a Ridge and Valley chapter in April. It aims to make Southwest Virginia more attractive to unmanned systems developers and bolster work opportunities in the field for talent coming out of regional schools such as Virginia Tech and Radford and Liberty universities. (The Roanoke Times)
Pittsburgh-based CONSOL Energy Inc. has completed the sale of its Buchanan Mine in southwestern Virginia and other coal reserves to Coronado IV LLC for $420 million. The transaction, which was announced in February, includes $402.8 million cash paid at the closing. The transaction included about 400 million tons of coal reserves with about 88 million tons associated with the Buchanan mine. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Kroger has announced a $12 million expansion to its store at 555 N. Franklin St. in Christiansburg. The move will nearly double the store’s size and create approximately 100 jobs. The expansion is slated to take a year to complete. (The Roanoke Times)
The Roanoke Valley Broadband Authority has finished installing 47 miles of broadband beneath Roanoke and small parts of Salem and Roanoke and Botetourt counties, which will provide gigabit speeds to larger customers. The network is likely to see another 25 miles of fiber added through a proposal from Roanoke County, a plan that must be approved by the county’s Board of Supervisors. (The Roanoke Times)
The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia has approved the Virginia Tech School of Neuroscience, the first school of neuroscience in the country. The school will study disorders of the brain, such as Alzheimer’s disease and traumatic brain injury, and the mind itself, including decision-making, behavior and creativity. The incoming recruiting class will be roughly 150 students. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
The union for Volvo’s only truck-making plant in the United States has OK’d a labor contract with the company that will run until March 16, 2021. Negotiations on the agreement began in February, the same month that the truck manufacturer began layoffs of approximately 600 plant workers. Before the layoffs were announced in December, the plant had 2,800 employees. (The Roanoke Times)
Development of the Berry Hill Road industrial mega park site will start soon. Shawn Harden, an engineer with Dewberry, told the Regional Industrial Facility Authority in March that a permit will soon be in hand that will allow the grading of a portion of the 3,500-acre site. Harden said 133 acres of the park will be cleared and graded to create four pads — areas prepared so economic development prospects can get a better idea of the space available for their businesses. (Danville Register & Bee)
Drake Extrusion Inc. announced in April it would invest $6 million to expand operations in Henry County, creating 30 jobs. Drake Extrusion, a subsidiary of International Fibres Group, is a manufacturer of colored staple and filament polypropylene fiber. The Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission approved $100,000 in Tobacco Region Opportunity funds for the project. (Martinsville Bulletin)
H&M Logging, which has grown from five employees in 1983 to almost 70 employees today, was honored as Business of the Year by the Halifax County Chamber of Commerce during the chamber’s annual meeting in March. The operation hauls 75 to 80 loads a day, including logs and pulpwood, to several plants in the area, including NOVEC in South Boston, J.M. Huber, Louisiana Pacific and Georgia Pacific. (The Gazette-Virginian)
The Launch Place is investing $250,000 in Norfolk-based Netarus LLC to help with the expansion of its visual safety and analytic platforms. In compliance with The Launch Place’s investment criteria, Netarus will establish operations in Danville that will create at least five jobs with an average salary of $50,000 in the next three years. The Launch Place assists with business development and job creation and retention in the Dan River Region. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
The State Corporation Commission has approved a proposed $1.3 billion, natural gas-fired power plant that Dominion Virginia Power plans to build in Greensville County. The combined-cycle Greensville County Power station would generate about 1,588 megawatts of electricity. The power plant is scheduled to be online by 2019. It will be just a few miles from Dominion’s Brunswick Power Station. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Henrico County-based Capital Square 1031 has acquired a medical office building in Winchester for an undisclosed price. The building is fully leased to Bio-Medical Applications of Virginia, doing business as Fresenius Medical Care Holdings Inc. The 9,503-square-foot, single-story condominium unit was recently built-to-suit for Fresenius, a subsidiary of Fresenius Medical Care AG & Co. KGaA. Fresenius is a major provider of products and services for people with chronic kidney failure. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
The Greater Augusta Regional Chamber of Commerce held its annual business and awards dinner at the Stonewall Jackson Hotel April 5. Award recipients were: Reo Hatfield and Reo Logistics, industry of the year; Bloomaker USA, agriculture business of the year; SVOE, Sponsor of the Year; John Huggins, volunteer of the year; Delia Zimmerman, ambassador of the year and Abby Arey, citizen of the year. (News Leader)
Merck, a major pharmaceutical company, will invest $168 million to expand its manufacturing operation in Rockingham County. The company, which has been operating a plant near Elkton since 1941, will upgrade its plant infrastructure, add manufacturing-related facilities and equipment, and undertake a personnel-training initiative to support the bioprocessing environment. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
The Shenandoah Valley Partnership was selected as a co-winner in the “100,000+” population category for the Virginia Economic Development Association 2016 Community Economic Development (CEDA) Awards. The CEDA program is designed to recognize outstanding communities in the commonwealth for their efforts in advancing the economic viability of their community through economic and community development programs. (News release)
Trex, a Winchester-based decking company, has expanded its services to include Trex University, which will educate contractors and dealers on the company’s mission, products and benefits. The course, which will be taught by members of Trex’s product marketing and branding and sales teams, will take place in Trex’s new 10,000-square-foot facility, located about a mile from Trex’s main plant. (The Northern Virginia Daily)
Arlington-based CEB, a best-practice insight and technology company, will acquire Evanta Ventures Inc. and an affiliated business for $275 million. Portland, Ore.-based Evanta encourages collaboration and the exchange of best-practice ideas among IT, security, human-resources and finance executives. The acquisition is expected to close in the second quarter. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
What started as a small family-owned operation in Arlington is now the most popular burger joint in the UK. Five Guys, which launched its first store outside of North America in London in 2013, was ranked the UK’s favorite restaurant in the burger, steak, chicken and grill category in a recent survey by Market Force. The chain has opened 41 UK locations in just two years. (Washingtonian)
The number of people moving away from Greater Washington continues to grow, according to a new report from George Mason University ’s Center for Regional Analysis in Fairfax. While the overall population grew by 63,793 people from July 1, 2014, to June 30, 2015, the increase was from births and international immigration. But when it comes to domestic migration, 27,900 more people moved away from the region than moved to it. (Washington Business Journal)
The MACH37 Cyber Accelerator in Herndon has picked six cybersecurity startups to participate in its three-month spring program. The program, which was developed by the Center for Innovative Technolog y, has helped launch 35 comp anies since 2013. Companies selected for the program each receive a $50,000 investment. The six participating startups are: Gyomo, Hill Top Security, NormShield, PCPursuit, Provenance and Unblinkr. (V irginiaBusiness.com)
Reed Smith LLP has relocated its Northern Virginia office from Falls Church to a 22-story building in Tysons Corner. The law firm occupies more than 28,000 square feet of space at Tysons Tower at 7900 Tysons One Place. The new office will house about three dozen lawyers. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
In an effort to cut costs, Arlington-based Rosetta Stone Inc. is laying off 17 percent of its full-time workforce. The language-learning company is moving away from its longtime customer base of casual language learners preparing for trips abroad and is moving toward corporate and educational clients looking to promote English literacy. The company declined to provide any specifics about its workforce cuts. (Washington Business Journal)
Ten lawyers from Richmond-based law firm Sands Anderson PC have left to form a small practice dedicated to representing health-care providers. The new practice, Wimbish Gentile McCray & Roeber PLLC, began operations April 1. The new firm’s primary practice areas will be the defense of medical malpractice cases and the representation of health-care providers. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
North Carolina-based gourmet market Southern Season is closing its 53,000-square foot store and restaurant in Henrico County after being open less than two years. The move affects 115 employees. President Dave Herman said the store was too big and expensive to continue operating it. Southern Season is switching to a smaller format. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Union Bank & Trust plans to acquire Old Dominion Capital Management Inc., a Charlottesville-based registered investment advisory firm with nearly $300 million in assets under management. Founded in 1989, Old Dominion Capital Management will operate as a stand-alone subsidiary of Richmond-based Union Bank & Trust. The acquisition is scheduled to close this quarter, pending closing conditions and approvals. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
United Airlines in April launched its first-ever daily service between Richmond International Airport and Denver International Airport. The flight is the longest and most-westerly flight from the Richmond airport. According to the Richmond airport, Denver ranks as the 11th most popular destination for Richmond-area travelers, with more than 60,000 passengers traveling between the two cities. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
The international law firm Vinson & Elkins LLP has opened a new office in Richmond at the Boulders Office Park. The company said in a news release that the move comes as it expands its capital markets and M&A practice by adding an REIT team. The firm has hired five lawyers who previously were partners with Hunton & Williams LLP. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Virginia Community Capital has converted its for-profit bank into a benefit corporation. In addition to profit, the legally defined goals of benefit corporations include a positive impact on society and the environment. The bank is the first regulated U.S. bank to become a benefit corporation under state statute, according to B Lab, a Pennsylvania-based organization that sets standards for benefit corporations. VCC has offices in Christiansburg, Richmond and Norfolk. (VirginiaBusiness.com)2016-04-29T10:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/BrewerySignFlowers.pngOregon-based Deschutes is the eighth-largest craft brewery in the nation. Photos courtesy Deschutes Brewery
West Coast brewery picks Roanoke for new site
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/west-coast-brewery-picks-roanoke-for-new-site#When:10:00:00ZDeschutes Brewery, a major craft brewer, has tapped Roanoke for its eastern U.S. brewery and tasting room, which are slated to open in three years. The Bend, Ore.-based company expects to invest $85 million in the project and create 108 jobs.
Deschutes made hundreds of site visits during the past two years before picking Roanoke. Other states in the running for the project included North Carolina and South Carolina.
Deschutes is the eighth-largest craft brewer in the U.S. by sales volume, according to the latest available data from the Brewers Association. Deschutes President Michael LaLonde said the company was impressed by its reception in Roanoke, where it was greeted with a grass-roots social-media campaign.
“We have absolutely been blown away with how the community rallied around bringing us here and has given us such a warm welcome,” he said in a statement at the time of the announcement.
Deschutes, founded in 1988, is a family- and employee-owned brewery. Its beers include Fresh Squeezed IPA, Black Butte Porter and Mirror Pond Pale Ale. Last year, Deschutes shipped 343,689 barrels of beer from its Bend facility to 28 states. Its beer is currently available in Northern Virginia. Distribution should reach Roanoke in August and the rest of the state by the end of the year.
State incentives for the Deschutes project included a $3 million grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund. The company also will be eligible to receive a grant of up to $250,000 from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund, depending on its use of Virginia- grown products.
In addition, Deschutes is eligible for $7.9 million in incentives from Roanoke, many of which are performance-based. The city will provide land valued at $2.75 million for the brewery site at the Roanoke Centre for Industry and Technology (RCIT) and make $3.4 million in infrastructure improvements.
Beth Doughty, head of the Roanoke Regional Partnership, says the brewery project is expected to have a more than $200 million annual impact on the regional economy, indirectly creating 305 jobs.2016-04-29T10:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/EVA_ADP.pngNorfolk Mayor Paul Fraim (left) and Gov. Terry McAuliffe with a ceremonial $5 million incentive check for the ADP project.
ADP center will create 1,800 jobs in Norfolk
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/adp-center-will-create-1800-jobs-in-norfolk#When:10:00:00ZADP will invest $32.25 million to establish a regional customer-service center in downtown Norfolk, a project expected to create about 1,800 jobs.
“The new location will allow us to expand our talent pool,” says company spokesman Dick Wolfe. “Norfolk has a large veteran population and hiring vets is a key part of our talent acquisition strategy.”
A human resources and payroll company, New Jersey-based ADP has more than 630,000 customers in more than 100 countries. More than 80 percent of Fortune 500 companies use at least one of the company’s services.
The company currently has two locations in Virginia, with about 70 employees in Richmond and another 20 in Virginia Beach. Before picking Norfolk, ADP had been looking for a customer-service center site for about 12 months, starting with a list of more than 30 locations before paring it down to fewer than five.
“We chose to locate a new facility in Norfolk because of the thriving business climate in the city and commonwealth,” Wolfe says. “We have the opportunity to attract a diverse, educated and motivated workforce that will make significant contributions to ADP and add value to the client experience.”
The company will be renovating 2 Commercial Place adjacent to the former Bank of America Tower in Norfolk. “We hope to be fully staffed by about mid-2017,” Wolfe says, noting that many of the new jobs will be related to client support and implementation, finance and IT support.
The state is providing $5 million from the Commonwealth Opportunity Fund and an estimated $1.8 million from the Virginia Jobs Investment Program to assist with the project. An additional $5 million match is being provided by the city. The performance-based grant would be funded with revenue resulting from the project. “The city is providing below-market-rate parking to the owner of 2 Commercial Place for ADP’s benefit,” Wolfe says.2016-04-29T10:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/INVIEW_WoodrowWilsonBust.pngWoodrow Wilson died in 1924, but he is still making headlines. Photo by Rick DeBerry
Wilson’s legacy attacked by both sides
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/wilsons-legacy-attacked-by-both-sides#When:10:00:00ZWoodrow Wilson’s bust sits in a niche in the state Capitol Rotunda, a place that honors eight Virginia-born presidents.
He guided the nation through World War I and won the Nobel Peace Prize as the architect of the League of Nations. Nonetheless, today, more than 90 years after his death, Wilson is portrayed as a villain by critics on the left and right.
The Black Justice League, a student group at Princeton University (Wilson’s alma mater), staged a 32-hour sit-in at the president’s office last fall. The group demanded that Wilson’s name be removed from university programs and buildings, especially its school of public policy, because he was a segregationist. (In April, the university announced it would not delete Wilson’s name but would acknowledge his “failings and shortcomings.”)
Meanwhile, talk show host Glenn Beck has described Wilson, a Democrat, as the “president you need to hate” because of his seminal role in American progressivism, the movement that conservatives blame for the creation of big government.
So how does a long-dead president provoke such passion? Wilson’s life story has not changed, but attitudes about his legacy have shifted because of recent events.
Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs has borne his name since 1930. The Black Justice League, however, believes honoring the former president is disgraceful because of his racism. The sit-in occurred during a wave of protests last year drawing attention to racial issues on campuses across the country.
On the other hand, Beck’s attacks on Wilson coincided with the rise of the tea party, which has pushed back against government spending and health-care reform. In searching history for the big bang of big government, Beck and other conservatives have settled upon Wilson, whose legislative agenda transformed the relationship between government and business.
Both sides have evidence to support their claims, but they miss the big picture. That’s the danger of interpreting history on the basis of today’s headlines.
Despite his reputation as a reformer, Wilson was no progressive on race relations. In 1896, the Supreme Court had decided that “separate but equal” public accommodations based on race were constitutional. That decision would stand until 1954.
When Wilson was elected president in 1912, Washington, D.C., was a segregated town, but the federal civil service had been integrated since Reconstruction. With Wilson’s consent, his Cabinet members proceeded to segregate the federal workforce, making it difficult for African-Americans to advance to better jobs. When a delegation of black professionals protested this discrimination, Wilson was unmoved, saying “segregation is not a humiliation but a benefit, and ought to be so regarded by you gentlemen.”
The president also famously held a White House screening of “Birth of a Nation,” the 1915 D.W. Griffith film that helped spark a 20th-century revival of the Ku Klux Klan.
Nonetheless, Jonathan Zimmerman, a New York University professor, says Wilson’s legislative agenda unleashed the power of the federal government to aid the poor and dispossessed. In establishing the Federal Reserve System, Federal Trade Commission, a national income tax and other programs, Wilson established a template that was used by his former assistant secretary of the Navy, Franklin Roosevelt, in implementing the New Deal in 1933. In turn, an FDR protégé, Lyndon Johnson, would spearhead civil rights reform in the 1960s.
In an article posted on the website Politico soon after the Princeton sit-in, Zimmerman wrote that African-Americans now vote overwhelmingly for Democrats because they believe their circumstances would be much worse without federal programs and protections.
“Public housing, Medicare, occupational safety, mass transit ... the list goes on and on. And they’re all legacies of the Progressive doctrines espoused by Wilson, who understood that modern Americans needed the assistance of a larger, more supple national state.”
That might sound like an indictment to Beck, but Wilson actually was not the first progressive to occupy the White House. Theodore Roosevelt’s Square Deal (1901-09) included breaking up business trusts, regulating railroads, creating national parks and establishing purity standards for food and drugs. In fact, Roosevelt, a Republican, ran for president again in 1912 because he thought his handpicked successor, William Howard Taft, had failed to maintain the Square Deal’s momentum.
Rebuffed for the GOP nomination, Roosevelt stalked out of the convention and began his own campaign, under the Progressive Party banner. As a result, there were four candidates for president on the 1912 ballot, Roosevelt, Taft, Wilson and Socialist Eugene Debs.
Wilson won the election with 41.8 percent of the vote, carrying 40 states. Roosevelt was second with 27.4 percent and six states, while the incumbent, Taft, finished third with 23.2 percent and carrying only two states. Debs won 6 percent of the vote.
With two progressives and a Socialist garnering nearly 77 percent of the vote, the public was obviously in the mood for change in 1912. Wilson was ready to comply.
Four years later, Wilson successfully ran for re-election against Republican Charles Evans Hughes, a bearded former governor of New York who also had a progressive record. Roosevelt quipped that the only difference between Hughes and Wilson was a shave.2016-04-29T10:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/hr_rick_weddle.png“Hampton Roads has unrealized potential,” says Rick Weddle. Photo courtesy Hampton Roads Economic Development Alliance
Importing Orlando magic
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/importing-orlando-magic#When:10:00:00ZHe brought thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in investments and revenue to Orlando, Fla., and North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park. Now Rick L. Weddle is gearing up to achieve similar results in Hampton Roads.
The new president and CEO of the Hampton Roads Economic Development Alliance, Weddle is tasked with attracting new business and industry to set up shop in the 11 localities the organization represents. Despite hanging out the welcome mat, the region continues to be plagued by identity issues and its dependence on government spending as it works its way out of the lingering effects of the Great Recession. But with revitalization and new construction underway and new companies poised to move in, Weddle believes Hampton Roads can make a strong comeback.
“Hampton Roads has unrealized potential,” he says, noting the region did not come out of the recession as strong as other areas in the U.S. “Hampton Roads hasn’t had the right momentum to grow at or faster than the national average. Part of my job will be to figure out how to get it positioned to do better.”
This will include finding a way to pull the region together into a more cohesive unit, a goal that has eluded business and community leaders for much of Hampton Roads’ 400-plus-year history. A region that includes 16 cities and counties — including two localities in North Carolina — Hampton Roads is the 37th largest metropolitan area in the country. Power plays among the municipalities, however, often have stymied attempts to give the region a cohesive economic and cultural identity.
“We haven’t had a consistent vision for Hampton Roads, and sometimes that confuses site developers,” acknowledges John D. Padgett, who chairs the HREDA’s board of directors and led the national search for the new CEO. “Companies don’t even know what Hampton Roads stands for or where it’s located.”
That’s why the HREDA sought a transformational CEO with a robust economic strategy to unite its members. From all indications, the group has found that in Weddle, who describes himself as a game changer. “It’s premature for me to say I’ve got all the answers, but I know how to pull people together,” he says.
As CEO of the Orlando Economic Development Commission, he transformed the five-county region from a dependence on tourist dollars to a magnet for corporate headquarters. As president and CEO of the Research Triangle Foundation, the developer of Research Triangle Park, Weddle led the way in attracting more than $800 million in direct investments and the creation of more than 6,200 jobs.
Weddle wasn’t looking for a new job, but he was impressed by the commitment to regionalism shown by local leaders. “They have the desire to move beyond where they have been in the level of cooperation and make regionalism more effective,” he says.
Joe Bouchard, vice chair of Future of Hampton Roads, a volunteer group, believes Weddle has his work cut out for him. “Economic development efforts in Hampton Roads are weak and fragmented,” he says. “HREDA in the past has focused on attracting companies from outside the region, but their success has been disappointing.”
The 120 member of Future of Hampton Roads represent all segments of the community, including businesses, nonprofits and the military. The group meets regularly to discuss approaches to economic development and ways to fuse best practices and lessons learned. ‘That’s one of our strengths,” adds Bouchard, who came to the region in 2000 as commanding officer of Naval Station Norfolk. “No other organization in Hampton Roads can bring this diverse of a group to the table to explore an issue.”
Weddle, who took charge of the HREDA in April, is spending his first 120 days on the job meeting with groups like Future of Hampton Roads to learn more about the region and how all its pieces fit together. “I really think the best days of Hampton Roads in the modern era are ahead,” he says. “There will be winners and losers in regional economic growth in the next few decades. We’re going to have to win more deals than lose them, but if opportunities are done correctly, they will generate really big deals.”2016-04-29T10:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/TheMain-7473.pngThe Main is a $164 million public-private investment project. Photo by Mark Rhodes
Wait till next year
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/wait-till-next-year#When:10:00:00ZNew Year’s Day is still more than six months away, but 2017 already is shaping up to be a banner year for Hampton Roads. After years of planning and hurdling obstacles, the region is preparing to open a slew of prominent new and revitalized venues while starting construction on several big-ticket projects.
Construction cranes, in fact, have become a regular fixture on the Hampton Roads skyline. A high-tech luxury hotel is going up in downtown Norfolk, while around the corner the Waterside Festival Marketplace is getting a long-awaited face-lift. Also in Norfolk, construction gets underway in May on a long-awaited, $75 million outlet mall. Meanwhile, Virginia Beach’s oceanfront is witnessing the rebirth of the iconic Cavalier Hotel, and in Newport News, a mixed-use center will house high-tech firms along with retail and luxury apartments. The construction signals a regional revitalization as Hampton Roads continues to work its way out of the 2007-09 recession.
That’s especially true for Norfolk, whose rebirth began downtown and is now spreading to other areas of the city, sparking interest from millennials and entrepreneurs. “We are a very aggressive, forward-looking city,” says Chuck Rigney, the city’s economic development director. “We’re putting together an executable plan and going after it.”
The Main and The Cavalier
Developer Bruce Thompson, CEO of Gold Key/PHR Hotels and Resorts, is making his first foray into his hometown with The Main, a $164 million public-private investment project. Scheduled to open downtown next March, the 300-room hotel bearing the Hilton brand will feature three full-service restaurants. Its major selling point is The Exchange, a 105,000-square-foot conference center that city leaders say will allow Norfolk to attract larger meetings and conventions. “We knew we were missing the tourism market and the ability to host signature conferences that need the setting and experiences that The Exchange can provide,” Rigney says. “It will be the most technologically advanced conference center in the U.S.”
The Main will provide a high-energy eclectic hospitality experience, says Michael Woodhead, Gold Key’s vice president of marketing. A premium seafood restaurant will be on the first floor, while the second floor will feature an Italian eatery along with a piano bar. The Grain, a rooftop bistro overlooking the Elizabeth River, will become a downtown destination, Woodhead adds. “It’s going to pull people from all over Hampton Roads. Between these three restaurants, there’s something for everybody going on in downtown Norfolk. If we weren’t supremely confident that all three will quickly become local favorites, we wouldn’t be doing it.”
While Gold Key brings a contemporary flair to downtown Norfolk with The Main, the company is evoking old-style grandeur on the Virginia Beach oceanfront with the restoration of the 89-year-old Cavalier on the Hill. The hotel will reopen as a five-star member of Marriott’s Autograph Collection in 2017. Its sister property, the Cavalier Oceanfront Hotel, will be replaced by a 300-room Marriott hotel, with the opening targeted for 2018.
Gold Key also is building 82 homes on the grounds of the Cavalier on the Hill. The project is expected to generate $41 million to $52 million in new taxes during its first two decades, while creating 200 year-round jobs and 330 seasonal positions.
Norfolk’s Waterside Festival Marketplace also is undergoing extensive renovations. The Cordish Cos., a Baltimore-based developer, is fronting the nearly $40 million public-private project scheduled to open next spring. “This will bring a new visitor experience onto the riverfront,” Rigney says. “The city leadership wants to create the greatest urban waterside park in the U.S.”
Also downtown, developer Buddy Gadams is converting the 24-story Bank of America office building into 275 luxury apartments, a ground-floor restaurant and a fitness facility. Tagged the Icon at City Walk, the $100 million project will bring 500 additional residents to downtown when it opens next year. “It will be a great address for residents and removes largely vacant office space from our inventory,” Rigney says.
As part of the City Walk project, Gadams is renovating the adjacent vacant office building for Automatic Data Processing (ADP). The New Jersey-based human-resources firm announced in March that it will invest $32.5 million to open a customer-service center in the space, bringing nearly 2,000 jobs downtown. With the influx of ADP jobs, Hampton Roads anticipates annual regional earnings of about $158 million as the overall economic impact climbs to almost $465 million. Nearly half of the ADP jobs are expected to be in place by the end of the year, with the rest filled by mid-2017.
“Together, ADP, the Main, the Waterside District and Icon at City Walk will be a game changer for downtown,” Norfolk Mayor Paul Fraim said in his “State of the City” address in March. “They will dramatically enhance downtown’s vibrancy and help boost and diversify the economy, creating more investment opportunities.”
Outside of downtown
While the downtown district has seen the lion’s share of economic development projects, Norfolk leaders stress that the wealth is being spread around. “We had to fix downtown because, if the apple is rotten at the core, the rest of the apple will die as well,” Rigney says.
He points to Movement Mortgage’s plans to bring more than 800 jobs to the former J.C. Penney building at Military Circle. “There’s a tremendous opportunity to reshape Military Circle. That area can be a significant place for businesses and jobs to locate.”
In addition, Simon Property Group will break ground in May on the $75 million Norfolk Premium Outlets at the former Lake Wright Golf Course. Slated to open next year, the mall is expected to create 800 permanent jobs and generate upward of $3 million in annual tax revenue.
Private employers like ADP, Movement Mortgage and Simon Property Group are expected to enhance the stability of the region’s economy, which has largely depended on Department of Defense spending. That dependence becomes a volatile relationship during times of federal spending cuts.
“The private sector has to start filling in, but it has been slow to do that,” says Vinod Agarwal, director of Old Dominion University’s Economic Forecasting Project. Hampton Roads gained 7,000 jobs last year, reaching a total of 765,383. That number, however, still is below its pre-recession peak of 775,500 jobs.
To be successful, Hampton Roads must start thinking of itself as a regional economy, Agarwal adds. “We can’t think about Norfolk only … or only worrying about Virginia Beach. We depend on each other way too much,” he says.
Virginia Beach arena
Virginia Beach is betting that an 18,000-seat entertainment and sports arena will be a significant generator of new jobs, events and visitors. Developer United States Management is aggressively working to secure financing for the project. “The goal is to have the loan closing in 2016 with construction starting by the end of the year and the grand opening in late 2018,” says Brittany Jeffries, a USM marketing associate.
The Virginia Beach City Council approved the $200 million, privately financed project near the oceanfront late last year, with the city footing the bill for infrastructure improvements. “We see this arena as an iconic symbol for Hampton Roads, not just an amenity for Virginia Beach,” Jeffries adds. “It will not only provide a lot of activities and entertainment opportunities for the city but also attract people from outside the area to experience the region and create jobs and more year-round activities for the region.” The project is expected to generate 2,300 jobs during construction and 440 positions once the arena is in operation.
A sticking point, however, has been the lack of a major athletic team to call the arena home. USM believes that will come in time. “The key to landing a sports team is to have a facility,” Jeffries says, adding that the arena can succeed without a team. “When you have a team, it fills up a lot of the schedule and collects a large portion of revenues. Without a team, you have a lot more prime dates that you can fill with other events.”
Meanwhile, Stephen Ballard, president of S.B. Ballard Construction Co., submitted an unsolicited proposal in March to Old Dominion University for another athletics venue. Ballard wants to demolish ODU’s existing football stadium in Norfolk, Foreman Field, and replace it with a 25,000-seat facility that would open in 2018. The proposal includes five stadium configurations, the most expensive of which would cost $124 million.
Tech Center in Newport News
On the Peninsula, construction continues on the Tech Center Research Park adjacent to the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility. The project includes 1.1 million square feet of office and lab space, along with a marketplace featuring national retailers making their first foray in the Peninsula, an urgent-care center operated by Children’s Hospital of the Kings Daughters and 284 upscale apartments. W.M. Jordan Co. is developing the $450 million, privately financed project. The mixed-use community emphasizes environment, nutrition and fitness, says John Lawson, W.J. Jordan’s president and CEO. “We want to get people in an environment where they’re collaborating. To do that, we have to provide really interesting retail and entertainment and a great place to live.”
A $1 billion ion collider also wouldn’t hurt. The Jefferson Lab is competing with Long Island’s Brookhaven National Laboratory to become the site for the collider, a coup projected to have about a $4 billion economic impact on the region. Lawson believes the tech center would benefit from the collider and its resulting jobs. “This would be a big attraction to people moving here and hired to work for the construction and operation of the ion collider,” he says. The U.S. Department of Energy is expected to announce in the next two years which site will get the collider.
New construction also is underway at several of the region’s medical facilities. Bon Secours Hampton Roads Health System will open a $20 million medical plaza in Suffolk’s Harbour View this fall that will house the Bon Secours Cancer Institute. Meanwhile, Sentara Norfolk General, ranked as a top hospital in Virginia by U.S. News and World Report, is launching a $199 million expansion. The five-year project will add three floors to the hospital, modernize and expand 18 operating rooms and enlarge the emergency department. With the expansion of its Ambulatory Surgery Center, Sentara Leigh Hospital is in the final phase of a massive, eight-year construction project that saw the construction of two five-story patient towers and an employee parking deck.
Overall, as Norfolk’s Rigney says, the projects represent pieces of a larger puzzle designed to invigorate the region with new — and diverse — economic activity.2016-04-29T10:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/RETIRE_Gym-Guy1-239.pngHeritage Commons in Williamsburg offers, among other amenities, a fitness center. Courtesy Commonwealth Assisted Living
‘Bingo won’t do it anymore’
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/bingo-wont-do-it-anymore#When:10:00:00ZRich Brewer says his company’s business is a lot different from the one many Virginians may think it is.
The president and CEO of Charlottesville-based Commonwealth Assisted Living (CAL) oversees 22 senior housing communities across the state, providing families with a full range of housing and care options, from independent living and in-home care to assisted-living and memory and dementia care. “This is not a health-care business but a hospitality business,” he says.
A longtime specialist in assisted-living and memory care, the company in January purchased the 100-apartment Heritage Commons independent-living community in Williamsburg. CAL has plans to add assisted living and memory care options at Heritage Commons sometime in the next few years.
Like many independent-living communities around the commonwealth and the nation, Heritage Commons offers amenities and services that were once considered luxurious but are now fairly commonplace. At the Williamsburg facility, they include an on-site hair salon and fitness center, a club room, multiple lounges, 24-hour concierge services, daily recreation and educational activities, shuttle transportation services and meals prepared by highly trained chefs.
“It’s not like it was even 10 years ago,” says Brewer, who has more than two decades of experience in senior housing. “We’re always looking for new ways to engage our residents in both independent living and assisted living ... Bingo won’t do it anymore.”
Ken Newell, the founder and CEO of Richmond-based Manorhouse Assisted Living and Memory Care, confirms that the sales environment for independent living is much tougher than it’s ever been in his 30-year career.
“The World War II generation had one level of expectations and sophistication, and the baby boomer generation has another that has far exceeded that of the World War II generation,” he says.
In December, Manorhouse broke ground on what will be a $30 million campus in western Henrico County offering independent-living cottages, single-family homes and 91 assisted-living and memory-care apartments. It’s scheduled to open in 2017.
“Our customers are two-fold,” Newell explains. “One group is frail and in their 80s, with large segments of it dementia-related, Alzheimer’s-related. The other is the people making the decisions for this group, their baby-boomer children now in their 50s and 60s. They are the ones paying the bills ... They are much more educated [than the children of seniors] of 10 to 20 years ago. They have done much more research [into senior living options] and ask much more sophisticated questions. Their decisions are much more driven by the level of care and service they want for their parents. They also want more living space. They also want lots and lots of special activities and programs.”
Age in place’ strategy
Like its competitors, Roanoke-based Harmony Senior Services offers the residents in its three divisions — independent living, assisted living and memory care — a full menu of activities tailored to meet their myriad interests and different levels of physical ability, says Brent D. Russell, chief operating officer.
“We have different activities for each population,” he says. “People want to be on the go. They want more things to choose from every day. They can go to the pub, or the bistro, to therapy, or some outdoor space, or they can go visit the farm to help pick vegetables that we use in our farm-to-table menu.”
For companies more comfortable and experienced in assisted living and memory care, the foray into independent living is part of a long-term strategy.
The idea, says Jim Bonnell, chief operating officer at Manorhouse, is to attract seniors first to well-appointed independent-living units and then offer these same tenants and their families the more acute medical care, dementia care and even skilled nursing facilities they may need as they age.
“People find value in the opportunity to age-in-place, so they won’t have to make any move when the time comes that they will need assisted living, and later memory care, and then skilled nursing,” says Bonnell. “It helps patients at almost every level (of care) to be familiar with their surroundings, within a single community. It’s very appealing for families as well.”
Not for every company
Senior housing industry executives say that the financial and real estate crisis of 2008-2009 and the ensuing recession all but suffocated demand for new independent-living facilities, while the market for assisted-living and memory-care communities stayed fairly consistent.
For several years, many seniors found they couldn’t follow through on plans to sell their homes at an attractive profit to finance a good portion of their retirement. So they bided their time, waiting until property prices recovered before contemplating selling what for many Americans is their largest financial asset.
Now, with mortgage rates still hovering around historic lows and the U.S. economy and real estate prices on the rise, more and more seniors are selling and making the move to independent-living communities.
In addition to using luxurious amenities and a wide variety of activities to help attract new tenants to their properties, senior housing companies have also made it easier financially for retirees to afford independent-living communities.
For example, many communities have abandoned the decades-old practice of requiring tenants to pay five- and six-figure, nonrefundable “buy-in” fees. Others offer apartments and town houses on short-term leases at modest monthly rents.
“Our model is not buy-in. It’s rental, so there’s no large buy-in fee, and we don’t have long-term leases,” says Russell. “The previous generation wanted to own a home, rather than lease; for this generation leasing is not a problem.”
To be sure, not all senior housing companies in Virginia are anxious to enter the independent-living marketplace. Some are wary of its profit potential.
“We have not gotten into independent living,” says Rich Williams, the senior vice president in charge of senior-living housing at HHHunt Inc., a real estate developer with headquarters offices in Blacksburg, Richmond and Raleigh, N.C.
“We’re trying to research where that segment is headed in the next five to 10 years,” he says.
Historically, HHHunt’s senior-living division has focused on providing assisted living and memory care at the nearly two dozen senior-living communities it owns and operates under the Spring Arbor brand in Maryland, North Carolina and Virginia.
To meet rising demand from the growing number of retirees and patients in need of more acute care, Williams says, “we are definitely committed to growth, but a controlled growth,” adding a couple of new communities per year during the next five years.
HHHunt has discovered that assisted-living and memory-care facilities are “a little more secure and much more consistent” from a revenue standpoint, Williams says.
“The growth in the industry is in the memory-care area,” he says. “In the last two to three years there has been a pretty significant increase.”
Williams is leery of the changing economics of the independent-living sector, in which some companies offer almost endless lists of high-end amenities in an effort to attract tenants.
“I’m a little skeptical that providers can deliver what their advertisements say they can. They are going to have to charge for it,” says Williams. “A lot of providers do a pretty good job with that. On the other hand, some providers don’t operate that way.”2016-04-29T10:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/INTERVIEW_AubreyLayne.pngPhotos by Jay Paul
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/removing-politics#When:10:00:00ZAubrey Layne has had what few of his predecessors had — money to spend.
The year before his appointment as Virginia’s transportation secretary by Gov. Terry McAuliffe, the General Assembly passed in 2013 a landmark transportation-funding bill, adding new money to the state’s coffers for the first time in almost 30 years.
Layne, a CPA and former real estate executive, knew the new money was a blessing — but also that Virginia had to take its gift seriously. In addition, the fall in gas prices put major holes in anticipated revenues.
As a former member of the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB), Layne was familiar with how political transportation funding decisions could be.
But politics, he believes, doesn’t always beget the best spending decisions.
So Layne set out to apply objective business principles to transportation funding, working with a Republican-dominated legislature to change how Virginia’s transportation dollars are allocated.
House Bill 2, passed by the General Assembly in 2014, is the centerpiece of the new formula. The legislation created a method for the state to score and prioritize transportation projects. While the CTB isn’t legally required to fund only the highest-scoring projects, Layne says the law requires CTB members to explain their reasons if they don’t.
Virginia is undergoing its first test of the new system. In January, the Virginia Department of Transportation released its first scorecard. The CTB is expected to finalize its funding recommendations in June.
Another key transportation bill, HB1887, was passed last year. It is designed to ensure Virginia maintains its current road network. Previously, Layne says, the CTB was reluctant to use money on big maintenance projects — like roads that needed to be rebuilt and bridges that need to be shored up. Instead, a lot of roads were simply repaved over and over again.
So now, the first 45 percent of VDOT’s construction money is used for heavy-duty maintenance projects.
The remaining 55 percent of construction funds is divided evenly between a statewide pot of money that regions compete for and money for each of VDOT’s nine transportation districts. All of that money is being spent according to the new HB2 scorecard.
“So House Bill 1887 really goes hand-in-hand with House Bill 2 in making sure not only are we using objective data, but we’re taking care of our current network and every part of the commonwealth gets these monies,” says Layne.
“For the first time I think in modern history, every dollar spent in our construction program is either asset-managed by a rating of the level of service or the age or the condition of the asset, or it’s competitively scored against other projects.”
But while Layne benefited from an influx of new transportation money, he also inherited challenges. The Port of Virginia had been bleeding money for years. Also, controversy swirled over the money spent and tolls being used to build a new Midtown Tunnel and to renovate the existing Midtown and Downtown tunnels in Hampton Roads.
In addition, Layne also came into office when the commonwealth had paid almost $300 million to a contractor to build an alternative to U.S. 460 — a project for which Virginia didn’t have the required environmental permits. Virginia recouped about $46 million of that through a settlement negotiated in July 2015.
In response, the administration and legislature worked together to tighten rules on public-private partnerships, putting the state in a better negotiating position on these deals.
In his last two years as transportation secretary, Layne hopes to shore up the legislative changes that have been achieved, ensuring that objective measures are used to fund transportation projects.
Virginia Business sat down with Layne in his Richmond office in late February. Following is an edited version of the discussion.
VB: Let’s talk about the prioritizing process of HB2, now that we are in the middle of it, and we’ve seen the scorecard.
Layne: So coming into office, when Governor McAuliffe and I were discussing his vision, it was clear we had to be good stewards. While we did have a little bit of extra money, we didn’t have enough to do everything, so we had to pick the right projects. That really led to the reforming of how we get transportation funding.
The first started with House Bill 2, the prioritization process, helping us have, instead of just subjective data, some objective measures for the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) to look at in making their decisions. This still left all the decision-making to the board, but the default was “Hey, you have these objective measures, and if you vary from those you have to explain to us why.”
VB: Were there any surprises in how the projects scored?
Layne: Yeah, there were some surprises. I think not so much in the matrix itself, but there were a couple of projects I thought, “Wow, what I thought this project was really doing, it really didn’t.”
I also thought there needed to be a methodology of how you used that data. In other words, I don’t think the law meant to say, “We’ve scored these projects all and now, Commonwealth Transportation Board, you guys haggle over which projects you want.” I didn’t think that was the intent of the law. What I thought was this scorecard is the default.
So the methodology we developed for applying this was, you fund in each district the highest-scoring projects first until you run out of money, and then you take the next highest-scoring project.
We know that every part of the state has needs. So, [we introduced] House Bill 1887 to reform and refocus how we allocate the dollars coming in. The two big things House Bill 1887 did was it said: “Before we start putting money into new projects, we better make sure we are taking care of our existing road work.” In other words before, we’d have maintenance, but maintenance either meant paving or maybe repainting.
Well there needed to be infrastructure improvements well beyond that, but these weren’t adding capacity, and there was this hesitancy to use new construction dollars if you’re not adding capacity.
The Virginia Department of Transportation went out and looked at the worst-performing or worst-rated structures that have to be built or rebuilt. The 45 percent wasn’t just made up. It was what VDOT said looking at our projections for the next 10 years was needed to bend the curve to stop the deterioration of our assets. So that’s one thing right off the top, 45 percent now goes into maintaining our network.
The other thing [HB 1887] did, it divided the remaining money into two pots, and this gets me back to House Bill 2. Those at the district level, every district gets money, half the money of the remaining goes there. The highest-scored ones competing in your district get funded, and then it said the remaining monies are used at the statewide level for those big projects that really needed to get done.
So House Bill 1887 really goes hand-in-hand with House Bill 2 in making sure not only are we using objective data, but we’re taking care of our current network and every part of the commonwealth gets these monies.
If you think about this now…for the first time I think in modern history, every dollar spent in our construction program is either asset-managed by a rating of the level of service or the age or the condition of the asset, or it’s competitively scored against other projects.
So from a fiduciary standpoint I can stand up and tell the citizens of the commonwealth “Hey, we may not have enough money, but we’re using it very wisely. We’re using it objectively.”
It’s also fiscally constrained. That means if you want to allocate monies to something else then obviously you impact something in the plan. If you want to add another project or if the legislature says, “I want to come out of House Bill 2 and force you to do this, [project]” well it impacts other parts of the commonwealth. I think that’s a thing they’re getting used to.
[This year for the statewide money], we had $7 billion in requests, and we had $1.7 billion to allocate. So it’s a matter of choosing projects that get the most benefit, and whether or not that’s a cost benefit or transportation benefit, we score them both ways.
VB: Obviously the process is going to be different, but do you think that end result is going to be a lot different?
Layne: Oh, I do. The key will be that we consistently apply it...We’re never going to take all the politics out of it, but at least it puts the politics front and center as compared to the transportation and cost-benefit analysis.
So I do see this as a game changer not only from the objective metrics but by the transparency and accountability. Citizens will know why the [CTB] allocated those monies and can have good input into the process.
One other important piece to this, and it was done in House Bill 1887 too, was that the CTB was made independent. Before, the governor could put [members] on and take them off simply at his pleasure, and that happened.
Now the governor puts them on, the legislature approves them, but they can only be removed for cause, and cause isn’t voting you’re conscience. [The CTB is now] an independent body that is charged with allocating these scarce resources and are liberated not only with the better data to make decisions but the freedom to know that they can vote their conscience, and I think that’s a huge step in this process in getting the data.
We’re never going to eliminate politics, but I think the commonwealth’s made a big step in moving toward more pragmatic solutions, less dependent on the political process and then more dependent upon objective measures in hard discussions.
VB: And then to talk about the P3s, we’ve talked a lot in the press about what has gone wrong. Can you talk about what you think has gone well and how you think the new legislation will change that process going forward?
Layne: So let me start out by saying that the private sector and P3s have been or are going to remain a large part of our procurement, delivery process. They have to because we simply don’t have enough money to do it all ourselves. What I think needs to be done is, there needs to be a baseline when we’re making those decisions. So I think some projects did go well are the Express Lanes in Northern Virginia. I think we could have improved on some things, but I think it went well. [Some] in Hampton Roads didn’t go so well.
It gets back to two basic points. One is the allocation of risk. Another important other piece is you have to have a baseline, and that baseline is if the commonwealth is going to do this on its own, what would it cost us? If you don’t have that, it’s hard to negotiate and allocate risk, and the process before did not do that.
So [another law, House Bill 1886] brings overall accountability and transparency to this process. What it says is before you start negotiating, you’ve got to stand up and say what it would cost the commonwealth to do it. As secretary of transportation, I’ve got to now stand up and verify and make an affirmative statement that this is in the best interest of the citizens.
No way I can do that without first understanding what it would cost us to do it without private party help. So that off the bat is a big key change and so for [Interstate 66 Outside the Beltway — a public-private transportation project] one of the first things we did is we went out and said: “Here’s the project we want. Here are the multimodal aspects we want. Here’s what it’s going to cost us. If you want to participate, here’s the term sheet you’ve got to beat.” I remember when we went through that, everybody was saying, “You’re anti-business; you’re killing P3s.”
Quite the contrary, we had 13 people respond. My background was in this. I mean I did a lot of deals in real estate. The private sector responded beautifully. We looked at different ways to share risk. They gave us 13 proposals that say, “You know what we can do the whole thing and beat your term sheet.” And that’s great cause I can stand up and say: “This is clearly better than we could do it ourselves.”
I think the commonwealth paid a heavy price to get that Downtown/Midtown tunnel. I mean it is what it is, but we paid a significant price that we’re going to be paying, and I think had we used a different process, even if we didn’t have any money, we would have struck a different deal.
VB: Revenues came in lower-than-expected, and you’ve talked a little about the unmet needs. Do you think that the legislature feels like that it’s done now with transportation for a while, or do you think there are opportunities for new revenues?
Layne: Well I think there will be opportunities. That gets back to the point about showing them and demonstrating that we’ve used everything wisely. Having said that, I think we can do a lot more before we go back in.
It’s not just the Commonwealth of Virginia’s issue. It’s going on at the national level. Our infrastructure in many cases is 50/60 years old. There’s no plan, like right now if something were to happen to the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel, we don’t have money set aside to fix that. So there is a need for more, but there’s also the reality that I think the best way to get it is to use those, the monies you’re given, and have credibility when you stand in front of someone and say, “I used your monies wisely.”
Now, they’re hard decisions. There were lots of bills saying, “Well, I want you to build this interstate, and I want you to do that.” Well, that defeats the whole purpose of House Bill 2, and I think the leadership, Speaker of the House Bill Howell, the leadership and the Del. Chris Jones, and in the Senate, Senators Tommy Norment and Emmett Hanger, they’ve said, “Hey, no look this is House Bill 2.” You’ve got to go through the process.
So I think the next couple of years what I’m going to focus on is making sure we actually stay true to House Bill 2 and that the next administration sees how well that it works so it’s not undone.
VB: I did want to make sure we talked about the Port of Virginia. That was something that you came in very quickly and said, “Finances aren’t acceptable.” So now that those seemed to be shored up, what do you think are the opportunities and challenges for the port going forward?
Layne: The previous administration thought they should sell [the Port of Virginia operations], changed the whole board. This whole governance fell apart. They lost some institutional knowledge. I mean any business would have suffered. So when we came in, it was sort of floundering, but the port is arguably the most significant asset in the commonwealth.
I think there were two things we had to get straight. First of all it was pretty clear that many of the problems were self-inflicted. It was simply short-term poor business decisions because of a lack of focus and lack of leadership, and we were very fortunate to get [Port of Virginia Executive Director] John Reinhart.
What we’re really suffering from is many years and decades of not investing in that port, and we’ve watched our natural attributes, our natural incentives and competitive edge go away — our deep water, unobstructed overhead and our class two railroads in service. We’ve watched Savannah and other ports up and down the East Coast invest hundreds of millions of dollars, and we’ve abdicated our position almost. So that’s why, you know, when we got the financials straight, and we had credibility, we said: “Guys, we’ve got to invest in this Port.”
So this year we’re doing two things: $350 million dollars for the renovation of the project to modernize Norfolk International Terminals, which is our largest terminal in terms of land mass, and now we’ll make it efficient. And we haven’t signed the document yet, but we will have a long-term lease for the Virginia International Gateway [terminal], where another $300 million or so will be invested in that to expand it.
VB: What about our opportunities in space?
Layne: We sent a spaceship up without insurance. [In October 2014 an unmanned Orbital Sciences rocket exploded during launch, causing damage to the Wallops Island Flight Facility.] That was an interesting thing to go through, and I don’t mean to be flippant, but back to risk. I mean you know most of the time in business, you’ve got to protect yourself. We redid our agreement with Orbital and with NASA, and so I think it fits well hand in hand with the governor’s new Virginia economy. [The space industry offers] high-paying jobs.
We need to recognize too, that while there’s a lot of talk about man space flight, that’s not what Virginia’s niche is.
Our niche is [these] low orbits to supply satellites to the International Space Station. Wallops Island is very much right in that niche, and we’ve got a great opportunity to build an economy not only just on the Eastern Shore in South Hampton Roads but across the commonwealth with these high-paying jobs. Orbital is actually based in Dulles. So I think we have now it set up to where people know if we put money into it, it’s going to be a return back to the commonwealth.
Where before the business plan was: “Well, you give us a little bit of money and if you break our pad, we’ve got to pay for it.”
VB: You said you had some interest in the transportation reforms from outside Virginia?
Layne: I’ve been asked to serve as the vice chair of the National Governor’s Association Board. Particularly they’ve cited they want me to help educate them on what Virginia’s doing. The [American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials,] the national convention, has asked me to speak. People are watching what we did on 66, and they’re watching our House Bill 2 [It’s been featured in trade publications.]
I think that story will be one that will continue to come out, and it’s going to take time for people to really see the consistency and the benefits, and that’s what I think I’ll be doing the next two years. I’m going to be steadfastly on is making sure that gets inbred because I think Virginians win.2016-04-29T10:00:00+00:00
Out & About - May 2016
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/out-about-may-2016#When:10:00:00ZThe month’s Out & About features events from Prince William County, Roanoke and Warrenton.
This month's Out & About features photos from Grand Home Furnishings in Roanoke, the Prince William Chamber of Commerce's Education & Innovation Luncheon and the Frostbite Scramble golf tournament in Prince William.
To share photos of your company's special events with Virginia Business, e-mail your high resolution images along with photo ids to . Photos not used in the magazine may be posted on our online photo gallery.2016-04-29T10:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Bernie-5809.pngBernie Niemeier photo by Mark Rhodes
Who’s the real Trojan horse?
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/whos-the-real-trojan-horse#When:10:00:00ZImagine a most imaginary conversation that could have taken place shortly before the unpleasantness of the 2016 presidential campaign began:
“Bill, this is The Donald returning your call. Hope you’re doing super.”
“Well, gosh, um, that’s just it. I need your help. You’re such a great supporter, and you know, this next presidential race — it’s really Hill’s time. And me, I just can’t wait to be back in the Lincoln bedroom.”
“Yes, that’s gonna be great, that’s gonna be fantastic, terrific! How much? You and I both know it takes somebody else’s money.”
“Well, this time it’s more than money and a few appearances. Here’s the problem; it’s this Bush thing, this whole Bush-Clinton dynasty thing. Our family legacy is on the line. If it comes down to a choice between stupid and crooked, we’re just not sure who America will pick to win.”
“Yeah Bill, I get that. People are so unpredictable. You’ve got a legacy; it’s huge; it’s huge, terrific! You know I love winning.”
“Right Big D, and that’s just it — gosh, you’re so big, sooo popular; people just love you! The whole ‘Apprentice’ thing, just masterful! And Obama, that whole birther thing, ridiculous, brilliant! You’ve really got it all dialed in.
“Here’s the catch: we need more of this. We need you to go under deep cover and run for president as a Republican. You’re great under the covers, right? It will totally annihilate their party. We both love winning. It will be fabulous, fabulous for your ratings. We’ll both win! Super!
“How about it, Donald? You can’t say no. Remember, the Lincoln Bedroom? It’s yours or mine; it’s ours either way! Win-win! You’ll be big, really big! Too good to be true, you can’t say no!”
“Bill, gotcha, super, super idea, let me think, you know me, that doesn’t take long. Just between the two of us, right? Let’s get together soon on one of my many, many courses, we’ll have to put the kibosh on golfing together for a while after this goes live. This is gonna be wonderful, wonderful...”
Okay, so much for the hypothetical. Maybe this isn’t exactly how these campaigns started, but fast-forwarding to the spring of 2016, the primaries have unfolded with the same result.
Following his loss to Ted Cruz in the Wisconsin primary, Donald Trump called Cruz a “Trojan horse for GOP bosses.” But, who’s the real Trojan horse? The Trump candidacy has splintered the Republican Party, repeatedly foreshadowing an independent run in the general election, which would eliminate the possibility of a Republican majority.
Less attention has been focused on divisions among Democrats. Who knows what kind of negotiations between Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren resulted in Warren rejecting the idea of a run this year.
Still, almost inevitably, Bernie Sanders has risen as a standard bearer for disaffected Democrats — coming across as the kind of crazy grandfather that every kid finds hilarious — and also irresistible. Sanders may not be a Trojan horse, but he’s certainly gotten the camel’s nose into the tent.
The elite Republicans and Democrats alike have proven themselves Washington-centric. They’ve completely lost touch with their respective voter bases, which are shrinking demographically and shrinking away from both parties’ worn-out electoral platforms.
For example, it’s well documented that church attendance has been shrinking for decades, yet evangelicals still cling to the idea of a majority, even a white majority.
On the policy front, trickle-down economics, popularized during the Reagan era, have never performed as promised. If anything, they’ve contributed to economic inequality. The wealthiest Republican loyalists have reaped rewards. The less-well-to-do have waited three decades for the party’s populist promises to materialize. Their patience has served their party well, but it’s now past the breaking point.
On the Democratic front, clinging to a monochromatic black and white worldview for votes in the South, as well as a labor-centric paradigm for votes in the Northeast and Upper Midwest also is increasingly outdated.
Decades-old, civil rights-driven loyalty is much to be admired. But how ironic to see the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement during the final term of the country’s first African-American president. Ongoing growth of Latino and Asian voters is dramatically and permanently altering the politics of race.
Much like shrinking church attendance, labor unions have been on the decline for decades. Today, even Michigan is a right-to-work state. Policy-wise, protectionism is just as much a broken populist promise as it is a failed economic one.
Traditional thinking on independent voters is that they ultimately side with one party or the other. That may no longer hold true. The number of so-called independents is on the rise; increasing extremism in both major parties has alienated voters.
Late July will bring the political conventions. The Republicans will convene in Cleveland, followed a few days later by the Democrats in Philadelphia. Imagine this very imaginary scenario: A brokered Republican Convention leads to a third-party candidacy. The following week, Democratic dysfunction pops loose a fourth candidate. The camel’s nose comes out of the tent. Now who’s the real Trojan horse?2016-04-29T10:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/C1vb0615R.png
Followups - May 2016
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/followups-may-2016#When:10:00:00ZKassell named to panel
Dr. Neal F. Kassell, chairman of the Charlottesville-based Focused Ultrasound Foundation, has been named to the National Cancer Institute’s Blue Ribbon Panel for Vice President Joe Biden’s National Cancer Moonshot Initiative.
Focused Ultrasound Foundation raises funds and sponsors research in promoting the global adoption of focused ultrasound treatments for a wide variety of diseases.
Virginia Business profiled Kassell and the foundation in its June 2015 issue.
Canadian Pacific ceases pursuit of Norfolk Southern
Canadian Pacific Ltd. has ended its quest to acquire Norfolk Southern Corp.
E. Hunter Harrison, the CEO of Calgary-based Canadian Pacific said in mid-April there was “no clear path to a friendly merger at this time,” according to The Associated Press.
Norfolk-based Norfolk Southern had rebuffed repeated offers from the Canadian railroad since November, saying they were inadequate. The top offer totaled nearly $30 billion.
Norfolk Southern’s resistance to the merger offers was supported by Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Virginia’s congressional delegation and state legislators.
Coal executive sentenced
A federal judge in West Virginia sentenced former coal executive Don Blankenship to a year in prison in connection with an explosion that killed 29 miners in 2010.
Blankenship, the former CEO of Richmond-based Massey Energy, was convicted in December of a misdemeanor charge of conspiring to “willfully violate mandatory mine health and safety standards” at the Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia. In addition to the prison term, Blankenship was ordered to pay a $250,000 fine.
Bristol-based Alpha Natural Resources bought Massey in 2011. Alpha settled with the Justice Department for $209 million in fines, penalties and compensation to the victims’ families.
Virginia Business has followed the mine disaster story since 2010.2016-04-29T10:00:00+00:00
Divaris announces new tenants in Charlottesville’s 5th Street Station
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/divaris-announces-new-tenants-in-charlottesvilles-5th-street-station#When:01:45:00Z5th Street Station, a 465,000-square-foot shopping center under development in Charlottesville, has picked up two new tenants, including the area’s first Alamo Drafthouse Cinema.
Divaris Real Estate Inc. announced the signing of two new leases Thursday that total 36,500 square feet. Alamo Drafthouse Cinema leased 33,000 square feet of space and will anchor the north portion of the project on the opposite side from Wegmans. This will be the first of its brand in the Charlottesville area, and owners expect to open in early summer 2017.
Founded in 1997 in Austin, Texas, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema has expanded to locations in more than 20 cities across the country including one in Loudoun County. According to Divaris, the Charlottesville location will have large-format screens and one of the first new Sony projectors in the country that can show films in 3D and 4K. Patrons will be able to choose from food and over 30 craft beer selections served to their seats even during the film.
The second lease was 3,500 square feet for Fuzzy’s Taco Shop The restaurant chain serves fresh, handmade Baja-style Mexican food in 81 stores across 9 states. Specialties include fish tacos, burritos, and nachos.
Larry Agnew, Mary McGovern, Zach Means and Eric Rorrer of DRE, based in Virginia Beach, handled lease negotiations on behalf of the landlord, 5th Street Station Ventures LLC.
Previously announced leases in 5th Street Station include Field & Stream, Haverty’s Furniture, A.C. Moore, PetSmart, Timberwood Tap House, Panera Bread, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Hand & Stone, Verizon Wireless and Red Mango.
The $153 million regional shopping center is located on 5th Street, off I-64 at exit 120 in southern Charlottesville, about five minutes from the University of Virginia. The center plans to celebrate its grand opening this fall.2016-04-29T01:45:00+00:00
Fourth Circuit finds Travelers has a duty to defend cyber claim
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/fourth-circuit-finds-travelers-has-a-duty-to-defend-cyber-claim#When:19:51:00ZThe U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit issued an unpublished opinion affirming the judgment of the District Court that The Travelers Indemnity Co. of America has a duty to defend its insured, Portal Healthcare Solutions LLC, against a class-action lawsuit pending in New York State Court. Travelers Indem. Co. of Am. v. Portal Healthcare Sols., LLC, 35 F. Supp. 3d 765 (E.D. Va. 2014), aff'd sub nom. Travelers Indem. Co. of Am. v. Portal Healthcare Sols., L.L.C., No. 14-1944, 2016 WL 1399517 (4th Cir. Apr. 11, 2016).
The class-action plaintiffs allege that Portal posted their confidential medical records on the internet, making their private medical information available to anyone doing a Google search for a patient’s name. The District Court held that exposing medical records online constitutes a “publication” within the meaning of the policies and that this exposure gave “unreasonable publicity” to the patient’s private life. While Fourth Circuit agreed, the real analysis is in the District Court’s ruling.
The Fourth Circuit’s opinion does not rehash the trial court’s analysis, but rather simply states that Judge Lee properly applied the “Eight Corners Rule” to determine whether Travelers had a duty to defend. That rule requires a trial court to examine (1) the policy language to ascertain the terms of the coverage, and (2) the underlying class-action complaint to determine whether the claims alleged are covered by the policy. Under Virginia law, the duty to defend is fairly broad — as long as the complaint alleges grounds for liability that are potentially or arguably covered by the policy, then a duty to defend exists.
The Travelers policies at issue contain two key prerequisites to coverage. First, the policies require an electronic “publication” of material. Second, the policies require that the published material give “unreasonable publicity” to, or “disclose” information about, a person’s private life. The policies do not define “publication,” so the District Court applied the term’s plain meaning and determined that the medical records were published the moment they became available online. Judge Lee rejected Travelers’ arguments that publication did not occur because Portal did not intend to publish the medical records and because there was no allegation that any third party actually viewed the medical records. As Judge Lee explained, publication occurs when information is placed before the public, not when someone reads the information. Because the unrestricted posting of medical records online exposed private medical information to the public at large, the court found that the second prerequisite to coverage was also met.
At first blush, the Fourth Circuit’s ruling appears to be pro-policyholder — lending credence to the argument that commercial general liability (CGL) coverage extends to data breaches. But policyholders should not rely upon this highly fact-specific decision to justify passing on purchasing cyber coverage. The Court’s limited holding was that publication occurs when a security breach causes private data to be available online based on the facts as alleged. The Travelers case does not support an argument that all data security breaches will be, or should be, covered under CGL policies. When it comes to data breach incidents, policyholders should certainly look for coverage across their entire insurance program (both cyber and traditional coverage). But any potential overlap in coverage may also be problematic. For example, different insurers on the same risk may try to point the finger at each other. The “other insurance” clauses in cyber and CGL policies may take on a new importance if the cyber insurer cites to this case in an attempt to duck coverage.
One thing is clear: in the wake of the Fourth Circuit’s decision, insurers will continue to tighten up their non-cyber policies in order to prevent future findings of coverage under similar policy language. The chance that the term “publication” remains undefined in insurers’ policies is slim to none. All the more reason for policyholders to actively seek to add cyber coverage to their insurance programs.
Collin Hite leads the Insurance Recovery Group and the Data Privacy & Security practice at the law firm of Hirschler Fleischer in Richmond. He may be reached at (804)771-9595 or email@example.com.
Jaime Wisegarver handles a variety of civil and commercial matters, including insurance recovery litigation and counseling. He may be reached at (804) 771-5634 or firstname.lastname@example.orgT19:51:00+00:00
TowneBank reports first quarter earnings of $17.8 million
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/townebank-reports-first-quarter-earnings-of-17.8-million#When:19:21:00ZHampton Roads based TowneBank reported record earnings of $17.8 million for the first quarter, a 22.5% increase, or $3.28 million, over the $14.5 million reported for the same period in 2015.
Fully diluted earnings per share were 35 cents per share, an increase from 29 cents per share for the comparative period of 2015.
“We delivered another quarter of outstanding performance and demonstrated our earning power by reporting a record quarter of earnings and revenue, as we continued to build on the momentum generated in 2015,” G. Robert Aston Jr., the bank’s chairman and CEO, said in a statement. "Our pending acquisition of Chesapeake, Virginia-based Monarch Financial Holdings is proceeding as anticipated and we are looking forward to the opportunity to welcome our new members …” said Aston.
That deal, worth about $220.6 million, is expected to close in the second quarter, pending regulatory and shareholder approval. The acquisition would create a $7.3 billion bank with 20.6 percent of bank deposits in the Hampton Roads market.
In the first quarter of this year, he bank reported total revenues of $78.7 million, a $6.3 million, or 8.81%, increase from the first quarter of 2015.
Loans held for investment increased $456.5 million, or 11.1%, from March 31, 2015.
Total deposits were $4.9 billion, an increase of $449.5 million, or 9.9%, from the first quarter of 2015.2016-04-28T19:21:00+00:00
BWXT receives $3.1 billion in federal contracts
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/bwxt-receives-3.1-billion-in-federal-contracts#When:20:57:00ZLynchburg-based BWX Technologies Inc. announced Wednesday that the U.S. Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program has awarded two of its subsidiaries $3.1 billion in contracts for the manufacture of naval nuclear reactor components and fuel.
The reactor components contracts were awarded to BWXT Nuclear Operations Group Inc. (BWXT NOG), and the naval nuclear fuel contracts were awarded to Nuclear Fuel Services, Inc. (NFS).
Approximately $1.2 billion of this award has been received this year, and the remaining contract awards are expected to be received in 2017 and 2018, subject to annual congressional appropriations.
A variety of naval nuclear reactor manufacturing activities will be performed at BWXT NOG under these contracts that will primarily support Ford-class carrier construction, Nimitz-class carrier refueling, Virginia-class submarine construction and preliminary Ohio-class submarine replacement work.
At NFS, the primary scope of work includes the manufacture and delivery of fuel and support activities for the U.S. Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program, as well as development of material for future Naval Reactors programs.
The reactor component work to be completed under these contracts will be conducted at BWXT’s locations in Lynchburg; Barberton and Euclid, Ohio; and Mount Vernon, Ind. The fuel work will be conducted at NFS in Erwin, Tenn.
“The awards of these contracts demonstrate the continued reliability placed on BWXT to execute this important work for the U.S. Government in a safe and cost-effective manner,” Peyton S. “Sandy” Baker, BWXT’s president and CEO, said in a statement.2016-04-27T20:57:00+00:00
Hilton Worldwide names top executives for spinoff
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hilton-worldwide-names-top-executives-for-spinoff#When:19:51:00ZHilton Worldwide announced that Thomas J. Baltimore Jr. will become president and CEO of the hotel chain’s spinoff of its real estate business.
Hilton announced in February that it would spin off its real estate and timeshare companies to create three independent companies.
Hilton also has named Sean M. Dell’Orto chief financial officer of the planned real estate investment trust (REIT).
Baltimore will report to Hilton Worldwide CEO Christopher Nassetta. Dell’Orto will continue to serve as senior vice president and treasurer of Hilton Worldwide.
Baltimore most recently was president and CEO of RLJ Lodging Trust, a publicly traded REIT he co-founded. Before that, Prior held vice president positions with Hilton. He also was vice president of business development for Host Marriott Services and worked for Marriott Corp. in various positions.
Dell’Orto joined Hilton in 2010. He previously was senior vice president and CFO of Barcelo Crestline Highland Hospitality Corp., a publicly traded REIT.2016-04-27T19:51:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Christopher_Lee.jpegChristopher Lee
Millennial impact on real estate
By the year 2025, America will primarily be a cashless society that has shifted to rental housing. The government will levy taxes and fines on buildings not classified as “green,” and Amazon will control 15 to 20 percent of grocery sales through an efficient delivery system.
These predictions represent some of the ways millennials, a huge population cohort, will impact commercial real estate. At least that’s the opinion of Christopher Lee, the keynote speaker Tuesday at the 7th annual Commercial Real Estate Forum sponsored by Commonwealth Commercial Partners and Lingerfelt Commonwealth Partners at the Westin Richmond Hotel.
About 300 people turned out to hear a provocative discussion as Lee, a Los-Angeles based consultant and speaker who heads CEL & Associates, highlighted some of his 100 predictions on the impact of millennials on the real estate industry.
“You’re at the place where there’s a huge generational transfer going on from the aging boomers – and I know this is a scary thought --” he said, “to the millennials. They are truly reshaping our industry from how commercial real estate is bought, sold and reoccupied.”
According to the U. S. Census Bureau, millennials refer to people born between 1982 and 2000. They now number about 83.1 million and represent more than one quarter of the nation’s population. Their size surpasses that of the 75.4 million baby boomers. According to the census, millennials are more diverse than the generations that preceded them, with 44.2 percent being part of a minority race or ethnic group, which, according to the census, is a group other than non-Hispanic, white.
Lee noted in his remarks that the generation was shaped by seminal events such as the Columbine massacre, 9/11, the Great Recession, and social networking.
His company’s research drew this profile, flattering and unflattering, of the age group: “What’s scary is that 10 percent of them believe Judge Judy is on the Supreme Court, and 77 percent can not name a senator from their home state,” said Lee.
Millennials were overprotected by their parents, he added, and were the first generation in some cases who had mothers who were better educated than their fathers.
They also were exposed to a higher quality of education, are suburb multitaskers, and they are the first generation to know more than their parents, because of the Internet, Lee said.
So what does all this mean for commercial real estate?
Plenty, he explained. This generation is driving a bump in online retail sales, a drop in home ownership, and a focus on more social responsibility, including volunteerism and sustainable building.
The commercial real estate marketplace used to be building centric, and is moving to a more service- and customer-centric model based on relationship building and finding solutions that millennials prize so much. “For millennials, it’s all about making a difference,” he said.
“We’ve shifted form a boots-on-the ground mentality to a mentality of predictive analytics. “Today’s leasing agents and brokers use smart phones and iPads to service clients and store and share data, Lee observed.
This generation likes to telecommute, and they are renting longer, because many don’t have the down payment to buy a home, a situation frequently due to student loans and credit care debt. “They don’t trust the banks,” Lee added, and they’re not afraid to seek out alternative funding sources such as crowdfunding. In addition, many seek other income generators.
Lee said his millennial-age daughter and her roommates, who live in a university town, made $5,000 one year by renting out their home via Airbnb to alumni coming for football games and parents of college-age students coming for university tours.
Lee, who wrote a 2012 book entitled, “Transformational Leadership in the New Age of Real Estate,” shared a few other predictions from his crystal ball:
• Within a decade 50 percent of today’s real estate brokers will be gone, and some of their work will be done by certified underwriters and accounting and law firms.
• Home ownership, currently at about 63 percent of Americans, will drop into the high 50 percent category, as the country shifts to a rental-based society. “In about 5 to 7 years, aging boomers will move into urban areas with walkable communities and rent their homes out to millennials who have children and want a more suburban environment,” he added.
• In the near future, women could comprise nearly 40 percent of the C-suite positions within real estate. This will occur, Lee said, because the majority of young people attending college today --nearly 70 percent -- are women.
• “Don’t be surprised if Amazon controls 15 to 20 percent of grocery sales.”
As delivery systems become more efficient, people will be able to order online and pick up groceries at massive receptacle centers that could be placed at 7-11 stores around the country. “You’ll get an email when your order is ready and a code will be sent to your phone, and you can open the receptacle door automatically,” Lee said.
• By 2020, millennials are expected to spend $1.4 trillion annually. With many of them preferring to shop online, this could cause some shopping centers to become obsolete.
• The footprint of office space will continue to shrink. It has already shrunk from 350 square feet per employee during the heyday of the baby boomer generation to 150 square feet. Millennials like creative, open spaces where they can collaborate and socialize.
“You are at the beginning part of a generational shift that is fundamentally changing the way we do business. You need to raise the bar and say, ‘What is our millennial strategy? How are we addressing recruitment? Every single component has to be addressed with this generation,” Lee said.
Besides Lee, the forum also featured a panel of speakers including Mark Claud, CEO of Commonwealth Commercial Partners; T. Gaylon Layfield, III, president and CEO of Xenith Bank; Peter J. Stone, director at New York-based Fortress Investment Group; and Bradford Sauer, vice president of Sauer Properties Inc. in Richmond.
The forum speakers agreed with some, but not all of Lee’s predictions. For instance, with so many new competitors building grocery stores in Richmond, they expect people here to continue to drive for the most part to brick and mortar stores for groceries.
Millennials in the audience also shared their reactions. Marisa Norona, who works in marketing for Free Agents in Richmond, said Lee was “on point, although some of his statements were a little broad” and don’t apply across the board. She did agree that members of her generation thrive on teamwork and enjoy feedback on how they are doing at work.
Michael Morris, a staffer in retail brokerage for Commonwealth Commercial Partners, likes to telecommute when he can, and would like his own office. “I get distracted so easily,” he said of the open space where he works now.
About 45 percent of Commonwealth Commercial’s 400-person staff is composed of millennials, said Claud. While some of what Lee said resonated, Claud said his younger workers are motivated, diverse and an asset to his company.2016-04-27T01:46:00+00:00
Brunswick Power Station begins producing electricity
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/brunswick-power-station-begins-producing-electricity#When:19:33:00ZDominion Virginia Power’s Brunswick Power Station began producing electricity this week.
The 1,358-megawatt natural gas plant is expected to generate enough power for 325,000 homes.
The company said the power plant was needed to match growing demand and to replace electricity from older, coal-fired plants.
The plant will have 43 employees with an annual payroll of $7.5 million. The station will pay about $4 million a year in local property taxes until 2017 and up to $5 million annually beyond that year.
"The Brunswick Power Station is destined to be a workhorse, using combined-cycle technology that is clean and efficient and will produce reliable, low-cost energy for our 2.5 million customers," Paul Koonce, CEO of Dominion Generation Group, said in a statement.2016-04-26T19:33:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/13055360_10207485185465895_2517019773414572102_n.jpgQuirk Hotel's terrace | Photo by Veronica Garabelli
‘The icing on the cake’
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/the-icing-on-the-cake#When:17:06:00ZThe Quirk Hotel in downtown Richmond is officially complete with the opening of its new rooftop bar and terrace.
As of Saturday, the venue at 201 W. Broad St. is open to the public. A grand opening event also is planned for May.
Construction on the two-level space picked up last September when the 74-room Quirk Hotel opened, says Kate Brown, the hotel’s director of sales and marketing.
The 2,800-square-foot space offers a sprawling view of Richmond from the eight-story, boutique hotel.
The panoramic vista was a standout for Jeff Ocampo and Paulyn Roman, a 30-something couple who got engaged on the rooftop bar before it opened. The couple plans to hold their wedding reception there next year.
“It’s beautiful,” says Roman, who had not seen the finished space prior to Monday. “We’re so excited and we can’t wait for our wedding to get here fast.”
The rooftop bar includes a light “bar food” menu, that differs from the hotel’s restaurant, Maple & Pine. Offerings range from a charcuterie plate to barbecue potato chips with fennel-chive dip. Drinks include spirits, cocktails and beer, such as Quirk, a cream ale brewed for the hotel by Richmond-based Hardywood Park Craft Brewery.
The space, which includes custom-made glass walls, was designed by 3north in Richmond. The hotel kept the furniture simple to not “take away from the city view,” says Katie Ukrop, who owns the hotel along with her husband, Ted Ukrop, in-laws, Jim and Bobbie Ukrop, and David and Christy Cottrell.
Asked how it feels to be done with the project, Katie said, "It feels good. This is like the icing on the cake.”
Quirk Hotel’s rooftop bar is open Monday through Sunday from 5 p.m. until around midnight, weather permitting. 2016-04-26T17:06:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Toni_Ardabell_Headshot_2014_CMYK.jpgToni R. Ardabell
Ardabell named CEO of Bon Secours Virginia Health System
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/ardabell-named-ceo-of-bon-secours-virginia-health-system#When:20:53:00ZToni R. Ardabell has been named chief executive officer of Bon Secours Virginia Health System, a $2.1 billion health network with eight acute-care hospitals in Richmond and Hampton Roads.
The appointment will become effective May 1. Ardabell will remain CEO of Bon Secours Richmond, a position she has held since Jan. 1, 2015.
Bon Secours Virginia Health System is the fourth-largest health system in Virginia. Its eight acute-care hospitals include St. Mary’s Hospital, Memorial Regional Medical Center, Richmond Community Hospital, St. Francis Medical Center and Rappahannock General in the Richmond market, and DePaul Medical Center, Maryview Medical Center and Mary Immaculate Hospital in Hampton Roads.
Bon Secours Virginia employs more than 13,000 people while Bon Secours Medical Group employs more than 800 health providers.
In addition to hospitals, Bon Secours also operates two free-standing emergency departments, urgent care centers, retail clinics and pharmacies.
As part of her involvement in the community, Ardabell serves as chair of the American Heart Association’s (AHA) regional board of directors and is a member of the AHA’s Mid-Atlantic affiliate board.
She also serves on the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association board, the director’s Advisory Board for M&T Bank, the Pennsylvania State University’s Dean’s Advisory Board, Venture Richmond and the Bon Secours Healthcare Foundation board.
Nationwide Custom Homes to expand Martinsville operations
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/nationwide-custom-homes-to-expand-martinsville-operations#When:20:46:00ZNationwide Custom Homes plans to expand production at its Martinsville manufacturing operations, creating 59 new jobs.
Nationwide President Andy Miller said the two-phase, $986,342 project involves renovating one of its four plants at its Rives Road site to extend its production line. The expansion will increase production by about 35 percent to accommodate growth in demand for modular housing.
The first phase of the project is expected to begin in 90 days and take about six weeks to complete, Miller said.
The second phase will take four weeks to complete, likely in the fourth quarter of this year.
Nationwide produces modular housing for the single- and multi-family residential markets. It also serves commercial markets with apartments, hotels, student housing and rental cottages.
The company already has added 15 employees to its 190-person work force. It expects to hire 20 more for the first phase of the expansion project and another 24 for the second phase.
The company is looking for people with construction skills, such as in carpentry, drywall, finishing, electric and plumbing.
The Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corp. (EDC) has approved a $100,000 grant to help fund Nationwide’s expansion. It will provide $50,000 for each phase of the project.
Miller said the expansion probably would not be happen without the grant. Instead, “we probably would have scaled back production or left it at current levels … and not gone after additional sales,” he said. “This grant allowed the company to make the decision to spend additional funds for construction. It’s very helpful.”
The EDC also is working with Nationwide to pursue state job grants through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program, said Mark Heath, president/CEO of the EDC. “We’ve been working with them off and on for years on different projects. Nationwide is one of the largest, if not the largest, manufacturer in the city and they want to expand their work force. The EDC board felt it was the right thing to do to support them and help retain their operations in our community. The labor force suits them well here; they have a good situation here,” said Heath.
Nationwide produces modular housing for the single- and multi-family residential markets. It also serves commercial markets with apartments, hotels, student housing and rental cottages. Its customers primarily are in Virginia, North Carolina, West Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and Tennessee, as well as some in South Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky and Ohio. It is an operating division of Palm Harbor Homes, which is part of the Phoenix-based Cavco family of manufacturers.2016-04-25T20:46:00+00:00
Gannett makes $815 million offer for Tribune Publishing Co.
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/gannett-makes-815-million-offer-for-tribune-publishing-co#When:16:32:00ZMcLean-based Gannett Co. Inc. on Monday announced an unsolicited $815 million bid to acquire Chicago-based Tribune Publishing Co.
The all-cash offer includes $12.25 for each Tribune share, a 63 percent premium on Tribune’s closing stock price of $7.52 on Friday.
Tribune’s properties include The Daily Press in Newport News.
In announcing its offer, Gannett released a letter sent to Tribune’s board of directors on Monday.
The letter said that Tribune on Friday had rebuffed Gannett’s $12.25 per-share offer, which had first been submitted on April 12.
Tribune confirmed on Monday that it has received an unsolicited offer, “with numerous contingencies,” from Gannett.
“On April 22, Tribune Publishing’s Board sent a letter to Gannett indicating it was finalizing engagements with Goldman, Sachs & Co. and Lazard as financial advisors and Kirkland & Ellis LLP as legal advisor,” Tribune said in a news release. “The Board is now engaged, with the assistance of its advisors, in a thorough review. The Board is committed to acting in the best interests of shareholders and will respond to Gannett as quickly as feasible.”
Tribune said it has been involved in many organizational changes since the beginning of the year, with a new board chair, CEO and CFO, while implementing a “content-first strategy.” The strategy “centers on using innovative technology to leverage Tribune Publishing’s valuable content and distribution channels.”
In its letter on Monday, Gannett stressed the “financial and strategic logic of a combination of our two companies… The challenges for our industry in the digital age continue … By combining, we would create a company with the financial stability and flexibility equipped to preserve journalistic integrity, high standards and excellence for years to come. We would be able to both empower our journalists and facilitate the creation of exceptional content while delivering stockholder value.”
Gannett said the proposed deal would create savings of $50 million annually. The $815 million offer includes the assumption of $390 million in Tribune debt.
The company said it can quickly consummate the acquisition without any financing condition.
Gannett publishes USA Today and has publications in more than 120 markets internationally.
Tribune’s properties include 11 daily newspapers, more than 60 digital properties and more than 180 news verticals.
In addition to the Virginia Peninsula, its markets include Los Angeles, San Diego, Chicago, Orlando and Baltimore.2016-04-25T16:32:00+00:00
Blackjack and tacos
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/black-jack-and-tacos#When:16:17:00ZJust months away from its anticipated opening in the fourth quarter, MGM National Harbor has announced four new dining concepts for itsresort and casino, and none of them include the traditional casino buffet.
Instead, the new $1.3 billion resort in Prince Georges County, Md., plans to please visitor palettes with Ginger, a Pan Asian restaurant; TAP Sports Bar, Bellagio Patisserie, a European-style pastry shop, and National Market, a casual food market experience. The first of its kind in the MGM Resorts International culinary portfolio, the market will offer ten venues, with indoor and outdoor seating that overlooks the Potomac River.Among those venues will be Amo Los Tacos, Bahn Mi Vietnamese Kitchen, Honey’s Fried Chicken & Donuts and Zizi’s Pizza.
The something-for-everyone dining concepts are an addition to the resort’s three restaurants by celebrity chefs. José Andrés will oversee his first seafood restaurant, Fish, a concept focused on locally sourced ingredients, Ethiopian-born and Sweden-raised chef Marcus Samuelsson, acclaimed for his New York City hotspots, will be at the helm of Marcus, a restaurant offering comfort food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Adding local flavor to the mix are brothers Bryan and Michael Voltaggio, natives of Frederick, Md., who will run Voltaggio Brothers Steak House, their first restaurant together. The menu will highlight regional specialties.
MGM National Harbor’s newly appointed Executive Chef Jason Johnston played a role in the development of the new food offerings. Johnston joined the MGM National Harbor from Las Vegas where he was executive sous chef at the AAA Five Diamond Bellagio Resort & Casino.
MGM’s 24-story, 308-room resort is part of the National Harbor mixed-use project, located just over the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, which connects Northern Virginia to Prince Georges County.2016-04-25T16:17:00+00:00
Five Virginia companies make Top 50 list for apartment management and ownership
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/five-virginia-companies-make-top-50-list-for-apartment-management-and-owner#When:15:52:00ZThe National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) has named three Virginia-based companies to its 2016 list of the Top 50 multifamily property managers in the country and two other companies to its Top 50 Owner list.
The lists are based on number of units managed or owned.
Coming in at No. 10 was Avalon Bay Communities Inc. based in Arlington, which manages 73,944 units. Kettler Management located at Tysons was No. 44 with 30,828 units under management, and Drucker & Falk in Newport News ranked No. 49 with 28,458 units.
“As a third-party fee manager, we understand that owners have a choice in management firms. We earn our client’s business at every property, every day, and we know resident satisfaction and NOI performance are inextricably linked,” Drucker & Falk President and COO Jim Ledbetter said in a statement announcing the award.
The real estate and investment firm’s apartment portfolio is located in 10 states including Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, Indiana and Missouri.
Avalon Bay also made the NMHC’s Top 50 list of top apartment owners based on portfolio size. Avalon ranked No. 10 with 75,584 apartment units. Southern Management Corp. in Vienna came in at No. 47 with 25,114 units while Harbor Group International in Norfolk was No. 49 with 23,972 units2016-04-25T15:52:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Store_Manager_Jerry_Shelly4.jpg
Wegmans announces Midlothian store’s leadership team
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/wegmans-announces-midlothian-stores-leadership-team#When:15:10:00ZWith less than a month to go before the opening of the Richmond region’s first Wegmans grocery store, the company announced the store’s leadership team on Monday.
The team includes the store manager, executive chef, pharmacy area manager, and three area managers who each supervise several departments. Together, the group will spearhead operations of the store at Stonehenge Village Shopping Center on Midlothian Turnpike in Chesterfield County.
“Each member of this group shares our values and brings a wealth of Wegmans knowledge to Midlothian,” said Heather Gole, human resources manager of the company’s Virginia stores, said in a statement. “We’re still hiring and training for full-time culinary and restaurant positions at Midlothian, such as line cooks and Asian cuisine, as well as various part-time positions throughout the store.”
The Wegmans Midlothian leadership team includes:
Store Manager Jerry Shelly; a longtime employee who most recently managed a Wegmans store near Philadelphia; Executive Chef Craig Haines, who worked in the kitchens of a large hotel chain before joining Wegmans in State College, Pa. in 2002; Pharmacy Area Manager Jeff Mallon, who joined Wegmans in 2006 as a pharmacy technician before becoming a pharmacist; Perishable Area Manager Shawn MacKay, who will oversee product quality, sales, and employee development for the produce, floral, bakery, seafood, meat, cheese and deli departments; Merchandising Area Manager Jeff Blankenship, a store employee since 1986 who will supervise merchandising and sales for a number of departments; and Service Area Manager Laurie Shadders, who started as a cashier in 1987 and worked her way up into management. Shadders also will supervise local community giving.
Wegmans Midlothian is a 115,000-square-foot supermarket that includes a Market Café, with indoor and outdoor seating for more than 250, as well as The Pub, Wegmans’ full-service family restaurant.
Wegmans Food Markets Inc., a family-owned company based in Rochester, N.Y., has 88 stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland and Massachusetts. The company is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2016.
Wegmans has been named one of the “100 Best Companies to Work For” by Fortune magazine for 19 consecutive years, ranking No. 4 in 2016.2016-04-25T15:10:00+00:00
The Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council holds TechNite awards
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/the-roanoke-blacksburg-technology-council-holds-technite-awards#When:01:00:00ZThe Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council (RBTC) held its annual TechNite awards Friday at the Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center.
TechNite is an annual celebration of the Roanoke-Blacksburg region’s technology community. Awards were presented in the following categories:
STEM Educator: Dr. Nancy Boerth (Montgomery County Public Schools); Shawn Burns (Roanoke County Public Schools)
Entrepreneur: Nanci Hardwick, CEO, Aeroprobe Corp., Christiansburg
Innovator: Synthonics Inc., Blacksburg
Regional Leadership: Marty Muscatello: CEO, Foxguard Solutions and Qualtrax; Christiansburg and Blacksburg
Rising Star: Industrial Biodynamics, Blacksburg
Ruby Award: Dr. Robert Sandel, Virginia Western Community College, Roanoke
Award nominees were narrowed down to groups of 10 finalists in each category and then a confidential committee of RBTC members chose award winners. The committee was also charged with naming the nominees for the People’s Choice Award, as well as the nominees and winner of the Ruby Award, which recognizes a brilliant and valuable asset to the Roanoke-Blacksburg region.
The RBTC also inducted a new member into its Technology Hall of Fame during the event: Dr. Joe Meredith, former RBTC President, and current president and CEO of Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center.
The Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council is an association of businesses and organizations in the greater Roanoke - Blacksburg region, working together to promote the growth and success of the region's technology sector. Its membership includes more than 250 organizations.2016-04-23T01:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Clare_Levison.JPG
Making the case for financial literacy: our future business leaders are a crucial demographic
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/making-the-case-for-financial-literacy-our-future-business-leaders-are-a-cr#When:19:39:00ZIn 2009, the Virginia Board of Education (VBOE) unanimously approved a one-credit course in economics and personal finance, as a requirement for graduating from high school. The approval of this long-awaited requirement was a bold move by the VBOE to help ensure the future fiscal responsibility of the commonwealth’s students. The requirement went into effect for the freshman class that began high school in the fall of 2011, meaning that the senior class of 2016 will be the second to graduate under this requirement.
With Gov. Terry McAuliffe issuing his annual proclamation to declare April Financial Literacy Month in Virginia, we’re provided with an excellent opportunity to reflect on the importance of ensuring that our students leave high school with increased exposure to the principles of responsible money management and the encouragement to become financially independent future business leaders.
You’d be hard-pressed to open the newspaper, turn on the evening news or listen to the radio these days without hearing about our country’s financial woes. In total, American consumers owe $733 billion in credit card debt and $1.23 trillion in student loans, and last year over 800,000 Americans filed for bankruptcy. In addition, 60 percent of U.S. adults say they don’t keep close track of their spending, 34 percent say they have no non-retirement savings, and 41 percent give themselves a grade of C, D, or F on their knowledge of personal finance.
As a country, we seem to acknowledge that our teenagers’ understanding of personal finance is also lacking. Research shows that, globally, the United States has one of the worst opinions of its teens’ money management skills, with 70.5 percent of respondents saying that U.S. teens don’t understand basic money management principles. This appears to begin to manifest itself during the college years, when 37 percent of college students say finances are a significant source of stress and 60 percent say they don’t create a budget.
Given all of these statistics, it’s difficult to argue against the need for our students to become part of a more fiscally responsible generation, with the personal finance requirement being one means to assist in achieving that end. However, some lawmakers have made that very argument, citing implementation hurdles, effectiveness uncertainties and fiscal impact.
We all know that schools are already faced with a full plate of requirements, but prioritizing financial education is critical to students’ lifelong financial stability and success and the long-term stability and success of the Virginia economy as well. The process of implementing any new requirement, especially in the early stages, carries some associated burdens with it. However, the burdens of living in a financially uneducated and debt-ridden society will be much higher.
Anything worth doing is worth doing well, and the personal finance requirement is no exception. It’s not enough to provide education. We must provide effective education. However, to continue to wring our hands at the condition of our economy and, yet, do nothing to take real action, would be shortsighted at best and defeatist at worst. We must start somewhere. For those that argue fiscal impact, there is little doubt that our schools are running on very tight budgets, but to say that we don’t have enough money to teach our children about money seems like something straight out of a Dilbert cartoon.
Through initiatives like the economics and personal finance graduation requirement, students are learning fiscal responsibility and money management skills when it matters most — before they are faced with real-world responsibilities like financial aid and college tuition, credit card debt and consumer spending, and owning their first car or home. It seems that even the students themselves recognize this, with 76 percent of teens reporting that the best time to learn about money management is in kindergarten through high school.
Leaders in government, business, nonprofit and academia must be passionate about financial literacy and committed to educational initiatives that increase the financial knowledge and acumen of our youth. They are the future of our state. We must give them the tools to create a sound financial future for both themselves and our economy as a whole.
Clare K. Levison is a CPA and author of “Frugal Isn’t Cheap: Spend Less, Save More, and Live Better.” Clare has appeared on major radio and television networks across the country discussing personal finance and has also been a contributor to publications such as The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and U.S. News & World Report. Clare is a national financial literacy spokesperson for the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and has served as a member of the Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants (VSCPA) Board of Directors. clarelevison.com
Hunton & Williams launches 3D printing team
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hunton-williams-launches-3d-printing-team#When:18:15:00ZHunton & Williams LLP has launched a 3D printing team to advise clients as they utilize the technology, which is being adopted by manufacturers in many industries.
“We are very excited about this new team,” Maya M. Eckstein, head of the firm’s intellectual property practice group and 3D printing team leader, said in a statement. “We are formalizing work we have been doing since the emergence of this transformative manufacturing process, and we are poised to advise on the new legal issues arising in 3D printing in intellectual property, product liability, compliance, regulatory, insurance, tax and other areas.”
The 3D printing team aims to give clients an advantage as they consider the opportunities presented by using 3D printing in their operations.
The team includes Eckstein and four other Virginia-based attorneys: Walter J. Andrews, Brian L. Hager, Rita Davis and Michael S. Levine.
Hunton & Williams serves clients from 19 offices around the world, including locations in Norfolk, Richmond and McLean.2016-04-22T18:15:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/RRS_BristolTN_Exterior1.jpg
Rack Room Shoes opens new store in The Pinnacle Shopping Center
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/rack-room-shoes-opens-new-store-in-the-pinnacle-shopping-center#When:21:07:00ZFootwear retailer Rack Room Shoes celebrated its opening in a new location Thursday at The Pinnacle shopping center in Bristol, Tenn.
Previously located in the Bristol Mall, the new store offers more space and a larger collection of shoes. The store is 6,500 square feet, 1,500 feet more than in its old location.
Store officials say The Pinnacle, located off Interstate 81, offers a more accessible location on the northern side of the Tri-Cities area, which serves the regions surrounding Bristol, Va., Bristol, Tenn., and Johnson City and Kingsport, Tenn.
In addition to the physical store improvements, Rack Room Shoes said it plans various fundraisers and charitable giving campaigns for customers.
Every year, the retailer partners with Shoes That Fit, a grassroots non-profit organization that provides shoes to at-risk students, identified through local school liaisons.
Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Rack Room Shoes offers brands for men, women and children in comfort, dress, casual and athletic categories.2016-04-21T21:07:00+00:00
Virginia’s residential real estate market sees growth in first quarter
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginias-residential-real-estate-market-sees-growth-in-first-quarter#When:21:03:00ZHousings are selling faster and for more money in Virginia. That’s one of the encouraging nuggets in in the “First Quarter 2016 Home Sales Report” released Thursday by the Virginia Association of Realtors, a statewide trade organization representing 31,000 Realtors.
Both the number of sales and the value of transactions rose from the first quarter of 2015, totaling 20,771 units and $6.34 billion, respectively. The value of transactions for the first quarter was 2.2 percent higher than the first quarter of last year, and nearly 15 percent higher than the first quarter of 2014.
Virginia’s low unemployment rate and continuing low mortgages interest rates are encouraging homes sales, VAR noted in its report.
“Performing ahead of the national rate, Virginia’s unemployment rate has continued to decline, reaching its lowest point since 2008. The March drop to 4 percent unemployment supports consumer confidence. Both 30-year and 15-year fixed mortgage interest rates remain at historic lows, on par with last year’s first quarter rates. Sustained low rates continue to make borrowing accessible,” the report says.
Annualized residential sales, a rolling sum of the home sales closed in the preceding twelve months, rose for the sixth consecutive period, from 108,827 units in the last quarter to 109,185. First-quarter 2016 sales were 8.7 percent higher than the same benchmark last year, reflecting a strong start to the first months of this year and the swell in last year’s summer volume.
The growth trend in annualized sales indicates long-term sustained strengthening of the residential real estate market. Sales rose from $6.21 billion in the first quarter of 2015 to $6.34 billion in 2016. The growth in overall transactional value for the comparable time periods between 2015 and 2016 is due to both continual increases in the volume of sales and steadily rising median price.
The aggregate median sales price for the first quarter was $249,000, up 1.9 percent from the first quarter of 2015. According to the VAR, 2016 had the highest first-quarter median price since 2008.
Year-over-year median sales price increased in all regions, with the exception of a slight decrease decline (0.7 percent) in the Roanoke/Lynchburg/Blacksburg region and a decline in the Southwest region that was more pronounced because of limited inventory.
Compared to the first quarter of last year, 2016 first-quarter home sales increased in all nearly all price categories, with the most significant increases in sales in the price ranges from $200,000 to $300,000 and $400,000 to $500,000.
The report said sales across broad price categories suggest higher consumer confidence as buyers enter the market at varied price points, supporting overall market improvement.
The average number of days on the market has dropped from 2014 and 2015 benchmarks. Reflecting industry seasonality, days on the market are higher in the first quarter than other periods, but decline steadily through warmer months. Relative to last year’s first quarter, the number of days on the market decreased by 6.4 percent from 89 days to 83.2016-04-21T21:03:00+00:00
Armada Hoffler Properties Inc. to invest $42 million in mixed-use project
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/armada-hoffler-properties-inc.-to-invest-42-million-in-annapolis-mixed-use#When:20:15:00ZVirginia Beach-based Armada Hoffler Properties Inc. said Thursday it is investing $42 million in The Residences at Annapolis Junction Town Center in Howard County, Md.
The mixed-use, 18-acre development will include 416 apartments; 17,000 square feet of retail space; a 150-room hotel and 100,000 square feet of office space.
“We are thrilled to be investing in yet another high barrier to entry asset that allows us to maintain our traditional wholesale to retail spread while further diversifying into one of our target markets,” Armada Hoffler's CEO, Louis Haddad, said in a statement.
The project is scheduled to break ground in the second quarter of 2016 and be completed in the first quarter of 2018.
Annapolis Junction Town Center is located between Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, and about two miles from Fort Meade, Maryland's largest employer.
Armada Hoffler said it has entered into the following agreements with the project's developer:
Mezzanine financing of $42 million at an annual interest rate of 10% provided by the company, which, when combined with the proceeds from a senior construction loan and the developer’s equity, will complete the developer’s capital stack;
A $68 million guaranteed maximum price construction contract as general contractor to build The Residences at Annapolis Junction Town Center; and
A purchase option to acquire an 88% interest in the project at the developer’s cost basis, upon completion of construction.2016-04-21T20:15:00+00:00
Bristol Development Group plans apartment project in Goochland County
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/bristol-development-group-plans-apartment-project-in-goochland-county#When:18:53:00ZBristol Development Group has purchased 22 acres in the West Creek Business Park in Goochland County and plans to build a 373-unit luxury apartment community.
If all goes as planned, this would be another major project for the Nashville-based company, which has been developing in the Richmond market since the 1990s.
According to Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer, which brokered the land sale, the Goochland site is located at the interchange of Route 288 and West Creek Parkway. It is close to Hardywood Park Craft Brewery’s planned development, the Capital One Financial Corp. operations complex and CarMax headquarters.
The partnership that owns West Creek, RGBD LLC and PBD LLC, were the sellers in the transaction. The price of the land was not disclosed. Thalhimer’s David Smith handled sale negotiations on behalf of Bristol Development. According to Smith, Bristol Development was interested in the land, even before Hardywood, a popular Richmond brewery, decided to expand to Goochland. "It's a beautiful site. It sits high and on top of 288 so there's visibility from 288. They liked the proximity to the major employers and the Patterson Avenue corridor," Smith said.
Bristol Development Group plans to begin development later this summer on what would be known as Bristol at West Creek.
Currently, the company is partnering with Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond on a $50 million project that would put 300 apartments on 15 acres that the seminary owns off Brook Road. That project, scheduled for completion in 2017, would help replace the seminary’s outdated student housing and increase the new apartment product in North Richmond.
According to its website, Bristol Development focuses on developing urban infill locations in second-tier cities. Its development portfolio spans the Southeast, Southwest and Mid-Atlantic regions in cities with job growth and population.2016-04-21T18:53:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/2016DITop50Logo1_webready.jpg
Two Virginia companies named among Top 50 Companies for Diversity
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/two-virginia-companies-named-among-top-50-companies-for-diversity#When:20:05:00ZDiversityInc magazine has released its 2016 list of Top 50 Companies for Diversity, which includes two Northern Virginia-based companies.
Falls Church-based Northrop Grumman and McLean-based Hilton Worldwide ranked Nos. 31 and 42, respectively, on the list.
The top company on DiversityInc.’s ranking was Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente.
The ranking is based on a survey, which 1,800 companies participated in this year. The list criteria includes four areas of diversity management: talent pipeline, equitable talent development, leadership commitment and supplier diversity.
Northrop Grumman was highlighted for having 31 percent more blacks, Asians and Latinos in senior management than U.S. companies overall. The defense contractor also had 62 percent more women in senior management than U.S. companies overall.
Hospitality company Hilton was noted for its Latinos in total management (double the Top 10 average) and executive diversity council, which is chaired by president and CEO Chris Nassetta.2016-04-20T20:05:00+00:00
State issued citations against Goodyear plant in Danville in February
Virginia’s Department of Labor and Industry (DOL) has issued three citations and recommended a fine of nearly $17,000 for violations it deemed serious at the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. in Danville after the death of an employee at the plant last summer.
Jeanie Strader, 56, an employee of 15 years, died in an accident on Aug. 31. Since then, two other plant employees have died on the job, and a third suffered second-degree burns in an accident on Saturday.
Virginia’s Occupational Safety and Health Compliance program (VOSH) issued the citations on Feb. 25. The program is administered through the DOL, which has jurisdiction over workplace safety laws in Virginia. In one instance, VOSH cited Goodyear for violating a safety standard over the guarding of floor and wall openings and holes, for which it recommended a penalty of $2,975.
According to public records, the other two citations involved the control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout), for which it recommended two penalties of $7,000 each. This safety standard covers the servicing and maintenance of machines and equipment in which an unexpected start up, or release of stored energy, could harm employees. The citations, which were all classified as “serious,” are listed at the U.S. Department of Labor website, which compiles state data.
According to Jennifer Rose, safety director for VOSH, Goodyear is contesting the citations, so the case remains open. The record shows that the company contested the citations on March 16, about two weeks before a second worker, 54-year-old Kevin Edmonds, died in an accident during his work shift.
A third fatality occurred on April 12 when Greg Cooper, 52, an 18-year-employee, died at the plant. After that incident, Goodyear closed its Danville plant for several days to cooperate with a state investigation. “We’re looking into the injury that occurred Saturday as part of the investigation, which is ongoing,” said Rose.
Local news outlets in Danville have reported that a pipefitter for Goodyear suffered second-degree burns on Saturday after being scalded by steam, or a mixture of steam and hot liquid. He reportedly was Initially treated at the plant’s onsite hospital and by local medical providers, before eventually being sent to a regional burn center.
Laura Singleton, communications manager for Goodyear in Danville, said that at this time the company had no comment on the VOSH citations. "Goodyear is commited to providing a safe work environment for our associates," Goodyear said in a statement to Virginia Business.
At its corporate website, Goodyear says it received notification of 12 safety and environmental violations in 2014, which incurred $119,480 in fines. Akron, Ohio-based Goodyear is the world’s largest tire company, with plants in 11 states and six continents. The company has annual revenue of more than $15 billion.
Also involved is the investigation is North Carolina-based Local 831 of the United Steelworkers Union. It is the local union representing Goodyear employees at the Danville plant. Virginia Business called the union office for comment but was unable to reach anyone.
Goodyear is Danville’s largest employer with about 2,117 workers.
Asked how long the investigation might take into the other worker fatalities, Rose said VOSH has six months from the time it opens an investigation to issue a report with any citations. It does not have the authority to close plants, she said.2016-04-20T19:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Jonathan_Greenert_6586_4x6_HiRes.jpg
BAE Systems Inc. adds member to board of directors
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/bae-systems-inc.-adds-member-to-board-of-directors#When:20:45:00ZArlington-based BAE Systems Inc. said Tuesday it has added retired Navy Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert to its board of directors. He will serve a three-year term.
Before his retirement in October, Greenert served a combined six years as the chief of naval operations (CNO) and vice chief of naval operations, the two most senior military positions in the Navy.
As CNO, he served as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He advised the president and the secretary of defense on a range of matters, including U.S. and global maritime security, overall naval operations and budget, and the positioning of Navy bases, ships and aircraft.
Previously, he was in charge of four Navy fleet commands and commanded the nuclear-powered submarine USS Honolulu.
BAE Systems is the U.S. subsidiary of BAE Systems plc, an international defense, aerospace and security company.2016-04-19T20:45:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Untitled.png
Real estate group names Gateway Plaza Project of the Year
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/real-estate-group-names-gateway-plaza-project-of-the-year#When:20:15:00ZRichmond’s newest skyscraper, Gateway Plaza, was named Project of the Year for 2016 during an annual awards event Tuesday evening sponsored by the Greater Richmond Association for Commercial Real Estate (GRACRE).
The winning transaction at the event was the renewal of a lease for a headquarters site for Hamilton Beach at the Innsbrook Corporate Center in Henrico County.
Nearly 300 people from the region’s commercial real estate community gathered for the 15th annual recognition of the region’s top projects and transactions at the Country Club of Virginia. This year’s awards came from a field of more than 60 nominations -- a good sign, officials said, that the market is back.
"The market is very strong. We've had a lot of good properties built in the last year," said Frank Martino, GRACRE president and director of the Central Virginia office of L. F. Jennings, a general contractor. In fact, GRACRE added some new categories this year to accommodate for an influx of new projects. "We had to add categories the spectrum was so broad," said Jane DuFrane, director of leasing for Highwoods Properties and a co-emcee for the event with John Mercer, an attorney who specializes in real estate law for Williams Mullen.
Gateway Plaza, Richmond’s first new downtown Richmond office tower in two decades, opened last September amid great fanfare while the city was hosting an international bike race. The developer/owner is Chicago-based Clayco Realty Group. The glass and aluminum skyscraper replaced a surface parking lot at 800 East Canal Street.
The $124 million, 315,000-square-foot tower is home to law firm McGuireWoods LLP and its public relations arm, McGuire Woods Consulting LLC. The law firm leases 230,000 square feet on eight floors and serves as the building’s anchor tenant.
Other tenants include TowneBank, which will open a branch on the ground floor and will lease additional office space on other floors for its regional headquarters.
The building has a dramatic foyer with massive murals of the James River rapids along with other modern features, including coffee bars and white boards.
The broker for the project was Colliers International; the architect, Forum Studio; the lender; New York-based Lexington Realty.
Other winning projects were:
Mixed Use: The Landmark at 1700 in Richmond, a rehab project of 19,500 square feet with 22 apartments. The owner/developer is 1700 Main LLC.
Multifamily Adaptive Reuse: The Preserve at Scott’s Addition. This was a $33 million renovation of a 44-acre site that was the former home of a Coca Cola bottling factory. Owner/developer Spy Rock Real Estate transformed the site into 124 new apartments and 70 redeveloped apartments.
Transformational Impact: Libbie Mill Library, a Henrico County branch that opened as part of an 80-acre, mixed-use project off Staples Mill Road.
Hospitality: Quirk Hotel, a new 75-room, six-story boutique hotel in Richmond’s downtown arts district. The owner/developer is Ted and Katie Ukrop while W. M. Jordan served as the general contractor and 3north as the architect.
Best Historic Renovation: Powers-Taylor Building, office, Shockoe Slip, downtown Richmond. The owner/developer is 13 South 13th Street LLC, and Fultz Architects served as the architect and interior designer.
The transaction of the year award was a lease renewal for the Hamilton Beach headquarters at Innsbrook Corporate Center. The deal included a retrofit of two buildings to meet the needs of a millennial workforce. Highwoods Properties Inc. was the seller/landlord broker, and JLL was the buyer /tenant broker in a lease valued at $25.7 million that kept the headquarters site on Waterfront Drive.
Other winning transactions included:
Urban Pioneer Transaction: Manchester Town Center. Alleghany Warehouse Co. Inc. sold a 12.8-acre parcel in Manchester for $3.7 million to a local developer who plans to develop the land on Semmes Ave. into a mixed-use project. CBRE|Richmond and Cushman Wakefield | Thalhimer brokered the deal.
Land Sale Transaction: Stone Brewing Co. JLL served as the buyer/tenant broker and Jane Ferrara, with the city of Richmond, was the seller/landlord broker in a deal for Richmond’s Economic Development Authority that helped convince California-based Stone Brewing to open a 215,000-square-foot East Coast brewery on a site in Fulton Bottom. The city’s economic development authority is issuing bonds for the construction of the brewery facility, now under construction, and will lease it to Stone.
A full list of the awards can be found at the GRACRE Website at http://www.gracre.org.2016-04-19T20:15:00+00:00
University of Richmond installs solar array
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/university-of-richmond-installs-solar-array#When:19:45:00ZThe University of Richmond unveiled Tuesday a solar-array project that should create enough electricity to power a dorm.
The 205-kilowatt photovoltaic solar array includes 749 panels covering 22,000 square feet of the rooftop of UR’s Weinstein Center for Recreation and Wellness.
Some of the panels are “bifacial,” allowing them to collect direct solar energy and ambient energy from the back. Secure Futures says this is the first commercial application in the U.S. of these types of solar panels, which can generate 25 percent more electricity.
The installation is being done under a solar power purchase agreement (PPA), which was created by the Virginia legislature in 2013 to allow customers within Dominion Virginia Power’s territory to purchase renewable energy from a third party.
Secure Futures will sell the electricity generated by the array to the university at a set rate over a 20-year period.2016-04-19T19:45:00+00:00
For Virginia brewers, self-distribution is on tap
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/for-virginia-brewers-self-distribution-is-on-tap#When:14:14:00ZThere’s major competition brewing in the craft beer market.
Back in October, Anheuser-Busch InBev acquired SAB Miller for $104 billion, creating a megabrewer that’s set to control around one-third of the world’s beer market. The merger is driving up competition across the industry – especially for craft breweries, which today represent 19.3 percent of the industry.
Craft beer’s surging popularity — and its value to the overall market — hasn’t been lost on AB InBev. Two months after announcing the merger, the beer giant added three craft brewers to the four it already owned. (On April 12, it announced plans to acquire Nelson County-based Devils Backbone Brewing Co.) With AB InBev making inroads in craft brewing, competition within the sector is set to reach new heights.
To keep pace in a rapidly growing and highly competitive market, some craft brewers are turning to self-distribution models. But self-distribution presents significant challenges for small brewers, especially when it comes to business vehicle management. Craft brewers need to adopt a strategic approach to self-distribution in order to remain competitive – particularly in Virginia, where the craft beer industry is already rife with competition.
Competitive craft market fuels push for self-distribution
In Virginia, the pressure on craft brewers to evolve their business models doesn’t just stem from industry giants like AB InBev; it also comes from other local brewers. Over the past few years the state’s craft beer market has nearly tripled in size, growing from 48 craft breweries in 2012 to 135 as of November.
This significant industry growth is largely due to the 2012 passage of a Virginia state senate bill that allowed breweries to sell beer for on-premise consumption. Before that, only brewpubs had on-premise selling options, while breweries could just give out samples or sell beer to-go. The legislation also eased the requirements for earning a brewery license. Microbrewers’ ability to sell beer on-site increased their status as a customer destination, while the relaxed license requirements opened up the market to more startups. It was a recipe for a flourishing and competitive industry.
Then, last October, AB InBev merged with SAB Miller, and the beer monolith soon began growing its craft beer portfolio. It also rolled out a plan that incentivized distribution of the company’s brands. In Virginia, AB InBev’s craft deals and distribution incentives have added another layer of difficulty to an already highly competitive marketplace. With AB InBev increasing its pull with distributors, some Virginia craft brewers are looking beyond wholesale contracts to self-distribution. But that comes with hurdles that require a strategic approach.
The recipe for successful self-distribution
Virginia microbrewers that adopt a self-distribution model can reap significant benefits, including closer relationships with retailers; broader direct market access (Virginia law allows self-distributing breweries to sell outside of the state); faster time-to-market; and better product quality and brand image control. These advantages can give craft brewers the competitive edge in a crowded industry. However, not all brewers considering self-distribution have a strategy to manage adoption. Here are some of the key challenges associated with self-distribution – as well as possible solutions:
● Challenge: Establishing a fleet. One of the main reasons small brewers rely on third-party distributors is because of the risks and costs associated with establishing a business vehicle fleet. First, the average fleet vehicle will have to be replaced every five years – a frequent and significant expenditure for small businesses. Second, fleet vehicles create scalability hurdles for companies, particularly those with seasonally-dependent vehicle needs. Employee turnover – which is statistically high in field positions – also presents a concern. For companies with a large vehicle fleet, high personnel turnover creates issues with vehicle provisioning and deprovisioning. And often, fleet vehicles will end up either out of use or even completely unaccounted for.
Liability issues are also a significant concern. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 64.5 percent of vehicle fatalities don’t happen during average business hours. However, businesses are liable for all accidents that take place in fleet vehicles. This means that any accident involving an employee in a company car (regardless of whether the employee is using the vehicle for business or personal use) is the business’ responsibility. This liability risk is the biggest and potentially most expensive challenge that companies with fleets face.
Solution: When possible, have employees use their own vehicles. There are situations where it may not be feasible for employees to use their own vehicles – for example, if large kegs need to be transported. Most of the time, however, a personal vehicle approach is a viable and low-risk alternative to a fleet. In addition to eliminating vehicle replacement expenditures, turnover-related costs, and scalability concerns, employee vehicle programs shift most of the incident liability to drivers. However, in order to have a successful employee vehicle strategy, businesses need to take a fair and accurate approach to reimbursement.
● Challenge: Managing employee vehicle reimbursement. Mileage reimbursement costs are often an organization’s number one distribution-related expense. Within the food and beverage industry, there’s not a uniform approach to handling this. Some organizations use a flat-fee approach (i.e. giving employees a set monthly allowance to cover gas and wear-and-tear), while others use a cents-per-mile program based on the IRS Safe Harbor or a customized per-mile rate. But a flat-fee approach creates an employer payroll tax liability, while a cents-per-mile program is best suited for shorter distance drivers, and both options lead to reimbursement inequities.
Solution: Fixed and variable rate reimbursement programs. FAVR allows employees who drive their own vehicles to be reimbursed tax-free for expenses that are both fixed and variable. Not only is this the most equitable reimbursement method for business drivers, it’s also the biggest cost saver for companies; the typical organization relying on a FAVR program can yield savings of up to $2,000 per driver.
One key advantage of the FAVR model is that it provides geographically sensitive reimbursements. This is particularly beneficial for Virginia, since the state’s vehicle insurance and gas costs are relatively low compared to other regions. In terms of vehicle insurance, the average annual insurance rate for a midsize domestic sedan is $1,342 in Richmond, Virginia. This is low compared to other cities like Chicago ($2,067, 54 percent higher) and Boston ($2,406, 79 percent higher). And as of February 2, Virginia’s average gas price was $1.657, below the national average of $1.790. Virginia has maintained comparable gas cost efficiency compared to the national average for the past year.
● Challenge: Managing expenses for traveling employees. For a traveling workforce, there are other expenses beyond fuel costs. From dining expenses – which average roughly $84 a day in Richmond, for instance – to meetings between company sales and prospects, there are a host of on-the-road costs that self-distributing brewers need to account for. Without a robust approach to expenses, organizations will end up sacrificing time and money to disorganized, overly complex legacy processes.
Solution: Implement expense management solutions. Expense management software simplifies travel reimbursement, reduces processing time, and provides businesses timely spend visibility stats that can help them budget better. Expense solutions are particularly critical for smaller brewery operations, many of which won’t have a dedicated team in place to process reimbursements.
In Virginia, the booming craft market and the expansion of AB InBev should lead brewers to consider the benefits of strategic self-distribution. By implementing an employee vehicle program, managing travel expenses with FAVR, and deploying expense management solutions, Virginia craft brewers can maximize their self-distribution potential and retain a competitive edge in a crowded industry.
Donna Koppensteiner is senior vice president of business development at Runzheimer, a business vehicle, relocation information and expense management services provider located in Waterford, Wisconsin..2016-04-19T14:14:00+00:00
Former congressman joins Virginia Tech
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/former-congressman-joins-virginia-tech#When:21:23:00ZFormer U.S. Rep. Jim Moran has been named a professor of practice in the School of Public and International Affairs in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies at Virginia Tech.
Moran, who represented Virginia’s 8th District from 1991 to 2015, will serve as guest lecturer in various programs at the school.
He will be located at the Old Town Alexandria campus in the National Capital Region.
Moran will work with the school to convene high-profile roundtable events and conferences.
For example, Moran will moderate, “Drones in America: Regulating Unmanned Aircraft Systems,” on May 19 at the Russell Senate Office Building. Senator Mark Warner will give opening remarks.2016-04-18T21:23:00+00:00
Airbus Americas to consolidate operations at Ashburn site
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/airbus-americas-to-consolidate-operations-at-ashburn-site#When:21:20:00ZAirbus Americas has picked its Ashburn facility as the site for a newly consolidated operations with Satair Group, an Airbus subsidiary.
The Loudoun County Department of Economic Development announced Monday that Airbus will invest $1 million in the Ashburn material distribution center and will add employees to the current workforce.
“The Airbus Americas and Satair Group facility will now be the company’s biggest material distribution center by customer volume, which speaks to Loudoun County and Dulles Airport as hubs for aviation and logistics support,” said Buddy Rizer, the department's executive director.
Airbus said more than 2,800 of its aircraft have been ordered in the Americas, including Latin America and the Caribbean as well as North America. The Ashburn site supports customers beyond those borders, servicing aircraft fleet across the globe.
The material distribution center, which operates 24 hours a day, gives rapid-response service to airlines throughout the world.
On May 3, the Loudoun County Department of Economic Development will request a $200,000 commercial business incentive fund grant in the form of fee waivers and cash from the Board of Supervisors to finalize the deal.
The funds will be used to train and retain the staff necessary for the consolidated operations. The department’s analysis shows that the return on investment will be realized within three years. This would be the first commercial business incentive authorized by the board this fiscal year.
Loudoun competed with other East Coast locations for the project, the department said.2016-04-18T21:20:00+00:00
Woodgrain Millwork expanding in Smyth County
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/woodgrain-millwork-expanding-in-smyth-county#When:18:52:00ZWoodgrain Millwork announced Monday it will invest $1.86 million to expand its door and window component manufacturing facility in Smyth County. The expansion is expected to create 17 jobs.
Idaho-based Woodgrain Millwork is one of the largest millwork operations in the world. It has been operating for over 60 years.
The company will invest in site improvements and equipment needed to build an 18,000-square-foot addition to its Marion mill. It also has committed to purchase more than $4.6 million of Virginia lumber over the next three years, or 78 percent of the forestry inputs needed for the new production venture.
Woodgrain Millwork’s primary products will be exterior door frames, brick mouldings and doorjambs.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe approved a $100,000 grant from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund for the project, which Smyth County is matching with local funds.
The company also has been awarded a grant from the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission.
Funding and services to support the company’s employee training activities will also be provided through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program.2016-04-18T18:52:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Chris_Accashian_Head_Shot.jpgChristopher Accashian
Bon Secours names new CEO at St. Francis Medical Center
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/bon-secours-names-new-ceo-at-st.-francis-medical-center#When:16:11:00ZBon Secours Richmond Health System has named Christopher Accashian CEO of St. Francis Medical Center in Midlothian.
The appointment is effective on April 25.
Before his appointment at St. Francis, Accashian was CEO of Parkland Medical Center in Derry, N.H., which is part of the Hospital Corporation of America (HCA).
Accashian replaces Mark M. Gordon who was promoted to CEO of Bon Secours Richmond East, which consists of Memorial Regional Medical Center in Hanover County, Richmond Community Hospital in Richmond and Rappahannock General Hospital in the Northern Neck.
St. Francis is a 130-bed acute-care hospital that opened 10 years ago. The hospital discharged nearly 9,500 patients last year.
The St. Francis appointment represents a homecoming for Accashian, who grew up in the Richmond area and graduated from Clover Hill High School in Chesterfield County. He received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia and a master’s in health administration from Virginia Commonwealth University.
Before becoming CEO at Parkland, Accashian was chief operating officer at Retreat Doctors’ Hospital in Richmond and associate administrator at Henrico Doctors’ Hospital Henrico County. Both are part of HCA of Virginia’s Capital Division. Accashian also served as director of planning at HCA’s corporate office in Nashville, Tenn.
As a graduate student at VCU, Accashian worked on the state Certificate of Public Need that allowed the construction of St. Francis.
Bon Secours Richmond, which is part of Bon Secours Virginia, includes five hospitals in the Richmond area and the Northern Neck. Bon Secours Hampton Roads has three hospitals.2016-04-18T16:11:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Libbie-Mill-Midtown-Office-Retail.jpg
What’s next for Southern Season space at Libbie Mill?
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/whats-next-for-southern-season-space-at-libbie-mill#When:15:50:00ZWhat happens when an anchor tenant leaves a major development? The result doesn’t have to be gloom and doom, but the departure of a key tenant does raise challenges, say people in the real estate industry.
Last week’s sudden announcement by gourmet grocer Southern Season that it will close its store in the still-developing Libbie Mill mixed-use development in Henrico County has real estate brokers speculating on what tenant might take the 53,000-square-foot space, which also housed the Southerly restaurant.
“They’re still developing the center, so it gives them a lot of flexibility in filling that space, and they could find someone that would bring the same creative energy as Southern Season,” said Susan Jones, a senior vice president and retail team leader for Colliers in Richmond. “The challenge is that they were using the anchor tenant as a draw, and they don’t have that.”
Jones thinks another grocer might come along. “I think it will be a unique grocery concept, not your typical Kroger, Martins or Publix. It would be along the lines of an Earth Fare, a small organic specialty grocery, or a Fresh Market — something with a smaller footprint. “
In commenting on the store’s closing after less than two years at Libbie Mill, Southern Season President Dave Herman said last week that the space was too large and expensive to keep open in the face of lower-than-expected sales. Southern Season already closed its restaurant and will close the store on April 24.
Another grocer would be a convenient amenity for the office and residential going in at Libbie Mill, said Jones. However, she added, there’s growing competition nearby from other grocery chains. “You ‘ve got a Whole Foods going into Scotts Addition and an Aldi going in on the Boulevard.”
A new player, and one that’s expected to shake up Richmond’s grocery market, is coming in May, when Wegmans opens the first of two stores planned for the Richmond area. The Midlothian store opens on May 22, and the second store in Short Pump is scheduled to open on Aug. 7.
With restaurant space in Richmond in high demand, because of the city’s rising national profile as a city for food lovers, Jones doesn’t think the restaurant space at Libbie Mill will be hard to lease. “There’s a high demand for already-in-place restaurant space. If you have that space available, you’re golden right now. It’s a nicely built out restaurant,” she added, referring to Southerly’s space, “with a nice outdoor patio. That would take care of some of the square footage of the 53,000 that they have.”
Real estate analyst Sean Barrie with New York-based Trepp LLC agrees that another grocer is a likely option "or some sort of gourmet market. There are plenty of new food options." Plus, a new development with good demographics is typically a draw. "As long as it's made known that this is more of a tenant issue than a building issue, I don't think there would be a problem," in releasing the space, he said.
Developer Gumenick Properties, whose headquarters is based at Libbie Mill, had no comment on future prospects for the Southern Season space. The company said in a statement last week that it was “disappointed” with Southern Season’s decision to close. It reaffirmed its commitment to build out the community, and said it would move to “the resolution of legal issues related to the store.”
The Greater Richmond Association named Libbie Mill the 2015 Project of the Year in 2015 for Commercial Real Estate. Already open on the 80-acre site, just off Staples Mill Road, is a new Henrico County branch library. It overlooks a manmade lake, which has an outdoors space for public gatherings. Rutherfoord, an insurance brokerage firm, plans to open an office at Libbie Mill in mid-May. Also coming soon is a new restaurant by chef Walter Bundy that occupy nearly 6,000 square feet.
Located close in to downtown Richmond, the community is envisioned as a place where people can live, work and play. Gumenick plans 100,000 square feet of retail, 60,000 square feet of office and about 2,000 apartments and homes. It has just begun home sales and reportedly has some contracts in hand. Construction is scheduled to begin soon on a mixed-use building with 327 apartments and 40,000-square feet of retail.
When a tenant breaks a lease, what happens next depends on the terms of the lease. Barrie said some leases cover early termination or include an opt-out clause. “If they’re looking to get out before the lease expires, they have to have some sort of clause, or they will have to keep paying the rent. They may not have to pay the full amount — it depends on how the lease is crafted,” he said.
Even with an early termination clause, Jones said a tenant could still be on the hook for penalties for unamortized tenant improvement allowances or leasing commissions. Without an opt-out clause, typically tenants “are on the hook for rent for however long the lease is. They’re at the mercy of what the landlord or the leasing agents can do to get the space filled quickly.”2016-04-18T15:50:00+00:00
Rents are rising for buildings close to Wiehle Avenue Metro Station
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/rents-are-rising-for-buildings-close-to-wiehle-avenue-metro-station#When:15:47:00ZThe 2014 opening of the Silver Line has helped push asking rents upwards for buildings located near the Wiehle Avenue Metro station in Fairfax County.
According to JLL, average rents have increased 23.6 percent since 2011 for all properties located within a quarter mile of
the station, and they increased 22.4 percent in 2015 for buildings in the Commerce Metro Center complex, located immediately south of the station.
The station is near Northern Virginia Community College, Marymount University Reston Center, Reston Town Center via the Washington and Old Dominion Trail and Plaza America shopping and offices.
JLL predicts that average asking rents in the micro market will increase even more once 1900 Reston Metro Plaza delivers in 2017. The 368,413-square-foot building is likely to eclipse the $50-per-square-foot threshold, a figure JLL says has not yet been reached outsideReston Town Center.2016-04-18T15:47:00+00:00
Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer reports on first quarter
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/cushman-wakefield-thalhimer-reports-on-first-quarter#When:15:20:00ZCushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer reports that the firm’s eight Virginia and South Carolina offices completed 354 lease transactions totaling more than 2.8 million square feet with a transactional value of $209.3 million during the first quarter of 2016.
Industrial building transactions of more than 1.1 million square feet accounted for the largest amount of space leased. Office and retail leases were over 670,000 square feet and 648,000 square feet respectively.
In addition, Thalhimer, which has its headquarters in the Richmond region, reported 70 sale transactions in the first quarter totaling more than $170.8 million in sales volume. The sales included industrial, office and retail buildings, as well as land transactions. Overall, year-to-date volume exceeds $380 million, compared to the same time in 2015.
Private equity firm to buy Cvent for $1.65 billion
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/private-equity-firm-to-buy-cvent-for-1.65-billion#When:14:33:00ZEvent management company Cvent announced Monday it had entered into an agreement to be bought by affiliates of Vista Equity Partners.
Vista will acquire Cvent for $1.65 billion in an all-cash deal. Under the agreement, Cvent stockholders would receive $36 per share, representing a 69 percent premium over Cvent’s closing price on April 15.
Cvent’s headquarters would remain in Tysons.
“With Vista’s financial strength to invest in Cvent now and in the future, we will be better positioned to deliver innovative solutions that transform the meetings and events industry, and to offer employees new opportunities for career growth,” Reggie Aggarwal, founder and CEO of Cvent, said in a statement.
Cvent’s board of directors approved the deal, which is subject to regulatory and shareholder approvals.
The transaction is expected to take place in the third quarter.
Morgan Stanley served as financial adviser to Cvent, and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati served as legal adviser. Kirkland & Ellis LLP is Vista’s legal adviser.
Cvent was founded in 1999 and went public in 2013.
“This is not only a big day for Cvent and its team, but it is also a noteworthy day for Fairfax County,” Gerald L. Gordon, president and CEO of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, said in a statement. “The deal is a testament to the strength of the county – and Tysons Corner – as a business location with the kinds of assets a technology company needs to attract talent and succeed. And by keeping its headquarters here, the company continues its investment in Fairfax County and helps the county provide high-quality services to residents.”2016-04-18T14:33:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/355829.jpg
National Credit Union Administration’s chief of staff to join PenFed
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/national-credit-union-administrations-chief-of-staff-to-join-penfed#When:19:11:00ZThe chief of staff of the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) will soon join Alexandria-based PenFed Credit Union.
PenFed Credit Union President and CEO James Schenck announced Friday that Steve Bosack will join PenFed as his special adviser, effective May 23.
Bosack spent nine years at NCUA, which included helping the agency rebuild the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund covering 103 million members.
Between his two terms at NCUA, Bosack served four years as deputy director of the National Credit Union Foundation in Washington. That role included raising millions of dollars in aid for credit union employees and members who lost their homes to Hurricane Katrina and other natural disasters.
Bosack's communications career began in 1990 with the launch of the Credit Union Times, where he served three years as associate editor, and the next decade as vice president of public relations and information services for the Credit Union National Association.
PenFed has $20 billion in assets and serves 1.4 million members worldwide. On May 1, it plans to merge with Woodbridge-based Belvoir Federal, which has $320 million in assets and more than 26,000 members. Once the merger is complete, the credit unions will conduct business as PenFed. 2016-04-15T19:11:00+00:00
Virginia jobless rate falls to 4 percent
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-jobless-rate-falls-to-4-percent#When:17:34:00ZVirginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dipped one-tenth of a percentage point in March to 4 percent.
Virginia Employment Commission reported Friday that the jobless rate is the lowest seen in commonwealth since June 2008, when it was 3.9 percent.
In the past year, the unemployment rate has declined seven-tenths of a percentage point.
The seasonally adjusted rate takes into account seasonal fluctuations in the labor market.
Virginia’s nonfarm employment rose in March by 4,900 jobs to a total of 3.92 million. The increase follows a gain of 14,800 jobs in February. That total was revised upward by 2,000 jobs after the VEC’s initial report last month.
The private sector provided 3.2 million jobs in March while the public sector offered 713,000 positions.
Five major industry divisions saw increased employment during March while the number of jobs fell in six other fields.
The biggest gain occurred in trade and transportation, which gained 7,100 jobs to 675,300. The biggest decrease occurred in professional and business services, down 4,300 jobs to 717,800. That sector had previously seen job gains for eight months.
Among Virginia’s metro areas, Hampton Roads had the biggest increase in jobs from February to March, 4,600, followed by Northern Virginia with a gain of 3,700.2016-04-15T17:34:00+00:00
New Carilion Wellness facility coming to Smith Mountain Lake
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/new-carilion-wellness-facility-coming-to-smith-mountain-lake#When:21:14:00ZCarilion Clinic, based in Roanoke, plans to operate a new Carilion Wellness facility at Smith Mountain Lake Retirement Village, a subsidiary of Runk & Pratt Senior Living Communities.
According to Carilion, which will lease its building from Runk & Pratt, the new 18,000-square-foot facility will cater to the needs of the 50-and-older population, filling a gap in wellness services in the community.
“For quite some time Carilion has been researching a concept that would focus on programs specifically designed for the 50-plus market,” Bud Grey, vice president for wellness at Carilion Clinic, said in a statement. “Runk & Pratt is the perfect collaborator on this project.”
The new facility will offer the same features as other Carilion Wellness locations, but they will be geared toward active older adults. “The growing older adult community at the lake has told us that they are interested in wellness offerings built just for them. That’s why we’re excited to bring this new approach to the community,” Grey said.
Offerings being considered at the new location include exercise programs to assist people with chronic medical conditions, programs for pre-surgery preparation and post-surgery recovery, nutritional counseling
and aquatic therapy.
Some offerings also will be available to the general public.
Construction is expected to begin on the $3.5 million wellness center in the next few months. Carilion Wellness at Smith Mountain Lake Retirement Village will be located at 157 Westlake Road and is scheduled to open in early 2017. Membership pricing still is being determined.2016-04-14T21:14:00+00:00
How to maximize your tax refund
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/how-to-maximize-your-tax-refund#When:20:00:00ZAccording to the IRS, about eight out of 10 taxpayers received a federal tax refund in 2015, and we can expect about the same percentage this year. The average amount of a refund last year was around $2,800, a sizable chunk of cash for most people. While you may want to splurge on a big-ticket item, the smartest financial move is to carefully manage your refund to maximize your dollars. I’ve identified my top tips for how to make your tax refund count, whether you decide to spend it or save it.
1. Look at the tax refund as a hierarchy of needs. Take a look at your circumstances and see if there are any gaps that need correcting. Are your essential monthly bills covered comfortably? Are you saving the appropriate amount for your age? If you are married or have children, do you have adequate insurance protection? Your tax refund can be used to cover any shortcomings pertaining to these financial basics.
2. Consider the return on investment (ROI). If you assess that all of your financial bases are covered and you decide to spend your refund, be sure you are receiving a good return on investment with your purchase. In my opinion, spending the money on an experience with family is money well spent. One mistake people often make with a tax refund is to spend it on an expensive object or something that will not gain any value over time.
3. Make modifications to your W4 according to your needs. Some people don’t realize that they can adjust how much money is withheld from their paycheck on their W4 form by changing the number of deductions. For example, if you struggle month to month but get a sizable refund in April, you might be better off increasing your deductions. This will withhold a bit less out of your paycheck so that you have more money to put towards your monthly expenses.
And if you’re over-withholding on purpose, what do you plan to do with the refund once you receive it? If you intend to save or invest, then you might be better off withholding a little less each paycheck and setting yourself up on an automatic savings approach. That way, you will collect the interest and dividends on your money, rather than the government.
4. Look ahead. One way to be sure you make your tax refund counts for the following year is to look ahead and think about any major life changes that may be in your foreseeable future. For example, if you’re thinking about buying a home, be sure to take into account that mortgage interest is a big deduction. Planning for these types of deductions will help you understand how much you should withhold and where you should be allocating your money.
5. Meet with a financial planner. After you receive your tax refund, take time to sit down with your financial planning team to clearly establish your priorities. Be sure to make the necessary adjustments to ensure your money will be put to good use throughout this year and position you for success for the next tax year. Once the calendar turns to the next year, it’s largely too late to make changes that will have a great impact. Therefore, a discussion with your accountant or financial planner shortly after tax season is recommended. Also, be sure to keep all of the receipts from these meetings, as the money you spend on professional advisors could be tax-deductible for you.
My best advice is to have a realistic mindset of what your tax refund is and where it is coming from. This could largely influence the way it is spent or used. Remember, the tax refund truly is your money – not found money. It is money you have worked hard for all year long, which deserves thorough financial planning.
Gregory Smith, who is based in Reston, founded The Wise Investor Group’s financial planning department in 1999 focusing primarily on retirement, college, and estate planning for his clients. He is a Certified Financial Planner practitioner and serves as a Financial Planning Mentor to new financial planners through the Financial Planning Association.
The Wise Investor Group and Robert W. Baird & Co. do not provide tax or legal advice. Please refer to your tax professional prior to implementing any tax strategies. "The opinions are those of the author and not necessarily those of Robert W. Baird& Co."2016-04-14T20:00:00+00:00
Long & Foster joins forces with Urban Pace
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/long-foster-cos.-join-forces-with-urban-pace#When:19:46:00ZThe Chantilly-based Long & Foster Cos., parent company of Long & Foster Real Estate, said Thursday that it has invested in Urban Pace, a new construction sales and marketing firm based in Washington, D.C.
Urban Pace will continue to operate under its same brand and team at its current office location and will become part of the Long & Foster group of companies.
“In regions like Washington, D.C., urban developments — whether they’re high-rise or townhouse-style condos — are thriving, and our team at Long & Foster recognized the opportunities for our company’s and our agents’ growth by partnering with a firm like Urban Pace,” Jeffrey S. Detwiler, president and COO of The Long & Foster Cos., said in a statement. “Working with Urban Pace, we’ll not only increase our leading presence in the urban markets, but also better serve the D.C. area’s home buyers and sellers with added knowledge and insight into new construction opportunities.”
Lynn Hackney, previously Urban Pace’s president, will assume a new role as CEO with Urban Pace, focusing on the firm’s strategic direction and vision. In that position, Hackney will work to expand Urban Pace into new urban markets and advance the firm’s technology platform by leveraging the Long & Foster relationship.
Matt Dewey, who has been with Urban Pace for 11 years, will take on the role of president at Urban Pace, handling day-to-day operations and activities.
“Our partnership with Long & Foster elevates the products and services we provide our clients, from enhanced research and insights to more robust technology and an improved marketing platform,” said Hackney.
The Long & Foster Cos. is the nation’s third largest real estate company and the country’s No. 1 privately owned real estate firm. In addition to its real estate arm, the Long & Foster Cos. consists of Prosperity Home Mortgages LLC, Long & Foster Insurance Inc. and Long & Foster Settlement Services.
According to the company, its 2015 combined sales for the year were in excess of $56.8 billion.
Apple Hospitality REIT and Apple REIT 10 announce $1.3 billion merger agreement
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/apple-hospitality-reit-and-apple-reit-10-announce-1.3-billion-merger-agreem#When:19:05:00ZApple Hospitality REIT Inc., based in Richmond, and Apple REIT Ten Inc. announced Thursday that the boards of directors of both companies have approved a merger valued at $1.3 billion that creates one of the largest select-service lodging REITs in the industry.
Select-service refers to a mid-tier level of hotel properties that offer some of the services and amenities associated with full-service properties.
The transaction joins two portfolios with a combined asset base of 234 hotels with 30,017 guestrooms in 94 metro areas in 33 states. Apple Hospitality REIT’s current portfolio includes 179 hotels with 22,961 guestrooms. Apple Ten’s portfolio includes 55 hotels with 7,056 guestrooms.
According to the companies, the combined company will have a value of about $5.7 billion and a total equity market capitalization of about $4.4 billion, based on the 20-day volume weighted average price of Apple Hospitality’s common shares as of April 12, which was $19.49 per share.
The $1.3 billion deal includes about $94 million in cash, 49.1 million Apple Hospitality common shares issued to Apple Ten shareholders and the extinguishment or assumption of about $239 million in debt (as of March 31).
“We are pleased to have the opportunity to acquire this highly complementary portfolio of leading Hilton and Marriott branded select service hotels, while preserving our conservative capital structure. The merger further strengthens our presence in key markets and expands our geographic footprint … This acquisition highlights our team’s disciplined approach to growth and focus on shareholder value and we look forward to welcoming Apple Ten shareholders to Apple Hospitality,” Justin Knight, Apple Hospitality’s president and CEO, said in a statement.
Under the terms of the merger agreement, Apple Ten’s shareholders would receive $1 in cash per each Apple Ten “unit, ” and each unit of Apple Ten would be converted into a fixed exchange ratio of 0.522 Apple Hospitality common shares.
At closing, Apple Hospitality shareholders are expected to own about 78 percent of the pro forma combined company, and Apple Ten shareholders are expected to own approximately 22 percent.
The merger agreement also provides Apple Ten with a “go-shop” period, during which Apple Ten will actively solicit alternative proposals from third parties for the next 45 days concluding on May 28. The agreement says Apple Ten would pay a termination fee of $5 million (plus expenses not to exceed $3 million) to Apple Hospitality if Apple Ten terminates the merger agreement in connection with a superior proposal that arises during the go-shop period, and a termination fee of $25 million if Apple Ten terminates the merger agreement in connection with a proposal that comes following the go-shop period.
Upon completion of the merger, the combined company will retain the Apple Hospitality REIT name and continue to trade under the NYSE ticker symbol APLE. Apple Hospitality’s management team will continue to serve in their respective roles for the combined company, including Justin Knight as president and CEO, Krissy Gathright as COO, Bryan Peery as CFO and Glade Knight as executive chairman.
The transaction must be approved by shareholders of both companies. It’s expected to close in the third quarter of 2016.
Wells Fargo Securities/Eastdil Secured and Robert W. Baird & Co. Incorporated are serving as financial advisors and Hogan Lovells US LLP is serving as legal counsel to Apple Hospitality.
Citigroup Global Markets Inc. is serving as financial advisor to the Special Committee of Apple Ten’s Board of Directors and McGuireWoods LLP is serving as legal counsel to Apple Ten and the Special Committee.2016-04-14T19:05:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/devilsbackbone2.pngSteve and Heidi Crandall | Mark Rhodes photo.
Devils Backbone discusses sale plans
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/Devils-Backbone-discusses-sale-plans#When:13:18:00ZThe largest craft brewer in Virginia is about to get bigger.
Rockbridge County-based Devils Backbone Brewing Co. announced in April it has agreed to be bought by St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch, the maker of Budweiser and Bud Light.
Anheuser-Busch is the largest brewer in the U.S. in terms of overall sales, according to the latest available data from the Brewers Association. Financial terms of the deal, expected to close in the second quarter, were not disclosed.
Devils Backbone will join Anheuser-Busch’s “high-end” line of breweries, which include brands such as Stella Artois, Shock Top and Goose Island.
The sale comes at a time when Devils Backbone already was growing at a fast clip. Since its founding eight years ago, the company has grown into the largest craft brewer in Virginia, according to the Brewers Association. In 2015, it produced 62,500 barrels of beer.
Last year, however, the company realized that it would be unable to continue growing at its current pace without outside investment. It started exploring a sale, and Anheuser-Busch was one of approximately eight interested buyers.
“It turned out they did not offer us as much money as one of the other guys did,” says Steve Crandall, Devils Backbone’s CEO. “What they did offer us was a commitment to build out our dream … build out our brewery and to keep our people.”
Devils Backbone now has 140 employees and expects to add up to 85 more in the next five years.
Production should increase, too. The company produced 62,500 barrels of beer last year and expects to ramp up production to 250,000 barrels in the next few years. Devils Backbone now is distributed in the U.S. in Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, Tennessee and Washington D.C.
During the next two years, Anheuser-Busch is expected to invest more than $25 million in Devils Backbone’s facilities, which include a small brewpub in Nelson County and a 35,000-square-foot brewery in Lexington. The brewery would expand by 50,000 square feet under the Anheuser-Busch deal.
“We are really proud of the opportunity that this is going to give us to take Virginia beers all across the country and Europe,” Crandall says.
Devils Backbone’s ambitious expansion plans show how quickly it has grown in the past eight years.
Crandall and his wife, Heidi, decided to open a brewery after a trip to Northern Italy in 1991, where they had their first taste of German-style beer.
The company expected to produce 10,000 barrels of beer in its first 10 years, but had churned out 45,000 barrels by its third year. Devils Backbone’s beers include Eight Point IPA, Schwartz Bier and Vienna Lager, which make up a majority of its sales.
While Devils Backbone and other craft brewers have seen a tremendous amount of growth lately, the overall U.S. beer sales have been virtually flat. According to the Brewers Association, total sales dipped 0.2 percent last year while craft beer sales increased 12.8 percent.
News of the acquisition hasn’t been met with applause by everyone. Crandall acknowledges concerns from craft-beer aficionados. Some worry that Devils Backbone’s beers will be watered down or their ingredients will change under the new ownership.
His answer? A resounding, “Heck, no.”
Crandall says Devils Backbone is still 100 percent behind Virginia’s craft beer movement. That commitment includes hosting the Virginia Craft Brewers Fest in Nelson County on Aug. 20.
“The alignment with Anheuser-Busch is basically like us changing our banks,” he says. “We were with a great bank, SunTrust, but they couldn’t fund our growth … Anheuser-Busch stepped in, and they’re going to be able to fund our growth and also give us a lot of expertise at the same time.”2016-04-14T13:18:00+00:00
CIT invests in Bedford firm specializing in energy-efficient LED lighting
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/cit-invests-in-bedford-firm-specializing-in-energy-efficient-led-lighting#When:09:09:00ZThe Center for Innovative Technology announced Wednesday that CIT GAP Funds joined a seed-round investment in LightSheet Solutions, a Bedford-based producer of LED lighting and manufacturing processes.
LiteSheet’s AC Direct LED light engine reduces energy consumption by up to a factor of 15 times delivering 140 lumens/watt. LiteSheet also has simplified the complexity of its products to help reduce production costs to allow manufacturing to take place in Virginia.
The company’s customers include public buildings, universities, hospitals, manufacturing plants, distribution centers, parking garages, large retailers, public utilities and transportation infrastructure.
“Our technology has been enthusiastically received in the marketplace, and customers are asking for a wider range of products," Roger Whyte, LiteSheet President and CEO, said in a statement. "We will use these investments to support the introduction of new products, develop additional patents, and support additional marketing.”
The CIT investment came from its GAP Funds Commonwealth Energy Fund (CEF) that invests in high growth, energy ventures that demonstrate a high-level of commercial-readiness. In particular, the CEF seeks the very best ventures with the ability to immediately generate significant revenues. Also participating in the round for the first time is the Charlottesville Angel Network.
Over its 10-year history, CIT GAP Funds has leveraged nearly $18 million with $331 million in private capital, an 18.5 leverage ratio. The total enterprise value of its portfolio is now reaching $800 million.2016-04-14T09:09:00+00:00
Henrico County approves rezoning for major residential development
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/henrico-county-approves-rezoning-for-major-residential-development#When:20:29:00ZThe Henrico County Board of Supervisors has approved a rezoning application for a 1,000-home residential community in the Glen Allen area.
HHHunt plans to build River Mill, a master-planned community in a natural setting with open spaces, walking trails and a park along the Chickahominy River.
“River Mill will continue to build on HHHunt’s success with other Henrico communities, including the nearby Townes at Woodman,” Kim Kacani, senior vice president of HHHunt Communities, said in a statement. “This land represents the largest remaining land opportunity to create a meaningful and cohesive development in concert with the natural features of the Chickahominy River.”
According to HHHunt, River Mill will offer a variety of home styles from single-family homes to townhomes. A luxury apartment community is planned as well. The development will ultimately include 1,035 homes.
Planned amenities include a clubhouse, pool, play area and parks. River Mill also will be close to Henrico’s future Greenwood Park.
Construction is expected to begin in 2017.
Other HHHunt’s residential communities in Henrico County include Wellesley, Wyndham and Twin Hickory.
HHHunt also has residential communities in North Carolina, South Carolina and Maryland.2016-04-13T20:29:00+00:00
Commonwealth’s general fund revenue rose 7.5 percent in March
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/commonwealths-general-fund-revenue-rose-7.5-percent-in-march#When:20:01:00ZThe commonwealth’s general fund revenue rose 7.5 percent in March as payroll withholding and sales tax collections increased.
On a fiscal year-to-date basis, total revenue collections increased 2.7 percent, lagging the annual forecast of 3.2 percent growth.
Collections of payroll withholding taxes rose 10.4 percent in March, with one more deposit day than March of last year. Collections of sales and use taxes, reflecting February sales, rose 8.5 percent in March.
On a year-to-date basis, collections of payroll withholding taxes — 63 percent of general fund revenues — increased 3.3 percent ahead of the same period last year, trailing the estimate of 4.1 percent growth.
Sales tax collections — 18 percent of general fund revenues — increased 1.6 percent, trailing the annual estimate of 4.1 percent growth.
The governor’s office said the last three months of the fiscal year are significant for tax collections. In addition to estimated and final payments from both corporations and individuals due in April and May, estimated payments are again due in June.
Fiscal year 2016 fourth quarter collections must total $5.9 billion to meet revenue forecasts, compared with $5.7 billion collected in the fourth quarter of last year – a 3.5 percent increase.2016-04-13T20:01:00+00:00
New workforce program to help small businesses train workers
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/new-workforce-program-to-help-small-businesses-train-workers#When:08:41:00ZGov. Terry McAuliffe announced Tuesday a new $1 million program to help businesses with up to 250 employees provide training and credentialing for their workers.
The program is scheduled to launch June 1.
The Virginia Community College System will administer the program and will require Workforce Development Regions and local community colleges to work with small businesses in their local areas.
These partnerships will develop workforce-training plans for the employees of participating small businesses, and then implement and evaluate training targeting employers’ needs.
The program requires training funded by the new program to be tied to a national, portable workforce credential in a field that requires skills development and certifications, including manufacturing, energy, information technology, cybersecurity, health care, transportation, and logistics.
“Attaining Virginia’s goals for postsecondary education and workforce credentials will require new and innovative business-education partnerships,” Secretary of Education Anne Holton said in a statement. “Bringing together employers, community colleges, and our One Stop Career Centers to expand opportunities for continued education and credentialing will help us reach the Governor’s goal to make the Commonwealth the Best Educated State in the U.S.”
Funding for the new program will come out of the Governor’s set aside funds in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act (WIOA).
To expand the pool of resources available for training and credentialing, participating businesses and industries will contribute from 10 percent to 50 percent of the cost of the training, based on the business’s number of employees.
“We spoke with more than 1,500 business leaders across Virginia last year during 22 town hall meetings,” said Glenn DuBois, chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges. “And we heard from a lot of small business owners who have a tough time helping their employees stay up-to-date with their skills, finding qualified people to hire, and actually doing what their business does. We need more credentialed talent across the board, and this approach focuses resources in a smart way, providing an economic development resource for small companies already invested in their local communities.”2016-04-13T08:41:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/devilsbackbone.pngDevils Backbone founders Steve and Heidi Crandall. | Photo by Mark Rhodes
Anheuser-Busch plans to acquire Devils Backbone
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/anheuser-busch-plans-to-acquire-devils-backbone#When:15:45:00ZSt. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch announced Tuesday it plans to acquire Nelson County-based Devils Backbone. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Anheuser-Busch, the maker of Budweiser and Bud Light, is the largest brewer in the U.S. in terms of overall sales, according to the latest available data from the Brewers Association. The company operates 17 local breweries.
Devils Backbone will join Anheuser-Busch’s “high end,” line of breweries, which include brands such as Stella Artois, Shock Top and Goose Island. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter.
“While we are joining a creative group of craft breweries in the division, Devils Backbone will retain a high level of autonomy and continue its own authentic DNA within The High End framework,” Steve Crandall, co-founder and CEO of Devils Backbone, said in a statement. “The existing management team plans to stay on board for many years, while continuing to innovate and bring locally crafted Virginia beer to the nation.”
Devils Backbone opened in 2008. Originally projected to produce 10,000 barrels of beer in its first 10 years, the company produced almost 45,000 barrels in its first three years.
The company operates the Outpost Brewery & Taproom in Lexington and Basecamp Brewpub & Meadows in Roseland, which primarily serves as a visitor destination. Last year, the outpost produced 62,500 barrels of beer.
Former Virginia Secretary of Commerce joining Tredegar Corp. as general counsel
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/former-virginia-secretary-of-commerce-joining-tredegar-corp.-as-general-cou#When:19:41:00ZA former Virginia secretary of commerce and trade will soon be joining Chestefield-based Tredegar Corp., the company announced Monday.
Michael J. Schewel’s appointment as vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary is effective May 9.
He comes to Tredegar from McGuireWoods LLP, where he focused on corporate law, mergers and acquisitions, and the development and financing of energy and industrial projects.
Schewel served as secretary of commerce and trade under former Gov. Mark Warner from 2002 to 2006.
He currently serves on the board of directors of Glen Allen-based Markel Corp. and Staunton-based Cadence Inc.
Tredegar Corp. makes plastic films and aluminum extrusions. It had 2015 sales of $896 million. The company has approximately 2,800 employees and has operations in North America, South America, Europe and Asia.2016-04-11T19:41:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/SouthernSeasonFirstCustomers11.jpg
Southern Season will close its Richmond store
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/southern-season-will-close-its-richmond-store#When:16:29:00ZAfter less than two years, Southern Season has decided to call it quits in Richmond. The North Carolina-based gourmet grocer announced Monday that it would close its 53,000-square foot retail store and restaurant in the heart of the Libbie Mill, an urban, mixed-use development at 2250 Staples Mill Road.
President Dave Herman told Virginia Business that the store was too big and expensive to continue to operate, and that Southern Season is switching to a smaller format. He said that the 115 store and restaurant employees just learned today that the store will be closing on April 24, and that they would be given an opportunity to transfer to other stores. People who choose not to transfer will be offered a separation package.
While there will be a storewide closing sale over the next few weeks, the store’s restaurant, Southerly, and the cheese shop and bakery are closing today, Herman said. "All the perishables are closing immediately."
“We had hoped to do more volume in the store,” Herman said. “Maybe we overestimated taking the Chapel Hill format [60,000 square feet] and moving it elsewhere. Most retailers are downsizing their stores, and other sectors in retail are having their stores be more efficient.”
Asked if the growing competition in Richmond’s grocery market, with many new players such as Aldi and Wegmans, played a role in its decision, Herman responded, “Not really. As more grocery stores come into the market, it will affect the overall state of the Richmond market, but I don’t think it would have affected Southern Season. It did not play a part in our planning. “
The continuing build out of Libbie Mill, a development that includes a new county library, also did not factor into the decision, Herman said. “I would not put the onus on the developer,” he said. “I would put it on the store. It was too big.” While similar in size to the flagship store in Chapel Hill, that store has been around for 40 years and is well established, Herman said.
Gumenick Properties in Richmond, the project developer, released a statement to Virginia Business saying that the company "is disappointed that Southern Season has decided to close its Richmond store.
We continue to believe strongly in the long-term prospects for Libbie Mill-Midtown. Our commitment to completing this community remains firm. We continue to invest in this project. We also have located our headquarters here, commenced home sales and are poised to start construction of a mixed-use building with 327 apartments and 40,000 square feet of retail space. All this proves our belief in the project’s future."
Gumenick noted recent positive events for the project. Rutherfoord, a Marsh & McLennan agency LLC company, will open an office there in mid-May. Chef Walter Bundy will soon open a new restaurant, Shagbark. "We are selling homes and have contracts in hand. The library is welcoming thousands of patrons daily. And the lake area has become a community focal point," the company said in its statement.
"Again, we are disappointed that Southern Season was not successful in a superb business location. Following Southern Season’s announcement today, we now move to the resolution of legal issues related to the store."
Southern Season, which opened on July 31, 2014, was the development's first commercial tenant. It is leasing the store from Gumenick Properites. Cushman & Wakefield, and Thalhimer, leasing representatives for the property, said its brokers would be working to lease the space, including Southerly restaurant.
In its press release on the closing, Southern Season made clear that it wants to focus on a new smaller-store business model, smaller pop-up stores and to move more heavily into digital commerce. “In today’s rapidly evolving retail environment, it is essential that Southern Season maintain a portfolio of the right size stores in the perfect locations. It became apparent to the company that the Richmond store was too large and too expensive to keep open. The decision to close this store was made after careful consideration of the long-term financial performance of this location.”
It was apparent last summer that things were not going as well as expected for the Richmond store. At that time Aaron Brooks, general manager of Richmond’s Southern Season, said the gourmet store needed to do a better job of explaining what it is and what it does, and it tried to do that with more special events and new advertising
Southern Season is not a grocery store, Brooks said during last summer’s media tour. “It’s a gourmet marketplace, with a cooking school and restaurant where people can expect to find exclusive, one-of-kind items that they can’t find anywhere else. If you’re looking for that one dazzling item or ingredient, this is the place to come, “said Brooks. “We have more than 80,000 items in this store typically – many that you won’t find at any other grocery store."
The company’s new prototype store will be 25,000 square feet, and Southern Season said it will contain all the products typically found in its Chapel Hill store. That includes speciality food, wine, candy, deli, bakery, kitchen gadgets, flowers and gifts.
The new prototype will open in Atlanta in Buckhead in early August, and will be followed by stores in Raleigh in 2017 and Charlotte in 2018. The company also has a 43,000-square-foot store in Mt. Pleasant, S.C.
"By reducing our back of the house space, eliminating the stand alone restaurants,lowering our rent and unfit costs and reducing our labor cost, we are able to expand faster and reach store profitablity during the first year ... “ CEO Southern Season Clay Hamner said in a statement.2016-04-11T16:29:00+00:00
Divaris adds new assignments to portfolio
Divararis Real Estate Inc. has added six properties to its leasing and management portfolio. The total space exeeds 121,375 square feet, and several of the properties are located in Hampton Roads. They are:
The Black Water Building, a 40,000-square-foot office and warehouse building lat 100 Corporate Drive in Elizabeth City that was formerly occupied by Black Water. It will be leased by David Bickford of the Virginia Beach office of Divaris.
Courthouse Green, a 36,929-square-foot office building located at 4091-4097 Ironbound Road in Williamsburg. It's occupied by the Commonwealth of Virginia, James City County anda doctor's office. It is leased by Karen Beale, principal of the Newport News office of DRE and managed by Denise Wollesen, senior property manager of Divaris Property Management Corp.
Manor Commerce Center, a 27,209-square-foot retail center located at 5553 Portsmouth Blvd. in Portsmouth. It's occupied by Snap Fitness, Bon Secours and BB&T Bank. Leasing will be handled by Bickford and Eric Hammond of DRE’s Virginia Beach office.2016-04-11T15:55:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Tanglewood_Mall_DSC_5640_150res.jpg
Tanglewood Mall is for sale
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/tanglewood-mall-is-for-sale#When:14:16:00ZTanglewood Mall, a premiere shopping destination in the Roanoke Valley for years after it opened in 1973, is for sale. Cushman & Wakefield, and Thalhimer announced Monday that it has been selected by the owner, The Guild Group, as the exclusive sales representative for the sales disposition.
The 797,524-square-foot regional mall is located on Electric Road, just off I-581 in Roanoke.
According to Thalhimer, the 43-year-old mall was renovated in 2006 and currently has an occupancy rate of 88 percent. Tanglewood Mall is anchored by JC Penney and Belk department store, along with other tenants including TJ Maxx, Steinmart, Staples, Carmike Cinemas, Kroger and Barnes & Noble.
Situated on 58.6 acres on a busy retail corridor, the center is positioned for further redevelopment. Local officials say the mall is near the region’s most affluent residential neighborhoods and is minutes from downtown Roanoke, factors that should help draw interest.
Serving as representatives for the sale are: Tom Salanty, executive director of Cushman & Wakefield’s Capital Markets Group in Dallas, along with Senior Vice President Eric Robison of Thalhimer’s Capital Markets Group in Richmon and Thalhimer Roanoke Managing Broker John Nielsen. According to Robison, the mall's owner is a large pension fund represented by the Guild Group out of Indianapolis, Ind.
“Tanglewood Mall is a strategic location with great tenants, visibility, access and the best demographics in Roanoke. This is a very attractive location,” Salanty said in a statement.
Regional officials hope that a new buyer will continue to redevelop the prime site. "Roanoke County looks forward to working with potential purchasers to make the mall and the surrounding area an exceptional retail, housing and commercial environment," Tom Gates, Roanoke county administrator, said in a statement.2016-04-11T14:16:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Caleb_Vuljanic.jpg
Dixon Hughes Goodman names new partner
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/dixon-hughes-goodman-names-new-partner#When:08:51:00ZDixon Hughes Goodman (DHG) has elected Caleb Vuljanic an assurance partner in its Washington, D.C. market.
Vuljanic recently moved to the Washington, D.C., area after serving as a member of the firm’s Professional Standards Group.
He provides assurance service to clients in the technology, construction, manufacturing and distribution industries.
Vuljanic earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration and master’s in accounting from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.2016-04-11T08:51:00+00:00
Virginia Business, Roanoke Business win VPA awards
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-business-roanoke-business-win-vpa-awards#When:08:40:00ZVirginia Business and its sister publication, Roanoke Business, won a total of six awards in the Virginia Press Association’s 2015 journalism competition in Richmond on Saturday.
Don Petersen won first place in pictorial photo for photography in Roanoke Business.
Winning second-place awards for Virginia Business were Art Director Adrienne R. Watson for informational graphics and Gary Robertson for general news writing.
Third-place winners include Virginia Business Publisher Bernie Niemeier for editorial writing, Roanoke Business Editor Tim Thornton for headline writing and Richard Foster for health, science and environmental writing in Virginia Business.
All of the awards were presented in the VPA’s specialty publication category.2016-04-11T08:40:00+00:00
Unemployment falls in most metro areas
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/unemployment-falls-in-most-metro-areas#When:21:21:00ZUnemployment fell in 10 of 11 Virginia metro areas in February, according to the Virginia Employment Commission.
VEC figures, which are not seasonally adjusted, showed declines ranging from one-tenth to four-tenths of a percentage point during the month.
Seasonally unadjusted means that the numbers have not been adjusted to accommodate seasonal fluctuations in the labor market.
The New River Valley area (Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford) was the only metro area in the commonwealth showing an increase in employment. Its rate rose three-tenths of a percentage point in February to 5 percent.
Three metro areas — Northern Virginia, Charlottesville and Winchester — had jobless rates of less than 4 percent.
The highest rate among metro areas was Hampton Roads at 4.9 percent.
During February, the national unemployment rate stood at 5.2 percent while the Virginia rate was 4.3 percent, using seasonally unadjusted numbers.
A breakdown of the numbers shows:
Bristol: 4.8 percent in February, down from 4.9 percent in January.
Charlottesville: 3.5 percent, down from 3.9 percent.
Hampton Roads: 4.9 percent, down from 5 percent.
Harrisonburg: 4 percent, down from 4.3 percent.
Lynchburg: 4.7 percent, down from 4.9 percent.
New River Valley: 5 percent, up from 4.7 percent.
Northern Virginia: 3.4 percent, down from 3.5 percent.
Richmond: 4.2 percent, down from 4.4 percent.
Roanoke: 4.1 percent, down from 4.2 percent.
Staunton-Waynesboro: 4.1 percent, down from 4.3 percent.
Winchester: 3.8 percent, down from 3.9 percent.2016-04-08T21:21:00+00:00
Halifax County receives workforce readiness certification
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/halifax-county-receives-workforce-readiness-certification#When:21:20:00ZHalifax County has received a nationally recognized workforce readiness certification
The Certified Work Ready Community designation is expected to help the Southern Virginia county attract new businesses and jobs.
To become certified, a county must achieve benchmarks in three areas of performance: high school graduation rate, number of National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) credentials attained in the county, and number of employers recognizing NCRC.
More than 50 local employers, educational institutions, and workforce development organizations supported the county’s efforts to achieve certification.
Site Selection Magazine has added the number of National Career Readiness Certificates per 1,000 residents as part of its tabulations for its annual Top Ten Competitive States report.
In addition to Halifax County, Henry County has been certified as a Work Ready Community. Four neighboring other Southern Virginia localities are on track to receive certification in the next four months, including Patrick County, Pittsylvania County, and the cities of Danville and Martinsville.
In addition, Greensville County and the City of Emporia launched their CWRC initiatives in 2015, with Cumberland County planning to launch this spring.2016-04-08T21:20:00+00:00
McLean-based Gannett acquires Journal Media Group
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/mclean-based-gannett-acquires-journal-media-group#When:19:55:00ZMcLean-based Gannett said Friday it has acquired Journal Media Group, including its 15 daily newspapers and affiliated digital assets.
Gannett paid about $280 million for the Milwaukee-based company.
As a result of the deal, Gannett now operates USA TODAY and 107 dailies in 34 states and Guam, plus Newsquest in the U.K., which has 150 digital and print news brands.
The dailies acquired are:
Ventura County Star
Naples Daily News
The Treasure Coast Newspapers
Evansville Courier & Press
Anderson Independent Mail
Knoxville News Sentinel
The Commercial Appeal
Corpus Christi Caller-Times
San Angelo Standard-Times
Times Record News
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel2016-04-08T19:55:00+00:00
Dominion receives lower bids for offshore wind research turbines
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/dominion-receives-lower-bids-for-offshore-wind-research-turbines#When:08:56:00ZDominion Virginia Power said Thursday it has received bids in the range of $300 million to $380 million to install two offshore research wind turbines off the coast of Virginia Beach.
The utility launched a second round of bids after estimates to build the 12-megawatt project last year came in a range of $375 million to $400 million, more than double the expected cost.
Dominion is meeting in May with the Department of Energy (DOE), which would contribute $51 million to the project, known as the Virginia Offshore Wind Technology Advancement Project, or VOWTAP, just part of the overall money. “That is why getting the energy policy and the economics right for customers right is vital," Mary Doswell, Virginia’s senior vice president for energy solutions, said Thursday on a conference call with the media and project stakeholders.
Project partners already have contributed $25 million to the project, with Dominion and the DOE providing the bulk of the costs.
Mark Mitchell, vice president of generation construction with Dominion, said Thursday he expects the VOWTAP bids to come in on the lower end of new cost estimates.
Following the higher-than-expected bid last year, Dominion decided to break the project into four separate bid packages to reduce costs. Those packages include: delivery and installation of the turbines; manufacture and installation of the the subsea cables; foundation fabrication and onshore connection facilities.
The most complex and costliest piece of project is the delivery and installation of the turbines. “There is a very limited number of contractors who are available to do this work,” says Mitchell.
Few companies worldwide have ships large enough to install offshore wind turbines. The project would require the ship to travel from Europe and miss the busy season of wind energy installation in Europe.
The company plans to have a project update by July. Dominion would then apply for regulatory approval from the State Corporation Commission.
Under the project’s current schedule, the project would be completed by mid-2018.
In March, the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management approved the design and implementation plan for VOWTAP. It became the first wind energy project to receive that approval.
VOWTAP would be used to provide research on developing offshore wind economically. The turbines would be located next to Dominion’s commercial lease area for offshore wind development. That project is on schedule for development beginning between 2020 and 2025.
Peterson Cos. proposes a 1.2 million-square-foot, mixed-use project for National Harbor
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/peterson-cos.-proposes-a-1.2-million-square-foot-mixed-use-project-for-nati#When:21:53:00ZThe Peterson Cos. in Fairfax has proposed another major new development for its National Harbor mixed-use project in Prince George’s County, Md. The 16-story building, if approved by the locality, would be bigger than the million-square-foot MGM National Harbor casino-resort that is expected to open in the fourth quarter.
According to Angela Sweeney, vice president of corporate marketing and communications for Peterson Cos., the 1.2 million-square-foot project would be located adjacent to MGM’s new luxurious resort. While still in the conceptual stages, Peterson's latest addition to what is already a mega-sized mixed-use complex would include a 500-room hotel (200 more rooms than the 308-room hotel planned by MGM), 702 apartments, 189 timeshare rentals, 22,000 square feet of retail, 972 restaurant seats and 22,000 square feet of entertainment related spaces. There also would be an enclosed walkway to MGM, a 2,070-space parking garage and an outdoor pedestrian plaza.
In another development, Sweeney said that the Peterson Cos. recently acquired a 117,700-square-foot building, 6710 Oxon Hill Road, north of the Tanger Outlets, for $12.3 million. The buy was a strategic decision, she said, to enhance the National Harbor office market, providing space for tenants looking for a lower price point compared to other office space in the project located on the banks of the Potomac River.
The 26-year-old building will remain office space for now, she said.
National Harbor is a short drive from Northern Virginia, just across the Woodrow Wilson Bridge.2016-04-07T21:53:00+00:00
Patrick Henry Community College names new public relations and marketing manager
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/patrick-henry-community-college-names-new-public-relations-and-marketing-ma#When:21:45:00ZPatrick Henry Community College in Martinsville has named Jim Bove public relations and marketing manager.
He succeeds Kris Landrum who retired at the end of March after 31 years with the college.
Bove has 11 years of public relations and college administration experience.
His past positions include serving as public information officer for the police department in Redmond, Wash., and community events and marketing assistant for Redmond Events Management and Marketing.
His background in higher education includes working in judicial affairs at the University of Georgia, residential life at the University of Tennessee, career services at University of North Georgia, and in admissions at Radford University.
Bove, originally from Fredericksburg, has returned to Virginia after eight years on the West Coast
Aging2.0 Global Startup Search
S. L. Nusbaum Co. announces new partners and shareholders
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/s.-l.-nusbaum-co.-announces-new-partners-and-shareholders#When:17:15:00ZS.L. Nusbaum Realty Co. (SLN), based in Norfolk, announced a list Thursday of new partners and shareholders. They are:
Steve Boyce, senior vice president, co-director, multi-family management
Boyce joined SLN in 2004 and teams with Aaron Wyatt to oversee all operations, management, marketing and compliance functions of the Multi-Family Property Management Department. In addition, Boyce is responsible for new business development, oversight of major rehabilitation projects and new multi-family development consulting.
Richard Counselman, vice president
Counselman started his career with SLN in 2004. In that same year, he joined the Multi-Family Development Group and has since been involved in all aspects of development for several thousand apartment units throughout the mid-Atlantic region.
Christopher Hucke, vice president
Hucke has been with SLN since 2002 and is part of the Shopping Center Leasing Department. He is responsible for landlord/tenant lease negotiations, trade area analysis, budget forecasting and leasing new development projects and existing properties in Hampton Roads.
Tyler Jacobson, vice president
Jacobson joined SLN in 2011 and currently works in the Shopping Center Leasing Department. He is responsible for landlord/tenant lease negotiations and leasing new and existing properties in Hampton Roads.
Bill Overman, commercial brokerage and development
Overman has been with SLN since 2009 and focuses on commercial brokerage and development. Bill devotes a large part of his practice to working with clients in multi-family development and investment sales.
Stephanie Sanker, vice president
Sanker joined SLN in 2009 and specializes in landlord/owner representation and tenant/buyer representation for industrial, office and retail brokerage throughout Hampton Roads, Virginian and North Carolina.
Nathan A. Shor, senior vice president, regional director
Shor joined SLN in 2013 and has been in the commercial real estate industry since 1982. As regional director, he oversees the day-to-day operation of the Richmond office, and he specializes in the sales, leasing and development of all product lines.
Sharon Swanberg, vice president
Swanberg went to work for SLN in 1989. In addition to being a key member of the commercial and multi-family development team, Sharon also is responsible for the day-to-day operations/asset management of SLN’s headquarters building, the Wells Fargo Center in Norfolk.
John Wessling, vice president
Wessling began his career with SLN in 2009 and focuses on commercial brokerage and development. He specializes in retail tenant representation and investment sales, including hotel, multi-family, retail and office property transactions.
Aaron Wyatt, senior vice president, co-director, multi-family management
Wyatt joined SLN in 2004 and teams with Boyce to oversee all operations, management, marketing and compliance functions of the Multi-Family Property Management Department. In addition, he is responsible for new business development, oversight of major rehabilitation projects and new multi-family development consulting.
S.L. Nusbaum Realty Co. manages and leases more than 6 million square feet of commercial space and 128 apartment communities comprised of 20,000 residential units.2016-04-07T17:15:00+00:00