Business news and intelligence for and about the Virginia business community
Herndon property to be available for private development
The Town of Herndon is buying 1.67 acres in its downtown for $3.5 million.
The property would be combined with three acres already owned by the town, creating nearly five acres available for private development.
Mayor Lisa C. Merkel and Ronald K. Ashwell of Ashwell LLC, the property’s owner, signed a purchase contract on Wednesday.
After conducting an environmental assessment, the town expects to close on the deal within 120 days. The property will be rezoned in conformity with the adjacent town-owned land, which permits mixed-use commercial and residential development.
The town expects to solicit proposals for the site from developers by the end of the year.
Herndon has invested nearly $5 million in placing utilities underground and is completing streetscape upgrades throughout the downtown area.
Development already under way includes construction of 17 single-family homes at Center and Vine streets, and plans for mixed-use development (townhomes, condominiums, and retail space) at the corner of Elden and Monroe streets.
Former candidate for attorney general joins Venable’s Tysons office
Justin Fairfax, a former federal prosecutor and Democratic candidate for attorney general, has joined the Tysons Corner office of the law firm Venable LLP.
Fairfax will serve a as a commercial and white-collar criminal litigation counsel.
As assistant U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia, Fairfax prosecuted in the Major Crimes and Narcotics Unit of the Alexandria Division. He also was appointed as the deputy coordinator of the Northern Virginia Human Trafficking Task Force.
He ran as a candidate for state attorney general in 2013, losing in the Democratic primary to state Sen. Mark Herring.
Herring later became attorney general, narrowly defeating Republican state Sen. Mark Obenshain in the general election.
Fairfax joins Venable after serving as general counsel and vice president of business development for Reston-based Thompson Hospitality Corp.
Education resource building underway at U.Va. medical campus
Construction is underway on a four-story, 46,000-square-foot Education Resource Center (ERC) on U.Va.’s medical campus in Charlottesville.
Designed by Los Angeles-based CO Architects, the project is being built for the University of Virginia Health System on a tight site between the Emily Couric Clinical Cancer Center and a hospital parking garage.
“The Education Resource Center takes advantage of its strategic location and is designed as a simple connector to allow people access to the cancer center, hospital, and garage,” Paul Zajfen, design principal at CO Architects, said in a statement.
His company also designed the Claude Moore Medical Education Building for U.Va. School of Medicine.
The ERC is due to open in 2016. Its four levels will support educational programs and patient services. The basement will be used for diagnostic procedures, including radiology and MRI scans, while a pharmacy is planned for the ground floor. The second floor, which will include a simulation lab for graduate medical education, also will provide access to an enclosed walkway leading over the street from the parking garage to the hospital lobby.
CO Architects is collaborating with Train & Partners of Charlottesville to achieve a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) silver rating for the project. The brick and glass building is being designed with green roofs to absorb storm water run-off and provide visual interest from the hospital’s patient rooms across the street.
Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer selected as leasing agent for Shops at Stratford Hills
Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer has been selected by Harper & Associates to provide retail leasing services for The Shops at Stratford Hills located on Forest Hill Avenue at Chippenham Parkway in Richmond.
The regional shopping center consists of 300,000 total square feet and is anchored by Target and Martin’s. Other tenants include Starbucks, Office Depot, Mexico Restaurant, Wells Fargo, SunTrust, Chick-fil-A and O’Charley’s.
The Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer retail leasing team will consist of Nicki Jassy, Jim Ashby, and Reilly Marchant.
E &J Acquisitions leases 56,316 square feet in Hampton
E & J Acquisitions has become the newest industrial tenant at West Park Building Two in Hampton with the signing of a 56,316-square-foot-lease.
According to CBRE/Hampton Roads, the new lease represents an expansion of E & J’s existing business in Newport News.
The West Park campus is located at the Port of Virginia with access to Interstate 64. It includes three modern warehouses totaling 695,486 square feet.
Worth Remick, Ashton Williamson and Chamie Burroughs of CBRE|Hampton Roads represented the landlord in the transaction. Clark Baldwin of Harvey Lindsay Commercial Real Estate in Norfolk represented E & J.
Responsible investing: Making an impact
Socially responsible investing is a philosophy that has earned its place in the investment conversation at the individual, family and philanthropic level. Baby boomers are starting to think more about passing on their assets as well as their values through this approach. Millennials may choose to have it transcend their entire portfolio. But for most, it is really about finding the right balance and then customizing your approach.
Values-based investing accounted for $6.57 trillion, or roughly one in every six dollars under professional management, according to a 2014 report from the Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment (US SIF). This number is 76 percent higher than the $3.74 trillion noted in SIF’s 2012 report.
For many years, negative screening was the focus of socially responsible investing (SRI). Investors chose what not to invest in and the portfolio was adjusted to match. Personal, religious and environmental values always played a role in that process. Today, however, the popularity of a more positive and engaging approach to socially responsible investing is on the rise. According to the 2014 U.S. Trust Insights on Wealth and Worth® survey, 75 percent of millennial investors feel it is more important to invest in companies that will have a positive social or environmental impact than to boycott companies that are harmful.
There are three socially responsible categories that offer investors opportunities to combine their personal values with competitive investments when assessing where to invest. SRI portfolio managers look for companies with strong fundamentals as well as those that manage human capital effectively, are good environmental stewards, and/or have effective corporate governance.
One example of human capital management can be “gender lens” investing – investments focused on improving the lives of women and girls. In many cases, companies with progressive policies toward gender equality are well managed, and often help recruit and retain top talent.
Environmental stewardship examines the use of water, alternative energy, climate change and clean tech. Companies that are focused on sustainable efforts can be rewarded with cheaper operational costs in the future. This can ultimately benefit the investor if the company’s cost saving technology produces a higher profit.
Corporate governance focuses on transparency, disclosure, reporting, and incentives. For investors interested in corporate governance, it is important to understand the operations of a company and to find companies that communicate effectively with stakeholders. Often, investors can assess a company’s commitment to transparency by taking the time to review its website to determine how well the company communicates with its stakeholders.
The growing interest in socially responsible investing is increasing the demand for new products and services. To meet this demand, U.S. Trust developed Socially Innovative Investing (S2I), a proprietary strategy based on a growing awareness that strong corporate financial performance and social responsibility are not mutually exclusive; rather, they are mutually beneficial qualities. S2I takes traditional socially responsible investing a step further. The S2I process scores companies based on more than 400 distinct characteristics that we believe are a reflection of thoughtful management and potential sources of value.
Through a specially appointed “ESG Council” comprised of senior thought leaders and executives throughout the company, Bank of America continues to study issues related to socially responsible investments and investing behavior.
Ultimately, the demand for and evolution of socially responsible investing is changing the investment landscape today, creating a new, more dynamic approach to SRI through a wider range of investment options.
Ramona Mockoviak is senior vice president and private client advisor and Jason Baron is managing director and portfolio manager at U.S. Trust.
This content represents thoughts of the author and does not necessarily represent the position of Bank of America or U.S. Trust. U.S. Trust operates through Bank of America, N.A. and other subsidiaries of Bank of America Corp. This article is designed to provide general information about ideas and strategies. It is for discussion purposes only since the availability and effectiveness of any strategy is dependent upon your individual facts and circumstances.
Investing in securities involves risks, and there is always the potential of losing money when you invest in securities.Equity securities are subject to stock market fluctuations that occur in response to economic and business developments.
U.S. Trust operates through Bank of America, N.A. and other subsidiaries of Bank of America Corporation. Bank of America, N.A., Member FDIC.
Investment products: Are Not FDIC Insured Are Not Bank Guaranteed May Lose Value.
© 2015 Bank of America Corporation. All rights reserved.
The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment, “Report on US Sustainable, Responsible, and Impact Investing Trends 2014”, 20 November 2014.
2 U.S. Trust Capital Acumen, “Socially Innovative Investing (S2I)”, 2014.
3 U.S. Trust, “Understanding Socially Innovative Investing”, January 2015.
Virginia’s statewide employment rate remains unchanged
Virginia's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained steady at 4.8 percent in April, according to the Virginia Employment Commission.
The labor force expanded for the fourth consecutive month, by 7,241 workers from March. Virginia’s adjusted unemployed rate remains below the April national unemployment rate of 5.4 percent.
Virginia’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment increased by 17,300 jobs from March 2015 to April 2015 to a total of 3,802,900, pushing employment to its highest level on record. In April, private sector employment increased by 13,800 jobs, while public sector jobs increased by 3,500 jobs over the year.
Between March 2015 and April 2015, employment increased in seven major industry divisions and fell in four. The largest gains were in education and health services (5,700 jobs), professional and business services (5,000 jobs) and construction (5,000 jobs).
During the same time period, employment fell in mining (100 jobs), trade, transportation and utilities (2,000 jobs), information (400 jobs) and miscellaneous services (700 jobs).
Virginia’s unadjusted data decreased by 0.3 percentage point to 4.6 percent in April and was 0.2 percent below the April 2014 rate.
Fairfax-based Geeknet Inc. receives higher takeover offer
Fairfax-based Geeknet Inc. said on Wednesday it had received an unsolicited offer to acquire the company for $20 per share in cash.
The company did not identify the bidder.
Geeknet announced on Tuesday that it has signed an agreement with Los Angeles-based retailer Hot Topic Inc., under which the company would be acquired for $17.50 per share in cash.
Geeknet said its board of directors will carefully review and consider the new proposal. Nonetheless, it said, the company remains subject to the merger agreement and the board of directors has not changed its recommendation accepting Hot Topic’s offer.
Geeknet is the parent company of ThinkGeek and ThinkGeek Solutions. ThinkGeek Solutions distributes video game-themed merchandise through licensed web-stores for the gaming community.
CCAM launches workforce program for soldiers, veterans
The Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing in Prince George County has launched a free program for veterans and soldiers transitioning into the civilian workforce.
The program prepares soldiers and veterans for as many as six National Institute for Metalworking (NIMs) certifications.
“Soldiers receive two-and-a-half years of training in approximately five months through a hybrid online and hands-on laboratory program,” Bruce Sobczak, CCAM’S workforce director, said in a statement.
The pilot program is located at Southside Virginia Community College (SVCC)’s Emporia Center. More than 15 Virginia manufacturing companies will interview the pilot program graduates when they earn their NIMs certifications in late August.
The venture is a collaboration between the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission, the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center, SVCC, the Crater Regional Workforce Investment Board, the Virginia Employment Commission, the Fort Lee Soldier for Life Program and 180 Skills, which provides online career and technical education.
Project partners plan to use the program as a model for other Virginia regions and nationally. The group also plans to develop a second skills training curriculum in industrial maintenance.
CCAM is an applied research center that aims to accelerate the transition of research innovation from the laboratory to commercial use.
Woodland Park office portfolio in Herndon gets $83 million in financing
DTZ, a commercial real estate services company, announced Wednesday that it has secured $83 million in financing for Woodland Park, a three-building portfolio located in Herndon.
Executive Managing Director John Campanella arranged the financing on behalf of a joint venture involving AEW Capital Management (on behalf of one of its separate account clients) and American Real Estate Partners. DTZ said in a statement that a bank provided the borrower with a long-term fixed rate loan.
“We had a number of lending institutions quoting on Woodland Park,” said Campanella. “The borrower was able to secure a very competitive 10-year bank loan with great flexibility.”
The three buildings, which total 480,324 square feet, are currently 96 percent leased. They are located on Corporate Park Drive in a 175-acre live/work/play office, retail and residential development along the Dulles Toll Road. The property is within walking distance of the future Herndon-Monroe Street Metro Station and is accessible to Reston Town Center.
The Woodland Park Office portfolio includes Plaza Ridge II, a 160,046-square-foot, Class A office building, and South Point I and II, twin, six-story, Class A office buildings totaling 320,278 square feet.
All three buildings offer parking on surface lots and adjacent three-story parking structures.
DTZ, based in Chicago, provides property management for 1.9 billion square feet and facilities management for 1.3 billion square feet. It completed $63 billion in transaction volume globally in 2014 on behalf of institutional, corporate, government and private clients.
Former McDonnell adviser joins McGuireWoods Consulting
A senior adviser to former Gov. Bob McDonnell will join McGuireWoods Consulting as a senior vice president.
Jasen Eige served in the cabinet-level role as counselor and senior policy adviser in the McDonnell administration. He will join the consulting firm on June 1 as a member of its National/Multistate Government Affairs team.
The firm said Eige will assist clients with governmental and public policy issues, focusing on governors and state attorneys general.
He also will provide legal services to clients as a partner at McGuireWoods LLP. McGuireWoods Consulting is a subsidiary of the law firm.
Eige was president of Atticus Strategies LLC, a state government relations consulting firm he founded in the Richmond area.
Mesa West Capital funds $55 million loan to refinance Hilton Hotel in Arlington
The New York City office of Mesa West Capital has originated a $55 million mortgage loan to refinance the Hilton Crystal City, a hotel in Arlington.
The nonrecourse, floating-rate, interest-only loan includes an initial term of three years with extension options.
The JBG Cos., a private real estate investment and development firm in the Washington, D.C., area, acquired the hotel adjacent to Ronald Reagan National Airport in 2012.
JBG, which owns 12 hotels in the Washington metropolitan area, renovated the property in September 2013. Improvements included upgrades to the hotel’s 393 guest rooms, lobby, and meeting space as well as adding a new executive lounge and six new studio suites.
After the renovation, the hotel saw a boost in both occupancy and the average daily room rate, Mesa West Capital Assistant Vice President Daniel Tanner said in a statement.
“Our loan will give them the runway to continue to capitalize on the work they’ve started and continue to do there,” Tanner said.
This is Mesa West’s second financing on a JBG-owned hotel and its fourth in the D.C. metro area this year. In March, the Los Angeles-based lender provided JBG with $27 million in first mortgage debt to refinance the 191-room Westin Reston Heights in Reston. Last week Mesa West funded two first mortgage loans totaling nearly $80 million to finance the acquisition of an office portfolio in Reston.
All four loans originated out of Mesa West’s New York City Office.
Nicholas Seidenberg and Michael Zelin of Eastdil Secured arranged the financing.
Norman C. Smiley III
Norman C. Smiley III becomes regional president for First Bank
Norman C. (Butch) Smiley III has joined Strasburg-based First Bank as regional president of the newly formed South region. First Bank formed the region following its acquisition of six branches from Bank of America in Staunton, Dillwyn, Elkton, Farmville, Waynesboro and Woodstock.
Butch most recently served as the president & CEO of Community Bank in Staunton.
He began his banking career in 1982 and resides in Staunton where he is active in the community. According to First Bank, he will work out of the company’s newly established Staunton regional headquarters, which is undergoing renovations over the next several months.
The company also announced that it has hired Paul K. Martin as a senior vice president/market executive and promoted Jeffrey R. Smith to the position of senior vice president/market executive. Martin will work out of the Staunton regional headquarters while Smith will be based out of the Harrisonburg loan production office.
First Bank is a subsidiary of First National Corp.
Hot Topic to acquire Geeknet
Mall retailer Hot Topic has agreed to purchase Geeknet Inc., an online retailer for clothing and merchandise for the “global geek community.”
Hot Topic will pay $17.50 per share. The transaction has an equity value of $122 million.
Geeknet, based in Fairfax, will become a subsidiary of Los Angeles-based Hot Topic. Geeknet is the parent company of ThnkGeek and ThinkGeek Solutions, which sell licensed T-shirts and other apparel and merchandise featuring movies such as Star Wars and video games like Minecraft.
“Geeknet's unique concept and approach to the online retail community is a strong fit with our business strategy, which is focused on delivering great products for avid fans of various licensed properties, and we are excited about the opportunity to help drive profitable growth and further enhance value for Geeknet's customers,” Hot Topic CEO Lisa Harper said in a statement.
Guggenheim Securities served as Geeknet’s financial adviser, and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz served as its legal adviser. Kirkland & Ellis LLP and the Law Offices of Gary M. Holihan PC served as legal advisers to Hot Topic.
CBRE|Hampton Roads secures financing on office buildings
CBRE|Hampton Roads has arranged $7.5 million in long-term, fixed-rate financing for two suburban office buildings in Virginia Beach.
The firm said the purpose of the loan was to refinance and secure permanent financing taking advantage of the current low-interest rate environment. The properties, totaling about 105,000 square feet, are the Chadwick Building and the Grayson Building at Corporate Woods. Miami-based 5041 Corporate Woods LLC owns both buildings.
John C. Richards Jr., vice president of CBRE Capital Markets’ Debt & Equity Finance group, arranged the financing with one of his correspondent permanent lenders.
In another transaction, CBRE|Hampton Roads also has been selected by Lend Lease as the exclusive leasing agent for 155 Kingsley Lane, a 105,000-square-foot medical office building in Norfolk.
Located on the Bon Secours DePaul Medical Campus off Granby Street, the $25 million, four-story medical office building has up to 50,000 square feet available for third-party medical tenants.
CBRE|Hampton Roads’ Perry Frazer, Chris Kieran and Mac Weaver will handle the leasing and marketing of the property.
McAuliffe announces new chief information officer
The former chief information officer (CIO) for the U.S. House of Representatives has been named Virginia’s CIO, effective June 8th.
Nelson Moe is charged with modernizing the state’s IT program so that taxpayers get the best service and greatest value possible for their dollar.
Before serving as CIO for the U.S. House of Representatives, Moe was a nuclear submarine officer for the U.S. Navy and then worked in the private sector for several small IT startups.
He has recently advised several small IT/cyber companies on service development and is currently a contributor to the Institute of Critical Infrastructure Technology (ICIT) and the Government Technology Research Alliance (GTRA).
Exelis shareholders approve merger
McLean-based Exelis Inc. said Friday that its shareholders approved the $4.75 billion acquisition by Melbourne, Fla.-based Harris Corp.
The Department of Justice also has notified the companies that the required waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act for the merger is over.
The companies expect the merger to be completed May 29 although it remains subject to closing conditions. The combined company will be called Harris.
Still undecided is where the company will be headquartered.
“We are in active conversations with state and local authorities and expect to be able to announce a decision in the near future, sometime after the closing,” according to Harris spokesman Jim Burke.
Business leaders and company employees have speculated the company is considering moving headquarters to the Washington, D.C., area, , according to Florida Today. Florida leaders have been trying to convince Harris to stay.
The combined company will have more than $8 billion in revenue and 23,000 employees. Exelis is an aerospace, defense, information and services company, while Harris is an international communications and IT company.
Exelis shareholders will receive $16.25 in cash and 0.1025 of a share of Harris common stock for each Exelis share they own.
Following the merger, Harris shareholders will own about 85 percent of the company.
Interstate Hotels & Resorts named top hotel management company
Hotel Business Magazine has named Arlington-based Interstate Hotels & Resorts the top hotel management company for 2015.
The industry publication ranked Interstate the top hotel management company out of 120 enterprises, based on 2014 total revenue managed.
According to the survey, Interstate had revenues of approximately $3.5 billion last year, up from $3.2 billion in 2013. It managed 435 properties and nearly 80,000 rooms in 2014.
Other Virginia companies on this year’s list were Fairfax-based Crescent Hotels & Resorts and Crestline Hotels & Resorts (Nos. 6 and 21, respectively); Salamander Hotels & Resorts in Middleburg (No. 45) and Newport Hospitality Group Inc. in Williamsburg (No. 70).
Hotel Business’ survey highlights gross annual revenue, number of properties managed, number of rooms managed, number of third-party properties managed and ownership stake of each company, with comparisons to the previous year’s numbers.
EVB purchases land from Media General in Hanover County
EVB, a Tappahannock-based bank serving eastern and central Virginia, has purchased a tract of land in the Atlee Station area of Hanover County from Media General.
“We have purchased the land," said Joe James, a senior executive vice president and EVB’s chief operating officer. While sources in the commercial real estate community said the land was being considered for a possible corporate headquarters relocation, James said, "We have no specific plans for the use of the property. There have been no decisions made on the use of the property."
Media General subdivided a parcel of its land, and James said EVB bought seven acres from the 18-acre tract. Jeff Cooke, a senior vice president with Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer in Richmond and the broker on the deal, said the transaction closed a few days ago. He would not disclose the price.
“We did a site search for about a year and helped them find this place,” Cooke said.
EVB has 21 full-service branches in eastern Virginia. A community bank, it targets small- to medium-sized businesses and consumers. Its parent company, Eastern Virginia Bankshares Inc., recently acquired Newport News-based Virginia Company Bank. At the time of the deal last fall, Virginia Company Bank had three branches in Hampton, Newport News and Williamsburg.
Clarabridge purchases Belgian company
Clarabridge Inc. announced Thursday that it had acquired Belgium-based Engagor, a provider of real-time social media service and engagement.
Reston-based Clarabridge provides customer experience management solutions to companies, allowing them to understand and analyze customer feedback from social media and other platforms.
The acquisition will add advanced social listening and social customer service and engagement to Clarabridge’s capabilities. Engagor, which was founded in 2011, offers a social listening and engagement platform for marketers and customer care organizations at Fortune 1000 companies.
“As the market has expanded, leading enterprises are looking for solutions that can bring together customer feedback from all channels into one intelligence hub, and a robust mechanism for intelligently engaging with customers,” Sid Banerjee, CEO of Clarabridge, said in a statement.
The acquisition of Engagor adds 360 clients, including Volvo, Ikea, Pepsi and Nintendo. Clarabridge now has more than 800 clients worldwide.
Clarabridge plans to sell the Engagor solution as a standalone product, as well as part of the Clarabridge suite.
Clarabridge acquired survey software provider MarketMetrix in 2014.
Runnymede Corp. buys Virginia Beach office building for $3.3 million
The Runnymede Corp., a Virginia-Beach based commercial real estate development and management firm, has purchased a 32,444-square-foot office building at 100 Constitution Drive in its home city for $3.3 million.
The seller was 100 Constitution Drive Associates LLC. Chris Zarpas of S. L. Nusbaum Realty Co. in Norfolk represented the buyer and John M. Profilet, also of Nusbaum, represented the seller.
In other transactions for S. L. Nusbaum:
Office Depot renewed a lease for 19,986 square feet of retail space at Windsor Meade Marketplace in Williamsburg. Richard Jacobson and Tyler Jacobson represented the landlord.
InnovaSystems International LLC renewed an 18,790-square–foot lease for office space at 7447 Central Business Park Drive in Norfolk. Profilet represented the landlord.
Three businesses announce expansions in Virginia Beach
Two manufacturers and a catering company will expand in Virginia Beach.
The three companies received Economic Development Investment Program (EDIP) grants Tuesday from the Virginia Beach Development Authority to assist in their expansion plans. The grants are awarded based on the creation of new jobs and new capital investments.
The companies are moving into areas near Naval Air Station Oceana where the city provides incentives under a program known as YesOceana to encourage businesses that are compatible with the jet base. The city also provides incentives for incompatible businesses to relocate elsewhere in Virginia Beach.
“This award-winning program serves as a model for other localities with encroachment issues. These grants are examples of our recent efforts and the success of the program to attract compatible and appropriate businesses to this area of our city,” Michelle Chapleau, the city’s business development manager, said in a statement.
The three companies are:
Powertrain Industries Inc. The company, headquartered in Garden Grove, Calif., will relocate and expand its manufacturing facility to Oceana South Industrial Park. Powertrain manufactures automotive drivelines for many foreign rear-wheel-drive cars and light trucks. The Virginia Beach manufacturing facility opened in 2012.
The company has purchased a 20,000-square-foot building at 2503 Squadron Court, which will boost the company’s footprint from an existing 8,712-square-foot leased space.
“This is exactly the industry sector we are targeting for the Oceana area, and we know their manufacturing, wholesale and distribution operations will be a perfect fit with other businesses in the Oceana South Industrial Park,”Warren D. Harris, director of Virginia Beach Economic Development, said in a statement.
The new facility will occupy 10,000 square feet in the building. The relocation is expected to be complete by August. The total capital investment of $1.2 million includes real estate, improvements, business property, machinery and tools. The development authority approved an EDIP grant of $25,000.
S&S Precision will expand its manufacturing and distribution operation from 9,000 square feet to 14,850 square feet at 2504 Squadron Court. The company is a government contractor that specializes in product development and manufacturing of military, police and tactical equipment.
S&S started its Virginia Beach operations in 2007. The expansion of the manufacturing and distribution facility will be done by June. The current location also provides the company with enough space to expand an additional 4,950 square feet. S&S plans hire six new employees with average annual wages of $29,500, excluding benefits.
The Development Authority approved an EDIP grant of $40,000 based on the company’s capital investment of $2 million and the location in the APZ-1 compatible zone. The capital investment includes real estate, business property, machinery and tools.
Yummy Goodness is a small, woman-owned catering company that opened in 2012. It specializes in private and corporate catering. Yummy expanded its leased space at 317 Village Road from 1,350 square feet to 2,125 square feet and has extended the lease for an additional five years. The company also is adding a community kitchen that can be rented by other small culinary businesses.
The expansion and renovations are expected to be completed this summer. The company has received its second APZ-1 EDIP grant from the development authority in the amount of $25,000 based on the capital investment for this expansion of $414,000.
Lumber Liquidators CEO resigns
Toano-based Lumber Liquidators announced Thursday that its president and CEO, Robert M. Lynch, has unexpectedly resigned.
Thomas D. Sullivan, the company's founder, will serve as the acting CEO until a replacement is found.
"I am really proud of the LL Team and I look forward to working with them and providing our customers with the best hardwood floors at the best prices as we have since I founded the Company over 20 years ago," Sullivan said in a statement.
John M. Presley, Lumber Liquidator's lead independent director, has been appointed as non-executive chairman of the board of directors. The board also accepted Lynch's resignation as a director of the company.
The hardwood foor retailer has come under fire after a March report by CBS’ “60 Minutes” questioned the safety of its Chinese-made laminate floors. The report alleged that the Chinese floors contained unsafe levels of formaldehyde. Earlier this month, Lumber Liquidators said it would stop selling laminate floors sourced from China as it investigates the practices of its suppliers.
With more than 355 locations, Lumber Liquidators is North American's largest specialty retailer of hardwood flooring.
In April, Lumber Liquidators posted a net loss of $7.8 million for the first quarter of 2015 as opposed to net income of $13.7 million during the same time last year.
The company also said last month it is involved in a number of government investigations and legal actions, many of which have resulted from allegations about the company and its product. The Department of Justice is seeking criminal charges against the company under the Lacey Act, which prohibits trade in wildlife, fish, and plants that have been illegally sold.
WestPark Shopping Center in Henrico County sells for $33.3 million
WestPark Shopping Center, a 176,973-square-foot, grocery-anchored retail center on West Broad Street in Henrico County, has sold for $33.3 million, or about $189 per square foot. The buyer was InvenTrust Properties, a real estate investment trust based out of Oakbrook, Ill., that in 2014 owned 108 multi-tenant retail properties, comprising 15.5 million square feet of retail space in 24 states.
The center is located along one of Richmond’s most active retail areas, in the Short Pump corridor between Stillman Parkway and Pemberton Road. It’s anchored by a Martin’s grocery store. Other tenants include Christmas Tree Shops, Dickey’s BBQ, All Med Express, and The Tile Shop.
Thalhimer's Capital Markets Group, in partnership with Cushman & Wakefield’s mid-Atlantic based retail investment sales team represented the center’s owner, Westdale Asset Management Ltd in the sale. According to Thalhimer, the center was 98.9% leased at the time of sale.
The sale was completed by Eric B. Robison of Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer’s Capital Markets Group, as well as leasing agent James Ashby IV, a first vice president, also in Thalhimer’s Richmond office, along with Geoffrey Millerd and Justin Smith of Cushman & Wakefield’s Boston, Mass., office and Chris Lawrence in Cushman & Wakefield’s Washington, D.C., office.
“We continue to see extremely strong investment appetite for all asset classes in Richmond. WestPark Shopping Center was a highly sought after opportunity driven by the strength of the location and strong performance from Martins," Eric Robison, Thalhimer’s capital markets leader, said in a statement.
According to Millerd, retail investment sales executive director for Cushman & Wakefield in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast, added, “InvenTrust did an excellent job acquiring Westpark in what was an extremely competitive bidding process that included a number of top tier institutional buyers.”
Zero Point Inc. to build new corporate headquarters in Virginia Beach
Zero Point Inc. will build a new 15,000-square-foot corporate headquarters in Virginia Beach.
The expansion on 1.8 acres at 2553 Horse Pasture Lane is expected to create 89 jobs over the next five years with average annual salaries of $66,040, excluding benefits.
The company, which provides products and training related to counter-terrorism, said in a statement that it had been working with the Virginia Beach Department of Economic Development to find a new location for its corporate headquarters since 2014.
Its current location at 1763 Princess Anne Road was established as the headquarters in 2006, but the company has grown and needs more space.
Although it did not release a figure, Zero Point said the investment in the new building and new equipment will involve a substantial capital investment. The company also has locations in Southern Pines, N.C., and Alton, N.H.
The Virginia Beach Economic Development Authority has approved an Economic Development Investment Program (EDIP) grant in the amount of $125,000 for Phase I based on the number of jobs created. Additionally, Zero Point has been approved for a Virginia Jobs Investment Program grant in the amount of $76,700. The Authority will review an additional EDIP grant in the amount of $100,000 for Phase II at a later date.
“We are excited about the opportunity to expand our operations in Virginia Beach,” Zero Point President and CEO Perry Sasnett said in a statement.
Phase I will consist of 44 new full-time jobs in the first three years, and Phase II will consist of 45 new full-time jobs between years four and five.
ServInt names COO
Reston-based ServInt said Wednesday it has named William “Bill” Goss as its chief operating officer.
He succeeds Christian Dawson, who became ServInt’s President in March.
During his 35-year career, Goss has held senior management positions at Oracle, Lockheed Martin, Nextel and the U.S. Navy.
“ServInt’s leadership in the small- to medium-business hosting industry is well established. As we move to expand the footprint of our managed cloud solutions in high-end enterprise markets, Bill Goss will be playing a vital leadership role for us,” ServInt Founder and CEO, Reed Caldwell, said in a statement.
ServInt provides cloud-hosting services for companies around the world. The firm, which serves businesses in more than 130 countries, was founded in Northern Virginia in 1995.
CSC announces plans to split into two companies
Falls Church-based Computer Sciences Corp. (CSC) said Tuesday it plans to split itself into two publicly traded companies by October.
One company will serve commercial and government clients around the world and the other will serve public sector clients in the U.S.
“CSC began its turnaround three years ago,” CSC CEO, Mike Lawrie, said in a statement. “That turnaround has progressed strongly, and our focus now turns to positioning the business for long-term growth and leadership. The best way to accelerate that transformation is by separating the company into two businesses, each uniquely positioned to lead its market by focusing strongly on the needs of its clients.”
The commercial company has about $8.1 billion in revenue in Fiscal Year 2015, more than 1,000 customers and 51,000 employees. The public sector business has FY 2015 revenues of $4.1 billion and employs 14,000 people.
CSC says the separation will allow both companies to better meet customers’ needs, optimize their capital strategies and cost structures, recruit talent, and provide investors with long-term investment opportunities.
After the separation, CSC shareholders will own shares of both companies. The split is subject to customary closing conditions.
CSC provides information technology services and solutions. The company has approximately 70,000 employees and reported revenue of $12.2 billion for the 12 months ended April 3.
TowneBank picks Gateway Plaza for its Richmond headquarters
TowneBank plans to locate its Richmond headquarters in the 18-story Gateway Plaza building being completed in the city’s downtown business district.
TowneBank Richmond will occupy about 26,000 square feet of space with a retail banking center and a commercial and private banking center located in the first-floor lobby.
The bank’s executive offices and a boardroom will be on the seventh floor, which has a 1,400-square-foot terrace overlooking the James River.
The move to Gateway Plaza is “a symbol of our long-term commitment to being a community asset in Richmond,” G. Robert Aston Jr., chairman and CEO of Hampton Roads-based TowneBank, said in a statement.
The bank recently moved into the Richmond-area market with its acquisition of Franklin Financial Corp., the parent company of 80-year-old Franklin Federal Savings Bank.
TowneBank had total assets of $5.83 billion as of March 31. It operates 37 banking offices in Virginia and North Carolina.
Gateway Plaza is being developed by Chicago-based developer Clayco. Other major tenants include the law firm McGuireWoods and CCA Industries.
Leidos names health and engineering sector president
Reston-based Leidos Holdings Inc. has named Jonathan Scholl as health and engineering sector president.
The appointment is effective on June 22.
Scholl will lead nearly 7,000 employees working in the areas of health-care IT, electronic health records, advanced data analytics, health and life sciences, and clinical research.
He also will oversee operations related to energy grid and critical infrastructure, design, engineering and transportation security products.
Scholl will work out of the company's headquarters in Reston.
He served for five years as the chief strategy officer for Texas Health Resources, one of the largest nonprofit health-care systems in the country.
Scholl earned a master's degree in business administration from Harvard Business School.
After graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1984 with a bachelor’s degree in control systems engineering, he served five years in the U.S. Navy as a nuclear submarine officer and nuclear power plant instructor.
Quirk Hotel is more than 50 percent complete
Take a historic building, a love of art, tax credits and a downtown location, and you start to get an idea of the vision behind the soon-to-open Quirk Hotel.
Owners Ted and Katie Ukrop shared their plans for the six-story hotel, scheduled to open on Sept. 1, during a hard-hat media tour on Tuesday.
What will make it stand out, they said, is an experience authentic to Richmond.
There will be local art in the lobby and in the hotel’s 75 guests rooms, an artist in residence, and package deals that might include, say, a visit to the city’s Valentine Museum to view its costume collection.
“We want to offer travelers an experience that is truly Richmond,” said Katie, owner of Quirk Gallery. Located a short distance away at 311 W. Broad St., the gallery will move into a three-story building at 207 West Broad St. that used to house a toy store — right next door to the hotel, at 201 West Broad. A connecting walkway will link the hotel’s lobby to the first-floor gallery.
“This is a hotel birthed from a gallery,” said Christian Kiniry of Glen Allen-based Bank Street Advisors, who is developing the project for the Ukrops. “The art will be a big part of the project.”
If guests like a work of art in their rooms, they can inquire about the artist and perhaps purchase the piece or another work by the artist. The Ukrops want fun to be part of the mix, too. Guests will stay in rooms painted a neutral gray or a salmon pink color from Benjamin Moore that’s called Love and Happiness.
Besides the art, other amenities will include a first-floor coffee bar, a restaurant, a community table in the lobby, a fitness center, 2,000 square feet of function space, an outdoor dining area and a rooftop deck with a place for cocktails. The deck offers expansive views of the city's skyline.
“You will be able to eat, drink, work and socialize anywhere in the lobby. We want this to be a vibrant, fun place to be,” said Kiniry.
Katie said the public as well as guests are welcome to come in and view works by local and regional artists, which has been the specialty of her Quirk Gallery.
The 60,000-square-foot hotel is located in the former J. B. Mosby & Co. department store, an Italian Renaissance building constructed in 1916. Ted Ukrop said the couple is using historic tax credits to help finance the hotel’s renovation. Asked about total investment cost, Kiniry said they were not releasing that figure at this time. He also would not comment on room rates yet, but pointed out that the top-tier hotel in Richmond, in terms of room rates, would continue to be the luxurious Hotel Jefferson, located a few blocks away.
Tuesday’s tour, amid chalky dust, mud and HVAC parts scattered on the lobby floor, offered a glimpse into the building’s soon-to-be restored grandeur. Soaring white arches supported by distinctive columns create a dramatic lobby ceiling while a broad expanse of windows lets in plenty of natural light.
A graceful, black, wrought iron staircase, unearthed during the renovation, leads up to a second floor, which overlooks the lobby.
Five of the hotel’s rooms are located in a penthouse suite on the top level. Because of the building’s former use and age, room windows are large and in some cases higher than usual, because space was reserved at the floor level to store dry goods.
Ted Ukrop said his father, Jim Ukrop, and a partner bought six buildings on West Broad Street in the late 1990s. “They wanted to bring Broad Street back to life,” he said.
Since then, some of the buildings have been sold. With momentum underway in the West Broad Street area because of other large projects, such as the renovation of the Central National Bank building into apartments and the construction of a contemporary arts center on Belvidere and Broad at the entrance to Virginia Commonwealth University, now is good time to proceed with the hotel, Ted Ukrop said.
“I always wanted to do a hotel in Richmond,” he said. “I love Richmond. I believe in the city. I think we are an underrated tourist destination. “
With national publicity coming the city’s way for its food scene, white water and as the site of September’s World Road Cycling Championships bike race, “I think the timing is right,” for the hotel, he said.
According to the Ukrops, the hotel is more than 50 percent complete and will start booking rooms in June. It already has booked an October wedding, they said, and has received inquiries from biking organizations for rooms during a week in September when Richmond will host the international cycling competition from Sept. 19-27.
The hotel has started to hire staff including a general manager, director of marketing and a chef, David Dunlap. He’s the former chef at Ashby Inn and Restaurant in Paris, Va., Ted said. Before that he worked for two years as the sous chef at the Inn at Little Washington, a top-ranked Virginia hotel and restaurant.
in Little Washington, Va.
Destination Hotels, based out of Englewood, Colo., will manage the hotel. The general contractor is W.M. Jordan Co. Portsmouth-based TowneBank is the lender.
Photo courtesy L.L. Bean.
L.L. Bean opening second store in Virginia
Outdoor retailer L.L. Bean plans to open its second location in Virginia in November.
The new location will be at Short Pump Town Center in Richmond. The 15,500-square-foot store will employ 100 people. It will feature active and casual apparel and footwear, outdoor gear and camping products. L.L. Bean will open in the space currently occupied by the Food Court.
L.L.Bean already has a store in Tysons Corner, which opened in 2000.
The Short Pump location will be L.L.Bean’s 24th store outside of Maine.
Atlantic Coast Pipeline says it has identified alternative routes
The Atlantic Coast Pipeline LLC said Monday that it has identified several alternative route segments as potentially having the least impact to environmental, historic and cultural resources. These segments are being incorporated into the proposed route for an approximately 550-mile interstate natural gas transmission pipeline across three states.
"ACP has been listening to landowners, federal and state agencies and surveying to find the route with the least impact. While we have not surveyed them yet, we have determined there are several alternate segments that may have less of an impact than the initially proposed route," Leslie Hartz, vice president-pipeline construction for Dominion Transmission Inc., said in a statement. "Surveying is necessary to determine the final route."
The ACP, a corporation formed by Dominion, Duke Energy, Piedmont Natural Gas and AGL Resources to operate the pipeline, wants to build the $4.5 billion to $5 billion project to meet energy needs in Virginia and North Carolina. According to the consortium, the natural gas transported by the project would be used to generate electricity as well as to heat homes and run local businesses.
By providing access to low-cost natural gas supplies from a diverse set of producing regions, the ACP says the controversial pipeline will increase the reliability and security of natural gas supplies in Virginia and North Carolina.
Detailed information about the identified alternative segments will be presented in the drafts of 12 resource reports that will be filed this month with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). A final proposed route will be included in the formal FERC application later this summer.
The alternative segments are located in two Virginia counties, Augusta and Nelson, where opposition has been fierce. In this part of the state, landowners have raised questions of environmental safety and property owner rights and values.
Atlantic said in its press release that landowners would know the alternative segments as the Augusta Industrial Park variation, the Appalachian Trail South alternative, the East of Lovingston Connector alternative and the East of Lovingston alternative.
Atlantic has begun contacting Virginia landowners of the identified alternative segments and other remaining segments that have not given permission to survey their properties, asking again for permission so the company can find a route with the least impact.
Atlantic said it is following a Virginia law that requires an initial letter be sent to landowners requesting permission to survey. If permission is not granted in response to this request, companies then are required to send a notice of intent to enter the property prior to performing the surveys.
Atlantic says it is doing more than is required by Virginia law to ensure that landowners have ample opportunity to be heard. If permission is denied again, rather than send crews to survey, the company will initiate legal action and ask the courts to affirm the Virginia law. Overall, landowners of about 83 percent of the entire route have given the company permission to survey.
"No one knows their property better," said Hartz. "It is in their best interest for them to allow us to survey and talk with them about the land's unique characteristics. We have looked at more than 3,000 miles of potential routes and have adjusted the route hundreds of times as a result of surveys and discussions with landowners. Surveying the few parcels that remain will give us the best information to assess impact."
Media General opens Washington bureau
Richmond-basedMedia General Inc. has opened a Washington, D.C., bureau and named Jim Osman as bureau chief.
Media General owns 71 television stations in 48 markets. The company said the Washington bureau will provide breaking news, political coverage, analysis and in-depth investigative reporting to its TV stations and digital businesses.
Osman is an 18-time Emmy Award winning political and investigative reporter. Most recently, he was contributing reporter for WUSA-TV in Washington. Before that, he served as the national investigative correspondent for Scripps Television and the company’s Washington bureau chief.
Media General previously had a Washington bureau primarily serving its newspapers until March 2009. The company sold almost all of its newspapers to World Media Enterprises Inc., a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., in 2012. Media General had only 18 television stations at that time.
Walmart Neighborhood Market to open in Danville
Danville is poised to get its first Walmart Neighborhood Market next year, a move that’s expected to create approximately 95 jobs.
Phillips Edison & Co. said Monday that Walmart signed a lease to open the 42,000-square-foot Walmart at Nor-Dan Shopping Center
Walmart Neighborhood Markets are smaller stores for communities in need of a pharmacy, affordable fresh groceries and select household merchandise.
Nor-Dan Shopping Center is a 161,428-square-foot shopping center located at the intersection of Nor-Dan Drive and Route 29. The center is anchored by Big Lots and It's Fashion Metro.
Phillips Edison focuses on the acquisition, redevelopment, leasing and management of grocery-anchored retail centers. The company has corporate offices in Cincinnati, Salt Lake City, New York City and Atlanta.
New name for MeadWestvaco merger
WestRock Co. will be the name of company formed in the merger of Richmond-based MeadWestvaco Corp. and Georgia-based Rock-Tenn Co.
“WestRock draws on the strongest elements from each of our legacy names,” Steve Voorhees, the current CEO of Rock-Tenn and who will be the CEO of the combined company, said in a statement.
John Luke, the CEO of MeadWestvaco, is set to become non-executive chairman of WestRock.
The company said Monday that the companies have received antitrust approval and are awaiting regulatory and shareholder approvals that are expected in June.
The combined packaging company is expected to have annual sales of about $16 billion.
WestRock’s principal offices will be located in Richmond, while its operating offices will be located in Norcross, Ga., Rock-Tenn’s hometown.
Fitness industry helping to keep Richmond’s commercial real estate market fit
Two national fitness chains, YouFit Health Clubs and Crunch Fitness, entered the Richmond market last quarter and opened four gyms across the area for a combined 94,400 square feet, according to a CBRE/Richmond market report.
These openings accounted for 66 percent of Richmond’s retail net absorption during the first quarter, with YouFit opening three locations for 68,800 square feet and Crunch Fitness opening a 25,600 square-foot gym in the Willow Lawn area.
According to CBRE, the fitness sector’s growth has been vital in the market’s reabsorption of space being vacating by big-box retailers. Gold’s Gym and American Family Fitness already have occupied vacant anchor space at Virginia Center Commons and Willow Lawn, respectively.
In another fitness development, RichmondBizSense.com reports that the former CEO of Genworth Financial has opened a 50,000-square-foot athletic training facility in Mechanicsville. Michael Fraizer’s Sports Reality held a grand opening on May 16. The facility, at 8137 Pine Ridge Road, offers sports performance training for athletes and serves as a practice facility for the Richmond Raiders, a professional indoor football team owned by Fraizer and his wife, Elizabeth.
Primland’s new cottages open June 1
Primland resort’s newest accommodations open on June 1. The latest multimillion addition to the mountain resort in Meadows of Dan will appeal to guests in search of a dramatic view, with cottge balconies perched 2,800 feet above the Dan River Gorge.
“With the new two-story, chalet-like structures, we can offer 16 new accommodations in four cottages overlooking the Pinnacles of Dan and the Dan River Gorge. They are built in a cluster adjacent to the first tee on The Highland Course and are designed for families and friends who wish to lodge together in their own environment, “ Steve Helms, Primland’s vice president, said in a statement.
Each cottage, Hummingbird, Robin, Oriole and Bluebird — named for songbirds that inhabit the area — contains two large suites and two-suite rooms. They have room for four to eight guests and have a living room on each level.
“This multi-million dollar addition has created jobs in the region, both architectural and construction, and we are proud to be one of the main economic engines of Patrick County and a leader in flying the flag of tourism in Virginia,” said Harold Primat, Primland’s president.
Interior designs reflect nature and the European chic flavor of The Lodge and the resort’s existing Fairways Cottages. A cottage with two suites, two suite rooms, two bathrooms and connection hallways offerings about 3,904 square feet, including the balcony and porch space.
Primland rates range from $389 per night (double occupancy) to $1,691(Sunday through Thursday) with units ranging from a room or suite in the main Lodge to a seven-bedroom home. Rates are higher, ranging from $585 to $1,890 per night (double occupancy, on weekends.
This year Primland was rated one of the Top 10 Luxury Hotels in the U.S. by Trip Advisor and in the Top 25 Hotels in the US by US News and World Report. In the latest Conde Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice awards, Primland ranked ninth in the Top 25 Resorts in the U.S. and 33rd in the Top 100 Hotels and Resorts in the World, up 66 places, with a rating of 95.04 (the highest rating was 98.95). The Highland Course was also rated by Golf Magazine as one of the Top 100 Must Play.
Silverline Center at Tysons offers parking for metro commuters
Silverline Center in Tysons has a new amenity for Metro Silver Line commuters: parking spaces.
Washington REIT, which just completed a $35 million renovation of the 526,000-square-foot office complex at 7900 Westpark Drive, signed an agreement with Fairfax County last fall to offer 100 parking spaces in its underground garage to Metro commuters. Now that building renovations are complete, the company is telling the public about the parking space availability.
To get out the word, the REIT illuminated the exterior tower of the center with a giant silver “P.”
“We are pleased to provide more commuters with easy access to Metro as Tysons evolves to become a more walkable urban center,” Anthony Chang, senior director at Washington REIT, said in a statement.
Silverline Center is three-tenths of a mile from the Tysons Corner Metro station, or a seven-minute walk. In addition, the Fairfax Connector route 423 bus runs between Silverline Center and the Metro station.
Spaces are available on the P1 level of the seven days a week. Commuters pay $1 for the first hour, $4 for three hours, or a daily maximum of $5. Monthly passes are available for $50.
The garage is located next to the McLean Hilton, about a half mile from Tysons Galleria, with access to the Capital Beltway and Route 123.
Washington REIT is one of two private office property owners near the new Silver Line Metro stations in Tysons to offer interim parking to commuters under agreements with Fairfax County. When Silverline Center is nearly fully leased, commuter parking will no longer be available.
Suffolk’s Harbour View attracts new retailers
Harbour View in Northern Suffolk is establishing itself as a retail destination.
Anchored by a 123,000-square-foot Kroger Marketplace store, the mixed-use development in Suffolk announced the addition of about 98,000 square feet of new retail tenants.
They include Ross Dress for Less, Michael’s, Petco, DSW Designer Shoe Shoe Warehouse, Ulta Beauty and Five Below.
“We are rising to meet the growing demand for quality retail shopping, dining and housing options in this walkable community,” John H. Peterson III, senior vice president of Terry Peterson Cos., the project’s developer, said in a statement. The retail center is adjacent to a residential development that includes apartments, townhomes and single-family homes in a campus-like setting.
Project team members include Monarch Bank, VHB, HBA, Armada/Hoffler, and Williams Mullen, with Divaris Real Estate representing the landlord during lease transactions.
Playing to your audience
Dick’s Sporting Goods, set to open to the public on Friday at The Pinnacle mixed-use development in Bristol, Tenn., is giving a sneak preview to the area’s lacrosse players in preopening events.
According to developers, the store is the only one in the Tri-Cities to carry equipment for lacrosse — the fastest growing sport in the country.
Mark Bodo with the Northeast Tennessee Sports Association said in a news release that nearly 200 youth play lacrosse on teams in Bristol, Kingsport, Johnson City and Greeneville, and the number is growing.
They are invited to a ribbon-cutting event with shopping time at the store on Tuesday, May 19 at 4:30 p.m.
“We are thrilled that there is finally a store here in the Tri-Cities to offer equipment for our players,” says Bodo. “Dick’s Sporting Goods is a sponsor of our league, and I think they’ve seen the interest in the sport grow here. We have plans for more teams to join our league next year from Elizabethton, Morristown and even Sevier County.”
The lacrosse selection at the store will include sticks, stick heads, helmets, pads, balls and goals. While just recently growing in popularity in the South, lacrosse is actually one of the country’s oldest sports, evolving from a similar game played by Native Americans.
In addition to lacrosse gear, the new location will offer Nike and Under Armour shops, athletic and outdoor apparel and footwear and the latest gear for team sports, fitness, camping, hunting and fishing.
The Pinnacle is a 250-acre, open-air, mixed-use development located at Exit 74 off Interstate 81 and Highway 11W in Bristol. It expects to draw shoppers from the region, which includes Northeast Tennessee, Southwest Virginia and Southeastern Kentucky.
WashingtonFirst Bankshares to acquire 1st Portfolio Holding Corp.
Reston-based WashingtonFirst Bankshares Inc. plans to take over 1st Portfolio Holding Corp. in a $7.7 million stock merger.
Fairfax-based 1st Portfolio is the holding company for 1st Portfolio Lending Corp. and 1st Portfolio Wealth Advisors.
The deal is expected to close early in the third quarter of 2015.
WashingtonFirst, the parent company of WashingtonFirst Bank, believes the deal will significantly expand its mortgage lending business while adding a new line of business — wealth management — to its financial services.
In the 12 months ended April 30, 1st Portfolio Lending originated about $500 million in residential mortgage loans. On the same date, 1st Portfolio Wealth Advisors managed client assets worth about $238 million.
Under the terms of the merger agreement, accredited shareholders of 1st Portfolio will receive $7.7 million in WashingtonFirst common stock valued at $16 per share.
Ten percent of the merger consideration will be held in escrow for one year to secure 1st Portfolio’s indemnification obligations under the merger agreement.
WashingtonFirst will issue shares of its common stock in exchange for up to $7 million in new capital, representing 1st Portfolio’s tangible equity capital in excess of $2.5 million. As of March 31, the amount of such excess capital was approximately $5.1 million.
Non-accredited 1st Portfolio shareholders of 1st Portfolio, who hold approximately 2 percent of its common stock, will receive cash consideration in lieu of shares of WashingtonFirst common stock.
After the merger, 1st Portfolio Wealth Advisors will be a subsidiary of WashingtonFirst, while 1st Portfolio Lending Corp. will be a division of WashingtonFirst Bank.
Michael Rebibo, 1st Portfolio’s CEO, will join WashingtonFirst as an executive in charge of those two lines of business.
Founded in 2004, WashingtonFirst has completed three other acquisitions in the past nine years: First Liberty National Bank in 2006, Alliance Bankshares Corp. in 2012, and Millennium Bank N.A. last year.
In this transaction, Sandler O'Neill + Partners, LP served as financial advisor to WashingtonFirst and Troutman Sanders LLP served as legal counsel. Cooley LLP served as legal counsel to 1st Portfolio.
WashingtonFirst has $1.4 billion in total assets and 17 branches in the Washington, D.C., metro area.
Eastern Virginia Bankshares repays government for stock rights
Tappahannock-based Eastern Virginia Bankshares Inc., the parent company of EVB, has paid $115,000 to the federal government for rights to its stock issued during the Great Recession.
Eastern Virginia repurchased from the U.S. Treasury Department a warrant to purchase 384,041.19 shares of the company's common stock at an exercise price of $9.374 per share.
The warrant was issued to the government in January 2009 as part of the company's participation in the Capital Purchase Program of the federal Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).
Eastern Virginia said that, with the repurchase of the warrant, the Treasury Department has no remaining equity investment in the company.
In a statement, Joe A. Shearin, the president and CEO of the parent company and the bank, said the move “marks continued progress toward achieving our strategic goals."
Virginia Railway Express creates ticketing app
Alexandria-based Virginia Railway Express (VRE) has introduced mobile ticketing app for paying fares.
The app, called VRE Mobile, lets riders buy tickets and passes on their smartphones. The app is available for free from the iTunes App Store and Google Play.
The app will allow passengers to:
• Purchase, store, use and validate single-ride, day-pass, five-day, 10-trip and monthly passes using smartphones
• Use disability, senior and youth fares with the app.
• Use multiple tickets for multiple riders from a single smartphone.
• Split payment between two credit cards or a credit card and SmartBenefits account.
• Create an account and store information for future purchases and manage account information and purchase tickets that appear instantly on the phone through http://www.vre.org.
• Purchase Amtrak Step-up tickets for use with multi-ride VRE tickets on select Amtrak trains.
VRE partnered with GlobeSherpa to create the mobile ticketing app.
VRE is the 10th largest commuter rail service in the U.S. and is a transportation partnership of the Northern Virginia and Potomac & Rappahannock transportation commissions.
It serves Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C.
Tobacco Commission gets new leader and new name
The Virginia Tobacco Commission, which provides formerly tobacco-dependent communities with money to promote economic development, has a leader and a new name.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s office announced Friday that Evan Feinman, most recently Virginia’s deputy secretary of natural resources, has been appointed executive director of the commission, which has been renamed the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission. (Before, it was formally known as the Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission).
Feinman succeeds Timothy S. Pfohl, who had been serving as the commission’s interim executive director.
Before serving as deputy secretary of natural resources, Feinman served as deputy policy director for McAuliffe’s transition team after his election. Feinman has worked on multiple campaigns at the state and federal level and at the Commonwealth Institute, a budget and fiscal policy think tank in Richmond.
Feinman joined the McAuliffe campaign as policy director in late 2012. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia, spent two years on a fellowship with the Public Interest Research Groups working on energy and transportation policy, and then attended law school at Washington and Lee University.
The new name and leader aren’t the only changes to the commission. Legislation, signed this year by McAuliffe, aims to revamp the organization. The new legislation, House Bill 2330 and Senate Bill 1440, do the following:
• Establishes the Tobacco Region Revolving Loan Fund to make loans to local governments to finance the cost of a project.
• Requires a dollar-for-dollar match for all economic development grant awards (no match was required before).
• Requires a biennial comprehensive strategic plan process.
• Establishes a manager to determine financial viability and feasibility for distributing of money from the commission's fund.
• Establishes an online database of all commission awards, with project goals.
• Reduces the number of commission members from 31 to 28 and requires that at least 13 members have expertise in business, economic development, investment banking, finance or education.
U.S. trade agency forms partnership with Norfolk
The Arlington-based U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) has formed a partnership with Norfolk’s Department of Development through the agency’s Making Global Local program.
USTDA is an independent federal agency that connects U.S. businesses to global infrastructure projects, most often in the transportation, energy and telecommunications sectors and exclusively in emerging markets, such as Brazil, Mexico, Turkey and South Africa.
USTDA’s mandate is to invest in projects that lead to economic growth in emerging markets, while also identifying business opportunities for U.S. industry.
The agency generates business for U.S. firms by getting them involved early in the planning process for infrastructure projects by funding feasibility studies, technical assistance and pilot projects.
During the past three years, the agency has formed strategic partnerships with more than 40 key trade promotion organizations.
USTDA collaborates with its Making Global Local partners most closely on its reverse trade mission program, ensuring that delegations from foreign countries visit key industry clusters and innovative firms in the U.S.
On May 28, Norfolk will host an export seminar at the Community Room of the city’s Slover Library. USTDA will explain the opportunities it offers and show how Hampton Roads businesses can take advantage of them through the agency's partnership with the city.
An estimated 40 percent of the local Hampton Roads region and 30 percent of the commonwealth's economy are dependent on the Department of Defense's activities. As a result, Norfolk is encouraging its businesses to look abroad as it seeks to diversify the local economy.
The city has begun a fund to promote more exports. The Global Initiatives Fund, the first of its kind in Virginia and the U.S., is designed to support local exporters that need access to capital.
The fund is one of four investment tools developed under the Norfolk First Investment Initiative. It is capitalized with Community Development Block Grants and other federal funds.
Cinépolis USA to anchor Avonlea Town Center in Loudoun County
A luxury movie theater is set to make its debut in Virginia next year, employing more than 100 people.
Fairfax-based The Peterson Cos. announced Thursday that Cinépolis USA, a 39,000 square-foot, luxury movie theater will anchor its $70 million Avonlea Town Center in Loudoun County.
Avonlea Town Center, a 30-acre, mixed-use development near the intersection of Route 50 and Loudoun County Parkway, is set to break ground this year.
The 11-screen, 748-seat theater will include reclining leather seats, in-theater waiter service, gourmet meals and a full bar menu.
“There is tremendous enthusiasm for what we’re creating at Avonlea and we look forward to announcing a complementary array of restaurants, cafes, specialty shops and boutiques in the coming months,” Taylor O. Chess, president of retail for Peterson Cos., said in a statement.
Avonlea Town Center is expected to encompass 265,000 square feet of space, including a 40,000-square-foot supermarket, 122,500 square feet of other retail, a 32,000-square-foot health club and 40,000 square feet of office space.
Cinépolis is a Southern California-based theater chain that operates seven theaters in California and Florida. Its Mexico-based parent company, Cinépolis, is the fourth largest movie theater company in the world.
Film based on interracial couple to be filmed in Virginia
Virginia will be the site of a film based on a couple whose interracial marriage resulted in a landmark civil rights decision by the Supreme Court.
The motion picture “Loving” will be based on the true story of Richard and Mildred Loving, who were arrested in 1958 for violating a Virginia law prohibiting interracial marriage.
The Lovings sued, and in 1967 the United States Supreme Court struck down state laws banning interracial marriage. In recent years, the case has been cited in a number of recent federal lawsuits challenging state bans against same-sex marriage.
“Mildred andRichard Loving were not political activists,” Nancy Buirski, one of the film’s producer, said in a statement. “They considered themselves to be an ordinary couple who loved each other and were willing to fight for the right to live together and raise their children in peace in their home state. We are grateful for the warm welcome we have received in Virginia as we seek to do justice to the story of this courageous couple.”
The film will star Ruth Negga (known for “World War Z” and “The Samaritan”)and Joel Edgerton (“The Great Gatsby,” “Zero Dark Thirty”). It will be directed by Jeff Nichols (“Mud,” “ Take Shelter”). The film was inspired by “The Loving Story,” an HBO documentary also produced and directed by Buirski.
She is producing the movie with Sarah Green, who last worked in Virginia as a producer for the Terrence Malick film “The New World.”Other producers include Colin Firth, Ged Doherty, Marc Turtletaub and Peter Saraf. Brian Kavanaugh-Jones and Jack Turner are executive producers.
The project, which will be filmed in the Central Virginia area, will be eligible for incentive funding. The Virginia Film Office said the exact amount of incentives will be based on the production’s expenditures in the state and certain agreements to promote Virginia.
CBRE|Hampton Roads will lease and manage Greenbrier MarketCenter
CBRE|Hampton Roads has been selected for retail leasing and management services at Greenbrier MarketCenter in Chesapeake.
The 493,878-square-foot center is located between Eden Way and Volvo Parkway near Greenbrier Mall, Greenbrier Business Park and Crossways Commerce Center.
Anchor tenants include Target, Harris Teeter, Best Buy, OfficeMax and Bed Bath & Beyond and Barnes and Noble.
“Greenbrier MarketCenter is the premier power center in the heart of the largest mixed-use market in Hampton Roads,” Natalie Hucke, senior vice president of CBRE|Hampton Roads, said in a statement.
Natalie Hucke, Kevin South and Tyler Brooks will represent the landlord in leasing transactions. Jeff Fritz, senior property manager, will oversee property management activities.
Salamander Hotels & Resorts names chief sales and marketing officer
Middleburg-based Salamander Hotels & Resorts has named a new chief sales and marketing officer.
Eric Gavin joins Salamander from Benchmark Hospitality International, where he served as regional director of sales and marketing.
In his new role, Gavin will oversee Salamander’s corporate strategic sales, marketing and revenue management initiatives for the company's growing portfolio, which includes properties in Florida.
Gavin’s past work experience includes serving as vice president of marketing for Noble House Hotels & Resorts, regional director of sales and marketing for Morgans Hotel Group, and director of sales and marketing for Loews Miami Beach Hotel.
Founded by Sheila C. Johnson, Salamander Hotels & Resorts is a hotel management company that operates three golf resorts in Florida, Innisbrook in Tampa Bay, Reunion in Orlando and Hammock Beach in Palm Coast and the Salamander Resort & Spa in Middleburg. A fourth resort, The Henderson in Destin, is scheduled to open in Florida on Memorial Day Weekend in 2016.
Richmond named the ‘sneeziest and wheeziest’ U.S. city
Richmond is the “sneeziest and wheeziest” city in the U.S, according to report looking at the effects of pollen and pollution in 35 urban areas.
The report issued Wednesday by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) says that ragweed pollen and ozone smog are aggravating respiratory health problems such as asthma.
Last year, Richmond was named the U.S. Asthma Capital by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) and the No. 2 asthma capital in its 2015 report, behind Memphis, which was No. 2 in 2014.
The top spots each year are reserved for the metro area with the greatest concentration of negative factors that can potentially affect asthma patients, NRDC notes.
Contributing to Richmond’s status as a leading asthma capital are high pollen levels and numbers of asthma-related emergency room visits, the report said.
The report says the following cities face possible threats to respiratory health from ragweed pollen and ozone pollution:
2. Memphis, Tenn.
3. Oklahoma City
5. Chattanooga, Tenn.
8. New Haven, Conn.
9. Allentown, Pa.
13. Springfield, Mass.
15. Dayton, Ohio
17. Toledo, Ohio
18. Little Rock, Ark.
19. Bridgeport, Conn.
20. Akron, Ohio
21. Indianapolis, Ind.
22. Providence, R.I.
24. Wichita, Kan.
25. Harrisburg, Pa.
26. Nashville, Tenn.
27. Hartford, Conn.
29. Knoxville, Tenn.
30. Jackson, Miss.
32. Los Angeles
33. Youngstown, Ohio
34. Columbus, Ohio
Craft distillery planned for Culpeper County
The owners of Old House Vineyards plan to open a new craft distillery on their family farm in Culpeper County.
The venture, to be called Old House Distillery, will involve an investment of $229,000 and is expected to create three new jobs.
Old House’s investment will include site improvements, buildings and equipment needed to open a distillery, tasting room and remote-licensed ABC store on the 75-acre farm.
The distillery’s primary product will be a Virginia brandy. In addition, Old House will provide distilling services for local wineries to distill their wines into fortified spirits for a port-style wine.
Old House will also begin a Virginia brandy collection in partnership with other wineries around the commonwealth
The distillery will source 82 percent of its grain, grapes, and honey from Virginia agricultural producers, spending more than $101,000 over three years.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe approved a $20,000 grant from the Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund (AFID) to assist with the project.
Virginia now has about 20 craft distilleries in addition to more than 260 wineries and cideries and 100 craft breweries.
Basic Construction names manager of site and utility divisions
Newport News-based Basic Construction Co. has promoted Kevin Morello to manager of its site and utility divisions.
Basic is a 100-year-old, employee-owned utility, site and asphalt services company.
Morello, a Newport News resident, received his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the Virginia Military Institute in 1993 and joined Basic as a project manager in 1994.
During his career with Basic, Morello has managed many large projects for the Virginia Department of Transportation, Hampton Roads Sanitation District and local municipalities.
Virginia Tech names new provost
Thanassis Rikakis will become Virginia Tech's executive vice president and provost on Aug. 16.
He is currently vice provost for design, arts and technology at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.
Rikakis will succeed Mark McNamee, senior vice president and provost, who announced plans in February to step down this year. With the conclusion of the provost search, he has decided to retire on Oct. 1.
In addition to serving as provost, Rikakis also will become a tenured professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics in the College of Engineering and hold a joint appointment as a music professor in the School of Performing Arts in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.
Since joining the Carnegie Mellon faculty in 2012, he has coordinated the development of the Integrative Design, Arts and Technology Network (IDeATe), which involves more than 70 faculty from 15 different university departments and units.
IDeATe also launched the Emerging Media master's program, a collaborative degree offered through the School of Computer Science, the College of Fine Arts, and the College of Engineering that features semester- or year-long residency opportunities in New York and Silicon Valley.
In addition to being vice provost, Rikakis is currently a full professor in the School of Design and the School of Music and holds a courtesy appointment in the Biomedical Engineering Department.
His research and creative work focus on interactive neurorehabilitation, experiential media, interdisciplinary education, and computer music.
A member of the Arizona State University faculty from 2001 to 2012, Rikakis was named the founding director of the university's School of Arts, Media, and Engineering in 2003.
He also held a faculty appointment at Columbia University, from 1995 to 2001, where he served as associate director of the Computer Music Center.
Rikakis received a doctorate in music composition and a master’s degree in music composition from Columbia University. He holds a bachelor degree in music composition from Ithaca College.
He is married to Aisling Kelliher, who will also join the Virginia Tech faculty as a tenured associate professor of computer science in the College of Engineering with a joint appointment in the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology.
The couple has one child.
Cvent Inc. acquires SignUp4 for $22 million
Tysons Corner-based Cvent Inc. has acquired event management software firm SignUp4 for $22 million.
Cvent, a cloud-based enterprise event management platform, said the deal is expected to strengthen its customer base.
SignUp4 is based in Atlanta.
Cvent also said on Tuesday that CFO Pete Childs will be leaving the company at the end of August. Cvent has retained an executive search firm to help recruit a successor
Both announcements were included in Cvent’s earnings for the first quarter, which ended March 31.
Total first-quarter revenue was $41.1 million, an increase of 31 percent from the comparable period in 2014.
The first-quarter GAAP net loss was $2.4 million, compared to GAAP net income of $1.6 million for the comparable period in 2014. The net loss per diluted share was 6 cents, compared to net income per diluted share of 4 cents last year.
PRA Group names chief information officer
Deborah G. Cassidy has joined PRA Group's executive management team as chief information officer.
Cassidy has more than 20 years of IT leadership experience. She will report to Kevin Stevenson, PRA Group’s executive vice president, chief financial and administrative officer.
Cassidy was senior vice president and business chief information officer for Genworth Financial Inc. in Henrico County.
Before that, she served seven years with Allianz Assistance as vice president and chief information officer and 15 years with the Tredegar Corp.
She earned a master’s degree in management information technology from the University of Virginia's McIntire School of Commerce and a bachelor’s degree in business administration and information systems from Mary Baldwin College.
Cushman & Wakefield and DTZ will merge, creating one of industry’s largest players
Cushman & Wakefield and DTZ have reached an agreement to merge in a $2 billion deal that will create one of the world’s largest real-estate services companies.
The new company, which will operate under the 100-year-old Cushman & Wakefield brand, will have revenues of more than $5.5 billion and more than 43,000 employees.
The company will manage more than 4 billion square feet of space globally on behalf of institutional, corporate and private clients. The new scale is expected to put the company in a league with global commercial real-estate giants CBRE and JLL.
Before coming to an agreement on a merger, DTZ and Cushman & Wakefield were about the same size, with DTZ reporting $2.9 billion in annual revenue in 2014 and Cushman reporting $2.1 billion in revenue.
A small slice of the new mega player is located in the Richmond area, and its president sees the deal as a good thing for Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer.
“The merger is a positive event for us and our clients. Through the merger Cushman & Wakefield will grow strong and will be able to offer enhanced coverage and service to our clients,” said Lee Warfield, president of Thalhimer.
Warfield does not expect any of Thalhimer’s employees to be let go as a result of the deal. In terms of any change in strategic direction, he said, “Once the new entity emerges, we expect service enhancements from C&W. As for Thalhimer, we will continue in a direction that serves our clients best.”
Thalhimer, whose corporate headquarters is located in the Short Pump corridor in Henrico County, is one of the region’s largest real estate brokerages. The firm’s 10 offices in Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina offices completed 350 lease transactions totaling more than 3 million square feet with a transactional value of over $199.6 million during the first quarter.
Including sales transactions of more than $290 million, the company said its year-to-date volume exceeds $490 million, which is slightly ahead of figures for the same time in 2014.
In its news release on the deal, Chicago-based DTZ said the merged company’s offerings will provide a combination of deep, local market presence with significant scale in core services in the major global markets.
“DTZ is elated to be merging under the prominent Cushman & Wakefield brand. The companies have remarkably complementary skills and reach in different geographies – whether in New York, London or Shanghai. This will be a formidable combination,” Brett White, who will assume the role of chairman and CEO of the combined company, said in a statement.
“While breadth and depth are important to serve clients, “ he added, “it’s not just about size. It’s also about local expertise and deep customer service, which are strong traits of Cushman & Wakefield and DTZ, and ultimately what will differentiate us going forward.”
DTZ is a familiar name in Northern Virginia, where the company purchased Cassidy Turley earlier this year. Some industry analysts are predicting layoffs in large markets where both Cushman and DTZ compete.
Upon completion of the merger, Carlo Barel di Sant’Albano, current International CEO of Cushman & Wakefield, based in New York, will take a senior global leadership role. John Santora, current CEO of North America at Cushman & Wakefield, will become chief operating officer. Tod Lickerman, current global CEO of DTZ, will assume the president’s role.
The transaction is expected to close before the end of the year and is subject to customary closing conditions.
Towers Watson acquires Florida-based Acclaris
Arlington-based professional services company Towers Watson has acquired Florida-based Acclaris for $140 million.
Acclaris provides technology and services for consumer-driven health-care and reimbursement accounts.
The company’s 2015 revenues are expected to be approximately $35 million.
Towers Watson said the deal will enhance its position as a benefits administration and exchange provider.
With 15,000 employees worldwide, Towers Watson offers consulting, technology and solutions in the areas of benefits, talent management, rewards, and risk and capital management.
Virginia Business ranked the company in March as the 28th largest publicly traded company in the commonwealth.
Founded in 2001, Acclaris’ technology and services support account-based benefits on a single platform. Account-based health plans pair health insurance with tax-advantaged spending or reimbursement account, such as health savings accounts (HSAs) and health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs).
Acclaris supports 1.4 million accounts (as of March), including HRA, HSA, flexible-spending, commuter and custom-reimbursement accounts.
Towers Watson said its research shows that employers’ use of these plans is growing rapidly. About 50 percent of companies could offer account-based health plans as their only option by 2017 — up from about 20 percent in 2015.
Acclaris is headquartered in Tampa, Fla., with locations in Kansas and India.
The acquisition is anticipated to have no impact on Towers Watson’s investor guidance in fiscal year 2015.
Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP acted as legal adviser to Towers Watson. Cooley LLP acted as legal adviser to Acclaris.
International biotechnology company moves East Coast operations to Richmond
An international biotechnology company, AmpliPhi Biosciences Corp., has moved its east coast operations to the Virginia Biotechnology Research Park in downtown Richmond, where the company currently has a research lab.
According to the research park, Ampliphi is leasing 758 square feet of office space and has 708 square feet of lab space.
With research facilities in Sydney, Australia and manufacturing in Europe, Ampliphi is a global leader in the research and development of bacteriophage-based antibacterial therapies to treat multi-drug resistant bacterial infections.
In March, the company said it completed a $13 million financing to support upcoming human clinical trials targeting multi-drug resistant S. aureus including MRSA. The trials will be conducted at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research.
The research park also announced that RVA Yeast Labs, a yeast and bacteria supplier for both professional brewers and home brewers, has established the company’s laboratories in the Park.
“The support services and multiple shared resources available to us coupled with the engagement in this innovative community will allow our company to continue to grow, helping to further establish Richmond as a premier community for local craft beer,” Malachy McKenna, co-founder of RVA Yeast Labs said in a statement.
Four other companies also have recently opened offices or labs in the Biotech Center at the Research Park. DNARx and ScienGenix Laboratory, and Lonsa Science and Affinity Molecules, are residents in the Shared Lab. Nutriati, a food product startup, has expanded its presence in the Biotech Center. Five other companies have joined as virtual residents of the park.
The 34-acre life sciences community is adjacent to the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Medical Center. Currently,the Virginia Biotechnology Research Park is home to more than 60 private and non-profit companies, state and federal laboratories, and research institutes/administrative functions of VCU and the VCU Health System, employing about 2,400 researchers, scientists, engineers and support personnel.
Member organizations include the VCU Innovation Gateway, the Altria Center for Research and Technology, United Network for Organ Sharing, Health Diagnostic Laboratories Inc. and the Virginia Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services.
Princeton Review releases list of Top 25 Online MBA Programs
James Madison University has one of the Top 25 Online MBA Programs, according to The Princeton Review.
JMU’s program ranked No. 11 in the ranking released Tuesday, which Princeton Review says is its first annual ranking of business schools offering the best online MBA programs.
The following schools MBA programs ranked in the Top Five: The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (No. 1); Indiana University-Bloomington (No. 2); IE University (Madrid); Arizona State University (Tempe, Ariz.) and Temple University (Philadelphia).
The Princeton Review chose the schools based on its surveys in 2014 of 80 business schools offering online MBAs (at which 75 percent or more of their program was online), plus surveys of nearly 2,000 students enrolled in the programs. Data from surveys of graduates of the online MBA programs also were used.
The survey focused on five core areas: academics, selectivity, faculty, technical platforms and career outcomes.
According to the Princeton Review, graduates of JMU’s MBA program “absolutely” feel that it “is a good investment for advancing both their immediate and their continuing career, and expect a sizeable 25 percent jump in their salary after graduation.” The mean base salary of the program’s most recent graduates was $71,000.
Natick, Mass.-based The Princeton Review is a major test preparation, tutoring and college admission services company. Every year, the company publishes rankings of colleges in dozens of categories on its site and its books.
Apple Hospitality REIT will list shares on New York Stock Exchange
Apple Hospitality REIT Inc., a Richmond-based hospitality company, said Tuesday that it has been authorized to list its common shares on the New York Stock Exchange. Trading of the company’s common shares is expected to begin on or about May 18, under the ticker symbol “APLE.”
The company announced in a public filing last month that it planned to go public on the New York Stock Exchange. While it operated as public real estate investment trust, its shares had not been traded on any exchanges.
Apple Hospitality said it owns one of the largest portfolios of upscale, select-service, extended-stay and full-service hotels in the U.S. The company’s portfolio of 173 hotels, with 22,003 guestrooms, is diversified across the Hilton and Marriott brands with many locations in urban, high-end suburban and developing markets across 32 states.
In Richmond, Apple recently completed a Courtyard by Marriott and Residence Inn by Marriott in December in Shockoe Bottom, not far from its headquarters office. The project also included the First Freedom Center, a museum that commemorates the development of religious liberty in 18th-century Virginia. The REIT also owns the downtown Richmond Marriott.
Hubbell Lighting to add 100 jobs in Christiansburg project
Hubbell Lighting will invest more than $6 million to expand and consolidate its manufacturing and assembly operations in Christiansburg.
The project is expected to create 100 new jobs.
Hubbell, based in Greenville, S.C., is one of the largest lighting fixture manufacturers in North America. The company provides a full range of indoor and outdoor lighting products serving the commercial, industrial, and residential markets.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe approved a $100,000 grant from the Governor’s Opportunity Fund to assist Montgomery County with the project. The company will receive benefits from the Port of Virginia Economic and Infrastructure Development Zone Grant Program and will also be eligible for Sales and Use Tax exemptions on manufacturing equipment.
Additional funding and services to support the company’s employee training activities will be provided through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program.
Aldi’s expansion pushes into Roanoke
Aldi Inc., a German-based discount grocer, has signed a 21,000-square-foot lease in the Crossroads Shopping Center at 1515 Hershberger Road in Roanoke.
Jake Copty of Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer handled the lease negotiations on behalf of the landlord. Bruce Bigger, also with Thalhimer, and Malcolm McLean with The Providence Group, represented Aldi.
The grocer made its debut in Richmond in April with the opening of two stores and plans a total of six stores there. The Crossroads’ lease represents its first foray into the Roanoke market.
Liberty Property Trust reports new leases and renewals during first quarter
Liberty Property Trust brokered 15 leases in Hampton Roads during the first quarter of the year for a total of 117,088 square feet of space.
“This past quarter was dominated by lease renewals within our Hampton Roads portfolio ... " Craig Cope, vice president and city manager for Liberty’s Virginia region, said in a statement.
Liberty's 12 lease renewals totaled 109,459 square feet. A few of them included the Tire Centers, which signed for 31,500 square feet, and Capital Lighting & Supply, which signed a 20,000-square-foot lease, with both of the deals at Bridgeway I in Suffolk.
Liberty owns and manages a combined 2-million-square-foot warehouse and office portfolio in Hampton Roads, and a 3.5-million-square-foot warehouse portfolio in Richmond.
Fundrise invests $1.5 million in Northern Virginia Innovation Business Center
Fundrise, a Washington, D.C.-based real estate crowd-funding platform, said Monday that it has partnered with Buchanan Partners to provide $1.5 million for the acquisition and recapitalization of the Innovation Business Center in Manassas.
According to Fundrise, the property is 100 percent occupied as flex office by eight tenants including Nikon, Tokyo Electron, the Commonwealth of Virginia and Prince William County.
“We are excited to be partnering with Buchanan, one of the leading development firms in the D.C. region,” Ben Miller, co-founder and CEO of Fundrise, said in a statement. “This type of investment is something that larger institutions would traditionally fight over and to be able to offer it to investors through the platform shows how far crowd funding has come.”
Fundrise said investors in the project are expected to receive an annual return of 12 percent over the projected 36-month term.
Brian Benninghoff, a partner with Buchanan Partners, said Fundrise’s model of financing “will open up a whole new set of opportunities for us.”
Founding in 2012 by brothers Ben and Dan Miller, Fundrise markets itself as a company “that brings real estate investing to the mainstream” by offering small-scale investors the opportunity to invest in the same real estate as billion-dollar investment corporations.
It says it was the first company to successfully crowd fund investment for real estate online, raising more than $50 million for more than 55 projects, including landmark projects such as 3 World Trade Center in Manhattan, from thousands of individual investors to date.
Based in D.C., Fundrise also has offices in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Seattle.
Buchanan, based in Gaithersburg, Md., has acquired, developed, and owned more than 5 million square feet of property, including 4,000 residential units, across the Washington, D.C., metro market.
Veterans Administration facility leases space in Spotsylvania County
The Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center will lease space at Lee’s Hill Medical Plaza in Spotsylvania County.
According to Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer, the clinic will be housed in a 11,576-square-foot medical services facility located on the third floor of 10401 Spotsylvania Ave.
In addition to the clinic, the building also contains a full-service emergency department, labs, and imaging center.
Wilson H. Greenlaw Jr. and Jamie A. Scully of Thalhimer handled lease negotiations for the landlord, and are the exclusive leasing representatives for the remaining space within Lee’s Hill Medical Plaza.
Direct Mail Solutions signs on for large industrial lease
Direct Mail Solutions Inc. has leased 139,800 square feet in Richmond adjacent to Richmond International Airport
The industrial building at 4915 Norman Road in Sandston was built in 1980, with an addition in 1996.
Divided into two sides, Suite A includes 64,780 square feet with a 6,089-square-foot office, four docks, overhead cranes and rail access. Suite B offers 75,020 square feet with a 6,201-square-foot office, eight docks and space for shipping and receiving.
Direct Mail Solutions is a Richmond-based direct mail and fulfillment company that opened in 1997.
Rich McDaniel, Rob Dirom and Rebecca Barricklow of CBRE-Richmond represented the owner in the transaction.
Grander Capital Partners acquires Richmond-area office building
Boston-based Grander Capital Partners has added a Richmond-area office building to its portfolio.
A company affiliate, GCP Forest Office Park LLC, has bought the 55,052-square-foot Campbell Building at 8002 Discovery Drive from Campbell Investors LLC.
The sale price was not disclosed. CBRE|Richmond announced the deal.
In a statement, Jeffrey Clary, principal of Grander Capital Partners, said the company “is excited about continuing to grow its footprint in the Richmond market given the positive growth story Richmond presents.”
A commercial real estate investment management services company, Grander Capital Partners owns and operates office and industrial properties in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast. Its holdings include another Richmond-area building at 2810 North Parham Road.
The Campbell Building is in the Forest Office Park at the corner of Three Chopt and Forest Avenue about a mile from Interstate 64.
Built in 1981, the four-story office building was renovated in 2004 and 2007. It’s currently 90.4 percent occupied.
Major tenants include HCA/Henrico Doctors, Richmond Eye Surgeons, National Government Services, Credit Adjustment Board, M&T Bank and Dr. Lawrence Miller.
Malcolm Randolph and John Carpin represented the buyer, and Will Bradley, Trib Sutton, Scott Durham of CBRE|Richmond represented the seller in the transaction.
Virginia ranks 14th in list of best and worst states for business
Virginia ranks 14th in this year’s Chief Executive Best & Worst States for Business.
That ranking represents a drop of three spots for the Old Dominion since last year’s list.
Chief Executive magazine has been surveying CEOs for 11 years on which states they believe foster growth through progressive business programs.
In its profile of Virginia’s business climate, Chief Executive was generally favorable.
“Virginia continues to be a pro-business state with low taxes and regulation, along with quality workers and a reasonable cost of living,” it said. “Continued expansion of the federal government results in more opportunities for businesses in Virginia.”
The magazine also noted that Virginia has low unemployment compared with the national average and continues to have positive domestic net migration, gaining nearly 30,000 residents last year — the seventh best among the states.
However, the magazine also noted that Virginia’s gross domestic product grew only 0.1 percent from 2012 to 2013, a reflection of declining federal spending, especially defense spending. That figure put the commonwealth 1.7 percentage points below the national average.
The top five states in the survey were:
3. North Carolina
The bottom five were:
47. New Jersey
49. New York
James Cline | Trex photo.
Ron Kaplan retiring as president and CEO of Trex
Ron Kaplan, the president and CEO of Winchester-based Trex Co. Inc., a manufacturer of wood-alternative decking and railing products, has announced his retirement, effective Aug. 17. He will be succeeded by James E. Cline, Trex’s senior vice president and chief financial officer
Kaplan, who will remain chairman of the board of directors, says the board conducted a rigorous search for the right CEO.
“We are delighted to have found that person in Jim Cline, who has been chief financial officer since 2008, was key to our successful turnaround and has been instrumental in our recent successes,” Kaplansaid in a statement.
Kaplan was named to Virginia Business’ list of Most Influential Virginians in its March issue.
Before joining Trex, Cline served for three years as president of Harsco GasServ, a division of Harsco Corp. that makes containment and control equipment for the natural gas industry. It has annual revenues of approximately $400 million, 15 manufacturing locations, and more than 1,700 employees.
From 1994 through 2005, he was the vice president and controller of Harsco GasServ. From 1976 to 1994, he served in various capacities with Huffy Corp., including as the director of finance of its True Temper Hardware subsidiary, a manufacturer of lawn care and construction products.
Cline received an undergraduate degree in accounting from Bowling Green State University.
Trex also said that Bryan H. Fairbanks, its senior director of supply chain and executive director of international business development, will succeed Cline as CFO, and that F. Timothy Reese, senior vice president, operations will retire.
Fairbanks, who joined Trex in 2004, has served as senior director of supply chain since 2006, and as executive director of international business development, since 2012. From 2004 to 2006, he was director of financial planning and analysis. Before that, he held numerous senior finance roles with Ford Motor Co.
Fairbanks earned an undergraduate degree in accounting from the University of Dayton and a master of business administration degree from the University of Pittsburgh.
Arlington-based PAE acquiring A-T Solutions to enhance its national security business
Arlington-based PAE plans to acquire A-T Solutions, a company based in Vienna.
Financial details were not disclosed.
PAE said the deal, expected to close by the end of this month, will enhance its national security business.
PAE also recently acquired Global Security & Solutions.
A-T Solutions has more than 200 government customers and employs 725 people.
Its services include training and identity operations solutions, full lifecycle forensic and biometric support, identification and analysis of asymmetric threats, and data management solutions.
With its latest acquisition, PAE said it will gain key capabilities in specialized training, intelligence, technology and operational capabilities. PAE will also be supporting several new customers in the national security and law enforcement sectors, as well as several international customers.
PAE, which is entering its 60th year in business, provide services in critical facility infrastructure, aviation, logistics, training, range operations and national security solutions.
It employs 15,000 people in over 50 countries.
Faster economic growth seen after slow first quarter
The anemic growth seen in the first three months of this year is not expected to set the pace for the U.S. economy for the entire year.
That was one of the insights that attendees picked up Thursday at the 11th annual ProcureCon conference held at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Richmond.
The two-day conference sponsored by the Virginia Asian Chamber of Commerce is designed to expose small-business owners to a wide variety of opportunities.
During the rest of this year, those business owners will face a national economy that looks very much like 2014, according to Sonya Ravindranath Waddell, regional economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
The nation’s gross domestic product grew by only 0.2 percent during the first quarter, but Waddell noted that economy activity during those three months was hampered by severe winter weather.
The first quarter of 2014 also was slow because of bad weather, she noted, but the overall growth rate for the year was 2.4 percent. The Fed expects similar results by the end of this year, with a forecast of 2 to 2.5 percent growth, Waddell said.
The current U.S. economy has some strengths but still faces a number of weaknesses. Waddell said strengths include rising consumer spending and business investment. The weaknesses are residential construction, which has not returned to prerecession levels, and federal government spending, which has fallen 3 percent annually for the past four years.
One opportunity for Virginia small-business owners may come from Japanese companies operating in the United States.
Shiro Akayama, executive director of research and planning for the Japan External Trade Organization in New York, says a growing number of Japanese company affiliates in the U.S. intend to increase their purchases of raw materials and components from American businesses.
Akayama said these companies already buy more than half of their supplies from U.S. companies. He said Japanese affiliates in the U.S. employ 700,000 workers, including 14,000 in Virginia.
People - May 2015
William C. Aiken took over as interim president of Paul D. Camp Community College in Hampton Roads. He has been president of Sampson Community College in Clinton, N.C. He’ll replace Paul Conco, who is retiring in June amid what Glenn DuBois, chancellor of the state’s community colleges, described as “a number of serious challenges,” including a 24 percent drop in enrollment at the school since 2010. Conco has been reassigned to work on projects for the chancellor until June. (The Virginian-Pilot)
Jeffrey Clemons, appointed senior vice president/senior relationship manager at Old Point National Bank, Hampton. Clemons was vice president of commercial banking with BB&T Bank. (Daily Press)
K. Charles Griffin, named county administrator, King William County. He succeeds Trent Funkhouser, who resigned in September to become economic development coordinator in Essex County. Griffin was the director of public utilities in Smithfield, N.C. (Daily Press)
John C. Kownack, promoted to CEO and executive director, Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority. He was the authority’s chief community development officer. (Daily Press)
Cushman & Wakefield| Thalhimer announced these promotions in Hampton Roads: Teresa E. Nettles, promoted from office sales and leasing specialist to senior vice president; Andy Dallas, an office sales and leasing specialist, is now first vice president; Dawn F. Griggs, an office and industrial sales and leasing specialist, promoted to first vice president; and Eric Stanley, a retail sales and leasing specialist, has been promoted to vice president. (Daily Press)
Bradley Robinson, named president and CEO, Global Enterprises Group Inc. (GLHO), Virginia Beach. GLHO announced plans to acquire a majority position of Predictive Therapeutics LLC, where Robinson is president and CEO. (News release)
Sherry Spring, named economic development director, Gloucester County. She was executive director for the Patrick Henry Development Council and Brunswick County Industrial Development Authority. She also was the executive director for the Downtown Hampton Development Partnership. (Daily Press)
Shane Hogge received the York County Chamber of Commerce’s John D. “Pete” Sterrett Small Business Award, which recognizes a business that demonstrated outstanding business achievements in 2014. Shane is the owner of Shane’s Salon & Day Spa. (Daily Press)
Jonathan R. Alger appointed as Virginia’s representative to the American Association of State Colleges and Universities’ Council of State Representatives. He is president of James Madison University. (News release)
Steven C. Brown, named to the Virginia Wine Board. He is president, Indian Springs Farm & Vineyard, Woodstock. (News release)
Jerry Dofflemyer, appointed to the Luray Town Council in March. Dofflemyer owns a car wash in Luray. He replaced Pam Flasch, whose last day on the council was Feb. 24. (Page News and Courier)
Greg Drescher, promoted to superintendent, Warren County Public Schools, effective July 1. He was assistant superintendent and succeeds Pam McInnis, who is retiring at the end of June. (The Warren Sentinel)
Christopher O. Grandle, of Stuarts Draft, named to the State Rehabilitation Council for the Blind and Vision Impaired. He is a senior engineer, Northrop/Grumman Maritime Systems Division, Charlottesville. (News release)
Rosalea R. Potter of Lexington, reappointed to the Board of Agriculture and Consumer Services. She is manager, Donald’s Meat Processing. (News release)
Jeffrey A. Shank, named director of alumni and parent relations and annual giving at Eastern Mennonite University, Harrisonburg, effective July 1. He is superintendent of Sarasota Christian School in Sarasota, Fla. (News release)
Jeff White, named to the Virginia Agricultural Council. He is the owner and wine grower, Glen Manor Vineyards, Front Royal. (News release)
Greg Brooks, CEO of the Building Supply Channel Inc. in New Albany, Ind., elected to the board of directors of Martinsville-based The Lester Group. (Work It, SoVa)
Rhonda Buckley, a sales agent with Long & Foster Real Estate’s South Boston office, received the outstanding service award from her employer. (The Gazette-Virginian)
H.F. Haymore — who for more than 30 years has assisted Pittsylvania County residents in marriages, buying homes and preserving histories — recently announced he will retire as clerk of circuit court in November. (Danville Register & Bee)
Cathy W. Liles, promoted to senior vice president and chief financial officer, Carter Bank & Trust, Martinsville. Benjamin Clifton “Cliff” Barbee, John J. Engel III and David K. Peterson also were promoted to senior vice president at the bank. (News release)
John McCraw Jr., a longtime teacher and administrator for Martinsville City Schools, is the newest member of the Patrick Henry Community College Board. (Work It, SoVa)
Dixie Watts Dalton, associate professor and leader of the agribusiness program at Southside Virginia Community College, was presented the special recognition award from the Virginia Agribusiness Council. The award acknowledges an individual deserving special recognition for his or her service to agribusiness. (The Gazette-Virginian)
Angela B. Evans, appointed branch manager of Carter Bank & Trust’s 58 East office, at 140 Kentuck Road in Danville. Evans was hired as a manager trainee in 2013 and was based in the Riverside office. (Work It, SoVa)
Russ Barksdale, president and CEO of Friendship Retirement Community in Roanoke, named a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives. (The Roanoke Times)
Radford University President Penelope W. Kyle plans to retire on June 30, 2016, two years earlier than expected. Radford’s board said that it has begun the search process for a new leader. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Timothy Long, named one of Virginia’s Outstanding Scientists of 2015. He is a chemistry professor at Virginia Tech and director of its Macromolecules and Interfaces Institute. (News release)
Josh Johnson, Brooke Rosen and Jay O’Keeffe are founding members of the law firm Johnson, Rosen & O’Keeffe LLC in Roanoke. (The Roanoke Times)
Keith Perry joined Roanoke-based Carilion Clinic to lead its technology services group. Perry was administrator of technology services for the University of Virginia Health System. (News release)
The Free Clinic of Franklin County appointed Donna Proctor as the new executive director. Proctor was executive director of the Grace Network of Martinsville and Henry County. (WDBJ7.com)
Cassidy Rasnick, named assistant secretary of agriculture and forestry. Rasnick was director of member services for the Virginia Manufacturers Association and the Virginia Craft Brewers Guild. (News release)
Anne Staples, assistant professor of biomedical engineering and mechanics in the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech, won a Fulbright Scholarship to study coral reefs in Israel. (The Roanoke Times)
Melvin D. Baskin, hired as director of information governance, Dewberry, Fairfax. He worked for the technology firm Verisign Inc. and Canon Business Process Services Inc. Baskin was Dewberry’s director of records management from 2010 to 2013. (News release)
Susan B. Chodakewitz, named CEO, Nathan Associates Inc., Arlington Chodakewitz was president of Arlington-based Tetra Tech AMT. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
William Hard, elected to the Tysons Partnership board of directors. Hard is the senior executive for LCOR’s Bethesda, Md. office, responsible for all Washington, D.C., metropolitan-area development activity. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Neil Narcisenfeld, named a senior vice president of The Ezra Co. in its Tysons Corner office. Narcisenfeld, a 30-year veteran of the commercial real estate sector, most recently served as a senior director at Cushman & Wakefield. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Mark Rader, named CEO of HCA Holdings’ planned StoneSprings Hospital Center in Loudoun County. Rader was CEO of another HCA hospital in Florida. (Washington Business Journal)
Bob Sullivan, named senior vice president of programming, Gannett Co., McLean. Sullivan most recently worked for Scripps Media Inc., where he held a similar title and also previously worked for Gannett, where he held several leadership positions. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
David W. Thompson was a recipient of Aviation Week’s Philip J. Klass Lifetime Achievement Award. He is president and CEO, Orbital ATK, Dulles. (Aviation Week)
Betty M. Sandler, a principal of Nichols Zauzig Sandler PC in Woodbridge, named the 2015 winner of the Betty A. Thompson Lifetime Achievement Award by the Virginia State Bar’s Family Law Section. The award honors an individual who has made a substantial contribution to the practice and administration of family law in Virginia. (News release)
For the Record - May 2015
Anheuser-Busch donated 65 acres of Civil War battlefield in Williamsburg to the Civil War Trust. Anheuser-Busch, which makes Budweiser and Bud Light, has a brewery in Williamsburg. The Civil War Trust, a nonprofit that preserves battlegrounds in the U.S., hopes the property will anchor a future battlefield park. Meanwhile, the site will be overseen by the Williamsburg Land Conservancy. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
The Norfolk headquarters of Blackhawk, a provider of tactical military and security gear to the armed forces and law-enforcement agencies, closed in March. The company’s owner, Vista Outdoor Inc., said about a quarter of employees were laid off, and the rest moved or were reassigned to operations in Virginia Beach or Overland Park, Kan. Vista was created earlier this year when Arlington-based Alliant Techsystems Inc. spun off its sporting-group business, which included Blackhawk. ATK’s aerospace and defense groups merged with Orbital Sciences Corp. to form Orbital ATK.
Newport News-based plumbing distributor Ferguson Enterprises acquired all of the assets of Redlon & Johnson Supply, a wholesale distributor specializing in plumbing, heating, cooling, water system, pipe, valves, fittings and industrial products. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. (Daily Press)
Huntington Ingalls Industries leased 515,486 square feet of office and warehouse space in West Park in Hampton. The company, which operates a shipyard in neighboring Newport News, will use this space as a warehouse. High Street Equity of Boston is the property owner. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Attorneys for Chinese manufacturer Taishan Gypsum agreed to pay $2.6 million to seven Hampton Roads homeowners whose homes were wrecked by the company’s toxic drywall. U.S. District Court Judge Eldon Fallon gave Taishan two weeks from the March 17 hearing in New Orleans to pay the amount in full. Fallon ordered a hearing in late April to determine damage amounts for around 4,000 other homeowners across the country. (Daily Press)
The James Charles Winery and Vineyard LLC is gearing up for its debut in the bustling Northern Shenandoah Valley wine industry in August. The winery, which will be located near Winchester, will be the third area operation for Clarke County residents Della and James “Jim” Bogaty, owners and operators of Veramar Vineyard in Berryville and Bogati Bodega and Vineyard in Round Hill. (NVDaily.com)
Route 11 Potato Chips announced plans to expand its potato chip production in Shenandoah County, a $1.2 million investment expected to create 13 jobs over two years. The company, which now has 32 employees, plans to install a second production line in its 25,000-square-foot plant and hire more production staff. Gov. Terry McAuliffe approved a $50,000 incentive grant from Virginia’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund for the project, which is being matched by Shenandoah County. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
Shenandoah Growers Inc., an organic herb nursery, will invest $8.7 million to increase production at its existing facility in Rockingham County and move its headquarters to a new, 78,000-square-foot space in the county. The project is expected to create 15 jobs. Incentives for the project include a $100,000 grant from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund, which is being matched by Rockingham County.
Progress is being made in an effort to revamp the Wayne Theatre in Waynesboro. When it opens in early 2016, it will be called the Paul and Virginia Ross Center for the Performing Arts at the Wayne Theatre. It will be named after two donors. “This will really be a generator of not only good feelings about Waynesboro, but it will have an economic impact on the town,” said Clair Myers, who is the executive director of the Wayne Theatre Alliance. (WHSV.com)
The official groundbreaking for the new cancer center at Winchester Medical Center (WMC) is expected to be in early or mid-May. “We’re targeting completion in the third quarter of 2016,” said WMC chief operating officer Skip Philips. The estimated cost of the cancer center is $27 million. The 52,000-square-foot center will adjoin the diagnostic center on the northeast side of the WMC campus in Winchester.
(The Warren Sentinel)
Omaha, Neb.-based BH Media Group added its ninth daily newspaper in Virginia. The company bought the Martinsville Bulletin as well as the thrice-weekly Franklin News-Post from Haskell Newspapers. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The Martinsville Bulletin is a 12,250-circulation daily newspaper that serves Martinsville, Collinsville and all of Henry County in Southwest Virginia. The Franklin News-Post publishes 5,100 copies three times a week in an area that serves Rocky Mount and greater Franklin County. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
Richmond-based Dominion Virginia Power wants to build a 1,600-megawatt, natural gas-fueled power station in Greensville County. The $1 billion project would be a combined-cycle facility, which would create more than 1,000 jobs at the peak of construction and 45 full-time jobs once it becomes operational. Construction would begin in mid-2016, subject to SCC and environmental approvals. The station would be served by a Williams’ Transco natural gas line that is being extended to the site and the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) that, if approved, would cross the station property when built. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and Charlotte, N.C.-based Duke Energy agreed to a $2.5 million civil charge against the power company for a 2014 coal-ash spill in North Carolina that polluted about 80 miles of the Dan River in Virginia. Officials said in April that the charge is one of the largest ever proposed by the agency, in a legal agreement called a consent order. The public can comment on the proposed order through May 20. The order then goes to the State Water Control Board for approval, possibly at its June 25 meeting. (Danville Register & Bee)
Renewable energy company 510nano Inc. will spend $11 million to relocate its headquarters to Greensville County from Washington, D.C., and open a solar panel manufacturing plant. The company will build a 100,000-square-foot manufacturing facility. The project will create 113 jobs. Gov. Terry McAuliffe approved a $200,000 grant from the Governor’s Opportunity Fund to help Greensville with the project. The Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission approved $635,000 in Tobacco Region Opportunity Funds for the project. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Water bottling company Grand Springs, named Business of the Year by the Halifax County Chamber of Commerce. Michael Watson, incoming chairman of the board, recognized the business for, among other things, being a supporter of the chamber and the community by attending chamber functions. The company sells private label bottled water, jugs of water for home office delivery and bulk water. (Danville Register & Bee)
Independence-based McAllister Mills Inc. plans to invest $1 million to expand its textile manufacturing operations in Grayson County. The move will create 16 jobs and retain 43 existing positions. The firm makes heat-resistant textile products, including insulation blankets, fabrics, tapes and ropes. Incentives included a $110,000 grant from the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Blacksburg-based Mindsense planned to release its email app for the Apple Watch. Mindsense, founded by two Virginia Tech graduates, released Mail Pilot 2 earlier this year for iPhone and iPad. It also plans to release a free preview version of a revamped Mail Pilot for Mac computers. Mindsense has also announced a new product it calls Periscope that will complement its flagship email app. (The Roanoke Times)
Digital advertising firm Modea has laid off a “few” employees, marking the second known round of job cuts the company has made in three years. Modea’s co-founders David Catalano and Aaron Herrington confirmed that the job cuts occurred in late March but declined to say anything more on the matter, including the exact number of people let go and which events triggered the move. The firm was founded in 2006 and is located in the Kent Square complex in Blacksburg. (The Roanoke Times)
Simmons Equipment Co., a manufacturer of battery-powered mining equipment, plans to invest $1 million to expand its Tazewell County operation. The project is projected to create more than 30 jobs in the coming years. The Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission approved up to $1.14 million in funding for the venture. Additional funding and services to support the company’s employee training activities will be provided through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Crane manufacturer Tadano Mantis Corp. will spend $2.5 million to expand its manufacturing operation in Richlands, creating 25 jobs. The U.S. headquarters of the Japanese company is based in Franklin, Tenn. Gov. Terry McAuliffe approved a $100,000 grant from the Governor’s Opportunity Fund for the project. The Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission approved $140,000 in Tobacco Region Opportunity Funds. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Member One Federal Credit Union bought a 3.2 acre site in central Roanoke for $2.5 million. Roanoke-based Poe & Cronk Real Estate Group announced the sale, adding that the property could provide additional space for the growing credit union. The property, located at 401 Williamson Road NE, includes three brick buildings. The credit union’s corporate campus currently includes its headquarters, main retail center, administration building and a real estate center. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Wellmont Health System and Mountain States Health Alliance plan to combine into a single organization that will include 19 area hospitals and about 15,000 employees. A final agreement must be approved by state officials in both Tennessee and Virginia. The merger is expected to take the remainder of this year to complete and, until then, the two systems will continue operating independently. They will now begin a due diligence period. Both organizations are based in Tennessee and operate in that state and Southwest Virginia. (Bristol Herald Courier)
Salem-based PCA Healthcare plans to join Carilion Clinic in June. The move will add 17 physicians to Carilion’s staff. PCA operates four clinic locations in Salem, Floyd and Daleville and employs a total of 21 health-care providers. Carilion Clinic is a not-for-profit health-care organization serving nearly 1 million people in Virginia through hospitals, outpatient specialty centers and advanced primary care practices. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Arlington-based Lookingglass has closed a $20 million Series B round led by New York-based Neuberger Berman Private Equity Funds. The funding, one of the biggest of the year for the region, comes on the heels of the company’s acquisition of McLean-based CloudShield, another cybersecurity firm from Leidos Holdings Inc.. The terms of that deal were not disclosed. Lookingglass has between 40 to 50 clients and about 130 employees.
(Washington Business Journal)
Reston-based Maximus acquired Falls Church-based Acentia in a $300 million all-cash deal. Acentia provides technology and management services to federal government civilian and health agencies in the U.S. Maximus operates government health and human-services programs in the U.S., United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and Saudi Arabia. The deal was finalized April 1.
Vienna-based Navy Federal Credit Union announced a $114.6 million expansion to its headquarters operation in Vienna, which is expected to add 600 jobs. Navy Federal Credit Union is the world’s largest credit union with more than $63 billion in assets. Gov. Terry McAuliffe approved a $1 million grant from the Governor’s Opportunity Fund for the project. Additional funding and services to support the company’s employee training activities will be provided through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Philadelphia-based Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust (PREIT) completed its acquisition of Springfield Town Center in Springfield in a deal worth $485 million. PREIT bought the recently redeveloped, 1.35 million-square-foot shopping center from Vornado Realty Trust for $340 million in cash and debt repayments and 6.25 million units of the company’s operating partnership, valued on the closing date at $145 million. The shopping center has recently undergone a $250 million renovation. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
California-based Tesla opened its first dealership in Virginia in March in Tysons Corner. To open the dealership, the electric car-manufacturer had to get a special permit from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner since Virginia law says that a car manufacturer cannot have a license for a dealership unless it can prove that no other dealer is available. Tesla, which also has a gallery in Tysons, would like to sell directly to consumers instead of going through a third-party dealership and is working on those efforts across the country. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Harry Martin, the former CEO of Ashburn-based Intelligent Decisions Inc., was sentenced in March to three years probation, four months after pleading guilty to charges he paid a former contracting official for federal contracts. Martin was also ordered to pay a $250,000 fine and a special assessment of $100, according to a docket update filed by the U.S. District Court in D.C. As of November, Martin was the 20th individual to plead guilty in the investigation, the Justice Department reported at the time. (Washington Business Journal)
Fairfax-based SRA International Inc., an IT solutions and professional services provider, announced plans to acquire part of the government services business of Reston-based Qbase LLC, a privately held software products and services company. The deal will add 230 employees to SRA’s workforce. Completion of the transaction, which is subject to customary closing conditions, is expected to occur in April. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Santa Monica, Calif.-based Macerich Co., owner of Tysons Corner Center, has rejected a takeover offer from Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group Inc., owner of Fashion Centre at Pentagon City, saying the $22 billion deal undervalues the company. Simon said it believed Macerich shareholders would realize more value through a combination than as a standalone company. Macerich says it plans to spend as much as $500 million a year over the next five years on development projects. (Washington Business Journal)
Reston-based Leidos Holdings Inc. penned a deal to sell the Plainfield Renewable Energy plant in Connecticut, which Leidos helped finance, design and construct. The buyer, Greenleaf Power Consolidated LLC, which owns a number of power plants, will pay $30 million in cash at closing and a secured note of about $80 million — where Plainfield will make payments under a credit agreement with Leidos. The deal won’t close until about midyear and is expected to hurt earnings by 10 cents per share in the meantime. (Washington Business Journal)
Engineering Services Network names chief operating officer
Arlington-based Engineering Services Network Inc. (ESN) has promoted Douglas R. Lopez to chief operating officer. He will be based in the company’s Chesapeake office.
Lopez previously oversaw ESN's fleet support services and focused on the Military Sealift Command (MSC), U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Marine Corps and Naval Fleet and Type Commanders. He began working at ESN in 1998 as a senior systems analyst in Information Technology.
From 1989 to 1994, he served in the U.S. Marines Corps. After the Marines, he worked for U.S. Robotics Inc. as a quality engineer, quality inspector and production team leader and later, as a product manager.
Founded by Ray Lopez in 1995, ESN provides engineering and IT services to military and government clients.
Affordable-housing apartment community opens in Suffolk
Federal, state and local officials gathered in Suffolk Thursday, May 7, for the official opening of a 72-unit, affordable-housing apartment project.
The Residences at October project is located at 2028 Freeney Ave., the former site of the historic Tidewater Fair Downs. Rep. J. Randy Forbes, (R-4th District), Susan Dewey, executive director for the Virginia Housing Development Authority along with Suffolk Mayor Linda T. Johnson and other guests spoke at the ceremony, which was followed by a tour.
More than $10 million was invested in the construction of the garden-style, community for working families at or below 50 percent of the area’s median income. The apartments are part of a larger development, called October at Fair Downs that includes single-family, townhouse and triplex homes.
The complex features two- and three-bedroom apartments, a clubhouse, fitness center and a picnic area with grills.
The Lawson Cos., a Hampton Roads-based real estate firm, developed and constructed the property and will manage it.
Thirteen-acre parcel in Loudoun County sells for $11.5 million for residential development
Washington Property Co., based in Bethesda, Md., has sold a 13.5-acre parcel of land in Loudoun County to Pulte Homes for $11.5 million.
The land is rezoned for residential use, and the company said that Pulte plans to build 95 town homes on the site.
The parcel is located near the intersection of Routes 7 and 28 and is accessible from Riverside Parkway and is adjacent to an existing town home community.
Also nearby are the Lansdowne community, Inova Loudoun Hospital, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Janelia Research Campus and Dulles Town Center.
“WPC acquired this parcel during the economic downturn when commercially zoned land value was low,” Daryl South, WPC’s senior vice president of development, said in a statement. “Due to the location and steep slope of the site, it was better suited for residential use. Rezoning was completed at the end of 2013, and Pulte contracted the land, subject to preliminary plat approval, which they received at the end of 2014. Pulte is currently pursuing approval for its final site and building plans so that it can begin construction.”
New international supermarket makes Richmond debut on May 8
New Grand Mart, Richmond’s newest international grocery, will hold a grand opening Friday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. The 30,000-square-foot store at 7415 Midlothian Turnpike in Chippenham Square shopping center represents the Northern Virginia-based company’s debut in the market.
According to Grand Mart, the store will offer grocery items, produce, meats, seafood and housewares from around the globe. A food court area will serve Asian cuisine. Initailly, the store plans to employ about 60 full- and part-time workers.
New Grand Mart CEO Kyoo Lee said in a statement that the Richmond location is being opened in response to a fast growing community’s demand for a wide selection of international groceries and ethnic produce items.
Opening day activities will include an exhibit of fine art by Richmond artists on display in a new Cultural Center located on the store’s second floor of the store. The Cultural Center will serve as a public space for meetings, exhibits and other community events.
New Grand Mart is a chain with locations in Northern Virginia and Maryland. The company said it plans to open a second Richmond location in the city’s West End this fall.
New Whole Foods store coming to Tysons Corner
Whole Foods Market has signed a lease for a new store at The Boro, a new development in Tysons Corner near the Greensboro Metro station. The company said the 70,000-square-foot store will be a flagship location in the D.C. area — both in terms of size and innovative concepts.
“Tysons Corner is truly a growing hub for the D.C. area. It deserves a store that will evolve alongside of it,” Scott Allshouse, president of Whole Foods Market’s mid-Atlantic Region, said in a statement. “As a flagship location, we are dreaming up new innovations that will make this store unlike any other.”
An opening date for the store has not been set. It will help anchor a blend of retail and dining options at The Boro, where the Meridian Group is redeveloping SAIC’s former 18-acre campus at Tysons. The Boro is within walking distance of the new Greensboro Metro station and is near the intersection of Route 7 and Route 123 in Fairfax County.
“We are very excited to welcome Whole Foods Market to The Boro,” said David Cheek, president and co-founder of The Meridian Group. “Whole Foods is a major brand known for exceptional quality, and it will be an outstanding anchor for our new 3.7 million-square-foot development.”
The Boro will offer a mix of offices, apartments, condominiums, retail stores, restaurants and entertainment. When complete, it will consist of roughly 1.8 million square feet of residential space, 1.3 million square feet of office, 316,000 square feet of retail, and 250,000 square feet of hotel space.
Phase One of the project is planned to be completed in 2018. It will feature 945,000 square feet of apartments and condominiums, 154,000 square feet of retail (including the Whole Foods Market store and 84,000 square feet of storefront retail), a 112,000-square-foot cinema, 400,000 square feet of office space, and a one-acre public park.
Whole Foods Market, based out of Rockville, Md., currently has 417 stores worldwide, with 44 in the Mid-Atlantic region. As a natural and organic foods grocer, the company says it doesn’t allow artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners, preservatives or hydrogenated fats in any of the food it sells.
Family-owned company transitions to new leadership
Robert Whit Morris II has been promoted to president of Richmond-based Morris Tile Distributors Inc., one of the largest tile distributors on the East Coast.
Morris represents the third-generation to serve in this role at the family-owned business. He formerly was vice president of commercial sales.
Former President Harvey H. Morris Jr. now is chairman of the board. He will oversee strategic growth initiatives.
Also, Robert G. Shelly is now secretary and senior vice president. He will manage company operations.
Richmond-based SingleStone acquires consultancy
Richmond-based consulting firm SingleStone has acquired DocCompSolutions, a major customer communications management technology and process consultancy.
The deal’s financial details were not disclosed. DocCompSolution has offices in in Fort Myers, Fla., and the New York City area.
Founded in 1997, Singlestone specializes in customer experience solutions. The company said the DocCompSolutions deal will enhance its consulting capabilities, providing advanced communications intelligence and management.
Customer communications management aids the organization and production of individualized customer messages, marketing collateral and transaction documents for customer interactions in all types of media.
“After more than a year and a half partnering with DocComSolutions on successful client projects, we knew there was both a strategic and cultural fit between the firms,” David Dart, associate principal at SingleStone, said in a statement. “This acquisition adds market reach and capability, but more importantly, seasoned experts that are aligned with our core mission to improve customer experiences.”
All existing DocCompSolutions principals and staff have joined SingleStone, and former principals Waldau and Cass Mieczakowski will maintain their offices in Florida and the New York City area, respectively.
Washington scores well as city for small-business employees
The Washington, D.C., area ranked 19th best among 100 metro areas in a report looking for the best places to work for a small business.
The personal finance website WalletHub also ranked Richmond No. 31 and Hampton Roads 82nd on its list of 2015’s Best & Worst Cities to Work for a Small Business.
WalletHub said it looked at the 100 most populated U.S. metro areas to “assess their friendliness toward employees and job seekers.”
Eleven metrics were used, including net small-business job growth, industry variety and employee earnings.
The Washington area, including Northern Virginia, ranked 35th in small-business environment and 14th in economic environment.
The Richmond area ranked 50th in small-business environment and 13th in economic environment.
Hampton Roads, which includes Virginia Beach, Norfolk and Newport News, ranked 93rd and 27th, respectively, in the same category.
No other Virginia metro area was listed.
The top 10 metro areas on the list were:
1. Charlotte, N.C.
2. Raleigh, N.C.
3. Oklahoma City
4. Austin, Texas
5. Omaha, Neb.
6. Nashville, Tenn.
7. Salt Lake City
The bottom 10 were:
91. Springfield, Mass.
92. Tucson, Ariz.
93. Augusta, Ga.
94. New Haven, Conn.
95. Bakersfield, Calif.
96. Fresno, Calif.
97. Scranton, Pa.
98. Toledo, Ohio
99. Stockton, Calif.
100. Youngstown, Ohio
Capital Square Realty Advisors acquires Golfsmith building in Henrico County
Capital Square Realty Advisors said Wednesday that it has acquired a 24,000-square-foot retail building that’s 100 percent leased by Golfsmith USA LLC in Henrico County’s West Broad Village. The company did not disclose the purchase price.
The property, located in the mixed-use urban development along the Short Pump corridor, is minutes away from Capital Square’s headquarters.
Louis Rogers, founder and CEO of Capital Square Realty Advisors, said in a statement that the property’s location and lease conditions made the investment attractive. “This property is leased on a long-term, triple net basis to an affiliate of the largest specialty golf retailer in the world.”
It has a prominent location within West Broad Village, an urban development in a suburban setting that encompasses 115 acres of residential, retail, office, hotel and recreation projects.
The village has more than 400,000 square feet of commercial real estate space and a 339-unit apartment complex and townhomes with the residences within walking distance of tenants such as Whole Foods Market, the Children’s Museum of Richmond, a Starwood hotel and Kona Grill.
Golfsmith USA LLC is a subsidiary of Golfsmith International, the largest specialty golf retailer in the world. Operating stores in the U.S. and Canada, Golfsmith functions as a multi-channel retailer and serves customers through more than 150 retail locations and two e-commerce sites.
Virginia has 327 golf facilities and two professional golf championships, In 2012, Virginia’s direct golf economy was $1.4 billion, the company said. According to its figures the total economic impact of golf-related activities that year supported $2.5 billion of total economic activity, nearly 30,000 jobs, and $733.4 million of wage income.
Capital Square Realty Advisors specializes in the creation and management of commercial real estate investment programs for Section 1031 exchange investors and discretionary (non-1031) investors using the Delaware Statutory Trust structure.
Hampton Roads entrepreneur plans to invest $4 million in 10 Which Wich stores
Bijal Patel says he has enjoyed so much success with the Which Wich sandwich store he opened last August in Williamsburg that the franchisee plans to invest a total of $4 million, so he can add nine more locations in the Hampton Roads region.
The 2,126-foot store with an outside patio located in the Settlers Market shopping center has done “phenomenally well,” Patel said. “We are a top-producing store in the Which Wich brand. We’re possibly No. 1 on the East Coast. For several months, we were the No. 1 store in the country.”
Patel would not comment on sales figures. He did say that the typical investment for a new construction location for Which Wich is $350,000 to $400,000. The Williamsburg store employs 28 full- and part-time workers.
Patel, who grew up in Yorktown and Newport News, plans to locate new stores in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Hampton, Newport News, York County, and wants to add a second location in Williamsburg.
Total build out will depend on space availability. “Ideally, we will complete the 9 remaining stores in 4 to 5 years, “he says. He expects total job creation to be between 250 to 300 employees, including a handful of executives. Patel is the CEO of Wicked Hospitality, a company that manages the stores.
Which Wich is a national sandwich chain based out of Dallas. Asked what makes it different from other sandwich stores, Petel said, “Bottom line: you have to have a good product, and we have a great product with lots of customization and options for each and every guest.
Patrons can order whatever they want on a sandwich that ranges in price from $5.75 for a small, seven-inch sandwich to $11.50 for a 14-inch sandwich. Orders can be placed online, by phone or in the store.
Patel’s favorite: “The Italian grinder. That’s the one sandwich I’m hooked on.”
Goodwill is building a new store in Suffolk
Construction is underway on a new retail Goodwill store in Suffolk. The 15,477 square-foot building at 2901 Godwin Blvd. represents a relocation for the current Goodwill located on N. Main Street in Suffolk and adds more than 2,500 square feet of retail space.
The store will offer a variety of apparel, toys, antiques, books, electronics and home goods. It also offers a drive-through donation center.
According to Goodwill of Central & Coastal Virginia, the organization served more than 17,000 individuals last year throughout Hampton Roads through its job training and career development programs. Over 100 were Suffolk residents.
The new store is expected to open in September.
Peter Chang signs a 10-year lease for restaurant in Scott’s Addition.
Peter Chang has signed a 10-year lease for a project in Scott’s Addition, its first restaurant in the city of Richmond.
Local real estate developers Carter and Annie Snipes announced the news Wednesday at the monthly meeting of SABA, the Scott’s Addition Boulevard Association. “We are extremely excited to be working with Peter, and believe he will be a major draw for the Scott's Addition area,” said Carter Snipes.
Known for its regional Szechuan Chinese cuisine, Chang’s will open a 3,000-square-foot Richmond restaurant this winter as part of a $1.4 million rehab of the 1928 Hofheimer Building, using historic tax credits. Architect Todd Dykshorn is designing the project, and First Capital Bank is financing it.
“I was drawn to the Hofheimer Building for its central location,” Chang said in a statement. “I can truly serve all of my downtown customers from this location. I’m excited by what Carter and Annie are trying to do there.”
Represented by broker Nancy Wan, Chang selected the site after touring many other locations around the city. While the restaurant will occupy half of the building’s first floor, Snipes Properties, the couple's 10-year-old real estate firm, has plans for the rest of the building. The building’s crown jewel will be a 4,000-square-foot rooftop deck — serviced by a two-ton freight elevator — offering panoramic views of the surrounding area as well as The Diamond’s summer fireworks displays.
Snipes says the space would make an amazing rooftop bar or dining patio. "Peter has expressed interest in expanding to the roof or sharing the building with a craft beer or wine-centric concept that would complement what he is doing,” Snipes said.
The developers still need to get approval from City Council to allow the rooftop space, and they plan to file the request later this summer after construction on the restaurant space is underway.
The development team held a series of community open houses attended by 400 neighbors and residents who toured the building. “The overwhelming response from the public was for it to be some kind of restaurant or event space and not apartments. People loved the rooftop potential. So we are going to work with the city to make that vision a reality,” said Annie Snipes.
Isle of Wight names new director of economic development
Thomas “Tom” Elder has been named director of economic development for Isle of Wight County.
Elder has more than 25 years of experience in economic development and commercial real estate-related experience.
He previously was executive vice president of the Hampton Roads Economic Development Alliance.
Elder earned a bachelor’s degree from Washington and Lee University and completed two years of professional education and development through the Economic Development Institute.
His career includes more than nine years with Chesapeake Economic Development Department, where he served as assistant director.
Richmond-based foundation names new president and CEO
Sherrie Brach has been named president and CEO of the The Community Foundation Serving Richmond & Central Virginia.
She will succeed Darcy Oman, who is retiring after 30 years with the foundation, which is the largest community foundation in Virginia and the third-largest in the Southeast.
Brach was executive vice president of investor relations for United Way International. In that role, she was responsible for the administration and advancement of the organization’s global fundraising strategy and activities.
Before that position, she spent 16 years with the United Way of Greater Richmond and Petersburg, including 11 years as president and CEO.
Brach was picked from a pool of more than 150 sources and prospects from 20 different states. She will begin her new duties on July 20.
Oman will continue as president emeritus through the end of the year, working on special projects.
Dominion Foundation provides $500,000 grant for rural education program
The Dominion Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Richmond-based Dominion Resources, has given a $500,000 grant to the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education (VFCCE) for its Rural Virginia Horseshoe Initiative.
“This significant investment from the Dominion Foundation will be used to further the mission of the Rural Virginia Horseshoe Initiative, which aims to transform Virginia’s rural communities through higher education and 21st century job skills,” former Gov. Gerald L. Baliles, the chairman of the VFCCE, said in a statement.
Rural Virginia Horseshoe Initiative is named for the horseshoe-shaped arc that is formed when the colleges in rural regions of Virginia are marked on a map.
Initiative goals include cutting in half the number of rural residents without a high school diploma and doubling the percentage of people in rural areas who hold post-secondary credentials.
One programs called Career Coaches helps high school students pursue college and career plans while still in high school. Another program, the GED Initiative, encourages high school dropouts to return for their GED with the knowledge that a community college scholarship is waiting for them upon completion of the GED.
Seven of Virginia’s 14 rural community colleges are engaged in the Rural Virginia Horseshoe Initiative’s pilot program.
They include: Blue Ridge Community College in Weyers Cave; Dabney S. Lancaster Community College in Clifton Forge; Danville Community College; Eastern Shore Community College in Melfa; New River Community College in Dublin; Patrick Henry Community College in Martinsville; and Paul D. Camp Community College in Franklin.
Greater Richmond Partnership recognized by Site Selection magazine
Site Selection magazine has named the Greater Richmond Partnership to its list of the top 10 economic development groups in 2014.
The list is part of the magazine’s annual Best to Invest rankings.
The economic development groups list was determined by jobs, capital investment, jobs per capita and investment per capita in 2014. The magazine also considered the creativity of economic development strategy, scope of project activity and the ability to document the link between the group’s efforts and results.
"This year’s Top U.S. Economic Development Groups are recognized for their ability to leverage their community’s assets to reach new markets while making sure existing industries have what they need to thrive," Patty Rasmussen, senior editor at Site Selection magazine, said in a statement.
Other groups cited are from Charlotte, N.C.; Chattanooga, Tenn.;, Chicago; Cincinnati; Houston; Louisville, Ky.;, Nashville, Tenn.;, Pittsburgh and Spartanburg, S.C.
Each group could submit three projects that generated impact on the community. The Greater Richmond Partnership’s project list included: Stone Brewing, 288 jobs; Shandon Tranlin Paper Co., 2,000 jobs; and Teleperformance, 500 jobs.
The Shandong deal in Chesterfield also made the magazine’s list of Best to Invest Top Deals of 2014 for North America.
Virginia was edged out of the top 10 ranking for Site Selection’s Top Competitive States of 2014. In the previous two years, Virginia had ranked 10th.
North Carolina was named the to the top of the list.
SAIC completes $790 million, all-cash acquisition of Scitor Holdings Inc.
McLean-based Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC) has completed its $790 million, all-cash acquisition of Reston-based Scitor Holdings Inc.
SAIC said the deal will accelerate its entry into the intelligence community market by providing access to classified contracts, cleared personnel and a strong security infrastructure.
The deal was announced in March. Scitor was formerly owned by Los Angeles-based Leonard Green & Partners LP, a private-equity firm.
Founded in 1979, Scitor is a security provider focused on classified U.S. Air Force and intelligence community programs. It has annual revenues of about $600 million.
Scitor is a prime contractor on more than 85 percent of its contracts, and more than 90 percent of its approximately 1,500 employees hold high-level security clearances.
With completion of the acquisition, SAIC expects the revenue of the combined company's intelligence business to be approximately 11 percent of its customer mix.
Scitor employees will join SAIC’s newly created Intelligence Community Customer Group.
SAIC provides services and solutions in the technical, engineering, intelligence and enterprise information technology markets.
It has about 15,000 employees and annual revenues of about $4.4 billion.
Steve Case with Mat Dellorso, on left,and Fred Bryant, cofounders of 'WealthForge. Photo by Jay Paul.,
WealthForge wins $100,000 in Steve Case’s pitch competition
By Paula C. Squires and Jessica Sabbath
The cofounders of WealthForge, Matt Dellorso and Fred Bryant, edged out seven other Richmond area startups Monday to win a $100,000 investment from AOL icon Steve Case.
The announcement of the winner of the pitch competition was the capstone event of a day that promoted entrepreneurship during Case’s Rise of the Rest tour in Richmond. Richmond is the first stop on a five-city tour that Case is doing around the South, and the pitch competition drew about 300 people.
Dellorso and Bryant, who started their company in a dormitory room at the University of Richmond in 2010, said they will use some of the capital to open a larger 8,000-square-foot office in downtown Richmond for the company’s 35 employees. “This would pay the first year’s rent,” said Dellorso.
Currently the company, which processes private placement transactions, operates out of a space in the Paragon Office Park in Henrico County.
Watching the competition in the Gottwald Playhouse at Richmond’s CenterStage called up images of the television show, “Shark Tank.” The startup executives had four minutes to explain their company’s mission and business model, with presentations followed by three minutes of sharp questioning from a panel of judges.
From chick peas for a vegetable protein business to baby slings and a banking platform for contract workers that takes deductions from paychecks for federal income taxes, the presentations offered a broad look at some of the new companies being launched in Richmond.
Dellorso described WealthForge as “the PayPal for processing private transactions.” He said his company makes it possible for private businesses to seek private placement capital online -- one of their largest sources of capital -- instead of going through a lot of paperwork with a registered broker dealer and a lawyer. “The private placement market [hadn’t] changed since 1933,” he told the judges, until WealthForge came along.
According to Dellorso, the company closed $51 million in transactions last year and is currently supporting about 40 clients in real estate, agriculture, technology and health care. “We are growing every single month,” he said. Nearly 60 other independent, registered financial representatives also use WealthForge’s platform, he added.
In an interview after the competition, Case said WealthForge stood out because “of its momentum and traction.'' Already having partners and clients in place is important, and the judges liked the company’s crisp presentation, Case noted.
“These were eight excellent companies, and it’s always a challenge to pick one,” he added.
The other companies that participated were:
• Rockin’ Baby, a maker of baby carriers and children’s clothing;
• Marilyn & Michelle – a company that makes products helpful to women recovering from breast surgery;
• Painless 1099 – a banking platform that helps freelance workers save for and file taxes;
• Nutriati – a plant-based ingredient nutrition company;
• Luminary – a multichannel CRM platform and customer segmenter for retailers;
• Hourwise – an on-demand back-office support system for contractors and other trades-people;
• Vibeats – a mobile web platform for dining reservations.
Besides Case, the chairman and CEO of Revolution, a Washington,D.C.-based investment firm, the judging panel included Tige Savage, the cofounder of Revolution; Aneesh Chopra of Hunch Analytics, who is the former U.S. chief technology officer; and several successful Richmond entrepreneurs. Representing this group was Ting Xu, founder and chairman of Evergreen Enterprises; Aaron Montgomery, founder and chief operating officer of CarLotz; and Eric Edwards, chief medical officer of Kaleo.
This is the Case’s third “Rise of the Rest” tour. While the $100,000 awarded in each city will come through Revolution, the money is an equity investment from Case himself.
Case says he hope the investments will be a “catalyst for other investors." Tour locations are chosen, he said, because “we feel they are at a tipping point, where there’s good [entrepreneurial] momentum and over the next decade it could accelerate."
The Richmond tour began Monday with a breakfast at Urban Farmhouse restaurant in Shockoe Slip, where Virginia’s dignitaries lauded innovative efforts in Richmond and Virginia. The event showed that Case, the cofounder of America Online, can still draw a crowd with Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Virginia U.S. Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones and Virginia Secretary of Technology Karen Jackson all in attendance.
“With sequestration and defense cuts, we have to do business a little differently,” McAuliffe told a packed crowd of Revolution employees and representatives of Richmond entrepreneurs. “Virginia’s economy needs to diversify …”
Mark Warner, a co-founder of Nextel Corp., said he felt two federal issues could help promote entrepreneurship in the country: a rational immigration policy and regulations to allow crowdfunding. Congress has passed legislation, The JOBS Act, that would allow small businesses to use crowdfunding to raise capital, but the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has delayed writing regulations that would allow for the practice.
“Crowdfunding would be an important tool,” said Warner.
Virginia Beach-based Fox Three Partners LLC acquires Burlington Medical Supplies
Virginia Beach-based private investment company Fox Three Partners LLC has acquired Burlington Medical Supplies Inc. (BMS) in Newport News.
Founded in 1969, BMS provides radiation-protection and patient-comfort products.
Joining Fox Three in the deal is Detroit-based Peninsula Capital Partners, an investment company specializing in subordinated debt and structured equity investments.
Financial details were not released.
John Williams, the CEO of BMS, will continue in that role with Burlington Medical LLC, the company’s new name.
In a statement, Williams said the founders of the company wanted to retire, but wanted to partner with a company that understood its business and corporate culture.
“Fox Three and Peninsula showed they understand how smaller companies like BMS operate, especially how our culture supports our success. It is the energy that powers the business," he said.
Fox Three acquires and develops companies under $50 million in enterprise value with a track record of profitability, defensible market positions and strong growth prospects.
Portsmouth economic development director to return to Norfolk
Norfolk announced Monday that Charles E. “Chuck” Rigney has been named director of economic development.
Rigney worked for the city of Norfolk for 17 years before leaving in November to become Portsmouth’s director of economic development. Before that, Rigney was assistant economic development director. He was interim director from September 2011 to September 2013.
Rigney’s duties will include implementing Norfolk First, an initiative to capitalize on Norfolk’s “competitive advantage as the urban center of Hampton Roads," a statement announcing Rigney’s appointment said.
Norfolk’s former economic development director, Steven J. Anderson, resigned in July 2014 under pressure.
Rigney is the fifth official to leave Portsmouth’s administration since February, according to the Virginian-Pilot, including City Manager John Rowe, City Attorney George Willson, CFO Carol Swindell and Police Chief Edward Hargis.
Alexandria Economic Development Partnership names new president and CEO
Alexandria Economic Development Partnership’s board of directors has promoted Stephanie Landrum to president and CEO.
Landrum, who has worked for AEDP fore more than a decade, has been serving as the organization’s acting president and CEO since March 15. She replaces the partnership’s former leader, Val P. Hawkins, who retired.
Prior to serving as acting president and CEO, Landrum was the organization’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, a position that has since then been eliminated. This change allows Landrum to redeploy existing internal staff to updated roles and to hire several individuals for new positions.
As president and CEO, Landrum will continue the organization’s focus on local business formation and place-making efforts in the newer Alexandria neighborhoods of Carlyle, Potomac Yard and Landmark. She will also oversee partner organizations, including the new veteran-focused business initiative Capitol Post and the Alexandria Small Business Development Center.
Dominion acquires 20-megawatt solar facility in California
Richmond-based Dominion Resources has acquired a 20-megawatt solar facility in California from E.ON North America.
The purchase price for the Alamo Solar facility was not announced.
The facility is expected to enter service during second quarter of this year.
Alamo Solar is located in San Bernardino County near Helendale, Calif. It has secured a 20-year power purchase agreement and an interconnection agreement.
Alamo Solar is expected to qualify for the federal investment tax credit.
Dominion's total contracted solar generating portfolio consists of 384 megawatts in operation or under development in California, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Tennessee and Utah.
The acquisition of Alamo brings Dominion's solar portfolio in California to 241 megawatts.
The company also plans to develop 400 megawatts of utility solar generation in Virginia by 2020.
Dominion, the parent company of Dominion Virginia Power, has a portfolio of approximately 24,600 megawatts of generation, 12,200 miles of natural gas transmission, gathering and storage pipeline, and 6,455 miles of electric transmission lines.
First Tennessee Bank moves into new Virginia headquarters
First Tennessee Bank has moved into its new Virginia headquarters in Henrico County and hired a senior vice president.
The bank’s Richmond employees moved into its new 6,000-square-foot offices at Reynolds Crossings and opened for business on April 27. Located just off West Broad Street in Henrico County, the new building is adjacent to the Westin Hotel.
In addition, Lisa Streat, who has more than 20 years of banking experience, joined the bank on April 20 as senior vice president of private wealth services.First Tennessee Bank, a part of First Horizon National Corp., was founded 151 years ago in Memphis.
The bank has about 170 bank locations in and around Tennessee, and has expanded in additional markets in recent years, including the Richmond area seven years ago.
Booz Allen Hamilton names Gary Voellger its chief ethics and compliance officer
McLean-based strategy and technology consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton has named Gary Voellger its chief ethics and compliance officer.
Voellger, a vice president at the firm, has more than 25 years of experience as a defense operations leader across all aspects of military aviation.
Before his latest appointment, he led Booz Allen’s work for the Air Force Network Integration Center, the Air Force’s Air Mobility Command,and the United States Transportation Command at Scott Air Force Base.
Voellger succeeds Gale Smith as chief ethics and compliance officer. He reports to Booz Allen President and Chief Executive Officer Horacio Rozanski.
Booz Allen Hamilton employs more than 22,000 people, and had revenue of $5.48 billion for the 12 months ended March 31
First Tennessee Bank moves into new Virginia headquarters
First Tennessee Bank has moved into its new Virginia headquarters in Henrico County and hired a senior vice president.
The bank’s Richmond employees moved into its new 6,000-square-foot offices at Reynolds Crossings and opened for business on April 27. Located just off West Broad Street in Henrico County, the new building is adjacent to the Westin Hotel.
In addition, Lisa Streat, who has more than 20 years of banking experience, joined the bank on April 20 as senior vice president of private wealth services.
First Tennessee Bank, a part of First Horizon National Corp., was founded 151 years ago in Memphis.
The bank has about 170 bank locations in and around Tennessee, and has expanded in additional markets in recent years, including the Richmond area seven years ago.
Former chief justice of the the Supreme Court of Virginia to join Gentry Locke
Cynthia D. Kinser, a former chief justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia, will join Roanoke-based law firm Gentry Locke as senior counsel.
Beginning work at the firm on Tuesday, she will focus on appeals, criminal matters and government investigations.
Kinser spent 17 years on the Supreme Court of Virginia, with more than three of those years as Virginia’s first woman chief justice. She retired in December.
Before joining the Supreme Court of Virginia, she worked in private practice in southwest Virginia, served a term as the commonwealth’s attorney of Lee County, served as bankruptcy trustee, and was a magistrate Judge for the Western District of Virginia.
Kinser is the recipient of several notable awards, among them the Virginia Bar Association’s Gerald L. Baliles Distinguished Service Award in 2015, and the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Law in 2011.
The Baliles award is the Virginia Bar Association’s highest honor. It recognizes exceptional service and contributions to the bar and public at large.
Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medals are the highest external honors bestowed by the Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello, along with the University of Virginia, which grants no honorary degrees. The award recognizes the achievements of those who embrace endeavors in which Jefferson excelled and held in high regard, namely, architecture, law, and citizen leadership.
Gentry Locke has offices in Roanoke and Lynchburg and employs more than 50 lawyers in a wide a range of disciplines.
NII Holdings sells Nextel Mexico to AT&T
Reston-based NII Holdings said this week it has sold Nextel Mexico to AT&T for $1.88 billion.
"This sale represents an important step forward as we look to emerge from Chapter 11 reorganization as a stronger, healthier company that is positioned to compete in Brazil's wireless marketplace," Steve Shindler, NII's CEO, said in a statement.
The wireless communications company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last September. It announced plans to sell Nextel Mexico in January.
NII received $1.448 billion in proceeds from the sale, including $187.5 million of cash placed in escrow to secure specified indemnity obligations. The company used $350.5 million of the proceeds from the sale to repay in full the outstanding principal and accrued interest due under its debtor-in-possession loan that it borrowed in March.
A portion of the net proceeds from the transaction will be used to support NII's operations in Brazil, and the rest will be used to fund distributions to specified creditors, pursuant to the proposed plan of reorganization in its Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings.
NII Holdings provides mobile communication services for businesses and consumers in Brazil and Argentina, where it operates under the Nextel brand. Its offerings there include Internet, voice and data services.