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Out & About June 2016
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/out-about-june-2016#When:12:26:00ZThis month's Out & About features photos from The Virginia Chamber of Commerce's Fantastic 50 awards, the Virginia Maritime Association’s annual banquet, the Sorensen Institute Spring Gala and the Virginia Communications Hall of Fame.
To share photos of your company's special events with Virginia Business, e-mail your high resolution images along with photo ids to .2016-05-28T12:26:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Nview_CartersBook.png
Trump repeats Carter’s feat in 1976
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/trump-repeats-carters-feat-in-1976#When:11:45:00ZNearly a year ago, I was among more than 1,000 people who lined up in the rain outside a Costco store in Henrico County to get a book signed by former President Jimmy Carter.
The book, “A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety,” looks back at many events in Carter’s life, including his presidential campaign 40 years ago.
In a recent Politico article, historian Josh Zeitz contends that Carter in 1976, like Donald Trump today, was an insurgent outsider. Each rode a wave of anti-establishment sentiment to defeat a crowded field of candidates and win his party’s nomination.
And both were resisted by party leaders. Before there was a #NeverTrump movement in the Republican Party, there was the “Anybody But Carter” effort aimed at stopping him from winning the Democratic nomination.
Both attempts, Zeitz suggests, were doomed from the start because Trump and Carter tapped into the mood of the times. In Carter’s case, the nation still was reeling from the Watergate scandal, Nixon’s resignation and revelations about the conduct of the Vietnam War under Democratic and Republican administrations. The public was disillusioned with Washington politics and longed for someone who could be trusted.
Enter the former Georgia governor who pledged, “I’ll never tell a lie. I’ll never make a misleading statement. I’ll never betray the confidence that any of you had in me. And I’ll never avoid a controversial issue.”
The comparison between Carter and Trump, of course, breaks down when you move beyond campaign strategy. The men are almost opposites in personality.
In contrast with Trump’s brash statements and theatrics, Carter always has been direct but low-key. Effective in speaking to small groups, he never developed Trump’s ability to inspire a large audience, in a convention hall or on television.
In contrast with Trump’s three marriages, Carter has been married for 70 years to his wife, Rosalynn. They are equal partners in many endeavors, including The Carter Center, a nonprofit they founded in 1982 to promote human rights and alleviate suffering.
In fact, during his campaign against Republican President Gerald Ford, Carter tried to alter his image as a pious Baptist Sunday school teacher by granting an interview to Playboy. In explaining Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, he admitted that, like other men, he had lusted after women. Within days of the article’s publication, his poll numbers dropped 15 percentage points.
Trump also has one big advantage that Carter did not share. The real estate mogul has been a household name for decades, developing a reputation in books and countless television appearances as a high-level dealmaker.
Carter, on the other hand, began his presidential campaign with virtually no public recognition outside his home state. Zeitz notes that when Carter told his mother, Lillian, he planned to run for president, she asked, “President of what?”
Carter climbed out of obscurity by winning the Democratic Iowa caucus, which had begun only four years before. That victory served as a springboard to wins in New Hampshire and Florida, where he vanquished Alabama Gov. George Wallace. Carter’s early momentum allowed him to sweep later primaries as opponents dropped out of the race.
But running an effective campaign doesn’t ensure a nominee will be an effective president. Carter can claim some major accomplishments during his administration, but he failed to keep the public’s confidence in his leadership.
One aspect of Carter’s presidency, however, remains an unqualified success, the Camp David Accords. The event foreshadowed Carter’s role as a humanitarian and peacemaker after he left the White House.
In his book, Carter recounts the 1978 peace negotiations he conducted between Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat at the presidential retreat in Maryland.
The book reveals one critical piece of the story that I had not known. On the 13th day of negotiations, talks broke down with Begin refusing to yield on some issues. The prime minister, Carter and Sadat agreed to return to Washington, admit their failure and plan to resume talks sometime in the future.
Just before he left, Begin asked that Carter sign photos of the three leaders for his grandchildren. Without prompting from anyone, Carter’s secretary called Israel and got the children’s names. Carter inscribed each child’s name on the photos as he signed them and then walked over to Begin’s cabin.
“I gave him the photographs, he turned away to examine them, and then began to read the names aloud, one by one,” Carter writes. “He had a choked voice, and tears were running down his cheeks.”
The two men sat down and began to talk. “After a few minutes, we agreed to try once more, and after some intense discussions we were successful,” Carter says. Begin and Sadat were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
A simple act of kindness resulted in an historic Mideast treaty that still stands today.2016-05-28T11:45:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/CVILLE_side_RioRoad.pngRoadwork in Albemarle County Photo by Tom Saunders, courtesy VDOT
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/untangling-traffic#When:11:41:00ZNavigating Charlottesville-area traffic and finding a place to park are ongoing regional issues.
Albemarle County, for example, is tackling a grade-separated interchange project at the intersection of Rio Road and U.S. 29 — the largest such intersection in terms of number of lanes in Virginia.
Work on relocating utilities began in May 2015 with crews working only at night, between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.
Tim Hulbert, the head of the Char­lottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce, says some of the businesses in the area — about 600 with locations between Seminole Square and the Rivanna River bridge — have been “challenged” by the massive construction project.
“Some businesses have had losses of 20 to 60 percent of their revenue,” he says. “Some businesses decided to move.”
An even bigger road headache involves Rio Road — a main east-west thoroughfare in Albemarle. It was scheduled to be closed to traffic from late May through Sept. 2.
Lou Hatter, a spokesman for VDOT, says “so far things are going well on the project. The contractor is out there working steadily and the winter weather was very nice to us.”
The project is on schedule, Hatter says. While Rio is closed, crews will be working 24 hours a day, seven days a week “in getting the intersection reconstructed. There’s certainly been some inconveniences,” for businesses in the area, Hatter adds. “But we’re working real closely with them to minimize that.”
Charlottesville City Council, meanwhile, is preparing an attack on the downtown area’s No. 1 problem — lack of parking. Though the downtown pedestrian mall remains a hive of business activity with its dozens of restaurants and other businesses, consumers are daunted by the lack of parking spaces.
So the city has decided to run a parking meter pilot project. It’s expected that some 160 or so meters will be “tucked around the downtown mall,” says city spokeswoman Miriam Dickler, though no timetable for installation had been determined in late April. “The goal of this is to actually increase business activity. The goal is to free up some parking.”2016-05-28T11:41:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/iLab_Idea_Well_013.pngUVa has helped fuel the area’s innovation boom with its i.Lab at the Darden School of Business. Courtesy UVa
A new story line?
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/a-new-story-line#When:11:20:00ZThe Charlottesville area finally is emerging from a series of nightmarish events that grabbed national headlines.
Local leaders now are ready for the region to makes news for another reason — its increasing momentum as a launching pad for entrepreneurs.
The past 12 months saw continued fallout from a debunked Rolling Stone magazine story about a gang rape at the University of Virginia and the sentencing of a serial killer who stalked his last victim on Charlottesville’s downtown mall.
A Charlottesville police investigation could find no evidence of the gang rape, but the controversy now continues in federal court. Nicole Eramo, a University of Virginia administrator, claims Rolling Stone defamed her and filed a $7.85 million lawsuit.
Tim Hulbert, the head of the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce and a keen observer of life in the Charlottesville area, says he was “rooting for the lawsuit. When that [article] came out, it sullied our community and law enforcement.”
Meanwhile, Jesse Matthew Jr. pleaded guilty to killing Morgan Harrington, a Virginia Tech student who vanished after a 2009 Metallica concert in Charlottesville, and Hannah Graham, a U.Va. student who was murdered in 2014 after being abducted from the city’s downtown mall. As part of the plea agreement, Matthew, a former cab driver and hospital orderly, was sentenced in March in to four life terms with no possibility of parole.
While those incidents are largely behind it, Charlottesville continues to have local controversies. Vice Mayor Wes Bellamy held a contentious news conference recently in front of the equestrian statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Characterizing the statue as a symbol of a racist past, he called for its removal. People opposed to that move — asserting the statue represents Southern heritage and American history — waved Confederate flags as Bellamy spoke.
In early May, City Council voted to create a commission that will recommend whether or not the city should remove its Confederate memorials. The commission’s report, which will have public input, is due by Nov. 30.
A business ‘hotbed’
These controversies overshadowed the region’s growing reputation as a home to entrepreneurs and innovators. Tracey L. Greene, executive director of the Charlottesville Business Innovation Council (CBIC), describes Charlottesville as a “hotbed … of startups and innovative businesses with intellectual property at its core.” The CBIC’s mission is to accelerate technology innovation and entrepreneurship in the region.
Greene founded the Charlottesville Angel Network (CAN) last year, and qualified investors have already invested $1 million in 10 companies, she says. CAN includes high-net-worth individuals and successful entrepreneurs who meet monthly to evaluate early-stage companies.
U.Va. has helped fuel the innovation boom with assistance to promising startups at its i.Lab at the Darden School of Business. One beneficiary is Charlottesville-based KiraKira, which also has an office in San Francisco. Co-founder and CEO Suz Somersall says the firm aims to make technology and design programs more accessible to women.
KiraKira offers online classes that essentially help empower women by teaching them how to design jewelry using 3-D printers. “We’re targeting young women and introducing the concepts behind engineering,” says Somersall, a Brown University graduate who is a jewelry designer. “The skills and concepts they learn are transferable to engineering and architecture.”
Somersall says Charlottesville is “incredible in terms of advisers and potential investors. I can’t think of a better place to innovate … it’s a city full of brilliant people.”
Venture capital also is pouring into the region. A recent report by the National Venture Capital Association found that nine companies in the Char­lottesville metro area received $27.7 million in venture funding last year. The total includes $16.5 million invested by Chevy Chase, Md., venture capital firm New Enterprise Associates in Charlottesville-based PsiKick, which makes self-powering wireless sensors for “Internet of Things” applications.
Charlottesville ranked first out of 133 metro areas in both the greatest growth (55.2 percent) and the greatest rate of growth as measured by venture investment dollars with a 156.5 percent increase since 2010, says Greene.
Greene says the Charlottesville region is popular with entrepreneurs because of its “small-town feel combined with lots of savvy people.”
$87 million in investment
Chris Engel, Charlottesville’s economic development coordinator, says the city’s economy is “vibrant and robust” with the “epicenter of activity around the downtown area.”
About $87 million in commercial investment was spent in the city last year — one of its highest levels ever. “That $87 million means people are building for business purposes, and that connects to the job growth,” says Engel.
Most of the job growth is coming from “small, fast-growing, gazelle-like companies” that are adding 10 to 15 jobs a year, says Engel. They include companies like Apex Clean Energy, Relay Foods and WillowTree, a 9-year-old company that develops apps and already boasts more than 140 employees.
The hospitality sector is especially hot, Engel adds, noting that a significant part of the commercial investment came from the recent opening of a new Marriott Residence Inn on West Main Street. A Fairfield Inn and Suites also is planned for the corner of Ridge Street and Cherry Avenue, driven by the city’s hotel occupancy rate of about 70 percent year round.
U.Va. is partly responsible for that occupancy rate but so is “historical tourism” and four major Charlottesville festivals held each year that celebrate books, movies, photography and entrepreneurs, drawing tens of thousands of people into the city.
The city’s business vacancy rate sits at 3.5 percent with the rate dropping to 2.6 percent around the downtown area, says Engel. He admits that the city is facing a parking problem downtown but adds, “it’s a good problem to have. People want to be there.”
Rotunda project continues
At U.Va., construction is going on as always. The second phase to renovate U.Va.’s iconic Rotunda is underway. The $42.5 million project includes updating utility systems, restoring historical features and reviving the building’s initial use as the center of academic and student life. That means adding classrooms and increasing access and programming. The first phase of the project, completed in spring 2013, included installing a new copper roof and making extensive masonry repairs.
Counties surrounding Charlottesville are also making news.
In Fluvanna County, land use has become an issue. The land use program, which helps preserve rural spaces, cost the county about $2.7 million in uncollected taxes last year. That translates into about 10 cents of the tax rate. Supervisor Tony O’Brien recently raised questions about land use. “I’m not against land use per se, but I wonder if it’s a good deal for the county.” Supervisors plan to look closer at the issue.
Nelson County, which over recent years has become home to a number of craft breweries, has attracted the attention of beer giant Anheuser-Busch. The company has agreed to acquire Devils Backbone Brewing Co. in Roseland.
Some craft beer fans have bemoaned the loss of Devils Backbone from the ranks of upstart breweries. On the other hand, however, the deal recognizes Devils Backbone’s achievements since its founding in 2008. Now its beer should be available nationwide.
In other words, a Charlottesville-area startup has become a national success. That’s the kind of news the region can build on.
2016-05-28T11:20:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/DJI_0048.pngConstruction work on the Cregger Center has had an estimatedeconomic impact of $60 million over the past three years.
Punching above its weight class
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/punching-above-its-weight-class#When:11:08:00ZSalem-based Roanoke College is a small school with a big impact on its hometown and its region.
Robert Stauffer, a now-retired Roanoke College economics professor, completed a study in 2008 that gauged the school’s local economic impact at more than $100 million. That figure included $21.5 million in gross wages paid to employees, $18.5 million in local college spending and $756,000 spent by visitors. Stauffer estimates that the school’s annual impact is closer to $130 million today.
“It’s a big operation,” Stauffer says of the college, which employs nearly 500 people and has about 2,000 students.
His 2008 report, however, notes that many of the school’s contributions to the community are intangible. These intangibles include students’ community service and quality of life benefits offered by the school through education, entertainment and cultural events.
The Roanoke College economic and cultural impact on the region could grow with the completion of the $35 million Cregger Center, the school’s largest-ever capital project. The Cregger Center, a complex of classrooms and event space, is scheduled to open in August. It will include a performance gym with a 2,500-seat capacity and a 200-meter indoor track, the first of its kind in the Roanoke Valley.
Stauffer says it’s difficult to estimate how successful the center will be, but if used as planned for many events in addition to those already hosted by Roanoke College, it could attract 10,000 visitors a year. Half of those visitors may spend the night in the area, generating an estimated annual economic impact of more than $700,000.
The Cregger Center already has had a substantial economic impact on the area because of the construction jobs it has created. Stauffer estimates that when the center is complete, construction alone will have had an impact of more than $60 million over nearly three years.
Roanoke College Vice President and Dean Richard Smith says that, while the financial impact of the school on the region is clear, “the more important part is what we do with our students and the kind of education we give them and the position we put them in to go on to acquire well-paying careers and fulfilling careers.”
Smith believes that the broad liberal-arts program offered by the college gives graduates a well-rounded education, a potential advantage in competing for jobs. “[Employers] certainly would like to have students who have entry-level skills so they can move right into a position in their organization or their company, but they’re also looking for students who have a broader set of skills that really are necessary for leadership and management success and so on. These are skills that are right at the core of what we have to offer — critical thinking and writing well and being able to effectively make oral presentations. Our students get really great training in all that,” Smith says.
By the time they graduate, Smith says, nearly all Roanoke College students will have had at least one experiential learning opportunity — such as an internship, undergraduate research, service learning or study abroad. The college also has established mentoring programs through which students are paired with graduates in a field of interest. “We really want to see our students succeed,” Smith says.
Business and health and human performance majors are among the most popular at Roanoke College. These majors include athletic training, health and exercise science, sport management, and health and physical education. The college offers strong programs in biology, chemistry, biochemistry, math, physics, and applied and theoretical computer science. The college is discussing the creation of a humanities-based program that would focus on health care, Smith says.
Salem City Planner Benjamin Tripp calls Roanoke College “an integral part of downtown and of Salem overall.”
“It brings young people here who are seeking to pursue degrees from all over the world. It brings faculty and sports jobs in our area, and it also is a source [of new ideas]. Its influence on the community is pretty profound,” he says.
Tripp, a 2002 Roanoke College graduate whose wife, brother and sister-in-law also attended the school, notes that most downtown Salem businesses accept the Maroon Card — the Roanoke College student ID, which can be loaded with money. It also serves as a facilities access pass and a meal plan card.
Tripp says Roanoke College has been working closely with the city on efforts to improve the downtown area. Plans are in the works to redo the streetscape on College Avenue “so that it gives us the sort of college-community connection that we deserve,” Tripp says. Set to begin next year, work will involve replacing the sidewalks with the same type of brick used to construct Roanoke College buildings, adding parking areas and installing extra lights that will be strung over College Avenue.
“Having a college right in your downtown, I think that’s one of the reasons our downtown does as well as it does is because you have that sort of vitality of the kids walking around downtown,” Salem City Manager Kevin Boggess says.
Boggess also touted the potential of the Cregger Center to draw people to Salem. “It’s going to create a whole new venue for the valley that doesn’t really exist in terms of the indoor competition track,” he says. The center could host NCAA tournaments and Virginia High School League events, bringing people into the city who will spend money on lodging and meals.
College spokeswoman Teresa Gereaux says Roanoke College offers many cultural events, including lecture programs, art exhibits theater productions and a performing arts series. A program called Elderscholar, which has been in place since 1984, offers six-week courses to senior citizens. The Copenhaver Institute program offers summer workshops for pre-K-12 teachers and administrators. And, Gereaux says, students perform a great deal of community service work through partnerships between the school or certain professors and nonprofit organizations and service organizations in the Roanoke Valley.
Caroline Goode, executive director of the Salem-Roanoke County Chamber of Commerce, says Roanoke College supports every major community event sponsored by the organization. “Visitors, college employees and students are consumers to our local downtown businesses, and the college offers many educational opportunities to better the quality of life in our region.”2016-05-28T11:08:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Residential_College_Principals_Melissa_Thomas-Hunt_10HR_DA.png“The big trend ... is the demand for women’s leadership programs,” Melissa Thomas-Hunt Photo by Dan Addison/UVA
Training female executives
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/training-female-executives#When:10:00:00ZTwenty years ago, there were no female CEOs at Fortune 500 companies. Today, there are 22, 4.4 percent of the total. About the same percentage lead S&P 500 companies. So, at best, the journey of women to the C-Suite has edged forward at a glacial pace.
A Pew Research Center study published a year ago found that Americans believe women are not moving into senior executive positions at a faster rate because they are being held to a higher standard. Women have to do more than their male counterparts to prove their leadership capabilities, the study suggests.
Maybe that’s why more executive education programs are making more room for leadership training for women.
Melissa Thomas-Hunt, senior associate dean and global chief diversity officer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, says more women are becoming interested in honing their leadership skills and so are the companies that employ them.
“The big trend I’ve noticed at Darden and around the globe is the demand for women’s leadership programs. There were few of them 10 years ago … [But] today, companies need all the talent they can find. They are looking for the absolute best talent,” she says.
Darden offers the Women’s Leadership Program, a short course, through the school’s executive education program. The course is designed for female executives and women with management responsibilities.
Thomas-Hunt says that efforts to recruit and retain women in top positions, especially in technology companies, have reached a critical stage. Tech companies are concerned about the relatively low number of women entering, or staying, in the field, she says.
Asking for help
Rosanna Koppelmann, executive director of the Center for Corporate Education at the College of William & Mary’s Mason School of Business, says that — for the first time in her decadelong tenure at the school — a company recently asked her to put together a leadership program for women employees.
“The CEO/president saw this as an important strategic, capital-development piece. They’re really trying to develop [talent among] women in their workforce,” Koppelmann says.
In Mason’s executive education programs, she adds, instructors don’t distinguish between the leadership roles of men and women. Instead, the process focuses on identifying and cultivating leadership characteristics and helping companies develop good leaders.
Koppelmann encourages women to look at their professional goals in a much more intentional manner rather than seeing a move into upper management as a matter of happenstance.
She laughs in recalling high-level discussions about plans for Miller Hall, the Mason School’s home, which was completed in 2009. The design called for a baby room for nursing mothers.
Koppelmann says some of the men involved in the project drew a blank when they saw “baby room.” They wanted to know, “What do we do with that?”
She uses the story to illustrate the importance of women’s input in leadership decisions. “You’re not going to have the right conversation if the diversity isn’t there,” she says.
Few female deans
Mary Gowan knows what it’s like to be one of the few women leading an organization in certain fields. When she was named the head of James Madison University’s College of Business in 2013, she was only the third female dean among the nation’s 15 top public undergraduate business schools.
Gowan still notices the absence of women in the audience when business school deans gather. During the 2014-15 academic year, only 19.9 percent of business school deans were women, according to the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
Ironically, that percentage fails to reflect the rising number of women in business. In 2013, women held 52 percent of managerial and professional occupations in the U.S., a jump from about 31 percent in 1968, according to Pew research.
Gowan has extensive consulting and executive education experience with private and public organizations in the areas of leadership, human resources management and organizational behavior. She says male executives are sometimes not sure how to deal with the increasing number of women in management.
As a consultant, she once coached a male executive on how to address female leaders in his company. “He said if [the executive] was a male, he would know how to respond,” Gowan says. But in dealing with women, he was concerned about making missteps.
The JMU dean says because, achieving leadership positions still represents a challenge for women, the College of Business is doing what it can to help. Three years ago, it started a conference focused on women in leadership.
“We bring alums back to participate, to empower women to think about their future. And encourage them to lean in,” accepting leadership opportunities when they present themselves, even if the challenges seem huge, Gowan says.
In a changing workplace where some women are breaking through to high executive positions, Gowan notes that traditional relationships between spouses also are changing. “I have seen a lot of successful women whose [husbands have paused] their careers to help their wives,” Gowan says.
Changing an attitude
Jenifer Alonzo, an associate professor of communication and theater arts at Old Dominion University, often conducts executive education workshops to help businesspeople learn how to better manage teams.
She says many women attend her programs because they want to empower themselves in the workplace. “Women are more susceptible to thinking less of themselves,” Alonzo says, and a change of attitude can lead to a better job.
She teaches women executives and managers — and those aspiring to such positions — techniques that can help them navigate a communications code that they may not even be aware of.
For example, Alonzo says, women often sit on the perimeter of a group, not positioning themselves among influencers who can help them. And women have a tendency not to make as much eye contact as they need to. “It is a difficult thing for women to unpack how they should present themselves,” she adds.
While women are making leadership gains in the business world, the Darden School’s Thomas-Hunt says female managers and executives sometimes fall short advocating their own career advancement. “Women on average feel less comfortable entering into a negotiation when they are negotiating for themselves,” she says.
New executive education leadership programs now in the works at many universities may help bolster their confidence.2016-05-28T10:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/GA_VTCRI.pngVirginia Tech Carilion Research Institute
A busy body
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/a-busy-body#When:10:00:00ZWith the help of $46.7 million from the commonwealth, the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute plans to double its facility in Roanoke. The new 105,000-square-foot building would employ another 275 to 300 workers, expanding the institute’s work in its research specialties, such as neuroscience, heart disease, infectious diseases, and breast and brain cancer diagnostics and therapeutics.
The hope is the expansion will spawn economic development around the institute, in an area called the Health Sciences and Technology Innovation District. “We want to build partnerships with industry,” says Michael Friedlander, executive director of the research institute. “With small businesses, we could attract innovative biotech companies. In other cases, we could bring in more established companies who want to put a branch here and want to be part of the excitement and the energy of what’s going on in Roanoke.”
Funding for the new building is part of a $2.2 billion bond package passed by the General Assembly designed to make strategic investments in the state’s infrastructure and promising research at Virginia’s higher-education institutions.
The bond package — combined with new and expanded research and development tax credits, economic development programs and workforce credential incentives — was a highlight in a session packed with more business-related legislation than any in recent memory.
Although a partisan fight over the appointment of a Supreme Court appointment dominated headlines during the session, the Democratic governor and Republican-controlled legislature compromised on incentives primarily designed to accelerate Virginia’s growth in the “new economy.”
“There was a significant focus on business, and frankly, I think it’s the right time,” says Barry DuVal, president and CEO of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce. “When you hear about the downsizing of defense spending and the fact that Virginia is growing at less than the national average for our gross state product, those are trends we want to reverse.”
During a normal session, the chamber typically tracks 400 bills and takes positions on 40 to 50. This year, the chamber tracked 620 bills and took positions on 125.
This year’s legislation could create a new era in research at Virginia’s universities. Through additional money and incentives, legislation this year put a major focus on the commercialization of university research.
Much of that focus involves new programs and funds to develop Virginia’s biosciences industry. “This was the best year by far for bio,” says Jeff Gallagher, CEO of the Virginia Biotechnology Association (Virginia Bio), which represents the life sciences industry in the commonwealth. “The governor did a great job of lifting the topic and vision in his budget, which eventually was cut down, but it’s at least a couple times more than bio has ever received.”
Under the budget that begins July 1, a current program, The Catalyst, will receive a major funding boost in its efforts to incentivize universities to collaborate with each other and work with industry partners to commercialize biosciences research.
Previously, the program, officially named the Virginia Biosciences Health Research Corp., had about $2.5 million to spend each year. In the budget starting in July, it will receive a total of $10 million over the next two years, including $2.5 million specifically dedicated to health research with commercialization potential.“Great research is being funded, but it has a real impact on growing commercial opportunities,” says Gallagher.
A new initiative is designed to advance university research in all technologies. This year, the General Assembly created the Virginia Research Investment Fund (V-RIF). The fund, which will include $28 million in general funds during the next two years and $29 million available from the bond package, will have two major objectives.
The first goal is to help Virginia’s universities attract top-notch researchers with track records in commercialization.
Bringing in first-rate researchers can make a big economic impact, says Gallagher, pointing to Friedlander at Carilion and Virginia Tech as an example. “This is a way to help get the right talent,” he says. “It’s very competitive out there nationally and globally, when people distinguish themselves not only as crack researchers, but who also are really interested in answering, ‘Is this really going to help people? Is this research really going to get into the clinic?’”
V-RIF’s second goal is to fund the creation of centers of excellence focused on a specific area of research, such as diabetes or neuroscience.
This fund will encourage universities to create partnerships with the private sector in various industries. Increasingly, research-funding organizations are interested in backing collaborative projects rather than research that is specific to one university. “It’s a way to bring expertise together and become best in class by collaborating,” says Gallagher.
The fund was based partly on the Georgia Research Alliance, which Virginia Bio persuaded Gov. Terry McAuliffe to visit on a fact-finding mission last fall.
The bond package also includes major investments to promote economic growth.
In addition to doubling the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, the bond issue includes money for the expansion of Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Engineering and construction of a new STEM laboratory building on campus. It also supports the creation of the University of Virginia Center for Human Therapeutics, a research center focused on using medical research to create commercial drugs.
Inova Health System also is a major beneficiary under the bond issue as it develops its Center for Personalized Health campus in Northern Virginia. The campus is focused on developing research around personalized medicine, which aims to predict, prevent and treat disease based on a person’s genetic makeup.
The bond package includes $20 million for research at the Global Genomics and Bioinformatics Research Institute at the Center for Personalized Health. The money would fund lab renovations for research projects with the institute that involved at least two of Virginia’s higher education institutions or one higher education institution and one private-sector company.
Legislators also agreed to expand an existing research and development tax credit for small businesses and add a new tax credit aimed at attracting larger research and development companies.
The current research and development tax credit was capped at $5 million, but demand had exceeded that the past few years. This year’s legislation will increase the cap to $7 million a year. The legislation also increased the cap for each company to $45,000. That cap rises to $60,000 if research is done in conjunction with a Virginia university.
The new research and development tax credit is designed for companies spending more than $5 million a year on research. The new credit is capped at $20 million per year. “It’s been utilized and over-subscribed,” Josh Levi, vice president for policy at the Northern Virginia Technology Council, says of the current tax credit. “So the intention this year was to strengthen the current credit for small businesses and to recognize at the same time that there are some companies that have a much larger research spend that are constantly making decisions and re-evaluating where they do their research activity.”
Other legislation passed this year will put a new emphasis on developing exporting opportunities for Virginia companies. The Virginia Chamber of Commerce, along with the Virginia Maritime Association and the Virginia Manufacturers Association, led an initiative to establish the Virginia International Trade Corporation (VITC).
That new organization will pull international trade activities from the Virginia Economic Development Partnership. VITC will be designed to help companies take advantage of existing trade programs at the federal, state, regional and local level. A first-of-its kind study funded by the chamber showed that from 2009 until 2014, 30 percent of Virginia’s economic growth came from increased exports.
The separate agency would allow more Virginia businesses to take advantage of Virginia’s popular exporting-assistance programs, says DuVal. “One of the ways we can help Virginia’s existing businesses is by aligning the trade activities of the commonwealth and therefore making it easier to access affordable costs and higher-quality trade programs that will help Virginia businesses expand their export products,” he says.
The VITC will be organized during the fiscal year starting July 1, and its powers and duties become effective April 1 next year.
The chamber also backed another major economic development initiative passed this year — GO Virginia — although the program will require further legislative action next year.
The program is designed to encourage localities to work together on economic development by offering state grants. “Regions grow along economic boundaries and not political boundaries,” says DuVal. “Therefore we should craft incentives that reward regional economic growth and promote legislation that rewards regional economic thinking. GO Virginia is an implementation of that.”
In the budget, GO Virginia received $36 million for grants encouraging collaboration among businesses, school systems and governments in each region. The legislation established the Virginia Growth and Opportunity Board to administer the program and regional councils that would apply for grants.
The legislation, however, was almost held up by disagreements between the governor and the legislature over control of the GO Virginia board and the power to approve exceptions to the bill. The legislation includes a hardship provision for smaller localities that could not meet minimum project standards — an investment of $25 million and the creation of 200 jobs.
In the end, a compromise was reached, which allows the board and regional councils to be set up, but regional grant funding won’t take place until the second year of the budget. A working group will study the issue, and the legislature must revisit the legislation next year. “We think the agreement was a constructive step forward, and we are pleased at the bipartisan nature of the agreement,” says DuVal.
Not every industry benefited from the 2016 General Assembly. McAuliffe vetoed a bill that would have extended tax credits for Virginia’s coal industry. The governor pointed out that the credits have cost Virginia $610 million since 1988. During the same period, the number of Virginia coal mine jobs fell from 11,106 to 2,946.
The coal industry in Virginia has been suffering from increased regulation and competition from natural gas.
On the horizon
Details on many of the new programs established this year will be cemented during the next couple of years.
Specifics on many of the programs, including the new bioscience initiatives and funds, will be written into regulations stemming from the legislation. These will require provisions that allow the programs to run smoothly and ensure applications are properly vetted, says Gallagher of Virginia Bio. “It’s great to be created on paper,” he says. “Now all these people, including us, are going to have to work really hard to make sure they are built up in a way that provides excellent results and are completely accountable to citizens of the commonwealth. There’s a lot of work ahead just to get them ready to go.”
Many issues punted this year could become major issues next year.
Certificate of Public Need (COPN): A number of bills were introduced this year that would have dismantled or changed Virginia’s COPN regulations. The Senate carried over legislation that would have removed imaging services, such as MRIs and CT scans, from the state’s COPN regulations. Hospitals have argued these services help pay for their charity care and emergency-room services, while proponents say this change could help to lower health-care costs.
Airbnb: Legislation that would protect Virginians’ ability to rent lodging through Airbnb and create a process to collect taxes was approved with a re-enactment clause. That legislation requires the General Assembly to approve the legislation again next year and instructs the Virginia Housing Commission to study the issue. The legislation is opposed by the state’s lodging industry.
Angel investor tax credit: This credit, provided to investors in companies, has been over-subscribed. In fiscal year 2014, investors submitted applications for $9 million in tax credits, although the credit is capped at $5 million. Legislation introduced this year would have increased the limit to $9 million. Another bill would have eliminated the credit altogether. Both bills were defeated, but the legislature plans to study the issue during the next year.
Other notable legislation
The Port of Virginia will receive $350 million — the biggest piece of the bond package — to increase capacity of its largest terminal. The project will allow the terminal to stack containers higher and more closely together. The larger terminal will help the port respond to growing cargo traffic and the increased usage of large container ships.
The New Economy Workforce Credential Grant Fund and Program (SB 576/HB 66): The program, administered by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, will allow higher education institutions to provide grants of up to $3,000 to Virginia students for completing noncredit workforce training programs.
New tolling legislation (HB 1069) prevents an administration from adding tolls to existing highways, bridges and tunnels without General Assembly approval. The restriction would not apply to new construction or to HOV and HOT lanes.
The extension of a data center tax credit (HB872/SB64) until 2035. The tax credit was scheduled to sunset in 2020. “We’re at the point where more than half of the states offer a sales tax exemption, so the competitiveness has really ramped up,” says Josh Levi of the Northern Virginia Technology Council.
Passage of a law (HB412) that prohibits localities from regulating unmanned aerial vehicles/systems (drones) for three years while the state conducts its own study of the technology.
The addition of computer science and computational thinking, including coding, (HB831) to the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOLs). The Virginia Board of Education will determine how to add these into schools’ curriculum.2016-05-28T10:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Brach-7830.pngSherrie Armstrong worked with United Way Worldwide before joining the community foundation. Photo by Mark Rhodes
New role for a familiar leader
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/new-role-for-a-familiar-leader#When:10:00:00ZSherrie Armstrong has a new job and a new last name, but she is a well-known figure in Virginia philanthropy.
Nearly a year ago, she became president and CEO of The Community Foundation Serving Richmond and Central Virginia (TCF), the largest of 27 community foundations in Virginia.
“Sherrie is a proven community leader whose commitment to, and influence in, Richmond and Central Virginia is a source of continuing respect,” Tom Chewning, a retired Dominion Resources CFO who is chairman of TCF’s board, said in announcing her appointment. “Her familiarity with the region and her strong record of effective community-building has prepared her well to lead TCF and build on our successes and momentum.”
Before taking the community foundation job, Armstrong had served in many leadership positions for 26 years with the United Way, including 11 years as CEO of the United Way of Greater Richmond and Petersburg. Her last job was executive vice president of investor relations with United Way Worldwide in Washington, D.C. While working in Washington, she maintained a residence in Richmond.
She was Sherrie Brach then. In April, she married Gary Armstrong, Richmond regional president for Charlotte, N.C.-based bank Park Sterling. The marriage added three stepdaughters to her family of one daughter, a son and a daughter-in-law.
Armstrong sees the United Way and community foundations as complementary parts of philanthropy. The United Way, in part, serves as an on-ramp for philanthropy, providing opportunities for employees to participate in charitable giving that meets immediate social needs in the community.
Community foundations, on the other hand, provide grants funded mostly from revenue from endowments rather than annual contributions. The foundations invest and administer permanent charitable funds set up by families, businesses, and organizations to help their communities. Their objectives tend to be long range rather than focused on immediate needs. The scope of community foundation grants often is broad, including the arts and cultural groups, for example, in addition to social services.
In addition to serving Central Virginia, TCF has helped create regional community foundations for the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula during the past 20 years. While they now are components of TCF, each fund has its own advisory board and eventually may become independent.
TCF’s endowment is managed through an unusual arrangement with the University of Richmond. Since, 2008, Spider Management Co. LLC, the manager for the university’s endowment, also handles TCF’s investments. Armstrong says the arrangement is a good fit because the university and the community foundation are both investing for long term results. As of the end of last year, TCF had a 5-year rate of return of 7.38 percent on its investments.
Around the country, some community foundations are moving beyond their grant-making role to take leadership positions in the transformation of their community. The Hampton Roads Community Foundation, for example, set up study groups to address economic development issues in a region that is vulnerable to swings in federal spending.
Armstrong says TCF is pondering what role it can play as a facilitator of discussions in Central Virginia.
The big issue confronting community foundations and nonprofits alike, she says, is the emergence of millennials as the next generation of Millennials are generous, Armstrong notes, but many of them do not define their community as a geographic area.
Away from the office, Armstrong stays active — attending concerts, playing golf and exercising. On the day after this interview, she participated in the annual Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10k on a chilly Saturday in Richmond.
Virginia Business talked with Armstrong at her office in the Boulders Office Park in Chesterfield County on April 8.
Virginia Business: What sort of trends are you seeing in philanthropy in Virginia?
Armstrong: There is going to be, with the baby boomers, this big transfer of wealth. So, resources are going to be available to support community needs ... We have this opportunity to make sure organizations are well positioned to really take advantage of that.
VB: You are talking about the transfer of wealth from baby boomers? It used to be to baby boomers.
Armstrong: [Yes, there was a transfer of wealth to baby boomers], and now it’s going to be from them. There is this mindset, particularly in the older baby boomers and the traditionalists, that giving to the community is part of what you do … There’s a pool of dollars out there, and we’re starting to see that translate into planned gifts and bequests. For organizations that have set themselves up to benefit from that trend, it’s a huge opportunity.
The other interesting trend is that everyone is very worried about millennials … Some people think they are self-centered, but they are giving and volunteering their time at a much younger age than baby boomers were … They’re giving more, they’re giving to causes, and they’re less institutional …
The other important thing is the way they define community. It’s not the traditional way that we would define community … Somebody who has an online community may have a relationship with somebody in Africa, and they’re willing to try to support them. They’re more cause-oriented, they’re supporting global causes, and they really want to be engaged that way. Engagement translates into giving, and that translates into community. I think we’re having to figure out what’s the best way to attract that type of person.
VB: So, being a geographically defined community, is that an issue?
Armstrong: It’s going to be, I think … So we have to understand when we talk about community, there’s the geographic place [where millennials live], and they’re still going to care about where they’re raising their kids, but they also look far beyond their [local] community. They’re just much more knowledgeable globally. They’re traveling more at a younger age.
So I think what we’re going to have to do as a region and community is really be on top of the fact we can’t just always talk about our isolated place. We’ve got to look at our region in the context of how we’re playing nationally, how we’re playing globally. Those things impact what people are thinking. There’re some trends coming from the millennials that I think we can learn from in terms of how do we do a better job of engaging people, getting them connected …
I think the other thing we’re seeing with millennials is they want to be more part of the solution [instead of being passive donors] ... I think as an organization you have to have the willingness to let people come into your business and help you think about it differently and that just takes a different kind of management.
VB: How much of your income comes from the management of your endowment and how much of it is from various sources?
Armstrong: The majority of the money that we use to make grants to the community comes from the income, or the investment return, we get off of our endowment. We granted out $36 million last year, and that’s inclusive of money that we’re able to generate that’s unrestricted to us …We do get outright contributions, but that’s small, honestly, and typically when we get contributions, they’re in the form of setting up donor-advised funds or endowed donor-advised funds. We don’t necessarily go out and raise certain pools of dollars and then grant them out.
VB: This foundation is the biggest in Virginia, and that would include bigger metropolitan areas. How did the one serving Central Virginia and Richmond become the biggest?
Armstrong: I think one of the big reasons is that in this organization, particularly under [Darcy Oman’s] leadership over the last 30 years, there was an effort to focus on growth and to build our assets as much as we can. But I also think that it’s reflective, too, of Central Virginia and Richmond and the generosity we’ve always had here, the ability for people to give.
We have a segment of our population here that has done well in their lives, but they’ve also been very generous in giving back. I think that, when the Community Foundation started to evolve, there was a real community effort to help it be successful. So that was a big part of it.
The interesting thing about the model is it’s not just these funds we’ve been able to build with families and individuals, but we also have created a support structure for family foundations or other foundations that may not want to do all the back-office [work] of grant making.
VB: In reading about community foundations, I’ve seen there is a push in some areas to go beyond grant making, pulling various segments of the community together for a certain purpose. Is that a thrust that the Community Foundation here is going to follow in any way?
Armstrong: The board has recognized we’re really in a strong financial position. We’re doing great work, and we have been providing a level of leadership in the community for a long time. Now the question is: How do you move more towards being a strategic organization that can really anticipate what’s coming our way and be that convener and facilitator on certain issues in the community? More and more you’re seeing community foundations involved in thought leadership as well [as grant making] …
With so many different stakeholders and partners, you can be seen as a neutral convener, and you can help the community organize work ... Since I’ve been here having conversations with community leaders and community members, I’ve found there’s a real appetite in the community for us to step into those types of things … So, yes, absolutely, I think we’ll be following more in those trends ...
One of the big things we’ve done that’s been helpful to Richmond and the region is participate in the Capital Region Collaborative that’s trying to come together around priorities across the region and align different organizations. The Chamber of Commerce and the planning district commission are driving that, but we actually funded the project to get regional-level community indicators around different areas we all care about.
VB: Tell me about some of the programs that you support.
Armstrong: We have four big areas of focus. One is around educational success … We have another area around healthy communities. We’ve got an area around economic prosperity, and we also look at arts and culture. Those are the big areas that we will get involved with.
For example, if you look at the education space, we support early education. We may fund several programs that are supporting preschool, kindergarten readiness, those types of things. We also sit on the board of Smart Beginnings, which is driving the systemic side of things.
The other area that we’ve been incubating in the education space with other partners is middle school, middle-school success. We’re working with several of our large companies — Dominion, Altria. It’s called NextUp, and we are working in partnership with Richmond Public Schools to create quality out-of-school time for middle schoolers. That’s been happening for the last couple of years, and it’s continuing to evolve.
In the arts area, we have been trying to pull many of the arts organizations together to figure out how they measure outcomes. It’s more difficult in arts programs to really show outcomes that are tied to individual success, but there’s been a coalition of organizations that we’ve been working with to get agreed-upon metrics where we can demonstrate return on investment for charitable dollars.
VB: Now I’ve noticed mention of the Partnership for Nonprofit Excellence?
Armstrong: Now, that’s a big one. We also believe strongly in capacity building for our nonprofit network. Partnership for Nonprofit Excellence has been part of us for the last 10 years, and that is really focusing on providing training access to technical assistance for the nonprofit sector, helping them to manage their organizations better… Then under that, we’ve got HandsOn Greater Richmond. It works to really promote volunteer engagement, civic engagement. It’s kind of the bridge between people who want to volunteer and agencies. So we bring volunteers into organizations and many of our companies utilize HandsOn to actually create events or opportunities for their corporate employees to really engage in the community and volunteer in nonprofits.2016-05-28T10:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Commencement_CassieFoster11.pngEighty-one undergrads and one graduate student received degrees in May at Sweet Briar College. Courtesy Sweet Briar College
Redefining college ties
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/redefining-college-ties#When:10:00:00Z“At Sweet Briar, The Impossible Is Just Another Problem To Solve”
— posted on a sign at Sweet Briar College
Phillip C. Stone was working at his Harrisonburg law office in March 2015 when he learned that Sweet Briar College, a 115-year-old women’s college in Amherst County, planned to close because of what its administration and board described as “insurmountable financial challenges.”
He was shocked and saddened by the news. A firm believer in the value of a liberal-arts education, Stone was president of Bridgewater College for 16 years before he retired in 2010. The prospect of Sweet Briar’s closure rang like a death knell for a family member.
He also was surprised to hear Sweet Briar’s alumnae were starting a movement to save the college. “I wouldn’t have given you a nickel for their chances at success,” he says.
Nonetheless, a friend in higher education whom Stone had known for years suggested that he could assist the alumnae in an advisory role. Stone agreed to help because, as a Virginian, he values the state’s great landmarks and the kind of education that young women receive at Sweet Briar. “I took seriously my offer to come and help. But I did think it was a long shot,” he says.
The long shot, however, paid off. After a flurry of lawsuits, a hard-won settlement permitted the college to remain open, under a new board and a new president, Stone.
The school’s financial position was bolstered by $12 million in cash donations raised by alumnae in over 100 days, with overall pledges totaling $28.5 million, to be paid over several years. Fundraisers had assured donors that, if they were not successful in getting the keys to the college, the donors would not have to fulfill their pledges.
“To actually pull it off in litigation, with terms that were favorable to them, was a shocker. To raise the money they raised, it was amazing,” Stone says of the alumnae.
By the time he became president of the school in July 2015, many of Sweet Briar’s students already had left for other colleges, and every faculty and staff member had been terminated on June 30, except those absolutely necessary to effectuate the closing. Stone rehired everyone in a posting on the college’s website.
Nearly a year later, he says, “I’ve never experienced a more successful academic year in my life. Ours has been a remarkable journey of human exceptionalism and perseverance.”
New president next year
The journey is not over, but the 73-year-old Stone soon will be leaving. He announced in late April that he would step down around July 1 next year after a successor is chosen.
Stone says he always knew that his role in helping to revive the college would not be a long-term assignment. His wife’s health and his age contributed to his decision to retire along with the achievement of financial and enrollment milestones during the past year that have exceeded initial expectations.
Until he steps down, Stone says, he will continue to be heavily engaged in raising money and recruiting students.
Higher-education officials from across the nation have told Stone that what Sweet Briar has accomplished — in reversing an impending closure — has been historic, if not miraculous, and will be studied for years.
The Sweet Briar president says that one lesson for him has already emerged: A college must change if its graduates revise the relationship they have with the school.
In Sweet Briar’s case, alumnae took over fundraising, acquired legal counsel, recruited students and even performed many maintenance chores.
In return, Stone says, the college needs to provide its alums with an ongoing abundance of information about all aspects of the college’s operations, its finances, its budget, student recruiting and the like.
“I would expect this robust engagement of alumnae to continue. I would expect to see volunteer work days,” he says, referring to the surge of alumnae who descended on the college’s campus last summer to paint classrooms, clean buildings and perform a wide range of landscaping chores.
Stone says he once stepped out of his office and found an alumna, a medical school professor, weeding a flower bed. That level of passion and can-do spirit, he says, has become a defining element of the Sweet Briar experience.
A compelling message
Stone has instructed admissions officers to bring every prospective student to him, whether he is in his office, in a meeting or somewhere else on campus. He wants to say hello and encourage prospects to enroll.
Stone believes Sweet Briar has a compelling message to deliver to any student considering the school. “What we are now able to say to young women who are taking a look at us is: Have you seen what the women of Sweet Briar did? Don’t you agree that that represents extraordinary leadership? If you want to be like that, you have to come here to get it.”
He is repelled by naysayers who even now believe Sweet Briar doesn’t have a chance to survive. “Give me a break,” Stone says. “Colleges have faced hard circumstances before. Why are we so wimpish about stuff like this? Let’s have the courage to do the things that are pretty obvious to make it work right.”
The future of Sweet Briar, Stone acknowledges, relies very much on numbers: more enrolled students and more donations from alumnae and supporters.
According to the college’s 2014-15 fact sheet, the degree-seeking undergraduate enrollment last year at Sweet Briar was 561. This year, it was 236, a 58 percent drop. The freshman class had only 24 students.
Aiming for 800 students
Stone hopes to have 200 new students this fall, including freshmen and transfers. Sweet Briar had received deposits from about 125 students by May 1, but more continued to come in after that “soft” deadline.
“It will take us about three years to get us back to the place where we were,” Stone says, referring to the enrollment at the time of the closing announcement.
In its recent history, the college’s high mark for student enrollment came in 2008, when 647 students were on campus.
Sweet Briar this year received a record number of applications, nearly 1,400, officials report.
To remain financially stable long-term, Stone says, Sweet Briar will eventually need 800 students. He says the space and facilities for that many students mostly exists already.
A renovated and expanded library opened in 2014, for example, and a new fitness and athletic center opened several years earlier, along with eco-friendly residential facilities. An $11 million bond issue in 2008 helped finance the fitness center and the new residence halls.
Sweet Briar’s tuition for the 2016-17 school year is set at $35,800; with room and board and various fees, the total cost of attendance will be $49,060. The school recently was named to Forbes 2016 lists of Best Value Schools and Best Value Private Colleges.
First-year students last fall received an average grant or scholarship totaling $21,032, with all degree-seeking undergraduates receiving an average of $20,052. Similar aid is expected this year, college officials say.
Not a face in a crowd
Amelia Currin, a 19-year-old freshman from Coats, N.C., says Sweet Briar’s small classes and the mentoring provided by its professors encouraged her to enroll last year, a time that could not have been more precarious.
“A lot of people still ask me, ‘What if the school closes, what will you do?’ And I always answer the same way: It’s not going to close. I don’t have to think about what I’m going to do,’” Currin says.
She says that at Sweet Briar she’s not just another face in the crowd, as she would be at a large university. With small classes, she says, everyone has a chance to participate. “Here, the professors say ‘We want to hear your voice,’” Currin says.
Katie Craig, a 22-year-old senior from Fredericksburg, says Sweet Briar’s willingness to meld her interests into a customized program sold her on the school.
“Business major, dance minor,” Craig says. “I’m incredibly happy with all the experiences I’ve had at Sweet Briar. It’s helped me grow so much as a person.”
Craig, who is Sweet Briar’s student government president, says she learned about tenacity, resilience, loyalty and sisterhood at the women’s college.
“It shouldn’t surprise anyone that the alumnae bound together and saved it. The ties are so great,” says Craig, who planned to take a job with a major insurance company after graduation.
$10 million by June 30
Stone says the aborted effort to close Sweet Briar cost the college approximately $40 million in economic damage. Included in those costs is lost tuition from students who transferred and others who were deterred from enrolling because of the uncertainty.
Legal fees, $5 million in severance for faculty and staff, as well as the expense of repurchasing seven faculty homes, under a contractual arrangement, added to the financial burden.
Sweet Briar has a goal of raising an additional $10 million by June 30, the end of its current fiscal year. In late April, the college’s governing board reported that more than $6 million had been raised to that point.
Overall, the college wants to raise $30 million in its “Next is Now” fundraising campaign to carry it through the next few years as it recovers from the attempted closure, rebuilds its faculty and staff, and implements business and enrollment plans.
Among other initiatives, development officials and Stone are asking the college’s biggest donors for major gifts of $1 million each. In addition, those who made pledges in the Saving Sweet Briar campaign will be asked to accelerate payment of their pledges. “Pay them early — get them in this year,” Stone says.
The college is looking for every possible revenue source, including reviving the sale of hay on its 3,250-acre campus — once a standard practice — and renting rooms to travelers, wedding parties and others at its on-campus hotel.
Under the settlement agreement that kept Sweet Briar open, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring freed $16 million in unrestricted funds from the college’s endowment to use for operational expenses. College officials had no plans to tap those funds during this fiscal year.
As of March 31, total value of Sweet Briar’s endowment was $74.5 million, including about $7 million in a perpetual trust that is held apart from the endowment. The trust provides an annual income to the college.
By comparison, the endowment total was $77.4 million at the end of last year and $94 million at end of 2014, according the school.
A Moody’s Investor Service report issued in April last year noted that Sweet Briar had operating revenue of only $27 million in fiscal year 2014, the lowest of 14 women’s colleges it follows. Moody’s said the school relied upon unrestricted funds from its endowment to help it meet operating deficits for at least six fiscal years, 2009-14.
Sweet Briar’s goal is to limit annual spending from unrestricted funds to no more than 5 percent of the endowment’s total value. That spending rate, however, averaged 8.7 percent from 2011-14 and hit 9.4 percent, $8.5 million, in 2014, according to court documents filed during litigation over the school’s closing.
Stone says the school incurred many additional costs last year as a result of the aborted effort to close it.
Nonetheless, because of the closure scare, Sweet Briar has been able to negotiate new contracts with vendors on more attractive terms to the college, Stone says. This year, the college also shaved expenses by not contributing to the faculty’s retirement plan, a move that saved half a million dollars. “That’s a painful thing,” Stone says. “But the faculty knew we had to do some things.”
Alums fill vacancies
Megan Behrle, 28, is among a number of Sweet Briar alumnae who stepped away from their jobs to help the college. In Behrle’s case, she left a position with the International Monetary Fund to become the college’s interim lacrosse coach.
She says that like many alumnae she wanted to give back to a college that had helped shape her life. “At the end of the day, empowering young women is something I’m incredibly passionate about,” Behrle says.
Perhaps no one has done more to mobilize fundraising at Sweet Briar than Mary Pope Maybank Hutson, class of ’83, who left a job as executive vice president of the Land Trust Alliance in Washington, D.C., a national land conservation organization, to lead a major donor task force.
“We mobilized immediately to organize ourselves in what many of us, having spent 20 or 30 years in the working world, or in the volunteer world, knew we needed to do,” Hutson says. “It was a multifaceted approach that included communications, legal leadership and fundraising leadership.”
She says Alexander Haas, a capital campaign consulting firm in Atlanta, donated 90 days to being the alumnae organization’s back office counsel.
Meanwhile, a core of professional fundraisers, public relations executives and web graphic designers and internet marketers were drawn from the ranks of alumnae, and satellite fundraising offices were established in every state and in foreign countries where alumnae lived.
Alumnae also recruited students. Hutson says the college had not had a dean of enrollment for two years before its closing announcement.
“As soon as we were able to regain the keys to the college in June, we trained over 450 alumnae through our office, the alumnae relations office and the enrollment office, to go out to college fairs, high schools and tell the story of Sweet Briar College,” says Hutson, now the college’s vice president of alumnae relations and development.
Stacey Sickels Locke, a senior director of development at the University of Maryland and a Sweet Briar alumna, says fundraisers had no access to the college’s alumnae records or to annual giving or major gift data, as the former administration moved toward a path of closure.
Alumnae created donor lists using donor honor rolls from past issues of the alumnae magazine, and the daughter of a former catering department employee found a seating chart from a fundraising campaign dinner and entered those names onto a spreadsheet.
The internet was a godsend, Locke says, allowing alumnae to set up a hub for strategic planning and a portal for keeping alumnae informed about legal updates, news coverage, fundraising progress and the like.
“People respond to urgency and they respond to truth,” Locke says, noting one of her main takeaways from Saving Sweet Briar effort.
If any single moment can be remembered from Sweet Briar College’s year of tumult, it might be last year’s commencement address by Teresa Pike Tomlinson, the mayor of Columbus, Ga., and now chair of the college’s board of directors.
Addressing what many thought would be the college’s last graduating class, Tomlinson inspired the students with a call to leadership in the face of what many perceived to be a hopeless cause — saving Sweet Briar.
Reflecting on her speech, and on the actions of alumnae and supporters of Sweet Briar since then, Tomlinson says one lesson of leadership has emerged.
“Giving up is always on the table,” Tomlinson says. “Effective leaders, however, are defined by those that do not choose it. They choose to persevere.”2016-05-28T10:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/SweetBriar-7971.pngMary Pope Maybank Hutson and Megan Behrle are two alumnae who left careers to work for the college. Photo by Mark Rhodes
Leaving a legacy
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/leaving-a-legacy2#When:10:00:00ZSometimes donors give money with hopes of seeing quick results from their contributions — helping people in distress, for example, with food or clothes.
Other donors, however, have long-term goals that may not even be achieved in their lifetimes. These contributors are building philanthropic legacies intended to benefit future generations.
In this seventh edition of the Generous Virginians Project, Virginia Business examines recent gifts made with that long-term view.
The lead story looks at the prospects for Sweet Briar College, a 115-year-old women’s college in Amherst County that was given up for dead last year because of a financial crisis.
Alumnae rallied to its rescue, taking control of the school and raising millions of dollars. The college’s current president, who will step down next year, says the startling turnaround could fundamentally alter the relationship between educational institutions and their graduates.
Another story looks at the impact of a $50 million gift made by NVR Inc. founder Dwight Schar and his wife, Martha, to an innovative cancer research center being developed by Inova Health System in Fairfax County. The center will focus on the specific genetic makeup of each patient and type of cancer being treated.
A third story examines a $100,000 donation used to establish a fund at the Virginia Historical Society in memory of J. Stewart Bryan III, a fourth-generation Richmond newspaperman, who died in January. The fund, which has attracted many additional donations, will be used to support research on journalism history and freedom of the press issues.
Also in the section is an interview with Sherrie Armstrong, the new president of The Community Foundation Serving Richmond and Central Virginia. TCF, the largest community foundation in Virginia, makes grants focused on long-term solutions.
The Generous Virginians Project includes a series of charts showing donations made by individuals, corporations and foundations during 2015. The chart information was primarily gathered in a survey of hundreds of businesses, foundations and nonprofit organizations throughout the commonwealth.
Redefining college ties
Alumnae devote money and talent to Sweet Briar’s revival. by Gary Robertson
New role for a familiar leader
Community foundation CEO was longtime United Way executive. by Robert Powell
Schars’ $50 million gift boosts efforts to build a personalized cancer center. by Heather B. Hayes
Continuing a cause
Media General’s donation celebrates Stewart Bryan’s passion for journalism. by Jack Cooksey
Grants by community foundations
Donations by companies and corporate foundations
Total corporate donations
Donations by independent foundations, groups
Donations by individuals and family foundations2016-05-28T10:00:00+00:00
People - June 2016
Kenny Alexander , a state senator and Norfolk native, will become Norfolk’s mayor in July. He will be the first African-American to hold the post. Elected in May, Alexander will succeed Paul Fraim, the city’s mayor since 1994. (The Virginian-Pilot)
Jennifer Boykin , vice president of engineering and design for Newport News Shipbuilding, is a recipient of a 2016 YWCA Women of Distinction Award. The award honors women who have blazed a trail for other women through professional leadership, volunteer efforts and civic involvement. (News release)
Victoria Dietz has been promoted to vice president of The Curtis Group in Virginia Beach. She joined the firm in 2013 as a consultant. (News release)
Norfolk Planning Director George M. Homewood was named to the American Institute of Certified Planners College of Fellows for his achievements in urban planning. (Daily Press)
Mary Ann Melchers received the James P. Kirsch Lifetime Achievement Award from the Virginia Credit Union League. She is a longtime credit union volunteer and current board member of ABNB Federal Credit Union, which has locations in Hampton Roads and North Carolina. (Daily Press)
[INSERT PIC] Tom Warburton , promoted to senior vice president, marketing and communications, at Beacon Health Options. Warburton, who is based in Norfolk, was vice president, marketing and communications, at Beacon and its predecessor company, ValueOptions. (News release)
Mike Ahrnsbrak has been named general manager of The Lexington Golf and Country Club. Ahrnsbrak has served as general manager at the Blue Ridge Shadows Resort and Golf Club in Front Royal and the Musket Ridge Golf Club in Myersville, Md. (News release)
Front Royal Mayor Tim Darr announced in April that he will not seek a fourth term. Darr, a security specialist with the Department of Defense, was elected mayor in 2010 and re-elected in 2012 and 2014. The election will be held in November. (The Warren Sentinel)
The Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative has hired Michael Hastings as president and CEO. He will begin work by Aug. 1, succeeding Myron D. Rummel, who is retiring. Hastings is president and CEO of Jo-Carroll Energy in northwestern Illinois. (Daily News-Record)
The Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association elected a slate of officers to its board of directors. Appointments include Augusta Health President and CEO Mary N. Mannix as chair and Valley Health System President and CEO Mark H. Merrill as secretary-treasurer. (News release)
Bradley Polk was named director of Shenandoah County’s community development office. Polk was a staff planner and proffer auditor for Loudoun County. (The Shenandoah Valley-Herald)
Danville Regional Medical Center (DRMC) announced that Dr. James Klena — a Duke Medicine-affiliated cardiothoracic surgeon now practicing at Danville Heart & Vascular — has joined its medical staff. Klena comes to DRMC from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, where he was assistant professor of surgery and medical director of the adult intensive care unit. (Work It, SoVa)
Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham has named Dewitt “Hunter” Powell academic dean. Powell previously led schools at three locations around the country and also served as an instructor at Virginia Military Institute and a TAC Officer at St. Jones Military Academy. His military experience includes service with the Marine Corps and the Army National Guard. (Work It, SoVa)
All four Danville City Council incumbents — Lee Vogler , Sherman Saunders , Larry Campbell and Fred Shanks — were re-elected in May and will be joined by Madison Whittle. Sheila Williamson-Branch also was elected the city’s next treasurer. (Danville Register & Bee)
Greyhound Lines Inc. is pulling out of Danville. “I can confirm that effective today, we have eliminated service in Danville due to very low ridership,” Greyhound spokeswoman Lanesha Gipson said in an email written in April. “Our operating expenses have exceeded our revenue in this location for some time.” (Danville Register & Bee)
Marc Edwards, a Virginia Tech civil engineering professor who was instrumental in exposing a water crisis in Flint, Mich., was named to Time magazine’s list of 100 most influential people. (The Roanoke Times)
The Roanoke Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau announced the following awards: Vicki Gardner, Smith Mountain Lake Chamber of Commerce, Tourism Ambassador Award; Matt Hankins, Harvester Performance Center, Golden Star Award; and Jeff Marks, Gray Television Inc. (formerly with WDBJ), Chairs’ Tourism Excellence Award. (The Roanoke Times)
Radford University President Penelope W. Kyle was honored April 22 with a series of commemorative events at the university, including the dedication of Kyle Hall, the home of the College of Business and Economics. Kyle will retire in June. (News release)
The Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council inducted into its Technology Hall of Fame a new member, Joe Meredith, president and CEO of Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Former U.S. Rep. Jim Moran has been named a professor in the School of Public and International Affairs in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies at Virginia Tech. He will be located at the Old Town Alexandria campus in the National Capital Region. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
McLean-based Hilton Worldwide said Thomas J. Baltimore Jr. will become president and CEO of the hotel chain’s real estate business. Hilton announced in February that it would spin off its real estate and timeshare businesses to create three independent companies. Hilton also has named Sean M. Dell’Orto chief financial officer of the new real estate investment trust (REIT). Dell’Orto will continue to serve as senior vice president and treasurer of Hilton Worldwide. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center has appointed Michael Clark as its CEO, effective June 1. Clark was president of LifePoint Health’s American Division, overseeing a 14-hospital system. (Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star)
Arlington-based BAE Systems Inc. has added retired Navy Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert to its board of directors. Before his retirement in October, Greenert served a combined six years as the chief of naval operations and vice chief of naval operations, the two most-senior military positions in the Navy. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Karen McKee, senior account executive with WUSA 9, and Tracey White, vice president of community and government relations for Reston Hospital Center, have been named new members of the board of directors of the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce. (Inside NoVa)
Nova Medical Group has announced a partnership with Inova Medical Group, a division of the Inova Health System. Founded by Dr. Grace Keenan in 1988, Nova Medical Group has locations in Ashburn, Sterling, Leesburg and Gainesville. The partnership with Inova is intended to increase medical access while providing a patient portal and foreign language assistance services, according to Nova’s website. (Loudoun Times-Mirror)
Bon Secours Richmond Health System has named Christopher Accashian CEO of St. Francis Medical Center in Midlothian. Accashian was CEO of Parkland Medical Center in Derry, N.H., which is part of the Hospital Corporation of America. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Toni R. Ardabell has been named CEO of Bon Secours Virginia Health System, which has eight acute-care hospitals in Richmond and Hampton Roads. She remains CEO of Bon Secours Richmond. (News release)
Ann Huckle Mallek has been named to the Virginia Board of Workforce Development. She is on the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors and operates Currituck Farm in Earlysville with her husband. (News release)
Michael J. Schewel, a former Virginia secretary of commerce and trade, has joined Chesterfield-based Tredegar Corp. as vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary. He was with McGuireWoods LLP. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Virginia Commonwealth University announced that Meredith Weiss will become vice president for administration on Aug. 1 and that Karol Kain Gray is now vice president for finance and budget. Weiss has been senior associate vice chancellor for finance and administration at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Gray was chief financial officer at Applied DNA Sciences Inc. in Stony Brook, N.Y. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)2016-05-28T10:00:00+00:00
For the Record - June 2016
Bon Secours Health System Inc. and one of its surgical oncologists, Dr. Eugene Y. Chang of Suffolk, have agreed to pay $400,000 to settle civil fraud allegations that, while at Bon Secours Maryview Medical Center in Portsmouth, Chang billed Medicare and other federal health-care payers for non-covered breast examinations and ultrasounds. The civil claims settled by this False Claims Act agreement are allegations only; there has been no determination of civil liability. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
The restoration of The Cavalier Hotel in Virginia Beach is costing $20 million more than anticipated and taking more time to complete, according to a letter from Bruce Thompson, manager of Cavalier Associates LLC, which is developing the property. The company is spending more than $200 million on the Cavalier property. Thompson did not ask the city for additional money and said that he and his partners plan to honor their commitment to restore the 89-year-old hotel and develop the adjacent properties. The anticipated opening date is next April. (The Virginian-Pilot)
Dollar Tree Inc. announced the former CEO of Family Dollar has resigned from the Chesapeake company’s board of directors. Dollar Tree said Howard R. Levine resigned April 19, adding there were no disagreements between Levine and the company. Dollar Tree acquired Family Dollar and its more than 8,200 stores last year in a deal worth $9.2 billion. Levine stepped down as CEO of Family Dollar in January. (The Virginian-Pilot)
Endurance IT Services, which has offices in Virginia Beach and Newport News, acquired the information technology support team of Virginia Beach-based Doran Consulting Technology Group. Endurance specializes in managed services and IT infrastructure. Doran will continue to offer web, data and SharePoint services as well as project management. (Daily Press)
A small cidery in Highland County received nods at the Great Lakes International Cider and Perry Competition in April. The contest awarded Big Fish Cider Co. a Best-in-Class award, which marks the first time in the competition’s 11-year history that a Virginia cidery has earned that distinction. The cidery received four medals in the competition, which drew 1,003 entries. (The News Leader)
Eight finalists competed for $21,000 in startup money in April as part of a new program called Grow Waynesboro. Three local business projects received funding — Ula Tortilla ($8,000). The Faded Poppy ($7,000) and Make Waynesboro ($6,000). Grow Waynesboro seeks to find, fund and support startups in the area. (The News Leader)
The city of Harrisonburg, James Madison University, and dpM Partners are collaborating on the Hotel Madison & Shenandoah Valley Conference Center, which will be located on the southern end of downtown Harrisonburg, on the edge of JMU’s campus. The 235-room boutique hotel is slated to open in fall 2017. The $36 million hotel will be privately owned and operated by dpM Partners. (News release)
Edinburg-based Shenandoah Telecommunications Co. (Shentel) has completed its acquisition of Waynesboro-based NTELOS Holding Corp. The deal, announced in August, will more than double Shentel’s wireless customer base. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Augusta Health’s Wal-Mart Convenient Care Clinics in Waynesboro and Staunton have closed. During the past five years, Augusta Health has opened Urgent Care Centers in Staunton, Waynesboro, Stuarts Draft and Weyers Cave. During that time, patient traffic at the Wal-Mart-based clinics has significantly declined. (The News Leader)
Dominion Virginia Power’s Brunswick Power Station began producing electricity in April. The 1,358-megawatt natural gas plant is expected to generate enough power for 325,000 homes. The company said the power plant was needed to meet growing demand and to replace electricity from older, coal-fired plants. The plant will have 43 employees with an annual payroll of $7.5 million. The station will pay about $4 million a year in local property taxes until 2017 and up to $5 million annually beyond that year. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Nationwide Custom Homes is expanding production at its Martinsville manufacturing operations, creating 59 jobs. Nationwide President Andy Miller said the $986,342 project involves renovating one of its four plants at its Rives Road site to extend its production line. Nationwide produces modular housing for the single and multifamily residential markets. It also serves commercial markets, producing apartments, hotels, student housing and rental cottages. It is an operating division of Palm Harbor Homes, which is part of the Phoenix-based Cavco family of manufacturers. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
URW Credit Union held a ribbon-cutting and grand-opening ceremony in April at its new South Boston location on Halifax Road. According to URW’s website, members of the United Rubber Workers Local 831 Labor Union started the credit union in 1970. URW also has branches in Danville and Chatham. (The Gazette-Virginian)
Virginia’s Department of Labor and Industry has issued three citations and recommended a fine of nearly $17,000 for violations it deemed serious at the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. in Danville after the death of an employee at the plant last summer. Since then, two other plant employees have died on the job, and a third suffered second-degree burns in an accident. According to Jennifer Rose, safety director for the Virginia Occupational Safety and Health Compliance Program, Goodyear is contesting the citations, so the case remains open. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Developers of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline anticipate delaying the start of construction of the $5.1 billion project until summer 2017. The pipeline would be about 600 miles long, beginning in West Virginia and terminating in North Carolina. Its route in Virginia would pass through 14 counties and cities. (The Roanoke Times)
The Roanoke nonprofit Local Environmental Agriculture Project has opened The Kitchen in the city’s West End neighborhood. The Kitchen is designed to support development of small, food-related businesses. (The Roanoke Times)
A multiproperty deal worth just over $90 million has placed the New River Valley’s only mall in new hands. Philadelphia-based Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust — PREIT — announced that it completed the sale of four “non-core” mall properties, placing the nearly three decades-old New River Valley Mall under the ownership of an affiliate of global asset management firm Farallon Capital Management LLC. (The Roanoke Times)
Radford Army Ammunition Plant officials broke ground on a gas-fired electricity and steam plant in April, saying the $60 million project will reduce the facility’s environmental impact. The commander of the U.S. Army-owned, contractor-operated plant, Lt. Col. Alicia Masson, also said that $7 million has been released by the Army Contracting Command for the design of an enclosed incinerator to handle much of the waste that now is disposed of at the facility’s much-criticized Open Burning Ground. (The Roanoke Times)
The Roanoke Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau has a new name: Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge. After operating for 31 years under the old name, the time had come for a new identity, according to bureau President Landon Howard. The organization represents the cities of Roanoke and Salem and the counties of Roanoke, Franklin and Botetourt. (The Roanoke Times)
Capital One Financial Corp. plans to open a café branch in Richmond’s Carytown shopping district. The McLean-based company also plans to open other banking cafés in Chesterfield County and western Henrico County, sources close to the deal say. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
Event management company Cvent has agreed to be acquired by affiliates of Vista Equity Partners for $1.65 billion in an all-cash deal. Under the agreement, Cvent stockholders would receive $36 per share, a 69 percent premium over Cvent’s closing price on April 15. Cvent’s headquarters would remain in Tysons. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Fairfax County supervisors agreed in April to allow the county’s Economic Development Authority to accept $1.3 million in state grant funding to help accounting firm Ernst & Young LLP expand operations in Tysons. The state also will provide $227,200 from the Virginia Jobs Investment Program. By Dec. 31, 2018, Ernst & Young must invest nearly $12.7 million in the facility and create and maintain at least 462 additional positions beyond the 1,422 employees working for the company in Tysons as of Nov. 1, 2014. (Inside NoVa)
McLean-based Gannett Co. will ask shareholders of Tribune Publishing to withhold their votes for the June election of eight nominees to Tribune’s board of directors. The move is an attempt to prod Tribune’s management to begin negotiations on Gannett’s $815 million takeover bid. Gannett owns USA Today and 107 local news properties. Chicago-based Tribune owns the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Daily Press in Newport News and eight other dailies. (USA Today)
Dulles-based Orbital ATK Inc. has received a $121.4 million contract to convert old supersonic air-to-ground tactical missiles into another batch of Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missiles, or AGM-88Es. The AGM-88E is currently used on U.S. Navy and Marine Corps F/A-18 Hornet and EA-18G Growler aircraft. It is a joint program involving the Pentagon and the Italian Ministry of Defense. (Washington Business Journal)
Two subsidiaries of Lynchburg-based BWX Technologies Inc. have been awarded $3.1 billion in contracts for the manufacture of naval nuclear reactor components and fuel by the U.S. Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program. The reactor components contracts were awarded to BWXT Nuclear Operations Group Inc. while the nuclear fuel contracts were awarded to Nuclear Fuel Services Inc. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Richmond-based Hardywood Park Craft Brewery plans to open a brewery and taproom in Charlottesville later this year. The facility will be located in the Uncommon student apartment building at 1000 W. Main St. It will have a 3.5-barrel brewery, 1,100-square-foot taproom and outdoor beer garden. Hardywood plans to open the brewery and taproom by September. (The Daily Progress)
Hunton & Williams LLP has launched a 3-D printing team to advise clients as they use the technology, which is being adopted by many manufacturers. The team aims to give clients an advantage as they consider the opportunities presented by using 3-D printing. Hunton & Williams serves clients from 19 offices around the world, including locations in Richmond, Norfolk and McLean. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Quirk Hotel in downtown Richmond is officially complete with the opening of its rooftop bar and terrace. Construction on the two-level space picked up last September when the 74-room hotel opened, says Kate Brown, the hotel’s director of sales and marketing. The 2,800-square-foot space offers a panoramic view of Richmond from the eight-story, boutique hotel. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones, the Richmond Flying Squirrels and Virginia Commonwealth University said in April they are working together to identify a location for a new ballpark. They are seeking a site that is near the current ballpark, The Diamond, but not on the city-owned 60 acres bounded by the Boulevard and Hermitage Road. The announcement follows the issuance of a report recommending development of the city property and inclusion of sports and entertainment venues in the larger area. (News release)2016-05-28T10:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/CVA_Embraer%2BE175.pngMore than 60,000 passengers fly between Richmond and Denver each year.
Richmond launches nonstop service to Denver
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/richmond-launches-nonstop-service-to-denver#When:10:00:00ZGood things come to those who wait.
That was the case, anyhow, for the Richmond International Airport (RIC), which in April launched a direct United Airlines flight to Denver.
“If I go back to communications with United, I can track solid mentions of requests and considerations of this route to at least 2003, so more than a decade,” says Troy Bell, the airport’s spokesman.
According to the airport, Denver is the 11th most popular destination from RIC. More than 60,000 passengers travel between the two cities each year.
“United’s new daily service to Denver provides our customers from throughout Virginia’s Capital Region with convenient access to another major economic center and home to one of our largest hub airports,” Kellie Clough, United’s sales manager in Richmond, said in a statement when the flight was launched.
The new flight is welcome news for the Greater Richmond Partnership (GRP), which takes almost 200 flights per year out of the Richmond airport. The organization helps companies interested in locating or expanding in the Richmond area. It now is able to meet with more prospective companies and consultants than before.
“I think this is particularly big, not just because it goes to Denver … this is big because Denver gives us access to the whole Western half of the United States,” says Barry Matherly, GRP’s president and CEO.
About 35 percent of GRP’s prospective companies are from the U.S., and almost half of those firms are from the West, Matherly says.
United spokeswoman Mary Clark says it’s too early to assess the flight’s performance, but the company is “satisfied with the response so far.” For competitive reasons, she was unable to provide specific passenger loads.
RIC spokesman Bell also is mum on specific passenger numbers but says the flight “appears off to a very good start.”
The airport used a $750,000 Department of Transportation grant to help reduce the airline’s risk in establishing the route plus $150,000 in funds from local jurisdictions. The Capital Region Airport Commission also contributed $85,000 in marketing and in-kind donations.
RIC now has 20 direct flights. It served 3.5 million passengers in 2015, up 4.79 percent from the previous year.2016-05-28T10:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/NOVA_Puri.Amit_.Ingenicomm_LE-web.pngAmit Puri is president and CEO of Ingenicomm.
Fast-growing Ingenicomm aims for the stars
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/fast-growing-ingenicomm-aims-for-the-stars#When:10:00:00ZIngenicomm can legitimately say business is out of this world.
Products developed by the Chantilly-based company are used by NASA, the International Space Station, Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency and Canadian Space Agency.
“Targeting the international market is a natural for our company,” says Amit Puri, the company’s president and CEO.
The company’s programmable telemetry processor (PTP), for example, is designed to process spacecraft telemetry. A spacecraft sends collected data to operators on the ground with information that includes the status of the spacecraft as well as scientific data gathered by its instruments.
“It’s an extraordinarily flexible product,” Puri says of PTP. “The standard PTP contains more than 200 different software modules that perform different types of processing for spacecraft data. Users can select and configure individual modules as they need for their unique mission needs.”
Puri and three colleagues started the business in 2010 after working at companies that worked with international and domestic space agencies.
“My first job out of college was as a ground-systems engineer at Avtec Systems, a small aerospace contractor located in Fairfax,” Puri says. “At the time, Avtec was a key supplier of data-processing equipment to NASA, and the job introduced me to the aerospace market.”
The market has been good for Ingenicomm. It ranked No. 8 on the 2016 Fantastic 50, an annual list of the fastest-growing small companies in Virginia. The company recorded a revenue growth rate of 692.5 percent from 2011 to 2014.
Ingenicomm has 40 employees, about half of whom work in Chantilly and an office in Greenbelt, Md. The other employees are located in White Sands, N.M., supporting the NASA facility there.
Ingenicomm supports a significant portion of the scientific and exploratory spacecraft operated by NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the United States Geological Survey (USGS).
The company also works with a variety of domestic defense and intelligence programs. Ingenicomm-developed equipment is used to support critical early warning and missile detection systems such as the Space-Based Space Surveillance and Space-Based Infrared system operated by the U.S. Air Force.
Puri is pleased with the support the company has received from the commonwealth in developing international markets.
“It’s clear that Virginia is deeply interested in expanding its export footprint in the global marketplace and is prepared to offer practical assistance and not just encouraging words,” he says. “This makes it an ideal location from which to run a global business such as ours.”2016-05-28T10:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Film_Crew_Big_Stone_Gap.pngA “Save Our Towns” film crew sets up in Big Stone Gap. Photo by Andrea Brunais
Virginia Tech web series aims to help small towns
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-tech-web-series-aims-to-help-small-towns#When:10:00:00ZA monthly web series is targeting an unconventional audience — small-town mayors and town managers.
Virginia Tech’s “Save Our Towns,” program aims to guide and inspire Appalachian leaders working to improve their towns. The show has mostly been filmed in Virginia’s Appalachian region. The region includes 24 counties and 80 towns and cities. Some areas have been hit hard by the decline of the coal, tobacco and furniture industries.
“We’ve had a lot of great response and feedback to show us that this is something of value,” says Andrea Brunais, the show’s executive producer who is director of communications for Virginia Tech’s office of outreach and international affairs.
Each season, the video series follows a small town and chronicles its triumphs and challenges in economic development. The first season focused on St. Paul, a small town in Southwest Virginia with a population of just under 1,000.
“It went well,” St. Paul Mayor H. Kyle Fletcher says about the experience. “We were able to cover the town, talk about small towns in general, some of the problems we had and some of the things we wanted to do.”
Every 10-minute episode also features an economic development tip from an expert. More information from that expert can be found on the “Save Our Towns” website, including contact information. Past experts have included James Baldwin, head of the Cumberland Plateau Planning District Commission, and Basil Gooden, state director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development.
Virginia Tech also will hold the Save Our Towns Summit Sept. 15 in Blacksburg. The event will explore challenges and opportunities facing small towns and rural communities. It also will look at best practices and examples of projects that are underway or completed and available resources.
About 80 people attended the event last year when it was held for the first time, and Virginia Tech hopes to increase that to 100 this year.
The show recently got a boost from the Virginia Cooperative Extension. The extension, a partnership between Virginia Tech, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, provided a $5,000 grant to cover the show’s travel and equipment expenses. The show also has won three awards this year, including two in the Bulldog Reporter competition, which is the only public relations competition judged by journalists.
The third season of “Save Our Towns” will begin by Sept. 1 and can be viewed at http://www.saveourtowns.outreach.vt.edu.2016-05-28T10:00:00+00:00Eva Doss, the president and CEO of The Launch Place, says the companies are good fits for Danville. Photo by Steven Mantilla
The Launch Place invests $1.94 million in eight companies
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/the-launch-place-invests-1.94-million-in-eight-companies#When:10:00:00ZJason Barton, co-founder and chief technology officer for KSI Video, wasn’t sure that opening his company in Danville was the right move until he learned about The Launch Place. “It has turned out to be the best thing for us,” he says. “We do video and data management for drones and ground and underwater robots, and Danville wound up in the heart of an area for drone research.”
The Launch Place is constantly searching for companies like KSI — firms with ideas for the next best thing that are willing to turn those ideas into businesses in Danville.
The organization’s latest investment — $200,000 — will go to Roobrik, a company that provides an interactive software tool for making decisions about long-term care.
The program began in 2012 when the Danville Regional Foundation approved a $10 million grant to transform the Southside Business Technology Center and rebrand it as The Launch Place. To date, The Launch Place has made nine investments totaling $1.94 million in eight companies. Six of the investments came from a seed fund for companies that are well along in developing products. Another three investments came from a pre-seed fund for companies that are not as far along in that process.
The companies receiving investments represent fields ranging from information technology software development to advanced manufacturing.
Additional companies are in the pipeline. The organization has received 283 applications for investments from the two funds.
“All of these companies we invested in were a good fit for Danville and met the requirements of creating five jobs in a three-year period,” says Eva Doss, the president and CEO of The Launch Place. “We didn’t want companies to make a commitment just because of the money. They have to take advantage of our Danville location.”
The organization’s biggest challenges are finding strong companies that want to create a presence in Danville and helping those companies get additional investments as they grow. “We have had success in establishing partnerships with venture capitalists and angel funds,” Doss says. “If the companies need additional funding, we can introduce them to other angel funds and share professional due-diligence info.”
The program has helped Barton of KSI find additional investors. “We have raised $1.2 million over three years,” he says, noting his company initially received a $250,000 investment from The Launch Place and a year later got an additional $100,000.
Doss believes The Launch Place has burnished Danville’s reputation as a community that takes entrepreneurship seriously. “Danville is interested in helping new businesses to form,” she says. “This is definitely an atmosphere where entrepreneurship occurs.”2016-05-28T10:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/VALLEY_Chamber_Time_Capsule1_DL.pngPhoto courtesy Daily News-Record
Chamber of commerce marks 100th anniversary
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/chamber-of-commerce-marks-100th-anniversary#When:10:00:00ZAs part of its 100th anniversary celebration, the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Chamber of Commerce dug up a time capsule it had buried 50 years ago.
“We wanted to dig it up on the official day that we got our charter signed, which was April 26, 1916,” says Frank Tamberrino, the chamber’s president and CEO.
The chamber invited to the ceremony some people who had been present when the capsule was buried in 1966. The group included Ed Seidel who was executive vice president of the organization from 1965 to 1968. “He helped put the time capsule in the ground 50 years ago,” Tamberrino says. “We hosted a reception in advance of digging up the capsule, and we had about 20 past presidents and chairmen there.”
The time capsule contained items from area companies, such as Merck and Reynolds Metals (which was acquired by Alcoa in 2000), as well as a number of canned turkey and poultry products. (Poultry remains a significant industry in the Shenandoah Valley.)
Tamberrino notes that many of the items were covered by shrink-wrap made by the former Reynolds Metals plant in Grottoes (now Reynolds Flexible Packaging, a part of Pactiv Foodservice).“They wrapped a lot of products so there wouldn’t be any problems if the cans leaked, and one had leaked.”
Other items in the capsule included a tube of Brylcreem, some annual reports, a zoning code, a land use plan and two pairs of pants, one from Metro Garments and the other from H.D. Lee, two garment companies in the area at the time. “Garment companies were important here in the 1950s and 1960s,” Tamberrino says.
During the event, the son of a former H.D. Lee employee read a note his father had put in one of the pairs of pants. The note explained the permanently creased pants were from the company’s facility in Broadway.
All of the artifacts are now on display in Tamberrino’s office. “We are scanning some of the items and they will eventually make their way to either James Madison University’s special collections library or the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Historical Society, which has The Heritage Museum in Dayton,” he says.
The chamber plans to bury another time capsule in the same spot on Court Square in June or July. “We are taking suggestions from folks as to what should go in there,” Tamberrino says.2016-05-28T10:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/EVA_John_May.pngJohn May is the president and CEO of the Center for Innovation and Development in Kilmarnock.
Northern Neck firm aims to create IT jobs
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/northern-neck-firm-aims-to-create-it-jobs#When:10:00:00ZJohn May wants to bring technology jobs to the Northern Neck.
May worked in the telecommunications industry in Northern Virginia for more than 30 years. Three years ago, he realized the benefits of working in a rural area after moving to Weems.
May discovered that an area along Route 3 in the Northern Neck has fiber-optic cable that can provide unlimited broadband capacity and speeds. “In places where you have broadband, you can write software anywhere,” he says. “You can support areas like Washington, D.C., Richmond, Dahlgren [Naval Surface Warfare Center] and Hampton Roads at a price that is less expensive.”
Today, May is the president and CEO of the Center for Innovation and Development (CID) in Kilmarnock. CID opened in April 2015 and now has eight employees. The mission of the nonprofit organization is to promote economic development and create jobs in the Northern Neck.
CID’s services include software development, user-interface design and back-office computing. “We are a high-tech hub,” May says.
He says companies can use CID as an extension of their facilities or they can contract with Advanced Network Systems, a for-profit entity created and supported by CID, for consulting or project services as well as customer development services.
CID also offers the services of Business Re-engineering Corp., another for-profit company it created as a HUBZone (historically underutilized business zone) business. “Federal contractors can get credit for doing business in a HUBZone,” May says.
He hopes that, while bringing jobs to the Northern Neck, CID will help U.S. companies avoid offshoring jobs to foreign countries. “I headed a company that had 100 people in India, so I am familiar with offshoring,” May says, adding there are disadvantages to offshoring, such as problems controlling product quality. “I’ve learned it’s better to keep work close to home.”
May says one advantage that companies would discover in using CID is the Northern Neck doesn’t have Northern Virginia’s traffic congestion. Employees are not sitting “in a car in traffic when they can be here working,” he says.2016-05-28T10:00:00+00:00
Followups - June 2016
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/followups-june-2016#When:10:00:00ZVDOT announces $125 million in Richmond-area paving projects
The Virginia Department of Transportation says the paving program for its Richmond District is the largest ever for the region, in terms of lane miles and total spending.
The district will spend $125 million in resurfacing 1,540 lane miles of state-maintained roads, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
The Richmond district is responsible for about 18,000 miles of roads. It oversees maintenance and construction in Amelia, Brunswick, Charles City, Chesterfield, Dinwiddie, Goochland, Hanover, Henrico, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg, New Kent, Nottoway, Powhatan and Prince George counties and the cities of Richmond, Colonial Heights, Hopewell and Petersburg.
The newspaper reported that $27 million will be spent on local interstate sections, including 78 miles of asphalt paving and 18 lane miles of concrete repairs, on sections of Interstates 95, 295, 85 and 195.
May’s issue of Virginia Business included an interview with Virginia Secretary of Transportation Aubrey Layne, who discussed the commonwealth’s new formula for transportation funding.
Volkswagen to pay $8.8 billion to repair or buy back diesel vehicles
Volkswagen Group expects to spend about $8.8 billion to repair or buy back diesel vehicles affected by an emissions software scandal.
Volkswagen Group of America is based in Herndon.
USA Today reports that the German automaker has struck a tentative civil settlement with the U.S. government, California authorities and consumers over the episode, which affects 11 million vehicles worldwide.
The settlement gives U.S. owners the option of buybacks or compensation. The agreement also includes a requirement to invest in environmentally friendly vehicles.
Volkswagen estimates that the total bill for the scandal will top $18 billion.
Volkswagen engineers installed “defeat device” software in its diesel vehicles. The software lowered emissions during testing but allowed higher emissions during normal driving to give the cars more power.2016-05-28T10:00:00+00:00
Letters to the Editor
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/letters-to-the-editor22#When:10:00:00ZReagan’s policy initiatives led to era of economic prosperity
To the Editor:
I realize that Bernie Niemeier’s publisher’s column in your May issue [“Who’s the real Trojan horse?”] was intended to be light, tongue-in-cheek fare. But buried in the middle of it was this statement:
“[T]rickle-down economics, popularized during the Reagan era, have never performed as promised. If anything, they’ve contributed to economic inequality.”
If I had heard this from a Democratic Party spokesman, I would just roll my eyes and move on. From the publisher of the state’s leading business publication, however, I expect more objectivity.
While the economy has indeed performed poorly for going on 16 years now, the period from 1982-1999 — the period ignited by Reagan’s policy initiatives — was one of the strongest, sustained periods of economic expansion in this nation’s history. There is a wealth of objective economic data proving that the greatest beneficiaries of this were the middle and working classes, who saw benefits directly, not as scraps falling from the tables of the upper crust. I am sure most of your readers would join me in hoping that we will see that kind of success recur in our lifetimes.
You should also know that “trickle-down economics” is a pejorative term, used during the 1980s by Reagan’s opponents. Using that term is not persuasive. It merely identifies the writer as a partisan, not an objective commentator.
Most of the article was a joke, by design. The attempt to revise history to massage Mr. Niemeier’s personal political beliefs was not funny.
Mega-region proposal would create more auto-oriented sprawl
To the Editor:
I suppose it is well not to have high expectations from a business magazine, which, after all, is about promoting business. But I guess I had higher expectations from Virginia Business than a uni-dimensional piece for a new mega-region between Hampton Roads and Richmond [“A big league move?” March issue], perhaps because of its excellent coverage of the urban renaissance in Norfolk, Richmond and elsewhere, and its recognition of the benefits.
The mega-region you outline appears to be little more than massive, auto-oriented suburban sprawl destroying the farms, forests and natural lands currently existing in eastern Henrico, Charles City, New Kent and what is left of James City and York counties’ non-sprawled areas. Why do this? Little justification is offered other than the claim that Virginia’s economy needs a boost because of defense cuts and the larger region will have more political leverage.
Nothing is said of smart growth, alternative transportation or quality of life. Nor is there any recognition that a lot of businesses are not just looking for a plot of green space near an interstate interchange to cheaply destroy but want a region that is attractive — culturally, recreationally and beauty-wise — to educated young people that are uninterested in a region offering little but banal auto arteries lined by corporate chain big boxes, fast-food franchises, convenience stores and isolated auto subdivisions. Nor is there any discussion of economic costs, e.g., will the Historic Triangle’s national reputation and tourism be damaged by the vast auto sprawl you advocate, or how will the resulting environmental degradation affect us (what will become of the James River or Chesapeake Bay as forests are cut down and more tainted storm water pours into the watershed?).
Nor are alternatives discussed — why not better revitalize urban Newport News and Hampton, as well as continue Norfolk’s and Richmond’s renaissances? Why not get a higher-speed rail link going, with frequent trains — between Main Street Station in Richmond, downtown Norfolk and downtown Newport News — connected to a region-wide, light-rail system that goes most everywhere in Hampton Roads? Now that‘s a vision with the potential to create lots of good jobs for both regions.
I fear the vision you espouse is all about a lot of easy money for influential landowners, lawyers, accountants, developers, bankers and other entrenched interests, who see the damaging pathways of the past as more certain and obtainable in the near term than alternatives.
Norfolk2016-05-28T10:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/_TIM9149.pngBernie Niemeier photo by Tim Cox
It’s a long road to Wise
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/its-a-long-road-to-wise#When:10:00:00ZThis magazine takes me all across Virginia, figuratively as a reader and literally as its publisher. I’m a participant in a multitude of business and economic development events. During a two-week period last month, I found myself in Norfolk, Chantilly, Charlottesville, Richmond, Lexington, Irvington and Wise — in that order! That’s a lot of time crisscrossing the commonwealth.
The road to Wise started on a foggy morning in Richmond. For those who don’t know Wise County, it’s in far Southwest Virginia. As the crow flies, it’s closer to state capitals in Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia and West Virginia than it is to Richmond.
Driving west on I-64, a light rain started in Louisa County. I hit my usual pit stops, the Fifth Street exit in Charlottesville for gas at the Sunoco, and the Starbucks in Waynesboro for coffee. Traffic slowed in a shroud of fog atop Afton Mountain. On the other side of the pass, the rain was gone, and a bit of blue began to peek out from behind the clouds.
Pushing on westward to Staunton and the I-81 merge, I then headed south. I stopped at the Pink Cadillac off the Natural Bridge exit for a quick lunch. Not the best taco salad I’ve ever eaten, but it beats most of what else is quickly available without leaving the interstate to drive into Roanoke.
Lots of folks complain about the number of trucks on I-81. I don’t mind them. It’s good to see business on the move. This section of the interstate follows the ridgeline of the Appalachians and includes some of the best scenery Virginia has to offer.
I-81 rolls on, passing Lexington, Roanoke, Christiansburg and the exits for Blacksburg and Floyd. If it’s possible for a road to have a rhythm, this one is made up of the small towns ticking by — Dublin, Pulaski, Draper and Wytheville (home of my all-time favorite name for a newspaper, The Bland County Messenger). Keep going past Rural Retreat (how idyllic!), Marion and Chilhowie (another favorite name, everyone should be able to say, “I’ve been to Chilhowie!”)
The long ride south ended at the Abingdon exit, turning west on Route 58. This is the same highway that begins in Virginia Beach and crosses the entirety of Southern Virginia to its westernmost tip.
For much of that distance, U.S. 58 features two lanes, lots of curves, lots of trucks and a long-standing reputation for highway danger. But that’s not so much the case by the time the road gets west of Abingdon.
In this part of the state, one sees the benefit of an industrial heritage, the need to move coal trucks eastward from the mines. The need to haul coal has intersected with Virginia’s complex and arcane highway funding formulas to produce in Route 58 a road that is the equivalent of an interstate. It is a divided highway with two lanes each way and cloverleaf exits.
Thanks to coal, Southwest Virginia has solid transportation infrastructure. Furthermore traffic congestion is non-existent, especially when compared with much of the rest of the commonwealth.
But still, the Southwest is rugged mountain country. Following my car’s GPS I headed west, distracting myself from the long ride with phone calls. When I got off the phone, the GPS kicked back in exhorting me to “Please make a U-turn.” Obviously, I’d gone a bit off route. Paying attention to directions and getting off the four-lane highway, the road began to narrow.
After taking a right turn, the road narrowed even more, winding up and down. This was fun road for a lone driver, but it would have made a passenger with even the strongest stomach queasy. Pulling hard uphill around a curve, a big yellow school bus suddenly appeared in the opposite lane. The car barely shot between the passing bus and a steep roadside ditch. Whew!
Deep into beautiful farm country, the road finally began to widen, eventually to the point of having room for a yellow line again. Another short stretch of U.S. 58 took me past the Dominion Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center, then through a big cut in the rock (you know it when you see it) to St. Paul, and onward into the town of Coeburn.
Next, it was up over Tacoma Mountain Road. After another tire burning climb and brake-beating descent, I finally pulled up in front of the Inn at Wise, six-and-a-half hours after leaving Richmond.
Wise County is also the home of University of Virginia’s College at Wise. I was there to attend the 2016 Southwest Virginia Economic Forum. This part of Virginia is ground zero for the much-maligned coal industry. The people are hard working and they are also working hard to reinvent the local economy.
More than 300 attended the forum; that’s bigger than some economic events I’ve been to in Richmond. Much credit is due to U.Va.-Wise for serving as a place-making convener.
If you haven’t been to Southwest Virginia, you should visit. It’s a beautiful place, full of friendly people and opportunity. The drive may be long, but it’s well worth it. You might even find yourself wanting to locate a business there.2016-05-28T10:00:00+00:00
DOE withdraws money for Dominion’s offshore wind project
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/doe-withdraws-money-for-dominion-offshore-wind-project#When:18:18:00ZDominion Virginia Power announced Friday that it is reassessing options for its offshore research project after it was dropped from a Department of Energy program, making it ineligible for $40 million in funding.
Dominion said in a statement the DOE withdrew the funding because the company could not guarantee the project would be in service by 2020.
"Naturally, we are disappointed in the DOE's decision because we still believe that offshore wind has a great potential to deliver clean, renewable energy to Virginia," Mary C. Doswell, senior vice president, Dominion Energy Solutions, said in a statement. "However, we also recognize the unique regulatory and cost challenges involved in our project, and appreciate the DOE's desire to support other projects that may have an earlier opportunity for fruition."
Doswell said Dominion plans to consult with other members of the project team, known as the Virginia Offshore Wind Technology Advancement Project (VOWTAP), before deciding on next steps.
VOWTAP was one of seven projects in 2012 selected by the DOE to receive $4 million for preliminary engineering, design and planning. It was one of three projects selected in 2014 to receive an additional $6.7 million to complete the final engineering, design and permitting plans. Other research projects will continue on in the demonstration program and be eligible for additional funding.
In a statement, a DOE spokesperson said Dominion's project had been helpful for the development of offshore wind:
“While Dominion’s Virginia Offshore Wind Technology Advancement Project will be leaving the Department-funded demonstration program, the lessons learned during the project’s development over the past several years will benefit the burgeoning offshore wind industry moving forward.
"Dominion’s work helped to streamline the permitting process for offshore wind projects and identified several ways to cut costs going forward. Additionally, the diligent efforts of Dominion and the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management led to the first approval of a wind energy research lease in federal waters, and the optimization of a twisted jacket foundation design that is resilient to hurricanes will be critical to future U.S. deployments on the Atlantic and Gulf coast.”
The VOWTAP project would install two 6-megawatt wind turbines in federal waters about 24 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach.
At peak production, the turbines would generate enough electricity to power up to 3,000 homes.
The company re-bid the project after original estimates came in between $375 million and $400 million — almost twice the estimated cost of $230 million.
In its second round of proposals, Dominion split the proposal into four separate packages. The company announced in April those bids came to between $300 million and $380 million.
The project is complex, particularly because the U.S. does not have a supply chain for the offshore wind industry. The costliest part of the project is the delivery and installation of the turbines, which can only be done by few companies in the world. None operate in the U.S.
Doswell said the complexities made Dominion unable to promise a delivery date, including the project’s high cost, the inability to get firm construction contracts and the complexity of regulatory approvals.
"This project is a first in many ways," Doswell said. "As such, you need to account for many variables when attempting to lock in on a date with any degree of certainty."
The research project is seen as a key research vehicle for a full-scale build out of offshore wind off Virginia’s coast. In 2013, Dominion won a competitive bid process to lease 112,800 acres of federal leases off Virginia’s coast for future development of an offshore wind farm. The area could hold an estimated 300 turbines.
The Hampton Roads region also believes it could be an ideal location for development of an offshore wind industry on the East Coast.
VOWTAP's other partners are Alstom Power Inc., (recently acquired by General Electric Co.), a wind turbine manufacturer that will supply the turbines; KBR, a global engineering, construction and services firm with experience in offshore wind; Keystone Engineering, the designer of the substructure; the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, a federally funded research and development center; Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries; and the Virginia Tech Advanced Research Institute, representing the Virginia Coastal Energy Research Consortium.2016-05-27T18:18:00+00:00
Chesterfield County names administrator
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/chesterfield-county-names-administrator#When:21:16:00ZThe Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors announced Thursday it has named Joseph P. Casey county administrator, effective July 1.
Casey currently is the deputy county manager for administration for Henrico County. He will fill the position of retiring County Administrator James J.L. Stegmaier.
Casey has served Henrico County as deputy county manager since 2013. Prior to that, he served Hanover County since 1990, in roles including deputy county administrator and finance director.
He has a doctorate degree in public policy and administration from Virginia Commonwealth University, as well as a master’s degree in public administration from VCU and a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Richmond. Casey is a certified public accountant.
PBMares names director of wealth management division
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/pbmares-names-director-of-wealth-management-division#When:21:14:00ZNewport News-based PBMares LLP said Thursday it has named Rob Klingensmith director of wealth management for its subsidiary, PBMares Wealth Management LLC.
PBMares Wealth Management LLC specializes in customized investment management and financial planning for high-net-worth individuals, retirement plans, nonprofits, endowments, corporations and institutions.
Klingensmith was previously the CEO of Pilatus Bank in Ta’Xbiex, Malta, a private bank catering to high-net-worth individuals and financial institutions throughout Europe and the Middle East.
In his new role, he is charged with managing the strategic direction of PBMares Wealth Management, including enhancing growth through increased market penetration and targeted acquisitions within the mid-Atlantic.
Klingensmith’s past experience includes working as a senior partner for a leading mutual life insurance company and serving as a managing director for A&R Capital Partners, a private equity firm.
He also is a veteran, having spent eight years in the U.S. Coast where he executed search and rescue missions on land and at sea in Alaska and California.
Klingensmith has served on the boards of the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra, Boulder Crest Retreat for Wounded Warriors and The Viola Vestal Coulter Scholarship Foundation.2016-05-26T21:14:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Pageler.jpg
Neustar Inc. names chief risk officer
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/neustar-inc.-names-chief-risk-officer#When:19:40:00ZNeustar Inc. has named Tom Pageler chief risk officer and chief information security officer.
Pageler will be responsible for security governance and risk management, information security operations, compliance and physical security.
Previously, Pageler was chief risk officer and chief information security officer (CISO) for DocuSign. He also served as deputy CISO for JPMorgan Chase and head of risk assessments and director of emerging risk and fraud control at Visa.
Pageler also previously was a special agent in the U.S. Secret Service.2016-05-26T19:40:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/13260204_1188819034485999_60670236644314706_n.jpg
Richmond’s newest rooftop restaurant and lounge opens June 1
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/richmonds-newest-rooftop-restaurant-and-lounge-opens-june-1#When:19:29:00ZKabana, Richmond’s newest and highest rooftop restaurant and lounge, opens June 1. Located on the 20th floor of Hilton’s Hampton Inn and Suites and Homewood Suites in downtown Richmond, Kabana will offer sweeping views of the city and a contemporary Asian-inspired menu from Richmond native Chef Warren Jones.
The project, above the hotels at 700 E. Main St., is a collaboration by Los Angeles-based lifestyle company LX Group and Michael Sweeney of Chester-based Shamin Hotels, one of the largest hotel operators in Central Virginia.
“We are thrilled to bring Kabana to downtown Richmond,” Kabana's Managing Partner Kunal Shah said in a statement.
The space has glass-paneled walls offering virtually unobstructed views of Richmond, including the James River and the Virginia State Capitol. Seeing a rooftop pool from another nearby building gives the space a cabana feel.
Patrons to the 275 occupancy outdoor patio can sit at poolside daybeds or weathered teakwood tabletops. The space also has a retractable ceiling and glass bi-fold doors to create a synergy with the 125-seating main dining room.
Offerings from the menu include lighter fare such as Ahi Poke or Kamikaze chips and larger entrees such as Ramen Tonkotsu. Complementing the menu will be a bar program curated by Kabana’s General Manager, Sean Rapoza, (formerly of Balliceaux) who plans a Tiki-inspired cocktail list with rum-heavy libations.
The bar also will offer an international wine list, including wines from Spain, South Africa and southern France. The beer program will offer an extensive selection of canned domestic IPAs, including several local favorites.
Kabana will be open for dinner daily and brunch on the weekends.
It’s the second downtown rooftop venue to open this spring. Quirk Hotel, an eight-story boutique hotel at 201 West Broad St., opened its 2,800 square-foot, two-level venue in April.
Photos courtesy Shamin Hotels, Bong An 2016-05-26T19:29:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Mike_Lawrie_CSC_headshot1.gif
CSC to merge with IT services spin off of Hewlett Packard Enterprise
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/csc-to-merge-with-it-services-spin-off-of-hewlett-packard-enterprise#When:19:30:00ZCSC plans to merge with Hewlett Packard Enterprise(HPE)’s Enterprise Services segment, creating a $26 billion IT services company.
The merger is expected to be complete by the end of March 2017, subject to shareholder and regulatory approvals. The company will serve more than 5,000 clients in 70 countries.
Following the transaction, CSC and HPE shareholders will own 50 percent of the new company’s shares.
The company expects its headquarters to remain in Tysons, according to a CSC spokesman. It has not yet been determined whether the merger will affect employment levels at the two companies.
Today’s announcement comes six months after CSC separated into two publicly traded companies: CSC, to serve commercial and government clients globally, and CSRA, which serves public sector clients in the United States.
The announcement also comes six months after Hewlett Packard split itself into two companies: HPE and HP Inc. HPE, headquartered in Palo Alto, Calif., focuses on selling hardware, while HP Inc. sells printers and PCs to businesses.
Under the plan announced this week, HPE would spin off its enterprise services segment, which would then merge with CSC.
Mike Lawrie, chairman, president and CEO of CSC, will hold the same titles at the merged company. Meg Whitman, HPE’s president and CEO, will join the new company’s board of directors, which will be split between nominees of CSC and HPE.
CSC’s CFO, Paul Saleh, will continue to hold the same role at the company. Mike Nefkens, the current executive vice president and general manager of HPE Enterprise Services, will report to Lawrie and be part of the executive team. The name of the new company will be announced at a later date.
“Our proposed merger with HPE Enterprise Services is a logical next step in CSC’s transformation,” Lawrie said in a statement. “As a more powerful and versatile global technology services business, the new company will be well positioned to innovate, compete and serve clients in a rapidly changing marketplace.”
Company officials said in a statement that the merger will allow the companies to serve clients more efficiently and effectively.
In the past six months, CSC has made several acquisitions, including:
• UXC, making CSC one of the largest IT services companies in the Australia-New Zealand region;
• Xchanging Plc, a UK-based provider of insurance software and business process services; and
• Fixnetix, based in London, and Fruition Partners, based in Chicago, to bolster its banking and capital markets and service management.
CSC also announced earlier this week its intent to acquire Aspediens, a European provider of technology-enabled solutions for the service-management sector.
“As a pure play, the combined company will be built to lead digital transformations using next-generation technology solutions from both companies,” Lawrie said. “It will be able to operate independent of any single hardware provider, while partnering with the world’s leading technology providers, including HPE.”
The transaction is expected to deliver $8.5 billion to HPE’s shareholders, including a $4.5 billion equity stake in the merged company, a cash dividend of $1.5 billion and the assumption of $2.5 billion in debt and other liabilities.
The merger of the two businesses is expected to produce first-year synergies of approximately $1 billion post-close, with a run rate of $1.5 billion by the end of year one. There is an opportunity for additional synergies in subsequent years.
RBC Capital Markets is serving as financial adviser to CSC, and Allen & Overy LLP is serving as legal adviser.2016-05-25T19:30:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/dimaggio_003.jpg
Virginia State Bar names young lawyer of the year
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/virginia-state-bar-names-young-lawyer-of-the-year#When:20:02:00ZThe Virginia State Bar Lawyers Conference has named Giovanni Di Maggio its 2015 R. Edwin Burnette Jr. Young Lawyer of the Year.
The award recognizes a young lawyer who demonstrates service to the conference, the legal profession and the community.
Di Maggio, a judicial law clerk at the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, co-chairs the state bar’s Immigrant Outreach Committee.
Di Maggio, who graduated from Colgate University in 2008 and Northeastern University School of Law in 2012, co-chairs the conference’s Immigrant Outreach Committee. He has helped the committee grow its legal education seminars and recruited local and national leaders in the immigrant community to serve as panelists and help develop education material.
He also has promoted the growth of the committee’s Foreign Language Attorney Database, designed to assist the public in finding Virginia-licensed attorneys who can speak their language.
In 2015, Di Maggio launched the committee’s annual Pro Bono CLE Series, a program that supports immigration pro bono work among Virginia attorneys. Additionally, he and his co-chair launched a Naturalization Clinic program, which connects Virginia attorneys to naturalization clinics hosted by a Virginia-based, non-profit immigrant services provider.2016-05-24T20:02:00+00:00
Virginia lands another major craft brewer
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginia-lands-another-major-craft-brewer#When:19:57:00ZVirginia has landed another major craft brewer.
Ballast Point Brewing and Spirits announced Tuesday it will invest about $48 million to establish an East Coast brewing operation in Botetourt County, which is expected to create 178 jobs.
San Diego-based Ballast Point is the 11th largest craft brewer in the U.S., according to the latest data from the Brewers Association.
The Ballast Point announcement comes two months after another major player in the craft beer market, Bend-Ore.-based Deschutes Brewery, said it plans to locate its Eastern U.S. brewery in Roanoke.
Ballast Point has agreed to purchase the 259,040-square-foot Lawrence Cos. building located on International Parkway in Botetourt Center at Greenfield. The 178 positions will include 133 brewery jobs with an average wage of $41,075 per year. Forty-five hospitality and retail jobs will pay $25,607 per year.
The Roanoke Regional Partnership estimates this project also will have an overall annual economic impact of $3.76 million and create more than 540 secondary jobs.
Ballast Point was started in 1996 by a small group of home brewers. Today, the company employs more than 500 people at four facilities in the San Diego area and sells its beer in more than 30 states. It operates as a stand-alone company after its acquisition in 2015 by Constellation Brands, a major producer and marketer of beer, wine and spirits.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe approved a $2.4 million grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund to assist Botetourt County with the project. The company also will be eligible to receive a $250,000 grant from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund (AFID). Funding and services to support the company’s employee training activities will be provided through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program.
The county will provide more than $1.4 million in tax incentives along with performance grants anticipated at $650,000 and permit fee waivers.
Craft beer is a $22.3 billion market, according to the Brewers Association. Craft beer production increased 12.8 percent in 2015.2016-05-24T19:57:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/movement.mortgage_Exterior_Rendering.jpg
JLL will represent Movement Mortgage in relocation to Military Circle
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/jll-will-represent-movement-mortgage-in-relocation-to-military-circle#When:19:04:00ZJLL said Tuesday that it will represent Movement Mortgage in a recently signed lease to relocate and expand its operations center to a former JCPenney store at Military Circle mall in Norfolk. The mortgage company will move from Virginia Beach to Norfolk in the first quarter of 2017, taking 90,000 square feet at 880 North Military Highway.
“I truly believe this investment is going to spark a massive wave of positive momentum for this community by establishing a dynamic, thriving hub of business activity at Military Circle,” Movement Co-founder and Executive Vice President Toby Harris said in a statement.
“When I moved to this community, we used to go to Military Circle for restaurants, movies and entertainment. I am so excited to be going back. It’s a wonderful fit for our company, and we have a big vision to bring new life to this neighborhood.”
Movement Mortgage retained JLL’s Senior Vice President Deborah Stearns and her team in Hampton Roads to support its search for a space that offered a central location, accessibility and room for growth.
The JLL team looked at many options before identifying the underutilized 880 North Military Circle, which offered ample parking, proximity to public transportation and a vacant space that could accommodate a growing operations center.
JLL said it brought in an architect and its project development team to transform a concept of how to repurpose the space as an operations center into a realistic plan for development.
Movement Mortgage plans to invest $2 million in the relocation, which is expected to retain 500 jobs and add 200 more. Gov. Terry McAuliffe approved a $600,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund for the project.
“Having a company that shares the city’s vision for transforming the Military Highway corridor is really fantastic,” said Chuck Rigney, Norfolk’s Director of Development.
Stearns added that "With the potential for future light rail extensions and the transformation of the area into a vibrant, walkable neighborhood, the redevelopment of 880 North Military Circle is in perfect alignment with the long term strategic vision the city has for the area."
Norfolk’s Economic Development Authority owns the site.
Founded in Virginia Beach in 2008, Movement Mortgage, a privately held company based out of South Carolina, is known for an innovative loan-processing model, which aims to finish the loan process in seven business days. The company employs more than than 3,500 people and has more than 500 branches in the U.S. Movement has operations centers in Virginia Beach, Richmond, Charlotte, North Carolina and Phoenix, Ariz.2016-05-24T19:04:00+00:00
Edelman Financial Services names new CEO
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/edelman-financial-services-names-new-ceo#When:18:58:00ZFairfax-based Edelman Financial Services announced Tuesday it has named Ryan Parker chief executive officer, effective June 20.
Parker, most recently managing director of investment and planning solutions at LPL Financial, will take over the top role from Ric Edelman, Edelman Financial Services’ founder and chairman.
"My wife, Jean, and I created the firm 30 years ago… but as the firm has grown, more of my time has been diverted to management activities,” Edelman said in a statement. “Ryan's addition will enable me to focus on what matters most: our clients."
Parker and Edelman will establish the firm's strategic direction as it continues to expand its client base across the country. Parker will also lead the daily operations of the firm, which manages $16 billion for more than 30,000 individuals and families.
Parker has 18 years of experience in the financial services industry, including worked at Russell Investments, Franklin Templeton Investments and Putnam Investments.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.
Edelman Financial has 125 financial planners. It has added 15 financial planners to the firm this year and seeks to add 35 more.2016-05-24T18:58:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/MGM_National_Harbor_-_Executive_Corner_Suite_-_Bedroom.jpg
MGM National Harbor unveils designs for suites at new casino resort
As it turns toward the home stretch of a fourth quarter opening, MGM National Harbor has revealed designs for its suite offerings at the $1.3 billion resort in Prince George’s County, Md.
Talk about fancy. The designs, developed by Studio GAIA, promise to offer guests an “elevated” experience along with panoramic views of the eastern shore of the Potomac River and views of Washington’s skyline. “I'm confident our guests will appreciate the thoughtful detail in every suite, including towering windows with amazing views of the Capital Region,” MGM National Harbor General Manager Bill Boasberg, said in a statement.
The 74 suites within the 308-room resort range in size from the 588-square-foot Executive Suite to a 3,210-square-foot Chairman Suite. Besides floor-to-ceiling windows, suites will offer the latest in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technology.
Here’s a quick rundown on the suites. Rates have not been released. Reservations for rooms and suites at MGM National Harbor will be available on a yet-to be announced date.
Executive Suites: The 588-square-foot suite will serve as an extension of the standard guest room.
Amenities include customized lighting, an executive desk and a separate seating area for hosting cocktails and conversation.
King Suite: Measuring 797 square feet, this suite is designed as an ADA-accessible space with open floor plans. It includes an open shower.
Corner Suites: With wraparound views, the 958-square-foot, one-bedroom Corner Suite has a luxury apartment feel.
Complete with a separate living room, integrated media center, sofa and large desk, the space flows to the bedroom through a sliding door,
where guests will find a TV that appears to be floating in air.
Executive Corner Suites: Taking the suite offerings to the next level is the 1,465-square-foot Executive Corner Suite. In addition to a living room, couch and
large desk, bonus amenities include a traditional four-person dining area and round sofa in the bedroom where visitors can soak up views of the Washington, D.C. skyline.
Capital Suites: High tech and high style converge in this one-bedroom, 1,536-square-foot suite. A grand entrance opens into the center of the expansive living room outfitted with an oversized sectional, 75" HD LCD TV and floor-to-ceiling windows. Off the main space will be a small library and reading room in addition to a fully stocked bar and powder room.
Presidential Suite: At 2,462 square feet, this suite will have a six-person dining table, bar and seating area to allow for social or business gatherings. Bedrooms on each end of the suite will flow into a bathroom with standalone oval tubs. An all-glass wall offers a view of the Potomac River.
Chairman Suite: Upon entering the 3,210-square-foot, two-bedroom Chairman Suite via large double doors, guests will be welcomed with a glass façade that provides a vantage point overlooking the nation's capital and its monuments. A large living room will be outfitted with a state-of-the-art TV, while the main room will flow into a kitchen, bar and full-size dining room. Adjacent to one of the two bedrooms will be a secluded library and reading area.
The 24-story resort also will be home to a casino with 125,000 square feet of space, a spa and salon, a 3,000-seat entertainment theatre and retail and restaurants.2016-05-23T20:37:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Unknown233.jpegJim Thomas photo courtesy Colonial Williamsburg Foundation
Colonial Williamsburg Foundation names vice president of development
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/colonial-williamsburg-foundation-names-vice-president-of-development#When:20:11:00ZThe Colonial Williamsburg Foundation announced Monday it has named James “Jim” Thomas vice president of development, effective July 1.
Thomas comes to the foundation from Western Michigan University, where he served as vice president for development and alumni relations and as executive director of the Western Michigan University Foundation.
At Western Michigan he led implementation of a service-based, integrated approach to development and alumni engagement that resulted in a 160 percent increase in gifts over the prior five-year period.
Previously Thomas served in development leadership positions with the University of Michigan and the University of Michigan Health System, as executive director of the Greater Lansing Catholic Education Foundation, and as director of development for Detroit’s Sacred Heart Major Seminary.
“Colonial Williamsburg was established only with the philanthropic support of one man, John D. Rockefeller Jr. Over 90 years, that base of support has grown to more than 100,000,” Colonial Williamsburg Foundation president and CEO, Mitchell B. Reiss, said in a statement. “To sustain that legacy and our foundation’s critical mission will require continued leadership and innovation, which Jim has shown to great effect throughout his 25-year career.”
Thomas earned his master’s degree in theological studies from St. John’s Provincial Seminary and his bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University.2016-05-23T20:11:00+00:00
Windstream to expand Richmond network
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/windstream-to-expand-richmond-network#When:20:02:00ZWindstream announced Monday it will expand its fiber network in the Richmond area.
The expansion will connect more of the region’s commercial buildings and data centers to Windstream’s high-speed nationwide fiber network.
In the Richmond area, Windstream will expand its network in the Short Pump, Glen Allen, West Creek Parkway, Midlothian and Mechanicsville areas.
“This project expands both our footprint and the Windstream services that are available to local customers – including fixed wireless service, unified communications, managed services, network security, business continuity, network solutions and cloud services,” Brian Norton, regional president of Enterprise Sales for Windstream’s east region, said in a statement.
Windstream is expanding local metro fiber networks across the country in markets such as Charlotte, Atlanta, Chicago and Nashville. Windstream is investing a total of $50 million this year in enterprise on-net projects.
Windstream is a Fortune 500 company providing network communications and technology services to consumers, small businesses and enterprise organizations across the U.S.2016-05-23T20:02:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/image002.jpeg
New ownership group gets behind Dulles World Center project
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/new-ownership-group-gets-behind-dulles-world-center-project#When:18:09:00ZA new joint venture has gotten behind the Dulles World Center project in Loudoun County and has big plans for the 85-acre site.
Chicago-based Origami Capital Partners and an affiliate of Westport, Conn.-based Greenfield Partners said they would develop the site on Metrorail’s Silver Line. Located less than a mile from Washington Dulles International Airport, the joint venture has renamed the project The Hub, because of its central location.
The partnership, DWC Holdings LLC, plans a billion dollar build out for what would be a 24-hour, mixed-use gateway combining retail, entertainment, multifamily residential, office, and hotel uses.
The Hub is located at the intersection of the Dulles Toll Road and the Route 28 Technology Corridor, adjacent to the future Innovation Center Metro station, which is scheduled to open in 2019-2020.
The property is approved for up to 5.5 million square feet of density including 400,000 square feet of retail space, 1,265 multifamily residential units, 3.5 million square feet of office space and 350 hotel rooms.
Aspiring to build on the success of nearby Reston Town Center, The Hub’s new ownership said they would provide developers the opportunity to purchase land bays approved for office, retail, multifamily and hotel development.
According to the developers, a partially protected 20-acre land bay on The Hub’s western border is suitable for a secured, contained federal campus with up to 1 million square feet of office space.
“This is a phenomenal location, just minutes to the airport, which will be visible from The Hub’s new buildings,” David Bennion, an ownership representative, said in a statement. “We envision taller buildings, with spectacular architecture, that will create an exciting environment of innovation, culture, community, and activity.”
Within a 10-mile radius of The Hub’s site is a population of more than 660,000 people with an average annual household income of $159,000. The joint venture reports that $17 billion is spent annually in the area on apparel, entertainment and services.
The Hub’s focal point will be a central promenade including outdoor recreation, retail and entertainment space. One level of retail will open to a landscaped outdoor plaza with water features, while a lower level will face the commercial buildings’ street-level stores.
The Hub’s lead retail consultant, Mitchell Friedel of Newman Grubb Knight Frank, said that retail amenities would be anchored by up to a dozen full-service restaurants, along with at least one significant entertainment venue.
The ownership group has invested a reported $9 million in two nearly completed transportation improvements that will open The Hub to development: realignment of Innovation Avenue to provide for a town center-style grid within the site and a new Innovation Avenue interchange at Route 28.
“With the first phase of Metro’s Silver Line completed and the second phase under construction, The Hub’s time has come,” says Colleen Gillis, a partner at Cooley LLP.
Gillis recently worked to gain county approval for mixed-use development of the 335-acre Loudoun Quarry site, to be renamed Waterside, adjacent to The Hub. “Loudoun County, one of the fastest growing and most affluent counties in the U.S. is growing in new directions – from a bedroom suburb to a more urbanized live-work-play environment — while preserving its traditional rural character in the western area,” she commented. “The Hub epitomizes this modern evolution …”2016-05-23T18:09:00+00:00
Inside Amazon’s Chester fulfillment center
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/inside-amazons-chester-fulfillment-center#When:17:53:00ZWhat happens after you click buy on Amazon.com? We traveled to Amazon's 1.2 million square-foot fulfillment center in Chester to find out.
The Chester fulfillment center is one of six Amazon fulfillment centers available for public tours, according to Amazon spokesman Aaron Toso.
Since 2012, Seattle-based Amazon has operated the fulfillment center in Chester, which handles orders with items that are smaller than a microwave, and a fulfillment center in Dinwiddie county, which fills larger orders.
Amazon has become one of the largest employers in the Richmond-area, employing more than 3,800 people at the centers in Chesterfield and Dinwiddie counties. 2016-05-23T17:53:00+00:00
Regional community shopping center for sale in Willamsburg
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/regional-community-shopping-center-for-sale-in-willamsburg#When:15:42:00ZWilliamsburg Marketcenter, a regional community shopping center at 6610 Mooretown Road, is for sale. CBRE|Hampton Roads has been selected as the exclusive representative for the transaction.
Developed in 2006, the property includes 175,760 square feet of retail space that is currently anchored by Ross Dress for Less and Dollar Tree.
Located not far away are some key economic drivers including Sentara Regional Hospital, Williamsburg Premium Outlets, Busch Gardens, and the Historic Triangle.
“Williamsburg Marketcenter presents investors with a truly unique opportunity to acquire a Class A retail asset with significant upside in a growing community. The center has been impeccably maintained,” Kris Knepper, vice president of investment Properties for CBRE|Hampton Roads, said in a statement.
Kris Knepper will represent the seller in conjunction with R. William Kent and Ryan Sciullo of CBRE’s Washington D.C. office.2016-05-23T15:42:00+00:00
New data center coming to Virginia Beach
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/new-data-center-coming-to-virginia-beach#When:14:27:00ZThe Virginia Beach Development Authority has approved the sale of a 3.5-acre site in Corporate Landing to Telefónica International Wholesale Services USA Inc. for a data center.
Telefónica paid $735,000 for the land and plans to build a 20,000-square-foot to 23,000-square-foot data center that will house the first transoceanic fiber cable station in the mid-Atlantic.
According to the city, fiber cables will connect Brazil to North America at the installation planned in Virginia Beach.
Transoceanic cables receive and transmit signals at regular intervals to avoid distortion and data loss. There are dozens of fiber lines in the ocean, and the data center is expected be a significant boost for speed and data transmission for the Hampton Roads region and beyond.
“This project significantly advances Virginia Beach’s potential for future projects of this kind,” Virginia Beach Economic Development Director Warren D. Harris said in a statement. “These companies cluster, and we plan to leverage the Telefónica announcement to bring more data centers to the city. Additionally, we anticipate even more interest because the stronger telecom infrastructure will have great appeal to businesses that require big data.”
Virginia Beach began its technology infrastructure improvement program in 2015 to improve services to residents by interconnecting government facilities with their own fiber optic network, while looking for opportunities to leverage the additional capacity for economic development.
Telefónica, based in Madrid, Spain, is one of the ten largest telecommunications companies in the world, with more than 320 million clients. It has a presence in 21 nations, including Spain, and countries in Europe and Latin America.
Washington REIT completes acquisition of Alexandria apartments for $244 million
Washington REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust) said Monday that it has closed on a previously announced acquisition of Riverside Apartments in Alexandria. The purchase price for the 1,222-unit property with potential on-site density to develop additional units was $244.8 million.
The apartments are located about a half a mile from the Metro, near the intersection of Route 1 and the Capital Beltway, in the Huntington Metro market. According to Washington REIT, they are 98 percent leased.
The Huntington Metro market anchors the North end of the Fort Belvoir-Carlyle employment corridor where new employers such as The National Science Foundation and MGM National Harbor are expected to create rapid job growth within three miles of the property over the next 18 months.
"Our research identified Riverside Apartments to be well-located in a submarket with strong employment drivers and limited supply. The asset provides us with a compelling opportunity to renovate approximately 850 units to generate rental growth, and the potential opportunity to develop additional units onsite, thereby offering multiple price points in a submarket with a strong population of renters,” Paul T. McDermott, president and CEO of Washington REIT, said in a statement.
The community is comprised of three 15-story concrete buildings on about 28 acres. Amenities include a clubhouse, two-story fitness center, exercise studio, social room, outdoor pool and an outdoor theater.
Washington REIT is a self-administered, equity real estate investment trust investing in income-producing properties in the greater Washington metro region. It has a portfolio of 55 properties totaling about 7 million square feet of commercial space and 4,480 residential units, and land held for development.2016-05-23T14:25:00+00:00
Groundbreaking Tuesday for 900,000-square-foot data center in Ashburn
Virginia State Sen. Barbara Favola, D-Arlington, and Dave Sabey, president of Sabey Corp., will lead a ground-breaking ceremony Tuesday, May 24, for Sabey Data Centers’ new Intergate.Ashburn data center. The 900,000-square-foot project is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter 2016.
The Seattle, Wa.-based company has more than 3 million square feet of data center space in the U.S.
The ceremony will begin at noon at 21741 Red Rum Drive. It will include the hoisting and installation of the project’s first vertical steel beam. Sabay will host a luncheon following the ceremony.2016-05-22T21:42:00+00:00
Virginia’s unemployment rate falls again
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/virginias-unemployment-rate-falls-again#When:19:40:00ZVirginia’s seasonably adjusted unemployment rate fell in April to its lowest point in almost eight years, according to the Virginia Employment Commission.
The commonwealth’s unemployment rate reached 3.9 percent, down one-tenth of a percentage point from March and seven-tenths of a percentage point from a year ago. Virginia’s unemployment rate has been trending downwards since September 2011 and is at its lowest point since June 2008.
The seasonably adjusted rate accounts for seasonal fluctuations in the jobs market. Virginia’s rate remains below the national rate of 5 percent.
In April, the number of unemployed fell by 5,957 people in Virginia, and the labor force contracted as well, declining by 13,472 or 0.3 percent.
In April, nonfarm employment decreased by 12,000 jobs to a total of 3.9 million. However, April’s job loss followed a job gain of 17,600 jobs the previous two months.
During the month, government employment fell by 2,000 jobs. Employment also fell in the finance, manufacturing and miscellaneous services sectors.
Employment grew by 1,500 jobs in the private education and health services industry and by 1,000 jobs in the trade and transportation category. Employment remained unchanged in the leisure and hospitality, information and mining sectors.2016-05-20T19:40:00+00:00
Evatran, Vasen Brewing Co. coming to Scott’s Addition in Richmond
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/evatran-vasen-brewing-co.-coming-to-scotts-addition-in-richmond#When:16:01:00ZRichmond’s Scott’s Addition neighborhood will soon be home to another brewery and Evatran Group Inc., a Richmond-based manufacturer of wireless charging stations for electric vehicles.
Evatran and Vasen Brewing Co. have signed two leases totaling 37,495 square feet at the HandCraft Building at 1501 Roseneath Road, according to the building’s manager, Virginia Beach-based Divaris Real Estate Inc. (DRE).
Evatran leased 20,713 square feet of office and manufacturing space. The company is consolidating its corporate offices, sales, and manufacturing operations into the one facility in anticipation of increasing its Richmond workforce to 30.
Vasen leased 16,782 square feet of retail and industrial space. The Scandinavian heritage brewery will include a 2,500-square-foot tasting room.
The 87,000-square-foot HandCraft Building was built by Binswanger Glass Co. in 1946 and later bought and used by HandCraft Cleaners. HandCraft continues to use approximately 11,000 square feet of space in the building but is moving to a facility in Richmond’s West End. That move will free up space for retail and restaurants by early 2017.
Scott’s Addition has gone from an industrial district of older warehouse properties to an enclave of apartments, breweries, cideries, offices and restaurants.
DRE’s Richmond managing broker, Read Goode and Cheryle Toy handled the lease negotiations on behalf of the landlord Roseneath Holdings LLC.2016-05-20T16:01:00+00:00
Home sales begin at Henrico development
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/home-sales-begin-at-henrico-development#When:14:03:00ZGumenick Properties has begun the construction and sales of homes at the Libbie Mill-Midtown mixed-use development in Henrico County.
Sales started in mid-April at The Neighborhood, a residential area including townhomes and condominiums on the western portion of the 80-acre site near Libbie Avenue. The first homes will be ready for occupancy by the fourth quarter. Libbie Mill-Midtown is zoned for construction of up to 994 for-sale homes.
The Neighborhood will have three phases of construction. hen complete, Libbie Mill is expected to have 1,096 apartments in addition to the 994 homes. Libbie Mill-Midtown also will have about 200,000 square feet of office and retail space. The community is expected to take about 10 years to complete.2016-05-20T14:03:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/dan_headshot_bw-726x750.png
Can a great brand boost the value of your business when it’s time to sell?
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/can-a-great-brand-boost-the-value-of-your-business-when-its-time-to-sell#When:14:00:00ZA brand is an investment. It’s an investment in time. It’s an investment in brainpower and creativity. And with that is an investment in money. Businesses that invest in their brand want to know: is it worth it? In our role as valuation analysts, we have this conversation about the value of a brand with new clients all the time. Here’s a quick look at the question “does brand = value?”
Q. Is my brand a factor in the value of my business?
Clients often ask: “When you begin the valuation process for my company, do you need to look at my branding and marketing materials as part of your analysis?”
Our answer is: Absolutely. For all intents we are talking about the “curb appeal” of your company. Think for a moment about the curb appeal of a house: you quite literally go through a series of judgments about a house in that first instant you see it. Is it well cared for? Do the owners’ know what they are doing? Am I more likely than not to find problems inside?
There’s a similar process we go through when looking at a company. We go through those same snap judgments. As a valuation professional, I’m trying to get a feel for how well cared for your company is. As a consumer it’s probably the opposite: I’m wondering how well the company will care for me.
Q. So how do you actually quantify the value of my brand?
Generally speaking, brand value is an element of “enterprise value” – or the value of the entire company. Think of it this way: without the rest of the company, does the brand have value on a stand-alone basis? In most cases, no.
That being said there are some reasons to value a brand on its own, such as determining lost profits in litigation, in order to meet financial reporting requirements, or in some instances to sell the brand as a stand-alone asset.
There are some specific models used to value brands. These models tend to be similar to appraising other assets (i.e. market approach, income approach, cost approach). Without belaboring the detail, valuing a brand involves us:
● comparing it to the value of other similar brands
● developing an income approach model, perhaps using a “relief of royalty” analysis
● determining the cost to develop the brand
Q. Should I invest in rebranding?
Clients also wonder: “If my brand is lacking, do you think I should invest in rebranding?”
We believe that it comes down to a question of ROI. How will the brand “refresh” return value to your company? In some cases it can be a very low bar.
Here’s an example: Last year we were engaged to value a trucking company that was preparing for a sale. The company has no website. Every employee used some variation on truckerCo1 @hotmail.com.
What was our immediate reaction? Probably the same as every new customer: why on earth hasn’t this company joined the modern world? Our actual series of thoughts: we begin thinking that their books are probably a mess and their trucks are old and broken down.
This company absolutely needs to invest in some curb appeal if it is contemplating a sale. Every business seller wants the highest price for his or her business, so the brand will make a big impact on what a buyer is willing to pay.
Stated more broadly, we think a refresh makes sense the moment your brand doesn’t fully convey your company’s values, beliefs, or unique selling proposition.
Ultimately the value of great brands is already priced into the performance (and in turn, value) of a company. Great brands have curb appeal. Great brands encourage clients to value their association with your company. On the other hand a poor image can have a significantly negative impact on both financial performance and value. More so, a negative image can potentially render a company unsellable.
As you approach a sale or exit it makes sense to take stock of your company’s image. If you “mystery shopped” your company, would you want to be a client? If your answer is anything shy of a ”absolutely” it’s high time to reevalute your brand.
About the Author:
Dan Doran, CVA, is the founder and principal of Quantive Business Valuations, a certified valuation practice serving privately held businesses nationwide. Doran is an avid blogger and writer on a variety of business issues, including valuation, startups, growth, exit planning and structuring transactions. Learn more at quantivevaluations.com.2016-05-20T14:00:00+00:00
FCA opening parts distribution center in Winchester
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/fca-opening-parts-distribution-center-in-winchester#When:21:07:00ZFCA US LLC said Thursday it is investing $12.2 million in an automobile parts distribution center in Winchester. The 400,000-plus square-foot facility is expected to create more than 70 jobs.
FCA, based in Auburn Hills, Mich., is the U.S. subsidiary of London-based Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. FCA has started preliminary work in Winchester on the Mopar Parts Distribution Center, which expected to open in the fourth quarter of this year. Mopar is the service parts and customer care brand of FCA.
The new Mopar facility will handle the distribution of parts to more than 200 dealerships, primarily in the mid-Atlantic region, other locations on the East Coast and in the Midwest and South.
Once fully operational, the facility is projected to ship approximately 9.2 million pieces annually.
"The opening of the Virginia [distribution center] will significantly increase our dealer network strength in this important and growing market, improving customer service by delivering faster and more efficiently parts and accessories to dealerships…" Pietro Gorlier, who is head of parts and service (Mopar), FCA – Global, said in a statement.
In addition to creating 70 jobs, FCA will use local resources for areas such as janitorial services, facilities management and exterior building maintenance.
The Virginia facility will be one of 22 parts distribution centers in North America and 53 worldwide, including joint ventures.
The new Mopar distribution center will also be LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified by the U.S. Green Building Council.2016-05-19T21:07:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/image002.jpeg
Colonial Williamsburg hires general counsel
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/colonial-williamsburg-hires-general-counsel#When:19:46:00ZColonial Williamsburg has named Mark Hileman its general counsel, effective June 20.
Hileman has worked for Boston Globe Media Partners LLC since 2013 when the company split from The New York Times Co.
“Mark brings a wealth of legal experience to Colonial Williamsburg, including his most recent work for the esteemed Boston Globe, where he built the organization’s legal support function from the ground up,” President and CEO Mitchell Reiss said in a statement.
Previously Hileman was a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of McGuireWoods LLP and senior vice president and deputy general counsel for AOL Inc.
Hileman earned his bachelor’s and law degrees from the University of Virginia.2016-05-19T19:46:00+00:00
Sweet Briar president to receive honor
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/sweet-briar-president-to-receive-honor#When:19:40:00ZPhillip C. Stone, the president of Sweet Briar College, will receive the 2016 American Inns of Court Professionalism Award for the Fourth Circuit.
The award will be presented on May 24 at the Fourth Circuit Judicial Conference at the Greenbrier Resort in Sulphur Springs, W.Va., by Chief Judge William B. Traxler Jr.
The awards are presented each year to in participating federal circuits to a lawyer or judge whose life and practice “display sterling character and unquestioned integrity, coupled with ongoing dedication to the highest standards of the legal profession and the rule of law.”
Stone began his tenure at Sweet Briar in July 2015 following settlement of litigation over the previous board’s decision to close the school.
Before accepting the post, he was a principal at Stone Law Group in Harrisonburg.
A graduate of Bridgewater College, Stone served as its president from 1994 to 2010. During his tenure at Bridgewater, enrollment increased 78 percent. He also oversaw a successful $40 million capital campaign. Stone received the President’s Medal from Bridgewater last year.
Stone was a member of the executive committee of the National Collegiate Athletic Association and chaired the southern regional accrediting association.
Stone is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, the International Society of Barristers, the Virginia Law Foundation and the American Bar Foundation.2016-05-19T19:40:00+00:00
New leaders elected at Virginia Craft Brewers Guild
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/new-leaders-elected-at-virginia-craft-brewers-guild#When:19:37:00ZEric McKay of Hardywood Park Craft Brewery has been named chair of the 2016-17 Leadership Council of the Virginia Craft Brewers Guild.
Eric McKay co-founded Richmond-based Hardywood with Patrick Murtaugh in 2011.
Sten Sellier of Beltway Brewing will serve as vice chair of the organization.
Other leaders of the group include:
Porter Hardy, Smartmouth Brewing, and Hunter Smith, Champion Brewing Co., co-chairs of the Government Affairs Committee.
Neil Burton, Strangeways Brewing, and Kevin Erskine, Coelacanth Brewing, co-chairs of the Marketing & Tourism Committee.
Janell Zurschmeide, Dirt Farm Brewing, and Lisa Pumphrey, Lickinghole Creek Farm Brewery, co-chairs of the Farm Brewery Committee.
Kate Lee, Hardywood, and Shawn Phillips, Spencer Devon Brewing, co-chairs of the newly created Quality Committee.2016-05-19T19:37:00+00:00
Evans Inc. names two employees to board of directors
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/evans-inc.-names-two-employees-to-board-of-directors#When:17:44:00ZFalls Church-based Evans Inc., a strategic consulting firm, has named Jack Moore, partner and director, corporate strategy, and Bob Etris, partner and director, Federal Aviation Administration account, to the company’s board of directors.
They join Sue Evans, the founder and CEO, as co-owners of the 22-year-old company.
Moore joined the company in 2008 and has led the firm’s growth strategy. He has more than 20 years of consulting experience with various industries.
Etris joined Evans in 2003, leading the operational management and oversight of project and program operations, client engagement, and financial and operational account portfolio oversight at the FAA.2016-05-19T17:44:00+00:00
Firm to handle leasing and management services for Henrico shopping center
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/firm-to-handle-leasing-and-management-services-for-henrico-shopping-center#When:16:53:00ZCushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer will provide leasing and management services for the Lexington Commons shopping in Henrico County.
Lexington Commons, located at 10156-10192 W. Broad St., has 22,001 square feet of retail space. Its tenants include Fantastic Sams, Chanellos Pizza and Hibachi Ninja.
About 4,608 square feet of space is available for lease.
The portfolio manager is Megan Bryant, and Reilly Marchant of Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer is the exclusive leasing representative.
Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer manages over 20 million square feet of commercial real estate properties in Virginia and South Carolina, plus more than 6,100 multifamily units.2016-05-19T16:53:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Unknown.jpgLedbury CMO Bill Eyre | Photo by Carl Maynard.
Ledbury hires chief marketing, financial officers
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/ledbury-hires-chief-marketing-financial-officers#When:09:00:00ZRichmond-based shirtmaker Ledbury announced Thursday it has hired two C-suite positions. Bill Eyre started in mid-April as chief marketing officer, and Jennifer Villarreal will come onboard June 1 as chief financial officer.
“Ledbury has dramatically evolved in the last year, as we’ve added a wholesale business, launched a robust catalog strategy and opened a new retail location in Washington, DC – all while our e-commerce business has continued to grow…” Ledbury co-founder and CEO, Paul Trible, said in a statement.
Eyre comes to Ledbury from outdoor retailer Orvis, where he had nearly 20 years experience as the director of branding and corporate marketing and the director of advertising.
In his new role at Ledbury, he will lead marketing strategies across all channels and manage an in-house creative and marketing team of seven people.
Villarreal was most recently the vice president of finance and operations at Turnbull and Asser, the 130-year-old British luxury shirtmaker. She managed the company’s retail, wholesale and e-commerce businesses. Her previous experience includes CFO at fashion label Simon Spurr and vice president of finance and operations at Brooklyn Industries.
Ledbury is a menswear brand best known for dress and casual shirts. Founded in 2009, Ledbury now employs 34 people and has stores in Richmond and Washington, D.C.2016-05-19T09:00:00+00:00
Armada Hoffler to develop next phase of Town Center
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/aramada-hoffler-to-develop-next-phase-of-town-center#When:19:30:00ZArmada Hoffler announced Wednesday that it will start building Phase VI of Town Center of Virginia Beach.
The mixed-use project will include 33,000 square feet of street-level retail space, 5,000 square feet of restaurant space and approximately 120 luxury apartment homes.
Zeiders American Dream Theater will invest about $8 million in a 17,000-square-foot performing arts theater, and the city of Virginia Beach will invest $3 million in public infrastructure, including an open-air public plaza and a pedestrian bridge connecting to the adjacent parking garage.
“Later this year, the company expects to announce two exciting national retailers that have already committed to more than 18,000 square feet of space at the base of the future residential tower,” Louis Haddad, Armada Hoffler’s CEO said in a statement.
Town Center is a 25-acre, 17-block mixed use development in Virginia Beach’s Central Business District.2016-05-18T19:30:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/squiresHR.jpg
Following takeover bids, Norfolk Southern CEO looks forward
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/following-takeover-attempts-norfolk-southern-ceo-looks-forward#When:02:47:00ZNorfolk Southern CEO James Squires took helm of Norfolk Southern Corp. on June 1 last year, quickly launching the development of a five-year strategic plan to improve efficiencies and reduce costs at the railroad.
As the company prepared to refine its strategic plan, Norfolk-based Norfolk Southern received an unexpected takeover bid from Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd.
“We were very careful to look in an unbiased objective way at each proposal that was made to us. That’s what our shareholders expect,” Squires said in an interview with Virginia Business. Squires was in Richmond Tuesday evening to address the Virginia Chamber of Commerce’s annual legislative awards banquet at The Jefferson Hotel.
Ultimately, Norfolk Southern’s board rejected three bid proposals made by the company over a six-month period. Squires said his management team and a group of outside advisers compared each of Canadian Pacific’s three bids to its strategic plan, determining that the bids undervalued the company and would be unlikely to receive regulatory approval.
“We concluded that the proposal was lacking in two ways,” Squires said. “First the value wasn’t adequate as compared to the value of our shareholders from our strategic plan. And secondly, the regulatory risks associated with the proposal were very significant. We did not see a path to regulatory approval of the transaction.”
Canadian Pacific ended its takeover attempts in April.
Squires did not speculate on whether he thought there would be further consolidation in the railroad industry.
Norfolk Southern has continued implementing its strategic plan with a goal of saving the company $650 million annually by 2020. The plan includes many initiatives, including consolidating its operating regions from three to two, decreasing overtime, downgrading or deposing of underused lines, improving productivity measures and cutting 2,000 jobs, mostly through attrition.
The company accelerated its productivity plans this year, which were evident in its first-quarter results. While the company’s revenues were down on lower volumes, and there was a steep drop in coal revenues (23 percent compared with the same quarter a year ago), the company dramatically cut its expenses.
Revenues were down 6 percent to $2.4 billion for the quarter, but profit was up 25 percent to $387 million.
“We had a very good first quarter. We were able to reduce spending even more and that led to some pretty substantial margin improvement,” Squires said. “We did accelerate some of the productivity savings that we had projected for the full year into the first quarter.”
The railroad industry is in the midst of a tough economic climate. Volumes on almost all commodities are down, particularly in the coal industry.
Squires emphasized, however, that the company’s strategic plan includes long-term revenue growth.
The railroad sees potential growth in both its intermodal business — the transportation of containers from trucks or ships — and its merchandise business, which includes the transportation of other commodities such as chemicals, automotive and agricultural products.
“We think we can manage merchandise shipments around GDP growth,” says Squires. “Our intermodal business should grow even better than GDP as we take share from the highways.”
Each railcar can take 300 trucks off the highway, Squires said.
“We want to help relieve highway congestion," Squires said. "That’s one of the reasons we invested so heavily in intermodal the last few years. We’re determined to continue pursuing increased volume from migration of freight from road to rail.”
The company also has spent significant time improving customer service levels, which Squires said had lagged in 2014 and 2015.
“When the operation is running smoothly it sheds costs naturally,” Squires said. “An efficient network is also a cost effective network…Another thing that’s so important about maintaining a high level of network performance and customer service is that’s a platform for growth. That’s how we plan to continue to attract more business.”
Squires used his address to the Virginia Chamber of Commerce to thank legislators for their support of a $350 million bond issue for the Port of Virginia. The money will be used to expand capacity at the port’s largest terminal - Norfolk International Terminals, or NIT.
“That’s a really strong signal,” Squires said. “It’s a signal that Virginia’s open for business.”
Norfolk Southern, which provides on-dock rail at NIT, opened the Heartland Corridor in 2010, creating a direct route for double-stacked container trains from Norfolk to the Midwest.
“I think the legislature and the governor really understand that the port is a driver of economic development,” Squires said. “This $350 million is an investment in economic development for the entire state.”
The chamber released its annual 2016 Legislative Report Card Tuesday. The report card grades legislators on “support of pro-business policies” during the 2016 legislative session.
Now in its fifth year, the 2016 legislative report card includes for the first time legislators’ lifetime grades along with their grades for the most recent legislative session.
Del. Steve Landes, R-Weyers Cave, was named the 2016 Legislator of the Year.
The following legislators are also recognized for their leadership in specific areas. A full list winners can be viewed at the Virginia Chamber of Commerce’s website.
Champions of Free Enterprise
Sen. Charles Carrico
Sen. Bryce Reeves
Sen. Glen Sturtevant
Del. Richard Bell
Del. Glenn Davis
Del. Scott Garrett
Del. Keith Hodges
Del. Barry Knight
Del. Steve Landes
Del. Scott Lingamfelter
Del. John O’Bannon
Del. Chris Peace
Del. Roxann Robinson
Del. Chris Stolle
Del. Ron Villanueva
Chairman’s Award for Champion of Free Enterprise
Del. Barry Knight
Business Advocate of the Year
Del. Kirk Cox
Freshman Legislators of the Year
Sen. Glen Sturtevant Del. Chris Collins
Excellence in Workforce Development
Sen. Kenneth Alexander
Sen. John Miller
Sen. Frank Ruff
Del. Kathy Byron
Excellence in Education
Sen. Mark Obenshain
Del. Rob Bell
Del. Tag Greason
Champion of Regulatory Reform
Del. Margaret Ransone
Del. David Yancey
Economic Competitiveness Award
Sen. Janet Howell
Sen. Tommy Norment
Sen. Frank Ruff
Sen. Dick Saslaw
Del. Kirk Cox
Del. Tim Hugo
Military and Veterans Advocate Award
Sen. George Barker
Del. Chris Stolle
Small Business Advocate Award
Del. Chris Head2016-05-18T02:47:00+00:00
Automark Solutions LLC moving headquarters from McLean to Virginia Beach
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/automark-solutions-llc-moving-headquarters-from-mclean-to-virginia-beach#When:16:14:00ZAutomark Solutions LLC said Tuesday it is relocating its headquarters from McLean to Virginia Beach, a move that will create 35 jobs.
Automark is a software company that services the automotive and related industries focused on ecommerce.
“While there were several geographical options that made sense, none provided the quality of life benefits that Virginia Beach offers that are very important to our existing employees and hopefully will translate to attracting those we plan to hire in the coming months,” Ken Lees, Automark’s vice president and partner, said in a statement.
The company was founded in 2012 and currently has 11 employees. The expansion will triple its workforce during the next 36 months. The new jobs will have average annual salaries of $40,000 in management, customer service, software developers and administrative support.
The Virginia Beach Development Authority has awarded Automark Solutions LLC a $45,000 Economic Development Investment Program grant, based on the number of jobs created. The company will also make a $35,000 capital investment for the expansion.2016-05-17T16:14:00+00:00
Gannett raises its offer for Tribune Publishing
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/gannett-raises-its-offer-for-tribune-publishing#When:00:19:00ZMcLean-based Gannett Co. Inc. has increased its all-cash offer to acquire Chicago-based Tribune Publishing Co., from $12.25 to $15 a share.
The revised offer raises the total value of the proposed deal from $814 million to $864 million. That total includes assumption of Tribune’s outstanding debt, which totaled $385 million on March 27.
“Our increased offer demonstrates our commitment to engaging in serious and meaningful negotiations with the Tribune board to reach a mutually agreeable transaction where Gannett acquires all of Tribune,” John Jeffry Louis, Gannett’s chairman, said in a statement. “It is evident from our discussions with Tribune shareholders that there is overwhelming support for the companies to engage immediately regarding our proposed transaction.”
Gannett said the new unsolicited offer represents a 99 percent premium over Tribune’s closing prices of $7.52 on April 22. That was the last trading day before Gannett announced its initial offer to acquire Tribune.
Gannett said its decision to raise its offer was the result of analysis of Tribune information revealed on May 5 in financial statements filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The information concerned debt, cash balance and pension liabilities.
The Virginia-based company is urging Tribune shareholders to withhold their votes for eight nominees for the Tribune board. Gannett says the move allows shareholders to send a message the board encouraging it to negotiate on a deal.
Gannett owns USA Today and 107 local news properties. Chicago-based Tribune’s properties include the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and The Daily Press in Newport News.2016-05-17T00:19:00+00:00
Report examines suburban office parks
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/report-examines-suburban-office-parks#When:15:54:00ZA recent report on Richmond’s top suburban office parks compares how quickly they recovered from the 2007-09 recession.
The report, released by Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer, notes that historically the area has four top-performing suburban office parks. Two of those parks, Innsbrook Corporate Center and the Glen Forest Office Park, are in the Northwest Quadrant and the other two, the Arboretum and Boulders Office parks, are in the Southwest Quadrant.
While all of these office parks were hit hard by the recession, the firm notes, those in the Northwest recovered faster. The Southwest Quadrant has taken longer to recover, the report says, but is now experiencing a recovery as the area’s suburban office supply is limited.
Three years prior to the start of the recession, in December 2007, overall vacancy in these four parks was 5.6 percent, with none having a higher rate than 9.5 percent.
The bankruptcies of Land America Title and Circuit City and Wachovia Securities’ move to St. Louis as part of a merger with A.G. Edwards in 2008 resulted in large-scale vacancies in Innsbrook that eventually trickled down to other areas of the Richmond suburban office market, the report said.
Innsbrook’s vacancy rate peaked at more than 25 percent late in the recession, the report says. Glen Forest was not hit as hard but still topped out at a 19 percent vacancy rate in 2009. Innsbrook and Glen Forest began to stabilize in the 2010-2013 period and were fully stabilized with vacancy rates back under 10 percent last year, the report said.
Meanwhile in the southwest, the 2010-2013 period showed little improvement for Arboretum and Boulders, according to the report. The vacancy rate remained in the 18 percent range, while absorption was flat. Historically across the metropolitan area, 1 percent of the available inventory is absorbed in any given year. Arboretum had a 12 percent absorption rate in 2014 and 8 percent last year , with overall vacancy now sitting at 2.6 percent.
As the only other class A office park south of the James River, Boulders appears poised to be next to recover, the report says. Absorption last year was 3.5 percent of inventory and is trending up. The vacancy rate also dropped 270 basis points from 2014 to 2015.
“With mid-size and large block space at a premium in the Innsbrook submarket, we are starting to see tenants with an increased interest in the Arboretum and Boulders office parks,” Brian Berkey, a senior vice president at Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer and leader of its tenant advisory practice group, said in statement.2016-05-16T15:54:00+00:00
Mixed results to encouraging signs
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/mixed-results-to-encouraging-signs#When:15:29:00ZA first-quarter report on commercial real estate in the Richmond by Colliers International found mixed results for downtown office space but encouraging signs for the market’s industrial and retail sectors.
The Q1 2016 Colliers Market Report for Richmond noted that the city’s office market began this year with the closing of a number of major central business district office building sales first reported in fourth quarter of 2015.
Average asking rents for downtown Class A office space remained at $24.34 per square foot while concessions increased.
Average rents for suburban office space increased slightly to $18.85 per square foot with fewer concessions. Vacancy increased in both Downtown and the Northwest Quadrant, and decreased in the Southwest Quadrant.
The Richmond industrial market meanwhile had a solid first quarter, with a number of new deals and renewals. Seventeen of 18 sales in the first quarter involved buildings of more than 10,000 square feet, and six out of 10 of the largest sales were investments. Absorption was positive, and overall vacancy remained at 8.2 percent, which has been steadily decreasing since 2014.
In the retail area, grocers, food shops and fitness centers continue to be the active tenants in the Richmond retail market. The market saw more than 120 retail leases involving less than 5,000 square feet, some deals adding new national brands to the area. Unanchored retail strip centers were popular investment sales. Absorption was positive, rising to 28,843 square feet at the end of the fourth quarter 2015. Vacancy has remained flat, and rents have stayed the same or have had a slight increase in new construction.
New retail hotspots such as Scott’s Addition have seen high rental increases because of the transformation of properties from industrial to retail product. Colliers says it is beginning to see the influence of millennials on retail, from advancements in retail technology to new shopping habits.2016-05-16T15:29:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Commerce_Site_ONECOLOR.jpeg
Industrial property at Commerce Road in Richmond on sale for $11.75 million
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/industrial-property-at-commerce-road-in-richmond-on-sale-for-11.75-million#When:15:19:00ZCBRE|Richmond announced Monday it has been tapped to market and sell 109 acres of the industrial property at 3021-3205 Commerce Road in Richmond for $11.75 million.
The site currently contains 2.6 million square feet of warehouse space and is within two miles of the Richmond Marine Terminal. It also is near the Bells Road and Interstate 95 interchange and has half mile of exposure on Interstate 95.
Matt Anderson and Rob Dirom have been selected to represent the seller, Alleghany Warehouse Co. Inc.
CBRE|Richmond is a CBRE Inc. affiliate office serving the Central Virginia region. In 2015, the Richmond office completed 407 lease transactions encompassing 4.5 million square feet totaling $324 million, and 75 sales transactions valuing $244 million.
Compare.com to move to larger office
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/compare.com-to-move-to-larger-office#When:13:31:00ZCompare.com, an auto insurance comparison website in Henrico County, is moving its headquarters to a larger office building and expanding its staff.
The company said Friday it plans to increase its staff by 40 percent by the end of next year. It has added 12 employees since January.
The new office building will include a full gym, free coffee bar, standing desks and a game room.
The office building is located in the East Shore III building at the Concourse at Wyndham office park. The company now is in a smaller office in the same office park.
“Beyond the educated workforce that we have been able to harness here, Richmond also boasts a growing arts and foodie culture that we want to pay homage to in our new office,” Andrew Rose, the CEO of compare.com, said in a statement. “With Richmond’s proximity to Washington, D.C., we’ve been able to cultivate exceptional talent, while offering candidates a ‘big small city,’ which attracts millennials and local artisans.”
The company is seeking employee suggestions for themes and is using local muralists to decorate the new space.
Compare.com is majority owned by Admiral Group LLC, the United Kingdom’s second-largest auto insurer, Admiral also is the parent company of Henrico County-based Elephant Insurance.2016-05-16T13:31:00+00:00
Lingerfelt CommonWealth Realty Partners acquires Chesapeake retail center for $15.5 million
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/lingerfelt-commonwealth-realty-partners-acquires-chesapeake-retail-center-f#When:21:19:00ZLingerfelt CommonWealth Realty Partners LLC has acquired Towne Place at Greenbrier, a retail center in Chesapeake, for $15.5 million.
Towne Place, which is described as a high-end lifestyle retail center, is 94.7 percent leased. Built in 2007, it has more than 20 retailers in 76,827 square feet of space.
“The Greenbrier retail submarket currently enjoys a vacancy rate of only 2 percent,” Ken Strickler of Glen Allen-based Lingerfelt CommonWealth, said in a statement. “Towne Place at Greenbrier has a wonderful mixture of quality regional and national retailers which serve the heavy concentration of apartments, single-family housing, hotels, and office buildings within walkable proximity to the center.”
The tenants at the retail center include Taste Unlimited, Jason’s Deli, Chico’s, Sola Salon, Jos. A. Bank, Moe’s Southwest Grill, and Surf Rider Restaurant, among others.
Last year, Lingerfelt CommonWealth acquired a 1.3 million square foot office portfolio in Hampton Roads. The purchased included five class A office buildings in the Greenbrier submarket in Liberty Executive Park, which is adjacent to the Towne Place retail center.
Strickler said the company is excited about the possibilities to further integrate the office buildings with the Towne Place retail center.
Commonwealth Commercial Partners, Lingerfelt CommonWealth ’s property management affiliate, will handle all aspects of the day-to-day asset and property management. S.L. Nusbaum will handle the leasing and marketing.2016-05-13T21:19:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/River_Road_SC_0007.jpg
The Orvis Co., Yves Delorme coming to River Road Shopping Center
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/the-orvis-co.-yves-delorme-coming-to-river-road-shopping-center-richmond-pr#When:20:44:00ZThe River Road Shopping Center in Richmond is now fully leased, Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer has announced.
“We held out for seven years for the right tenants and the right brokerage team – worth it!,” Meade A. Spotts, of River Road Shopping Center Inc., said in a statement.
The Orvis Co. will move its store to River Road Shopping Center from Short Pump Town Center, leasing 6,988 square feet. Yves Delorme will relocate from Stony Point Fashion Park to a 1,300 square-foot space.
Both tenants will be located at a prime corner of the 65,910-square-foot center formerly occupied by Coplon’s. Both retailers should be open by early fall.
Allyson P. Wiggins and Pamela H. Strieffler of Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer handled the lease negotiations on behalf of the landlord.
Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer represents, on behalf of its clients, a property portfolio of over 48 million leasable square feet. It also manages over 20 million square feet of commercial property, and over 6,100 multifamily units. The company has offices in Richmond, Newport News, Virginia Beach, Fredericksburg, Roanoke, Lynchburg and Charleston and Greenville, S.C2016-05-13T20:44:00+00:00
Deschutes Brewery picks distributor for Southwest, Central Virginia
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/deschutes-brewery-picks-distributor-for-southwest-central-virginia#When:21:14:00ZBend, Ore.-based Deschutes Brewery has tapped Salem-based Blue Ridge Beverage as its distributor in Southwest and Central Virginia, the companies announced Thursday.
Earlier this year, Deschutes announced that Roanoke would be the site for its future East Coast brewery. It will begin serving 49 counties and 17 cities in Southwest and Central Virginia in early August.
Blue Ridge will launch Deschutes’ beers later this summer, including Mirror Pond Pale Ale, Black Butte Porter, Fresh Squeezed IPA and the brewery’s variety packs.
Deschutes ships beer to 28 states, the District of Columbia, and abroad.
Blue Ridge distributes beer, wine, cider and non-alcoholic beverages to more than 4,000 retail customers throughout Southwest and Central Virginia.
CohnReznick names managing partner for Tysons office
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/cohnreznick-names-managing-partner-for-tysons-office#When:20:26:00ZThe accounting, tax and advisory firm CohnReznick LLP has named Christopher Mahon as managing partner of its Tysons office.
Alex Castelli and Christine Williamson, who led the Tysons offices for nearly 15 years, will now devote their time to existing roles as practice leaders of the firm’s Technology & Life Sciences and Government Contracting Industry practices, respectively.
Mahon started his career at the firm as an intern in the Assurance practice in 1998. In 2005, he was a key member of the team that helped to open the Tysons office. He has made significant contributions to the firm's technology practice and was responsible for launching its hospitality practice in the Washington, D.C., area.2016-05-12T20:26:00+00:00
Innovation Health names chief medical officer
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/innovation-health-names-chief-medical-officer#When:20:24:00ZFalls Church-based Innovation Health has named Dr. Sunil Budhrani as its chief medical officer.
Innovation Health is a joint venture health plan involving Inova Health System and health insurer Aetna. It covers more than 190,000 people in Virginia.
Budhrani was chief medical officer at Evergreen Health Cooperative Insurance in Maryland, and he co-founded CareClix, a telemedicine solutions provider.
Budhrani is co-chair of the American Telemedicine Association’s Guidelines Committee for Practice of Primary Care and Urgent Care Telemedicine.2016-05-12T20:24:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Global_Harbor_Mall2.jpegGlobal Harbor Mall in Changzhou, China
Uptown Alley expanding to China
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/uptown-alley-expanding-to-china#When:16:09:00ZChester-based Uptown Alley announced Thursday that it is expanding its bowling entertainment and dining venue to Changzhou, China. An Uptown Alley will open there in late summer at the 880,000-square-foot Global Harbor Mall.
Changzhou, located in the Jiangsu Province, about 110 miles from Shanghai, has a population of more than 4 million.
Uptown Alley said it would partner with Jiangsu Jingnan Global Harbor Mall Co. Ltd. in Changzhou on the expansion, with the Changzhou venue being the first of 15 it plans to open in China during the next five years.
In addition, Uptown Alley has forged a strategic partnership with Brunswick Bowling, based in Muskegon, Mich. Brunswick will provide bowling equipment and scoring systems for Uptown Alley’s expansion in China. Brunswick also provided equipment for the company’s Chesterfield County and Surprise, Ariz., locations, which both opened in 2012.
“We are excited to continue to partner with Uptown Alley as they expand their brand to China,” Brent Perrier, CEO of Brunswick Bowling Products, said in a statement.
Steve Uphoff, founder and owner of Uptown Alley/Uphoff Ventures, said the China expansion was three years in the making. “We are very excited to be expanding our entertainment experience to this marvelous country.”
The 63,000-square-foot Changzhou Uptown Alley venue will house 37 lanes, the most of any bowling alley in China. In addition, like its U.S. counterparts in Virginia and Arizona, the venue will offer entertainment, drinks and food, including a large arcade game area, two dining areas, three bars, more than 100 HD video monitors, a children’s play area and private event spaces.
The restaurant will feature local Chinese items and American favorites, including the Big Uppy Burger.
Uptown Alley has other new openings scheduled closer to home. This fall the company will open a facility in Manassas, and next year it will open venues in White Plains, N.Y., and Virginia Beach.
Uptown Alley is owned and operated by Uptown Ventures LLC and Trifecta Management Group (TMG). The two companies have formed an alliance to acquire, develop and operate properties.
The 57,000-square-foot, multi-level Chesterfield County venue off Hull Street recently received the 2016 Honor Award for Excellence in Architecture from the American Institute of Architects in Richmond (AIA). Uptown Alley is co-owned by Linda Uphoff, Uphoff’s wife and business partner, his daughter Cassandra Moore and son-in-law Steven Moore.2016-05-12T16:09:00+00:00
Quirk Hotel and Stone Brewing Co. recognized for impact
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/quirk-hotel-and-stone-brewing-co.-recognized-for-impact#When:16:05:00ZThe Quirk Hotel in Richmond’s Arts District and Stone Brewing Co. have won top awards from the Richmond Real Estate Group (RREG).
The 2016 Impact Awards ceremony was held Wednesday night at Stone Brewing Co.’s new facility in the city’s East End. The group said the awards recognize projects that have a positive impact on the region and contribute to economic growth and prosperity of the local communities they serve.
The Quirk Hotel, at 201 W. Broad St. was recently listed as a top destination in Richmond in an article by Travel & Leisure Magazine that ranked the city No. 3 among the 50 Best Places to Travel in the world in 2016. Richmond came in behind No. 1 Bocas del Toro, Panama; and Guadalajara, Mexico. The hotel offers 74 guest rooms, an art gallery, rooftop terrace bar with views of the city, and the Maple and Pine Restaurant.
Stone Brewing Co. is a 216,000-square-foot distribution facility that resulted from collaboration between the city, its Economic Development Authority, Stone Brewing and the Greater Fulton and Greater Richmond communities. It has full brewing production from distillery to packaging, storage and distribution. The facility also has offices and a beer garden. Currently, Stone has opened a tasting room and retail store, and it’s planning a grand opening.
Brett McNamee, a senior vice president for Divaris Real Estate and member of RREG, said the winning projects stood out because of “their unique design characteristics, their long term economic, tourist and development benefits to the Richmond region and their demonstrated ability to generate other development and activity in two areas of the Richmond region which have been either overlooked (Fulton Bottom) or slow to develop (Broad Street) for many years. Both we believe will prove to be catalysts for these areas to continue to flourish.”
Three other finalists vying for the awards were:
· The Terraces at Manchester, 600 Semmes Ave. in Richmond’s Manchester District. The high-rise apartment complex offers large private terrace units, a Sky lounge, the city’s first rooftop dog walk and river vistas. The developers are Mark Purcel of Purcel Construction and Robin Miller of Miller & Associates.
· ARC Park, a 2.9-acre recreational park at 3600 Saunders Ave. in Northside Richmond. Its play and fitness elements accommodate those with and without disabilities. The park features three playgrounds, recycled safety surfaces and a wheelhouse accessible tree house. It was built by Greater Richmond ARC, a nonprofit that serves the disabled.
· Libbie Mill Library, developed by the county of Henrico in Libbie Mill Mid-town. This 60,000- square-foot, three-story library offers digital media labs and collaboration spaces. It’s part of a mixed-use project, Libbie Mill Midtown, that’s under development off Staples Mill Road.
The Richmond Real Estate Group is a membership organization of about 75 active members and more than 30 senior members representing all phases of commercial real estate including developers, architects, engineers, lenders, brokers, title companies, attorneys and service providers to the Richmond real estate community.2016-05-12T16:05:00+00:00
Redskins-themed restaurant to open at One Loudoun
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/redskins-themed-restaurant-to-open-at-one-loudoun#When:21:25:00ZA Washington Redskins-themed restaurant is scheduled to hold its grand opening on May 20-22 at the One Loudoun mixed-use development in Loudoun County.
The Hail & Hog Kitchen and Tap will occupy more than 12,000 square feet on two levels at 20376 Exchange St. in Ashburn, the home of Redskins Park, the team’s headquarters.
The restaurant is a collaboration between the Redskins and G3 Restaurants. The Hail & Hog is G3’s fifth professional football-themed restaurant. The others are in Columbus, Ohio; Pittsburgh; Indianapolis and Houston.
The restaurant’s name pays tribute to two elements of Redskins lore. The team’s fight song is “Hail to Redskins” and the offensive line during 1980s and 1990s was known as “the Hogs.”
For private events, Hail & Hog can accommodate 200 guests on the first level and 100 people on the second level.
The restaurant will have a broadcast studio designed for the Redskins to host radio and television shows. When not in use by the team, the studio may be reserved for private events.
The Hail & Hog’s décor will feature Redskins colors, including burgundy leather with gold accents, and have rotating displays of team memorabilia. There will be 57 ultra high-definition televisions throughout the restaurant.
The upper level will have its own entrance and feature a fire pit and a rooftop bar.2016-05-11T21:25:00+00:00
$30 million mixed-used project planned in Suffolk
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/30-million-mixed-used-project-planned-in-suffolk#When:21:16:00ZTwo Richmond-based firms, The Monument Cos. and Sensei Development, plan to turn a former peanut storage and processing facility in downtown Suffolk into a mixed-use development.
The $30 million project is expected to create 290 apartments and 5,000 to 10,000 square feet of office and retail space in the former Golden Peanut facility.
The project is the sixth and largest venture Monument and Sensei had handled in Suffolk. The companies have invested more than $24 million and have redeveloped 165,000 square feet of commercial and residential space. They now manage more than 150 apartments in the city.
The Golden Peanut site covers more than 10 acres at Saratoga and Wellons streets in Suffolk and includes 100,000 square feet of former warehouse and processing space. The facility dates back to the 1890s and employed up to 300 workers in the 1920s.
Monument and Sensei are expected to soon begin the rezoning process for the project with a goal of seeing its first residents in late 2017.2016-05-11T21:16:00+00:00
Kroger opens second Richmond-area ClickList at Midlothian store
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/kroger-opens-second-richmond-area-clicklist-at-midlothian-store#When:20:00:00ZThe second Richmond-area ClickList location will open on Thursday at the Kroger store at 3001 Polo Parkway in Midlothian.
The online-ordering service began in the Richmond market in March at the Chester Kroger Marketplace. Starting Thursday, Midlothian shoppers can visit http://www.kroger.com/onlineshopping creat,e an account and then select the ClickList location.
In addition, Kroger plans to open a third ClickList location in mid-June at its Short Pump store at 11895 West Broad St. The grocery chain plans a total of 11 ClickList locations throughout the Richmond area to open this year. Those locations are:
· Kroger Marketplace – 10800 Iron Bridge Road, Chester, 23831 (Opened March 2016)
· Kroger - 3001 Polo Parkway Midlothian, 23113 (Opening May 19)
· Kroger - 11895 W. Broad St., Henrico, 23233 (Opening in June)
· Kroger - 14101 Midlothian Turnpike, Midlothian, 23113
· Kroger - 13201 Rittenhouse Drive, Midlothian, VA 23112
· Kroger Marketplace - 7000 Tim Price Way, North Chesterfield, 23225
· Kroger Marketplace – 9000 Staples Mill Road, Henrico, 23228
· Kroger Marketplace – 9351 Atlee Road, Mechanicsville, 23116
· Kroger - 12726 Jefferson Davis Highway, Chester, 23831
· Kroger - 1510 Eastridge Rd., Richmond, 23229
· Kroger - 3507 W. Cary St., Richmond, VA 23221
At each opening, Kroger said it would waive the online shopping fee of $4.95 for a customer’s first three orders. Each ClickList location offers more than 40,000 items, including fresh meat and produce.
To use the service, customers log in to their accounts, create a shopping list, select a pick-up time and place an order. Once an order is placed, a Kroger store employee shops the store to fulfill the order and stores it in temperature-appropriate zones until the customer arrives.
When the customer arrives to the designated pick-up area, a store employee loads the order into the customer’s car. Payment is made at time of pick-up. Pharmacy prescriptions are not included in the program.2016-05-11T20:00:00+00:00
Society of American Florists finds a new home in Alexandria
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/society-of-american-florists-finds-a-new-home-in-alexandria#When:18:41:00ZA national trade association representing the U.S. floral industry has found a new home in Old Town Alexandria.
The Society of American Florists (SAF) had owned its headquarters at 1601 Duke St. in Alexandria for more than three decades, according to West, Lane & Schlager Realty Advisors LLC (WLS), which brokered the sale of the building and the purchase of a new space for the organization.
SAF sold its 11,000-square-foot property on Duke Street to the Vinci School for $4.7 million. Then it purchased a 9,385-square-foot condominium at 1001 N. Fairfax St. for $2.3 million.
WLS Principal Matt Levin and Assistant Vice Presidents Andrew Genova and Clark Turner negotiated on behalf of SAF, which has 6,000 members across the country.
According to WLS, the society’s relocation will reduce its overall average annual occupancy expenses. “Our client had an opportunity to improve its real estate position, and this was the perfect opportunity to do so,” Genova said.
The building at 1001 N. Fairfax St. is more modern than its previous home and has a more efficient design. “A key factor is that our client now occupies office space on one floor, which allows for improved collaboration among employees,” Genova said.2016-05-11T18:41:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Lamias_Crepes.JPG
Norfolk’s Vibrant Spaces program helps bring businesses downtown
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/norfolks-vibrant-spaces-program-help-bring-businesses-downtown#When:18:00:00ZLamia’s Crepes opened for business at 401 Granby Street in downtown Norfolk this month, the second business to take advantage of a grant through Vibrant Spaces. The Parisian-style creperie offers freshly made crepes and is the first of its kind in Hampton Roads, according to the Downtown Norfolk Council.
Vibrant Spaces is a council initiative that offers available downtown spaces to businesses.
So far, three applicants have been awarded $20,000, plus half-off market rent for two years with a signed lease. Muddy Paws Downtown opened in early May at 400 Granby Street, and Prince Ink will follow Lamia’s at 433 Granby Street within the month.
Vibrant Spaces will continue to award $50,000 in matching grants to new and existing businesses that create street-level vibrancy.
The committee overseeing the program said it would work with small businesses to identify spaces and encourage landlords to offer incentives to get businesses established downtown.
Downtown Norfolk Council is a private, not-for-profit membership organization comprised of businesses and individuals. The council also manages the Downtown Norfolk Improvement District, a 48-block special services district with enhanced services designed to keep downtown friendly, safe and clean,2016-05-11T18:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Courtyard_by_Marriott_Lynchburg_VA_King_Room_prototype_teal1.jpg
Renovation set for Courtyard by Marriott in Lynchburg
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/renovation-set-for-courtyard-by-marriott-in-lynchburg#When:15:42:00ZBy mid-May, the Courtyard by Marriott in Lynchburg will be undergoing a major renovation. The project, estimated to cost about $2.5 million, will include new guest rooms and bathrooms, a more inviting lounge, expanded fitness center and an updated courtyard. In addition, new technology will be incorporated throughout the hotel.
Hotel Acquisitions, based in Syracuse, N.Y., acquired the hotel last fall, with plans to renovate and transform the property. “…. The significant capital investment will enable us to grow our position in the market,” Lynne Simpson, the hotel’s general manager, said in a statement. “With the renovation, we’ll be incorporating the modern conveniences and amenities today’s guests expect with all the Courtyard features our guests have come to enjoy.”
The hotel will remain open throughout the renovation. The work is expected to be complete by this fall. The property is located off U.S. 460 and Rt. 29 near Liberty University.
“We are investing in Lynchburg for the long term,” Richard Pietrafesa, one of the hotel’s owners, said. “It is a vibrant economy with a unobstructed future and strong local leadership. We were pleased to become a part of this community, and look forward to growing with it.”
Dalpos Architects & Integrators is the architect for the renovation. Foundation Business Enterprises LLC is the general contractor, and Essex Hotel Management LLC, which manages the hotel, will oversee the project.
CareTaker Medical’s heart rate and blood pressure monitor receives FDA clearance
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/caretaker-medicals-heart-rate-and-blood-pressure-monitor-receives-fda-clear#When:20:53:00ZCharlottesville-based CareTaker Medical announced Tuesday that its heart rate and blood pressure monitor has received 510(k) clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
According to the FDA’s website, medical device manufacturers are required to submit a premarket notification if they intend to introduce a device into commercial distribution for the first time or reintroduce a device that will be significantly changed or modified to the extent that its safety or effectiveness could be affected.
The CareTaker monitor uses a low-pressure finger cuff to measure blood pressure and heart rate for display on the CareTaker web portal or other wireless devices.
"CareTaker is a real game changer, allowing physicians to remotely monitor medical-grade Continuous Blood Pressure and Heart Rate from anywhere, using only a patient friendly-finger cuff," Dr. Jay Sanders, adjunct professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and president emeritus of the American Telemedicine Association, said in a statement. "Until now, most clinicians have had to settle for intermittent 'point-in-time' Blood Pressure measurements using bulky arm cuffs, which can produce misleading results due to the influence of many factors such as movement, posture, anxiety, or caffeine. In remote monitoring settings, the ability to gather continuous Blood Pressure and vital sign data from such an integrated easy-to-use device will provide better information and improve patient compliance while reducing cost and workload."
CareTaker Medical is a wireless medical device firm, which aims to develop remote patient monitoring solutions that improve outcomes, increase clinician productivity, and maximize patient compliance and comfort.2016-05-10T20:53:00+00:00
Energy panel says sharing information is critical to energy security
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/energy-panel-says-sharing-information-is-critical-to-energy-security#When:20:39:00ZSafeguarding data is a challenge for businesses today as hacks and breaches dominate the headlines. Yet the energy industry has been somewhat gun-shy in terms of revealing what it’s doing to protect energy and data assets because of the critical importance of the country’s electric grid.
That curtain rose a bit Tuesday as a panel of energy professionals talked about the importance of information sharing and other ways to protect against cyber and physical threats during an energy conference. The 2016 Energy, Sustainability & Resiliency Conference, put on by the Virginia Chamber of Commerce at the Greater Richmond Convention Center, drew more than 400 people.
Moderated by Brooks Smith, a partner at law firm Troutman Saunders, the panel on energy security agreed that cyber security has risen to the top of the list as a chief concern. Yet physical security must remain a priority as well.
Asked what Dominion is doing to protect its energy assets, Mark Engels, the company’s enterprise technology security and compliance director, talked about several efforts. Following an attack in California in April 2013, when gunmen shot at 17 transformers at PG&E’s Metcalf substation near San Jose -- causing damage but no power outages — utilities across the U.S. began to shore up their physical infrastructure at the direction of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
“We looked at that attack and decided to invest $500 million over five to seven years to strengthen the physical, communication and operational controls for the infrastructure,” Engels said.
The Richmond-based energy company, whose subsidiary Dominion Virginia Power serves 2.4 million customers in Virginia and northeastern North Carolina, tests for vulnerabilities. “We do almost continuous vulnerability assessments to test our staff and controls in their ability to detect something,” Engels said.
Information sharing also is key to thwarting threats, the panelists said.
“We have close relationships with our peers, the federal government, state utilities and other groups,” Engels said.
A recent enlightening exchange of information for the energy industry came after the investigation by a U.S. team into a December attack on Ukraine’s power grid that caused widespread outages.
The attack, described as a first confirmed cyber-warfare attack affecting civilians, cut power to about 225,000 people for six hours. One senior Obama administration official told a gathering of electric-power grid industry executives in February that the Russian government was behind the attack, although other government sources said the evidence wasn’t conclusive enough to draw that conclusion.
The event raised major concerns because the U.S. power grid has some of the same vulnerabilities seen in the Ukraine attack, U.S. officials said at the time. For a
U.S. team to go in, assess what went wrong and to share that information with the energy industry was “a very useful case study,” Engels said.
“It is possible that that kind of attack could happen in the U.S.,” he told the audience. “If you look at the number of utilities in Virginia, there are at least 12 cooperatives, all of whom have distribution assets that provide power to customers. So we looked at the tactics, techniques and procedures and walked through how would Dominion respond to that type of attack. What controls do we have to have in place to prevent that from occurring?”
In the Ukraine event, not only did the attackers cause outages, they launched a service attack that prevented customers from reporting outages, which slowed down the utility’s ability to recover, said Engels. “The way the Ukrainians recovered, “ he added, “they moved into manual mode for a period of time.”
“We’ve been able to see the steps that were taken so we can implement controls and put mitigations in place to make it more difficult for an attacker to accomplish that or to identify an attack early on.”
Jim Reinhart, chief operating officer, development and operations for data center operator QTS, said Virginia has a good track record of protecting its assets. Plus, it’s the No. 1 data-center market in the country.
“It has a robust policy around clean, low-cost cost energy and great public and private partnerships. The strength of the military in the state also provides physical security,” he added, “and things like strong tax policy have helped. When it comes down to thinking about core elements, about where you go, it comes down to people. Two of every three attacks are due to human failure,” he said.
“… The only way to keep Virginia No. 1 in the market, is to get better on all fronts,” he added.
Jason Nichols, director of SAIC’s iSpace Lab, has spent many years in critical infrastructure protection. “The fact that we are having this conversation on stage is a positive signal,” he said. “There is a lot of vulnerability here. Virginia is unique. We have a lot of military, a lot of sensitive private infrastructure, and they are attractive targets. Let’s get our colleagues to share information. Make it your own business to understand what’s going on.”2016-05-10T20:39:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/WhiteP.jpg
Cherry Bekaert LLP promotes Pamela White to controller
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/cherry-bekaert-llp-promotes-pamela-white-to-controller#When:20:36:00ZCherry Bekaert LLP announced Tuesday it has promoted Pamela White from accounting manager to controller.
White will oversee and manage the Richmond-based firm’s internal accounting efforts. She will be responsible for accounts payable and payroll, and the supervision of all internal accountants.
Originally an accountant with Cherry Bekaert LLP, White has been with the firm for more than 15 years.
Before that, she worked in the accounting department of three other companies.
Cherry Bekaert LLP is one of the largest accounting firms in the country.2016-05-10T20:36:00+00:00
VCU Health System and Sheltering Arms Hospital launch joint venture
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/vcu-health-system-and-sheltering-arms-hospital-launch-joint-venture#When:23:22:00ZVCU Health System and Sheltering Arms Hospital have formed a joint venture, which could include construction of a new rehabilitation hospital.
“This partnership will make physical rehabilitative care in Virginia among the nation’s best,” John Duval, vice president for clinical services and CEO of VCU Hospitals, said in a statement.
The two health institutions said Monday they have signed an agreement aimed at addressing the need for comprehensive physical rehabilitative inpatient care for patients who suffered a stroke, brain injury, spinal cord injury, and similar illnesses and injuries.
While VCU and Sheltering Arms plan to continue inpatient services at their existing facilities, they said the possibility of a new rehabilitation hospital is being explored.
All outpatient rehabilitation and other service lines will continue to operate independently.
Mary Zweifel, interim CEO of Sheltering Arms, said it and VCU have collaborated on many health issues over the years in providing multidisciplinary treatment programs for patients, conducting research and training physical rehabilitation clinicians and leaders. “This joint venture will further enhance our progress in shaping physical rehabilitative care for the benefit of our patients,” she said in a statement.
Marsha Rappley, CEO of VCU Health System and vice president of VCU Health Sciences, said the joint venture “brings together the brand and clinical reputation of Sheltering Arms and the nationally-ranked research, education and clinical care programs of the VCU Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.”
Founded in Richmond in 1889, Sheltering Arms has two hospitals and 11 outpatient centers, plus community-based programs that include recreational therapy and fitness.
VCU Health System treats patients at several area locations, including VCU Medical Center in downtown Richmond.2016-05-09T23:22:00+00:00
Shentel completes acquisition of NTELOS
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/shentel-completes-acquisition-of-ntelos#When:20:02:00ZShenandoah Telecommunications Company (Shentel) has completed its acquisition of Waynesboro-based NTELOS Holding Corp.
Shentel is a Edinburg-based company that operates as a Sprint affiliate that will offer wireless communications service to the former Ntelos service area that includes portions of Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Kentucky.
The acquisition will more than double Shentel’s wireless customer base.
"The most important news for customers is that Shentel will accelerate network upgrades in the current nTelos region throughout this year and next, which will give customers more coverage in more places, stronger signals and faster downloads," Christopher E. French, president and CEO of Shentel, said in a statement. "We have committed to invest approximately $350 million as part of the expansion of the network and plan to add hundreds of additional coverage sites to provide an enhanced and more complete network for our customers.”
Shentel had revenues of $342.5 million in 2015 and profit of $40.9 million.
Ntelos had revenues of $362.6 million and a net loss of $11 million in 2015.2016-05-09T20:02:00+00:00
New York-based Gyrodyne sells Fairfax Medical Center for $14 million
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/new-york-based-gyrodyne-sells-fairfax-medical-center-for-14-million#When:15:42:00ZGyrodyne LLC, a New York-based owner and manager of real estate properties, has completed the sale of its Fairfax Medical Center in Fairfax for $14 million, or about $243.23 per square foot. The buyer was JAG Associates LLC, a Virginia limited liability company.
Fairfax Medical Center includes two office buildings situated on 3.5 acres with 57,621 square feet of rentable space.
Gyrodyne's predecessor, Gyrodyne Company of America Inc., acquired the center in 2009 for a $12.8 million (or $224 per square foot), of which $4.8 million was paid in cash and $8 million was financed.2016-05-09T15:42:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Sterling_Plaza_II.jpg
Sterling II Shopping Center in Loudoun is for sale
Greysteel’s mid-Atlantic retail investment sales team has been named exclusive adviser and agent for the sale of Sterling Plaza II, a 22,280-square-foot shopping center at 22405 Enterprise St. in the Sterling area of Loudoun County.
Built in 2005 as an outparcel of Safeway-anchored Sterling Plaza I retail center, the tenants at Sterling Plaza II include Carquest, Goodwill of Greater Washington and Little Caesar’s Pizza.
Revitalization of Sterling Plaza I has begun with capital and façade upgrades. New tenants include the Sterling Public Library, which is scheduled to open in August. In addition, there are plans for a new townhome development that would face Sterling II.
“Redevelopment of Sterling I Center and almost no more developable land in the submarket bolsters this asset’s long-term viability,” Gil Neuman, Greysteel managing director, said in a statement.
Greysteel is representing the seller, Atlantic Realty Cos. Serving on the sales team with Neuman is Cyrus Kashfian, Joyce Swain, and Matt Hutton.2016-05-09T14:57:00+00:00
Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer announces Richmond area leases
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/cushman-wakefield-thalhimer-announces-richmond-area-leases1#When:14:43:00ZIndustrial company J.W.P.K. Inc. has renewed two leases in Henrico County. The first lease is for 52,161 sq.ft. at 4200-4222 Sarellen Rd. The second renewal of 21,240 square feet is at 4207-4209 Eubank Rd. Evan Magrill and Scott Douglas handled the lease negotiations.
Exide Technologies also renewed its lease of 15,730 square ft. in Southpark I at 5100 Commerce Rd. in Richmond. Thalhimer's Dawn F. Griggs and Dawn M. Calabrese handled the lease negotiations.2016-05-09T14:43:00+00:00
TEGNA elects new director
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/tegna-elects-new-director#When:19:53:00ZTEGNA has elected Change.org President Jennifer Dulski to its board of directors.
The term begins immediately and brings the total number of directors at TEGNA to 11.
Dulski joined Change.org in 2013, which promotes social change through technology. Since Dulski joined Change.org, it was tripled to 150 million users worldwide.
Previously she spent two years leading global product at Google. She was co-founder and CEO of Dealmap, which helped people find and share local deals. Google bought the company in 2011.
She held a number of positions at Yahoo!, serving as group vice president and general manager of local and commerce in her last role there.2016-05-06T19:53:00+00:00
CSC completes acquisition of Xchanging
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/csc-completes-acquisition-xchanging#When:08:42:00ZCSC announced Thursday it has completed the acquisition of London-based Xchanging plc.
The acquisition will expand CSC’s market coverage and grow the range of services of both companies.
The agreement was accepted by Xchanging’s shareholders and was approved by regulators and boards of both companies.
Xchanging provides technology business solutions to companies in the global insurance and financial services, health care, manufacturing, real estate and the public sector.
CSC, based in Tysons, says the acquisition brings:
-Insurance software Xuber
-Domain expertise and leadership in London’s insurance market
-Leading position providing property and wealth management business processing services
“We are delighted to have the Xchanging team join CSC to create a dynamic technology leader,” Mike Lawrie, CSC’s chairman, president and CEO., said in a statement. “The addition of Xchanging is another step toward our goal of becoming a leader in the key geographies and markets we serve. Xchanging’s people and offerings portfolio are a complement to CSC’s existing business, which will allow us to demonstrate our commitment to areas such as the London market and the commercial insurance industry.”2016-05-06T08:42:00+00:00
Protecting your investment in a startup
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/opinion/article/protecting-your-investment-in-a-startup#When:20:59:00ZInvesting in a startup has a high potential rate of return, but, since so many businesses fail each year, it is also one of the riskiest investments one can make. Because the risk of losing one’s investment in a startup is very real, investors should enter a new venture with their eyes wide open and should size the investment appropriately to avoid jeopardizing their overall financial stability.
The 2015 Virginia Chamber of Commerce’s State of the Commonwealth report states that most businesses started in Virginia “are able to survive for at least a year.” But the Chamber’s data suggests that these nascent small businesses “are not necessarily well equipped to deal with the tasks they subsequently confront as they attempt to grow.” While the Chamber and its partners certainly aspire to improve the odds for Virginia’s newest businesses, this finding serves as a warning for potential investors in such ventures.
When starting out, new business owners may be disinclined to use banks as lenders due to bureaucratic hassles and tight restrictions on lending (just ask anyone who has applied for a mortgage recently about banking red tape). Instead, they often seek capital investment from those closest to them; friends and family. But a smart individual investor, who is usually putting his or her own family’s capital at risk with the startup capital outlay, will place restrictions on the borrower and establish clear boundaries for the investment.
Prior to releasing any funds to a new business, an investor should insist upon reviewing the venture’s business plan. A business plan delineates the owner’s intentions for the entity as well as its roadmap for growth. To protect an investment, then, a lender is well advised to carefully analyze the plan to determine if the owner’s projections are realistic. Investors should also insist on periodic updates on the company and possibly access to the company’s books.
From the investor’s perspective, the ideal corporate structure for a new business is an LLC, since owners and investors cannot be held liable for the young company’s debts and unpaid bills. Without the protections of an LLC, vendors and stakeholders can hold investors personally responsible for what is owed. And remember, the newly formed LLC will, of course, be responsible for providing investors with K-1s, but a passive investor cannot deduct losses until he is also experiencing passive investment gains (PIGs).
If an investor has a specific timeframe for a return on his or her investment in a new business, it might be best to invest in the form of a loan. Since dividends are not guaranteed, loaning money with a defined term can provide the investor with an income stream of regular loan payments with interest and will enable the lender to be higher in the capital structure of a company, which could mitigate downside if things go bad. It is recommended that investors lend to new businesses at a risk premium to compensate for the speculative nature of the enterprise and the illiquidity of the investment. Investors should even go as far as to insist upon a lien. And, of course, they should make the loan official with proper legal documentation.
Another option for the startup investor is to receive preferred stock in exchange for the investment. Preferred stock can be structured to be converted to common stock at a later date. The preferred stock option also enables the investor to be higher up in the capital structure than the owner, which is advisable in a risky, illiquid venture.
Certain business types have much higher margins than others and, therefore, offer a greater likelihood that investors will be paid back. The best route to success for the investor is to support a business with differentiating factors and with the potential for positive cash flow in the near-term. Ideally, an investor wants the business to produce cash to pay interest or dividends with a path for liquidity.
Finally, an investor should go in to the new business venture prepared to walk away and should refrain from throwing good money after bad. If an investor is open to investing a total of $150,000 in the new entity, for example, he or she may only want to commit $100,000 initially. That way, the investor can re-evaluate the business’s performance over time and has options; to invest again later if profits are on the near horizon or, alternatively, to limit the capital outlay if things are headed south.
While not assured of high rates of return, those investors who place careful restrictions on a startup investment and go into the venture informed and protected, can certainly increase the odds of positive outcomes.
Michael Joyce, CFA, CFP, founder and president of JoycePayne Partners of Bethlehem and Richmond, Va., is responsible for overall invest¬ment strategy, management of investment portfo¬lios and financial counseling services. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.orgT20:59:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/GlenForestDr_7200_Lease-45.jpg
Colliers International | Richmond will relocate its Henrico office to Glen Forest Office Park
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/colliers-international-richmond-will-relocate-its-henrico-office-to-glen-fo#When:20:26:00ZUsually commercial real estate companies find space to help other companies move. Yet in a portfolio sale that helps a Boston-based player expand its footprint in the Richmond market, Colliers International | Richmond found itself a new home as well.
The company signed a 12,375-square-foot lease that will relocate its West End office in the Southern States Headquarters Building off West Broad Street to a building in the Glen Forest Office Park off Forest Avenue in Henrico.
The building at 7200 Glen Forest Drive is one of four in a 150,000-square-foot portfolio that was sold to Grander Capital for an undisclosed price. The seller was Chevy Chase Land Co. Colliers International | Richmond represented both parties in the sale of the properties, and simultaneously leased the largest space.
Grander Capital owns two other properties in Henrico, including a building on North Parham Road and one on Discovery Drive.
“They’re acquisitive and expecting to expand more,” said David Williams, managing director of Collier’s Richmond office. “We’re already working with them on a variety of things in Richmond and other markets.”
Chris Wallace in the firm’s Richmond office, Chris Todd from Colliers’ Norfolk office and Bill Kaye out of Colliers’ Washington, D.C., office handled negotiations on behalf of the buyer and seller. Wallace and Kit Tyler handled lease negotiations on behalf of the lessee.
Colliers expects to move its staff of 45 by Thanksgiving. Its new building, built in 1986, includes 36,363 square feet on three floors. It is bordered by I-64, Broad Street and Glenside Drive. Colliers will occupy the entire second floor. The company has been in its current location at 6606 W. Broad St. since 2004.
Besides being a business opportunity, with Colliers leasing the portfolio space for Grander, “the new office gives us a clean slate,” said Williams. “We want to hire across the board. We have hired millennials, and we’ll continue to do so because there will be more of them soon than anyone else. The floor plan will allow for open collaboration and space to maintain confidentiality for our clients. It will be a good mix.”
Collier also likes the new location, about a quarter of a mile from where it is now. While some companies are flocking back to downtown or to development hotspots such as Scott’s Addition in the city, Williams said a poll of Colliers’ employees found that most of them liked the area. “From a client centric perspective, you can’t get a better logistical location than this. It’s easy access in and out to get to our clients and for them to come to us,” said Williams.
This office will be the primary location for sales, leasing, and brokerage operations. Colliers maintains two other offices in the Richmond area, at 5316 Patterson Avenue and a downtown location in the James Center at 1021 E. Cary St.2016-05-05T20:26:00+00:00
Franklin Johnston Group buys land for $24 million apartment project
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/franklin-johnston-group-buys-land-for-24-million-apartment-project#When:20:13:00ZThe Franklin Johnston group (FJG) said Thursday that it has closed on the purchase of six-acres of property in the Campostella section of Norfolk where it plans to build a $24 million affordable housing apartment community.
The Clairmont Apartments at Campostella Station will be a gated community of 152 apartments. The company said in a press release that rent for the community would range from $690-$995 for one-,two- and three- bedroom apartments.
Wells Fargo is the investment-limited partner for the project.
“We appreciate the opportunity to bring excellent, affordable housing to the Campostella community,” Steve Cooper, senior vice president of development for FJG, said in a statement. “This neighborhood has a rich history, but it’s been underserved with quality apartment homes for far too long. We expect Clairmont to rent up very quickly.”
Once development of Campostella’s newest community is complete in 2017, FJG said it would begin constructing 25 single-family homes adjacent to the property.2016-05-05T20:13:00+00:00
Parkway Atrium office building in Herndon gets loan for recapitalization
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/parkway-atrium-office-building-in-herndon-gets-loan-for-recapitalization#When:20:09:00ZNXT Capital, based out of Chicago, has provided a $22.3 million first mortgage loan to finance the recapitalization of Parkway Atrium, a 184,000-square-foot, Class-B office building in Herndon.
According to NXT, the property is centrally located near the Dulles Toll Road, Fairfax County Parkway, the Washington Beltway, Route 7 and I-66. It also offers access to Washington D.C.’s central business district and Dulles International Airport.
Historically, General Service Administration tenants have occupied the property. Going forward, the property will undergo extensive renovations to appeal to a wide variety of potential tenants.
Cary Abod and Robert Carey in the Washington D.C., office of Holiday Fenoglio Fowler LP placed the loan with NXT.
NXT Capital’s Real Estate Finance group primarily serves experienced real estate investors with non-recourse first mortgages of $10 million to $40 million for properties in major markets.2016-05-05T20:09:00+00:00
Altria Group ranks third on Barron’s financial performance list
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/altria-group-ranks-third-on-barrons-financial-performance-list#When:20:38:00ZHenrico County-based Altria Group Inc. placed third in a ranking aimed at identifying companies doing the best job of boosting sales and investing for growth.
Altria is the highest ranking of 13 Virginia-based companies on this year’s Barron’s 500 list. The list, now in its 18th year, ranks large publicly traded companies based on three financial measurements.
The other Virginia companies listed are General Dynamics, Hilton Worldwide, CarMax, Capital One Financial, Northrop Grumman, Markel, Owens & Minor, Performance Food Group, Dollar Tree, WestRock, Dominion Resources, AES, Genworth Financial and Norfolk Southern.
The top ranked company on the list was Valley Forge, Pa.-based AmerisourceBergen, a drug distributor, which was ranked No. 149 last year.
The list was compiled by HOLT, a unit of Credit Suisse. It compared companies’ performance on three equally weighted factors: median three-year cash-flow based return on investment (CFROI), one-year change in CFROI relative to the three-year median and sales growth in the latest fiscal year.
Altria moved up to third this year from No. 196 on last year’s list. The parent company of the cigarette company Philip Morris USA received an “A” in each of the three financial measurements.
The rankings of the other Virginia companies are:
General Dynamics: No. 16, up from No. 184 last year
Hilton: 50, up from 72
CarMax: 76, up from 140
Capital One: 96, up from 374
Northrop Grumman: 129, up from 437
Markel: 184, not ranked (NR) last year
Owens & Minor: 197, up from 392
Performance Food Group: 212, NR
Dollar Tree: 289, down from 206
WestRock: 387, NR
Dominion Resources: 406, up from 458
AES: 445, down from 250
Genworth: 451, up from 490
Norfolk Southern: 463, down from 370
Besides Altria and AmerisourceBergen, the other companies ranking in the top 10 on the Barron’s list are:
Gilead Sciences (No. 2)
Marriott International (No. 4)
Reynolds American (No. 5)
Wyndham Worldwide (No. 6)
Biogen (No. 7)
Arthur G. Gallagher (No. 8)
S&P Global (No. 9)
Facebook (No. 10)2016-05-04T20:38:00+00:00
Kohlberg & Co. acquires Interstate Hotels
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/kohlberg-co.-acquires-interstate-hotels#When:20:14:00ZPrivate equity firm Kohlberg & Co. LLC has acquired Interstate Hotels & Resorts, an Arlington-based company that provides third-party hotel management.
Kohlberg purchased Interstate Hotels from Thayer Lodging and Jin Jiang International Hotels, which purchased the company in 2010. An acquisition price was not disclosed.
"The partnership with Kohlberg will enhance the company's current management processes, with Interstate continuing to lead from a solid position, remaining focused on providing intuitive service to guests, and developing the best talent to deliver exceptional returns for owners,” Jim Abrahamson, Interstate's CEO, said in a statement.
In a statement, the company said it also would continue its merger and acquisition activities.
Following the acquisition, Interstate Hotels’ senior management will remain in place.
Interstate employs more than 30,000 people at 425 properties in the U.S. and nine other countries.
Moelis & Co. LLC served as financial adviser, and Morris, Manning and Martin LLP served as legal counsel to Interstate.
Jefferies LLC served as financial adviser, and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP served as legal counsel to Kohlberg. Antares Capital, Madison Capital, TIAA and MetLife are providing debt financing for the transaction.2016-05-04T20:14:00+00:00
Sutherland Global Services to expand Chesapeake operations
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/sutherland-global-services-to-expand-chesapeake-operations#When:08:45:00ZSutherland Global Services plans to expand its Chesapeake operations, adding 200 additional consultants to its Insurance Center of Excellence.
The Chesapeake location currently has 320 insurance business consultants. Twenty percent of the center’s employees are veterans.
Sutherland Global Services, headquartered in New York, is one of the largest BPO (business process outsourcing) companies in the world, with more than 38,000 employees in locations worldwide.2016-05-04T08:45:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/image001.jpeg
Lansdowne Resort completes first phase of multimillion-dollar renovation
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/lansdowne-resort-completes-first-phase-of-multimillion-dollar-renovation#When:20:58:00ZLansdowne Resort and Spa in Leesburg has completed the first phase of a multimillion-dollar renovation. All of the resort’s 296 rooms have been updated with amenities focused around a theme that highlights the resort’s location in Loudoun County and the county’s growing wine industry.
For instance, there are “wine cask” nightstands, drinking glasses made from recycled wine bottles and artwork shown in frames made from wine corks. Loudoun is home to more than 45 wineries and 20 craft breweries (many of which are within 30 minutes of the resort).
Lansdowne is located 25 miles away from Washington, D.C., and 8 miles from Washington Dulles International Airport. It includes a 12,000-square-foot spa and 45-hole golf course on 476 acres along the banks of the Potomac River.
The upgrades are part of the resort’s 25th anniversary.2016-05-02T20:58:00+00:00
Beacon Roofing Supply Co. acquires Michigan roofing supplier
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/beacon-roofing-supply-co.-acquires-michigan-roofing-supplier#When:18:45:00ZBeacon Roofing Supply Co. announced Monday it has acquired Fox Brothers Co., a Michigan-based distributor of roofing, siding, windows and related products.
Fox Brothers, headquartered in Lansing, Mich., was founded more than 30 years ago.
“Fox has built a reputation as a high quality supplier of residential roofing and related building materials that will strengthen our existing Michigan business,” Paul Isabella, CEO and president of Beacon Roofing Supply, said in a statement.
Herndon-based Beacon Roofing Supply is the largest publicly traded distributor of residential and commercial roofing materials and related building products.2016-05-02T18:45:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Seth_Harris_Headshot.jpg
Seth Harris joins Capital Square 1031 in Richmond
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/companies/article/seth-harris-joins-capital-square-1031-in-richmond#When:18:42:00ZRichmond-based Capital Square 1031 LLC said Monday that Seth Harris, a commercial real estate veteran with more than a decade of experience, has joined the firm as executive vice president of investments.
According to Capital Square, Harris has a successful track record of closing more than $3 billion in acquisition, finance and refinance transactions.
Harris joins the company from Landmark Apartment Trust, where he spent 11 years, ultimately as vice president of financial services. During his tenure, he completed about $1.3 billion in multifamily refinance and disposition transactions, purchased 56 multifamily properties and closed $900 million in multifamily financing from agencies, banks, insurance companies and CMBS lenders.
Harris earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and a master’s degree in real estate with a concentration in finance and investment from New York University.
Capital Square 1031 specializes in the creation and management of commercial real estate investment programs for Section 1031 exchange investors and other investors using the Delaware Statutory Trust structure. As of Jan. 31, the company said it oversees a national portfolio of 40 real estate assets valued at approximately $375 million.2016-05-02T18:42:00+00:00
Coffee, gas and free Wi-FI
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/coffee-gas-and-free-wi-fi#When:15:46:00ZOwners of commercial real estate are increasingly looking to free Wi-Fi to give them a competitive edge.
WaWa, a convenience store retailer known for its fresh-to-order food, and Comcast have teamed up to outfit more than 700 Wawa stores in Delaware, Florida, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia with access to free Wi-Fi.
As part of a new collaboration between the companies, Comcast Business’s Enterprise Solutions unit installed the managed public/private Wi-Fi network, along with managed broadband, and the team will support both services for Wawa going forward.
There is no charge to use the service.
As part of Wawa's continued focus on becoming a one-stop-shop for its customers' needs, the company said it has turned to technology to evolve the in-store experience. The company needed a fast, reliable Wi-Fi solution to enable a consistent experience for its mobile application, and getting online through Xfinity WiFi allows all Wawa patrons to take advantage of a free connection without having to rely on their cellular service.
“At Wawa we exist to fulfill customers lives every day, and part of this commitment means creating meaningful customer connection points that add the highest level of value and convenience,” Carol Jensen, chief marketing officer for Wawa, said in a statement.
Bill Stemper, president of Comcast Business, noted that as more businesses look to improve the customer experience at branch locations, reliable Wi-Fi has become a cornerstone for attracting and retaining customers.
To meet Wawa’s needs, Comcast Business’s Enterprise Solutions team designed and built an enterprise-grade Managed Wi-Fi and broadband solution that includes public Xfinity WiFi for Wawa customers and private access Wi-Fi for associates and vendors. The scope of the business services implementation includes Wawa locations in and out of Comcast's traditional service areas.2016-05-02T15:46:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/85698.jpg
DSW opens new stores in Virginia Beach and Suffolk
Shoe retailer DSW has opened new stores at Pembroke Mall in Virginia Beach and at Harbour View In Suffolk.
The 16,000-square-foot Pembroke Mall store stocks 21,000 pairs of men's and women's shoes, including name brand and designer shoes and accessories. It's located at 4588 Virginia Beach Blvd.
The 12,000-square-foot store, which stocks the same number of shoes, is located at 1011 University Boulevard in the Hampton Roads Crossing development, anchored by the Kroger Marketplace.
For people who want to shop at home, customers can now order online from dsw.com and use in-store pick-up to get their shoes at their local DSW store.
The stores give DSW a total of five in the Hampton Roads market.
DSW Shoe Warehouse, based in Dublin, Ohio, operates 478 stores in 42 states. It also supplies footwear to 387 locations in the U.S.2016-05-02T15:33:00+00:00
JES Foundation Repair takes on new partner and announces new CEO
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/jes-foundation-repair-takes-on-new-partner-and-announces-new-ceo#When:14:47:00ZJES Foundation Repair (JES) announced on Monday that it has brought on Matt Malone and private equity firm, Succession Capital Partners, as new partners in the rapidly growing, 23-year-old structural engineering firm in Virginia Beach.
Malone will become CEO of JES, overseeing the day-to-day operations of the company, which now has five offices and more than 300 employees.
Jesse Waltz, the co-founder of JES with his wife, Stella, will continue as the company’s president, chief consultant and member of the newly formed board of directors.
Waltz, who started the company in 1993, posted more than $35 million in gross revenue in 2016.
Waltz said in a statement that the move is intended to take JES to the next level. "I have been looking for a CEO to head up JES for several years." Waltz said. "We've been blessed with phenomenal growth and have a great team already in place However, I felt we needed an operations expert like Matt Malone and Succession Capital team to continue the growth and integrity of the JES brand through maximizing efficiencies."
Malone said he sees great potential and opportunity in JES. "In my experience, JES is perfectly poised to continue its trajectory to the next level in its transformation from its humble beginnings as a ‘mom and pop shop’ to a regional leader in the industry."
Malone brings more than 20 years of experience in management, investment and growth strategies focused on growing small, family-owned businesses.
"… Our part of the partnership will be to not only provide additional capital, but to leverage our operational expertise to drive efficiency in all areas of the operation, improve and invest in infrastructure and solidify the success of JES through the attention to detail."
Besides continuing its growth in the original core regions in Hampton Roads, greater Richmond, Northern Virginia and Greater Washington D.C., JES plans to open an additional office in Maryland and to transition its brand at its newly acquired offices in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and Indianapolis.
Oracle buying Arlington-based Opower for $532 million
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/oracle-buying-arlington-based-opower-for-532-million#When:14:12:00ZArlington-based Opower announced Monday it has entered into an agreement to be acquired by Redwood Shores, Calif.-based Oracle for about $532 million, net of Opower’s cash.
Opower’s platform stores and analyzes more than 600 billion meter reads from 60 million utility end customers, enabling utilities to meet regulatory requirements, decrease costs and improve customer satisfaction. Oracle offers cloud applications and platform services.
“Utilities want modern technology solutions that work together to meet their evolving customer, operational and compliance needs,” Rodger Smith, senior vice president and general manager of Oracle Utilities Global Business Unit, said in a statement. “Together, Oracle Utilities and Opower will be the largest provider of mission-critical cloud services to utilities.”
“The combination will provide the industry with the most modern, complete cloud applications for the entire utility value chain, from meter to grid to end-customers,” Dan Yates, Opower’s CEO and co-founder, said in a statement. “We are excited to join Oracle and to bring even more value to our customers as part of the Oracle Utilities Industry Cloud Platform.”
Opower’s board of directors has approved the transaction, which is expected to close this year.2016-05-02T14:12:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Uncommon_Charlottesville2.jpg
Hardywood Park Craft Brewery opening Charlottesville location
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/hardywood-park-craft-brewery-opening-charlottesville-location#When:13:10:00ZHardywood Park Craft Brewery has announced its first expansion outside of the Richmond-area.
The Richmond-based brewery is investing $300,000 to open a brewery and taproom at Uncommon, a residential and retail development currently under construction in Charlottesville. The new location, slated to open in September, will create 16 jobs.
Hardywood’s facility at 1000 W. Main St. will feature a 3.5 barrel brewery; 1,100 square-foot taproom and outdoor beer garden.
The taproom will include 12 Hardywood draft beers, nitrogenated coffee and local kombucha tea.
Hardywood will keep its headquarters in Richmond and is starting construction on a production facility in Goochland County in May.
Hardywood will be the anchor tenant in the Charlottesville development occupying 3,367 square feet. It will be joining Purvelo, a spin studio that will be leasing 1,960 square feet.
John Pritzlaff of Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer handled the lease negotiations on behalf of landlord CA Ventures, a Chicago-based real estate firm.2016-05-02T13:10:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/ChefFrank-7690.pngExecutive Chef Anthony Frank photo by Mark Rhodes.
A millennial mindset
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/a-millennial-mindset#When:10:00:00ZUnique experiences, good food, connectivity.
Those are some of the major trends shaping the meetings and convention industry in Virginia, an industry on the upswing. In fact, planners say 2016 promises to be the best year in recent memory.
“We’re doing more meetings than we’ve ever done,” says Rick Eisenman, the former vice president of the Virginia Society of Association Executives Inc. and the owner of a meeting-planning firm in Richmond.
“We are seeing more hospitality revenue than ever,” concurs Jeff Schmid, president of the Virginia chapter of Meeting Professionals International.
The occupancy and average daily revenue (ADR) rates at hotels throughout the state help bear out the rosy predictions. Some areas saw healthy increases in occupancy last year, while others saw only marginal increases, but none of the areas surveyed by STR Inc., a hotel market data company, reported downward trends.
In the Richmond region, for instance, occupancy rose from 64 percent in 2014 to 65.2 percent in 2015, while ADR rates increased from $89.31 to $98.66.
In Northern Virginia, STR figures show that occupancy rose from 71.6 percent to 72.7 percent. The ADR increased from $128.62 to $133.92, the highest rate in the state in 2015.
Two areas — Chesapeake/Suffolk and Staunton/Harrisonburg — each saw occupancy increases of 3 percent. Chesapeake/Suffolk’s rate bumped up to 65.7 percent in 2015 with an ADR of $72.12 while Staunton/Harrisonburg’s rate was 60.4 percent with an ADR of $85.31.
Overall, statewide hotel occupancy rates in Virginia last year were 61.6 percent — below the national average of 65.6 percent, according to the STR Inc.
Still, the future is still looking better than the past. With the recession of eight years ago in the rearview mirror and a dip in government meetings due to sequestration leveling off, meeting planners remain optimistic, in part because of an uptick in medical meetings.
Todd Bertka, vice president for convention marketing and sales with the Virginia Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau, sees medical meetings as an emerging market for Hampton Roads. “We’re in a growth mode,” he says.
Other jurisdictions have gotten serious about attracting medical meetings as well. In Alexandria, staffers are being trained to negotiate the web of federal regulations that come into play when biotech, pharmaceutical, medical-device and health-care firms meet. Lorraine Lloyd, senior vice president of sales for the convention and visitors association, says that a million medical meetings took place across the country last year, and Alexandria is trying to ensure that more of them come its way.
One cloud, however, dims the sunny outlook for the meetings and convention industry: While meetings have become more numerous and frequent, most aren’t as long as they used to be. What was once a three-day conclave typically has been pared to a day-and-a-half.
“People don’t want to be out of the office that much,” Eisenman says. “It’s not no frills. There still gets to be fun, but budgets are being cut.”
Such abbreviated schedules make easy access to a facility nearly as important to meeting planners as price. Eisenman and Schmid say space — is there enough of it and is it configured in the right way —and service — can the facility handle a mass influx of people — are other top concerns. Add to that list of basics a more recent must-have: connectivity, free and available throughout a venue.
The influence of young workers attending business conclaves has hastened the shift from fast Internet service being a nice-to-have to a necessity. For the so-called millennials, electronic sharing is a way of life, and they are unwilling to do without it. Other prevalent trends in the meetings and planning industry also can be traced to the outsized influence of the millennial mindset. They include the demise of the rubber chicken.
Healthy, distinctive food
Generic, bland food once ruled the table at meetings and conventions, but it just doesn’t cut the mustard, anymore. Like their leisure travel counterparts, meeting goers want more distinctive fare, and the healthier and more local, the better.
“People have a lot of memories of who they were with and what they ate,” says Kristin McGrath, vice president of sales and services for Richmond Regional Tourism, a nonprofit destination marketing organization. “We’re definitely seeing more planners ask about the food.”
“Millennials want to be able to share their experiences,” says Schmid, and that includes being able to post pictures of what they eat. No one is likely to bother to take a selfie with a plate of chicken a la king. However, oysters in the Tidewater area, peanut soup in Richmond or ramen noodle beer in Northern Virginia? Those can log some hits and buzz.
Executive Chef Anthony Frank exemplifies the move toward more Facebook-worthy foods. The executive chef and food and beverage director at Williamsburg Lodge and Woodlands Conference Center has banquet menus that feature regional dishes such as braised collard greens and cornmeal-fried catfish, and he does frequent “pints and pairings,” using craft beers from local breweries.
Frank is able to draw on 90 acres of gardens in Williamsburg to boost his farm-to-table credentials, yet he says being served foods that are hormone-free, steroid-free, sustainable and free-range, no matter what their origin, is just as important to his convention clients.
Convention goers also want a special experience. More and more travelers want to participate in offbeat activities, not just observe them, and this desire is refiguring the on- and off-site events offered during meetings.
In Alexandra, for instance, team-building groups can brainstorm clues a la Sherlock Holmes or Edgar Allan Poe in a locked-room mystery called Escape Room Live. “We pride ourselves on offering off-site activities,” says Lloyd.
It’s got to be “experiential,” says Jennifer Ritter, director of sales for Visit Loudoun. On-site, Ritter notes, the conference center at Lansdowne has reimagined some of its common space as the casual gathering areas millennials prefer.
Off-site meeting bait in Ritter’s county includes Topgolf, a driving range that bills itself as an entertainment complex — which happens to bake its own bread. “It is very cool, very hip,” she says. The new indoor skydiving facility, iFly, should be another draw for meeting planners in search of hard-to-duplicate experiences for their braver clients.
Many participatory activities offered across the state strive to be indigenous to the area as a way of being “authentic,” another popular adjective that describes what travelers seek these days.
In Roanoke, team spirit can be forged by dangling off the end of a rope in a rock-climbing class. Meeting goers want to “get away from the same old, same old,” says Alex Michaels, director of sales for the Roanoke Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau.
At equine-centered Middleburg, Salamander Resort & Spa offers leadership building activities through an EquiSpective program that promises to explore communication styles and techniques by uniting horses and humans.
Virginia wineries, in general, have been part of the locovore movement for years, and they are a common off-site outing for many meeting goers. They, too, are going beyond tastings to offer hands-on experiences. At Early Mountain Vineyards in Madison, business groups can participate in wine blending. “The overall corporate market is looking for more unique things to keep attendees’ interest,” says Susan Holland, the vineyard’s corporate sales manager.
Altruism also plays a role at today’s meetings. Frank, the Williamsburg chef, says that young meeting attendees not only want to eat healthier, they want to eat more responsibly. He serves coffee that is single-sourced directly from Rwandan growers, meaning the African farmers see more of the profit without a middleman. That back story on the java helps satisfy the do-good impulses of young meeting goers.
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a movement in which companies embrace charitable activities as part of their business model, and CSR plays a role in where some millennials choose to work. The convention and meeting industry has responded to that trend by facilitating more team-building exercises centered on local charitable efforts.
In Loudoun County and other jurisdictions, tourism offices help coordinate volunteer opportunities for meeting goers, whether they want to pack meals for the hungry, build bikes for needy children, or help with a blood drive. In Virginia Beach, activities to support the large military presence there are particularly popular.
“Part of being sustainable is giving back,” says Sally Noona, director of sales and marketing for Virginia Beach’s convention center. She describes the changes affecting her business as “a cultural shift.”
Noona might just as well have said a generational shift. Like other aspects of society, the meetings and convention industry is witnessing a baton being passed, and part of its job is to be ready for the handoff.
List of Conference Hotels
2016-04-29T10:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/salamander-group-7039.pngL-R: Ian Carter, Prem Devadas, Rita McClenny, Krissy Gathright, Mark Carrier, Kimberly Christner, Eric Terry and Neil Amin.
State of the industry
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/state-of-the-industry#When:10:00:00ZFor an engaging discussion on the state of Virginia’s tourism/hospitality industry, get a group of C-suite executives together in a relaxed setting. That was the idea behind a roundtable sponsored by Virginia Business and the Virginia Restaurant, Lodging Travel Association (VRLTA) at the Salamander Resort & Spa in Middleburg. Some of the biggest names in Virginia weighed in on a range of industry issues – from competition with Airbnb to international investment. Participating were: Neil Amin , CEO, Shamin Hotels; Mark Carrier , president, B.F. Saul Co. Hospitality Group; Ian Carter , president, global development, a rchitecture, design and construction, Hilton Worldwide; Kimberly Christner , president and CEO, Cornerstone Hospitality; Prem Devadas , president, Salamander Hotels & Resorts; Krissy Gathright, COO, A pple Hospitality REIT; and Rita McClenny, president, Virginia Tourism Corp.
Paula Squires, managing editor at Virginia Business, and Eric Terry, president of VRLTA, served as the moderators. An edited transcript follows.
Squires: Let’s start with the state of the industry. It terms of inventory is Virginia competitive and up to date?
Ian Carter: As a general statement I would say, yes, we’re pretty competitive. You know it is a pretty diverse state. We’re close to D.C. on the edge of the northern part of the state. We’ve got beaches. We’ve got resorts. We gauge the health of the state on inventory that we already have and how that performs. In our case, we’ve got close to 22,000 rooms in operation in the state. We’ve got a pipeline of just under 4,000 rooms, meaning hotels that are going to open in the next two years. More than half of those are under construction. We see good representation of our brands and others.
We’ve seen development be pretty strong in the last really twenty-four months. We’ve seen a kind of resurgence down in Virginia Beach. We have a great Hilton there, and we’ve built [another] hotel, just a couple hundred yards from it, Hilton Garden Inn. Both are performing extremely well. So that gives you some idea of the vibrancy of the economy, generally, but two areas of not-so-strong performance would be the per diem type spending, government related or military.
Mark Carrier: Picking up on Ian’s comment, I would say because a majority of our Virginia distribution is in the Washington, D.C., suburbs we tend to over index on business related to government contractors … So areas like Crystal City, Tysons Corner, or Dulles. We have actually performed low in national trends for a number of years. We had greater stability when the market declined in the 2007-2009 timeframe, but we have not seen the same demand growth as perhaps the nation. The way we’ve gone through everything from government shutdowns to wrangling over the budget, sequester, etc. It has an inordinate impact in a flow through sense to our primary clients whether that be a company like Mitre or Booz Allen or a range of organizations like that. That combined with, let’s call it stability in the [government federal lodging] per diem, doesn’t change the pricing dynamic too effectively for us. So we’ve been a little bit caught between those realities in Northern Virginia. When we look at our data against, say, even national averages, we do recognize in our commercial hotels that that is a big, big factor. Now on one hand, when the whole industry crashed, everyone was saying, “Wow, you’re lucky because you’re in D.C.,” and now we have that as somewhat of a dampening effect on the ability to grow.
Eric Terry: Kimberly Christner, who’s at the far end of the table, is one of our board members, and she’s really doing exciting projects in different parts of the state. She’s got the Craddock Terry out in Lynchburg. She’s developing the Sessions Hotel in Bristol, and she’s done some small projects and small developments. I wanted to have Kimberly join us today to give a different perspective of what’s happening in other parts of the state. So Kimberly do you have any quick thoughts on that?
Kimberly Christner: There are a lot of great properties in Virginia. One of the things we found in what we’re doing with developing historic buildings is recreating authentic experiences. We found that we can play in the big cities with all of the other players sitting at the table, or we can go into the rural and tertiary markets and find our own piece of business there. What we found is in those markets, when the demand of the recession hits or we have a government cutback or whatever, we don’t suffer as much as they do in the city markets. Our properties are smaller. Our services are great, but the staffing is more limited, and so we’ve kind of played in the independent game a lot and we’ve partnered. We have couple of Hilton Curio hotels getting ready to come on the market, and we’re member preferred with the Craddock Terry Hotel in Historic Hotels of America with that property. Those properties, they’re 30- to 120-room properties depending on the market. These projects really are where I think the trend is going, which is why Hilton and Marriott and Starwood — big companies — are trying to pick off those little independent properties because they know that you can’t create that in a brand necessarily. It’s an independent property. It’s an authentic experience. Each experience in unique to that property. So, in all the towns and places that we go, that’s what we do. That gets us No. 1 on Trip Advisor. It gets us a $60 dollar premium on our rates. It gets us a 40 percent greater occupancy than the rest of the community. So it helps us quite a bit and, for us, that’s a great market. We have about eight hotels that will open in 2017 and 2018 that are all boutiques in Virginia, and we’re excited about that.
Terry: I went to the opening for Bolling Wilson in Wytheville, which is only what, 30 rooms?
Christner: Thirty Rooms.
Terry: I pulled into town, and the street was shut down and most of the population in Wytheville was at the grand opening. All the community support for that blew me away in terms of how excited they were.
Christner: Yeah, projects like that, we’re leveraging everything we can leverage. The traditional financing does not work, and lending does not work in those projects. So we’re going after historic tax credits, new market tax credits. We just got lucky enough to get the first tourism growth fund, where the governor gave us $150,000 dollars as a grant for one of our projects out in Southwest Virginia. All of those programs help us get these projects done … I think we’re probably the only company that’s doing multiple projects like that. I know Neil’s done his Hampton Inn in downtown Richmond, and there’s some ones and twos that people are doing. People are afraid of those little tertiary markets. It’s kind of scary out there, and it’s hard to attract business sometimes, but once people know you’re there, I mean, Trip Advisor kind of does it for us. So it’s great.
Rita McClenny: Well, I’ll say from the state standpoint, we are always trying to grow length of stay. Right now, about three nights is the average stay for the visitor. Our focus is on families, and leisure is king in terms of visitors who come to the commonwealth of Virginia. [Tourism] does have an impact, whether it’s military, government meetings and in Southwest Virginia in particular — which has been impacted by the [decline of the] coal industry — for the hotels, like Kimberly’s type of products with these unique characteristics that are very authentic, they do have a draw. It is as if you are looking through a window.
Now culinary has had a definite impact on the reason that people are traveling, and they want to go and have a lot of experiences for the entire family. During the day, mom is doing something slightly different from dad, the kids want to have their own thing to do, but at the end they come together for that evening meal, and then they have that piece of evening entertainment together. So, that draws the family back together. Diversifying this product really helps.
…From our standpoint [with] marketing, right now we’re in Delaware to Charlotte, Raleigh abd Greensboro. We desperately want to get to Boston and to New York. We just don’t have the financial resources to be in that marketplace, but where we are, we’re digital. Our buy is 99 percent digital for recruitment and getting “Virginia is for Lovers” in the marketplace. We are in all the platforms. Hulu is an example, Travel Zoo, Trip Advisor.
With all these drivers, the sports, the history, the outdoors — and the outdoors includes everything that you can think of from the beach, to the mountains, to fishing, to golfing, to biking. Cycling is something that we see as an emerging leisure time activity that families want to engage in. So trails are very popular because, again, it’s connectivity and making that experience easy for the traveler to build an itinerary based on their desires and things that they love and want to do together with their families.
We haven’t forgotten about the boomers, but the millennial really is the focus because it’s the 80 million-person market with young families who we want to create legacies and traditions for them to come to Virginia. But we need to expand, from the marketing standpoint, the markets that we’re in. We need to be in the rich Northeast, heavily populated places, because people are driving to Virginia. So are the Canadians.
Terry: Coming back here one of my impressions is that in smaller markets like Williamsburg, and even to some extent Virginia Beach, we’ve not seen the level of investment that you see in other states. Neil and Krissy, your companies have invested in the state, I’d be interested in your thoughts. How do you see Virginia today versus other markets?
Neil Amin: Virginia, unlike our neighboring states, hasn’t seen a lot of new construction or new hotel products since the last recession. We had a lot of product come in ’05 to ’08. We haven’t really had much product come in since then. So I think there is a lot of opportunity in markets to put in some fresh, new product that caters to the emerging trends in our industry. One of the things that we’re focused on is the millennials … We’re focused on providing that product along with the culinary aspect, the arts aspect, and really bringing in a different type of traveler to Virginia that may not have looked at Virginia, but may have looked at Charleston or Savannah but will now come to Virginia because we have that bundled product.
Krissy Gathright: Richmond, Virginia, is a good example of a market that we would like to invest in. There’s diverse demand generators. You have government, you have universities, you have medical, you have a stable corporate base, and you have amazing opportunities for leisure with the river, culinary experiences. Normally you don’t hear me say as an owner, “ Let’s go ahead and build a ton of new hotels,” because I always get a little bit nervous. We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves and have supply exceed demand, but for the most part, in our Virginia hotels, it’s been pretty healthy in terms of supply-demand balance. In the Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads markets, there have been impacts from cutbacks in [the federal] government and military, but you are starting to see some additional projects pick back up. With Virginia Beach, it’s really exciting to see the investment in new product upgrading that area and in the arena project [being developed in the city.]
Gong back to Richmond, Richmond is the area where actually I welcome the additional supply. We opened our Marriott Residence Inn and our Marriott Courtyard downtown … When we developed those particular assets, we incorporated the local flare and the local feel. We have a beautiful Courtyard, it’s right across from bars and restaurants, or you can go grab your Starbucks at the bistro. It’s very much a community feel. You’ve got the high-speed internet access. We’re starting to bring, you know, Netflix into your room. You can bring your own device. So you are seeing the product adapt to that, and Richmond, I believe, still has room to grow with the base that we have. I would love to see — our downtown Richmond Marriott is located near the coliseum there — so, if we had a wish list, it would be to see that facility be able to upgrade. I went to the University of Virginia, so I would compare it to “I’d like to see a John Paul Jones.” So that might be a little bit aggressive, but a facility like that, what a game changer. We have so many great things going for us, but if we could add a few more upgrades to the amenities right there in that market. You already have apartments, and it’s exciting to walk to work now and see people walking their dogs in the apartment next door and to see that life in the restaurants and the retail. So, if we can just work on adding a few additional things. It would nice maybe, even to see our Richmond Marriott — which is large for us with 400-plus units — there’s potentially opportunity to do an even bigger size, you know, a convention hotel if we can just bring that all together. We love Virginia. It’s an exciting place to be.
Terry: Prem what are your thoughts? You obviously have a big resort investment here.
Prem Devadas: Yes, but it is a one of a kind … I started my Virginia experience in Richmond, taking over the Jefferson Hotel in the ‘90s, actually taking it back from a flag property and making it an independent luxury [hotel] and, in those days, it was not as common. We have a fundamental belief that if you can really develop a special project that is from a luxury standpoint, clearly top of the market, then you can almost, in many markets, establish a rate that can make that property successful.
Squires: As you do new projects, how does it go with the financing? Also would anyone like to comment on what appears to be an increasing trend of international investment? We’ve seen a Chinese company, Anbang, purchase the Waldorf Astoria. More recently Anbang led a consortium to acquire Starwood, although it later backed away from the bid.
Amin: Lenders are looking for people who have a proven track record. Lenders are still looking for good developers, good product, good locations and of course good brands … In terms of the international, I think it’s hard to create Hilton, Marriott or Starwoods. It’s hard to create a huge organization with that much distribution, that much marketing power and scale. So it’s clearly a very attractive asset. Obviously these international companies see the value of that. I think they’re trying to get money out of their own countries, which are not doing as well, and are focusing more on higher yielding assets here in the U.S.
Carter: It’s a trend, and we see it as something that absolutely is important to us as an industry because that money could go anywhere … First of all, these are big investors who you clearly want to be aligned with if you can. They do have different ways of doing business and therefore are difficult … It’s also very important because many of these companies are also influential in terms of how they operate within China. So as we try and develop within China, our real opportunity is not just to serve Chinese guests as they move around, which is clearly massive, but it’s the outflow.
Where do the Chinese travelers go? When I sat on the [tourism board] in California, one of the most resonating statistics for me is that the average Chinese traveler into California (and this was probably in 2011-12), spent seven times the average European traveler in a one-week period. Now that’s on lodging, restaurants and in luxury goods, primarily. That’s an interesting stat, because if you can ensure that you’re the one attracting those travelers in the longer term, as freedom of movement from China and less group travel and more individual travel comes about, you can start to influence the kind of spend that you get. In our case, what we’re trying to do is attract them into our loyalty program.
Carrier: Picking up on the point earlier about capital availability from a debt perspective, there has been a greater discipline around underwriting from the lenders side that has created an interesting dynamic… If you go and look at the nationwide distribution of new hotel construction, I would say 17 of the top 20 branches of new development are associated either with Marriott, Hilton or IHG into their brand products. It’s the strong getting stronger. So if Neil or I went in and said, “I’m going to pitch a Hilton Garden Inn or a Homewood,” that passes the real smell test with the lender. If you go in and say, “Well, I’m going to do some other brand family,” you have a lot more difficulty. I have a lot of admiration for Cornerstone and what you’re doing because that independent/creative way takes a lot of expertise and work. It’s not that you’re just stitching together a normal bank loan. You’re often bringing together the public, private partnership… for the good of that community. So, we’re in an interesting place. The more solid underwriting has created a situation where you’re probably eliminating some supply growth that might not be warranted, because the hurdles to get there are just more business.
Terry: When I first got here, I started looking at reports for this market, and we actually had some contraction in the number of rooms in a lot of Virginia markets. When you look at markets like Williamsburg and others that have a lot of really old product, I think those are where there will be some opportunities for growth is to replace that with some better stuff.
McClenny: I think also world policy can impact travel. If you talk about Visa waiver programs and if the Chinese want to have their citizens be able to travel to certain parts of the world … they have a lot of control over that. There used to be these shopping trips, and they put the brakes on those, where there hundreds of thousands of Chinese coming for that single purpose that Ian mentioned, spending. The average that I heard a couple of years ago was $6,000 discretionary spending while they were traveling outside of China. So, certainly these programs that we see that the U.S. government have a say in, as well as the corresponding
Christner: Mark is exactly right. It is a big patchwork quilt by the time we get done with it, and it takes longer. I mean, it’s not like when you buy a branded property, and they basically give you a hotel in a box, you add some water, it pops up, and you have a hotel. It’s much harder to create a product that feels authentic, yet you’re manufacturing that authenticity in some way. Trying to bring that together is challenging, and it takes a lot longer to develop. It takes a lot more skill with the staff that you have to run it, and then financing, of course, is a real bear because most of our products are not in big city markets and most of them are one-off. So, you have a track record of running hotels, but you don’t have a track record of running a hotel in that city, in that location, of that particular product.
The interesting thing that we’re finding is that we’re not only giving the unique hotel experience, but the things that go with it to tell the story of the building or the community in a subtle way that creates an interest and intrigue for the guest while they’re there. So the experience overall is not just the beauty of the building or the services that are offered, but what story that comes with it and what experience they can go back and tell their friends that you can only have at that property … What we do also in the towns is that we’re changing economic development in downtown communities. We creating that welcome mat, that catalyst of growth for other things to happen.
One example that’s pretty strong is in Lynchburg and what we’ve done with the Craddock Terry Hotel. It opened about eight years ago. We were the first really big thing to open in downtown. I mean it was pretty dark down there. The city, was working on their plan. Now there are over 3,500 hundred people living and working in downtown. There are restaurants there, and it’s all entrepreneurial. It’s not your Starbucks on the corner. It’s the coffee shop, the White Hart café.
Devadas: I think along the same subject that authenticity is important. Lifestyle is … a term but whether it’s independent or soft branded you still can’t walk away from the fundamentals of very good service and quality. I think where I at least have seen some of those fail it’s been … not delivering on service, and then I think probably one of the biggest challenges in that space is that a lot of people who are looking for that experience are looking for great food experiences. So actually the level of food experience that you have to create and sustain is expected and that takes a lot more work.
Christner: I think you’re exactly right, Prem, that they’re looking for more than just a great story at a hotel. They’re looking for that service that comes along with it. The bed and breakfast community really started this whole thing. They started the whole experiential travel, and it kind of was born from that … I think that’s really where it started in those individualized services and now you have so many really, really great boutique hotels that have that service style you’re talking about, Prem, and some at affordable luxury prices. So you’ve got your luxury prices where it’s very, very, high end, and you’ve got your affordable luxury boutique hotel giving that person that is looking for that experience but doesn’t have quite the finances to do the luxury end but still gets that great experience.
Devadas: We like to think that we’re affordable luxury.
Gathright: Well, I do think it’s healthy to have that diversity of product … If I’m going in for a quick business trip, I might choose a Hilton Garden Inn, but if I’m going for a girl’s weekend, I’m going to your resort and to use the spa, and it’s very healthy for the travel industry to support that diversity of product.
Terry: My impression is that Virginia is underrepresented in the boutique and lifestyle product. I look at the opening of the Quirk Hotel in Richmond, which has really been exciting and, you know, people are gravitating towards that … What are your thoughts the boutique and lifestyle hotels across the state?
Christner: Prem’s property, like this property here, you can only have so many of this high level of quality property in the state or it becomes oversaturated. It’s not as special anymore, and I think that we have to be mindful of that in the communities that we’re in and where we’re developing properties. I think there is definitely an opportunity to build different levels of boutique hotels. So, your high-end boutique hotel that offers a much more luxurious service and your mid-scale boutique hotel — we probably don’t have enough of them, and I’m working on that. I have seven coming. Give me time.
McClenny: Given the personality of the town, like the Graduate Hotel going into Charlottesville. It’s really meant to accommodate for a college kind of town and those experiences. We have some interesting inquiries now that we see a bit of a trend with sports towns, college towns and the medical piece, and it’s some pretty robust interest in Virginia around those kinds of elements in geography.
Christner: Virginia is a historical place. We have so much history in Virginia of varying things that I think what Rita is saying is right. There’s a lot of different places you can go to experience a lot of different things.
Amin: I look at all of these new properties as assets for our state. Somebody will come to Virginia, they may stay in Lynchburg and they may stay in Charlottesville. You know, see different places while they’re here. We’re not competing with Virginia. We’re trying to bring people to Virginia, and all these things that we’re doing, all these new hotels and new experiences are bringing people from the Northeast. And maybe instead of going to Florida for, you know, spring break, they’ll come to Virginia and experience what Virginia has to offer. So I think it is all complimentary, and I think we do have a need for a few more. In some of our urban locations we probably don’t have as many boutique or lifestyle hotels. I think there is a need for some of that product.
Carrier: I would love to touch on this for our friends from Virginia Business, to think about our industry because often times the breadth, depth, size, the numbers of people we employ, all of that is a little bit lost because we’re disaggregated. It’s not one employer that you point to and that one employer is employing 10,000 people in the state. But this industry is one that is an export business, because anyone that comes from out of country and comes here and spends money, that’s an export as far as the USDA counts it. If you thought about people traveling in from New York or Massachusetts or whatever and spending money here in our state, that’s like an export, because we’re getting their money for products that we have here. It’s physically delivered here in the state.
So one of the things about hotels and tourism in particular, it’s one of the most tax accretive businesses that you can have in the location. It’s why many communities really love having hotels, because we not only pay sales tax; we pay property tax, personal property tax, BPOL [business, professional occupational licensing taxes] in many cases, transportation taxes. The amount of positive contribution to the community through taxation is highly significant, and we often get together in public-private partnerships to put together pieces of community infrastructure like a conference center or other coliseum type facilities to create benefit to the overall community. So, I do think it’s kind of important as a takeaway to recognize that the industry is big. Now tying into that and going to Eric and Rita’s work, we need to be competitive. We need to fund these agencies in a way that their voice can get out and help us compete. There’s a huge ROI [return on investment[ on doing it and not just for the business people, but also for the communities that have the facilities and the restaurants, to shopping, whatever. It’s just tremendous.
Terry: The struggle is how do you create that sense of urgency? It’s a facilities investment, too, things like the arena in Richmond … things that draw people for bigger things.
McClenny: And the competition, you know we’re ranked No. 9 in visitor spending in the U.S., and our budget is down to No. 21. You know there’s incongruency in what we’re able to do from the impact that is being made vs. the investment we’re making in the marketplace and competing with other states.
Devadas: I also think that helping to drive quality development and quality assets is really important no matter what level you’re at. I can tell you that for this resort it’s not important to the guest who is traveling from afar to come here and have 50 wineries. It’s important to have 50 really great wineries or 10 great wineries or five — the same with other types of activities. I can tell you having spent many years in Charleston that you know people marvel at Charleston today and how it’s developed and what a hot hotel market it is. I can take it back to the very early years and a decision made that assistance was going to be given to create quality activities. The marketing was going to be very focused in Travel and Leisure and Conde Nast and not skewing in a different direction. Frankly it all started to feed on each other, and it all resulted in high- quality hotel product, at many different levels, but high-quality service and great attractions that really end up driving rate. So I think that, for Virginia, we also have this great opportunity to do that, to really continue to drive a higher quality, a higher rate. You know, a longer stay, all of those things.
Terry: I kind of equate it to the tipping point, and I think Charleston is the best example. You know Richmond could be Charleston.
Devadas: Charleston wasn’t Charleston a long time ago.
Gathright: Well, continued investment in infrastructure and amenities drives the additional demand. The additional demand can support the additional hotels, and when you open additional hotels then you’re employing, you’re adding more jobs and vendors. You support, you have more business.
Terry: Where you see the workforce today? I know, Prem, that’s been a challenge for you out here in place where it’s hard to get workforce.
Devadas: Listen, it’s hard everywhere. Everywhere in the country it becomes increasingly the biggest operational challenge, and it’s going to become more difficult because of wage and benefit policies that are going to be passed. Having said that, I think it has caused us to look at our models, the way that we operate, the way that we deliver service, the flexibility that we can exercise with staff full time and part time. I think it has a lot to do with training. So, it’s just going to become a bigger and bigger challenge. It has been a challenge for years from a food and beverage standpoint, and that’s causing us to look at different policies like drug testing for example. You know I was surprised but happy to see that the Four Seasons is continuing pre- hiring drug testing.
Christner: In some of my markets, we’re not close to anything, and trying to find quality people is tough. I think with food and beverage, some positive things have happened. Cooking is now a cool thing. They have cooking shows, and you know everybody wants to be a cook, but they don’t talk about the wait staff and the people that serve and how to be a true great career service person in the wait staff industry. There are some really talented people that make a lot of money doing a great job.
Carrier: One of the secrets about our industry is that it is a fantastic business to grow in. Yes, we have a lot of entry-level jobs, but we also have management, sales, accounting, marketing, digital, human resources, you name it. Virtually any specialty that somebody has in the world of business exists in the hotel universe, and it’s an industry that rewards growth from within. You can collect a group of hotel owners and executives, and we all love telling you the stories of when we started as a dishwasher. I started as a waiter. So that’s one of the great things — we’re a tremendous pathway-to-success industry. But we do have a lot of team member needs that are at entry levels. We have challenges in our country now with public policy issues that relate to immigration, Visa programs and people that are coming in seasonally. I’ve got a brother who operates a resort hotel that in the summer they absolutely could not be in business if they didn’t have foreign folks who come in and work for the summer.
The Affordable Care Act also has been a huge issue for many of us. It has changed the dynamic around providing health care for a lot of people. We’re literally facing a wage-and-hour thing right now with these rules that may be promulgated on what makes somebody exempt or nonexempt, and it is a big hit to our industry, because many of our team members, as they are growing in their management careers, becoming an exempt manager is a big step. So, there are some mega D.C. public policy issues affecting our world of employment.
Devadas: We need to tell the story. How you start from the ground up, what you can achieve. I mean that story is a real story. It’s a true story.
Carrier: I’d say also, Eric, thank you for your service with Virginia Tech because it is one of the gems of the state. The hospitality program is one that has provided many team members for many of us. Our connectivity to the educational resources, the more we can do to strengthen that so that the voices of owners, operators and the real range of the industry can be presented to the students in a more granular way — the better.
Amin: I think our industry could do a better job of talking about the benefits and the skill sets. In India, people want to be in the hospitality industry. It’s perceived as a great career path. It kills me when I see some of our associates — if they’re leaving us they may go become a receptionist at a medical office. I’m wondering why is that perceived to be a better job with zero upward mobility than being in the hospitality industry?
When we’re recruiting, we’re educating them from the very beginning that this is not about the job that you have today. This is about the job you’re going to have three years from now or five years from now or 10 years from now.
Terry: Let’s talk about the growth of some of these alternative-lodging opportunities, you know Home Away, Airbnb. I spoke to all the other states the other day. We do a kind of a monthly call. I said, my takeaways [on a successful push to delay a state law regulating Airbnbs in Virginia during the last General Assembly session] are this: while as an industry we came together and we did a really great job -- we showed up, we were there -- we were still perceived to be the guys who wanted to keep another industry out. The folks that really resonated were the cities and counties who said, “I don’t want to regulate this kind of thing” and the bed and breakfasts who were amazingly effective at saying “I have to do all these things, why don’t they?” I don’t think we’re ever going to be able to attack this at a federal level the way we want. I think it’s going to be state by state, and we’ve got to win enough of those that finally Airbnb says, “Okay, we want to go public, so we’re going to have to solve this problem,” or whatever they’re going to do. To me that’s the trigger point of that whole discussion.
Gathright: You have to use the competition, whether it’s Airbnb or the next guy that comes later on, to innovate and as an industry find better ways to deliver high quality experience to the guest. So the competition will make us stronger. They need to play by the same rules, but the competition will make us stronger.
Terry: Expedia is the other 800-pound gorilla that we’ve got to figure out.
Carrier: Most people don’t understand that if you’re an independent hotel you’re paying something between 20 to 30 percent of that room revenue as a commission or as a margin to Expedia. So think of a retailer that’s giving away 20 to 30 percent of the revenue. Recognizing that the revenue is governed by the market forces that keep prices where they keep them, it’s really out of whack with the benefit provided, and it’s a real challenge for our industry.
Carter: It is the 800 pound-gorilla. There are times when you love them to be around and there are times when you hate them to be around. At the same time you want some equanimity on pricing and you know at 20 percent, it’s a big number for what it really delivers. Our plan is we want to try and persuade a guest that’s been conditioned over the last 15 years to disbelieve what we’re about to tell them and that is to come to us direct, and you will get the best price and the best deal. Unfortunately we should’ve been saying that 15 years ago.
Carrier: The online digital world has changed dramatically over that 15-year window, and these guys are really smart. They are focused and well financed, and they have huge stock multiples that they’re deploying to get better at what they do, which is to intermediate our business. So, I applaud the steps that Hilton have taken on behalf of their owners and franchisees and their brands … Their promise to the consumer is stronger than anyone else can make … As a consumer if you can go directly to the brand and get the best deal, what’s not to like about that?
Gathright: The way that the current model works, Expedia or other OTAs [online travel agencies], have a tremendous amount of data. That’s valuable data, but when they come through the distribution system to your hotel, they keep the data and you know they have their own programs and loyalty programs. It would be ideal if they could be more of a customer acquisition partner so that you could source customers who weren’t traditionally loyal customers, who are infrequent travelers and then have the opportunity to convert them to more loyal customers to your particular hotel. And then you pay them a reasonable fee for that customer acquisition vs. you know competing for the same guest … The hotelier at the end of the day, you control the stay, and you control the rates and inventory. You know there have to be ways as we continue to evolve through the ever-changing distribution landscape to adapt the models to be more hopefully beneficial to all parties that are involved.2016-04-29T10:00:00+00:00http://www.virginiabusiness.com/uploads2/Amin-7646.pngNeil Amin will soon open a restaurant and bar on the roof of a Richmond building housing two hotels. By Mark Rhodes
More than ‘fun and games’
http://www.virginiabusiness.com/news/article/more-than-fun-and-games#When:10:00:00ZTake an iconic travel slogan in a state blessed with natural beauty and history, increase funding for marketing and infrastructure, and what do you get?
A second-to-none tourism industry.
That’s the industry’s goal. But are we there yet? Not quite. While Virginia is competitive, it hasn’t ascended to the top of the Ferris wheel, say industry executives. Nor is it a tiny teacup player. What holds Virginia back, they say, are several challenges: outdated product, the need for improved infrastructure such as sports arenas and convention centers, and more marketing funds to make a push into affluent Northeastern markets such as Boston and New York.
By many measures, Virginia’s tourism industry is thriving. In 2014, domestic travelers spent $22.4 billion on lodging, transportation, food and recreation, supporting 216,900 jobs and generating $1.5 billion in state and local taxes.
In fact, Virginia ranks ninth among the 50 states and Washington, D.C., in domestic traveler spending. Yet the state falls to No. 21 based on its 2014 state budget of $18.6 million for tourism. That figure pales when compared with heavy-hitting tourism states such as Florida and California that spent nearly four times as much — $69.4 million and $64.4 million in 2014 — according to the U. S. Travel Association.
The Old Dominion is home to many large hospitality companies. Hilton Worldwide Inc. in McLean is a global giant with holdings in 100 countries. It, along with other players such as Apple REIT Hospitality, Shamin Hotels and Cornerstone Hospitality, are investing in new properties in Virginia.
Sparking the growth is the rise of millennial travelers and their families, an increasing recognition of Virginia’s award-winning culinary scene and a heightened focus on authentic experiences — from feasting on Virginia’s homegrown oysters to cycling from Richmond to Washington, D.C.
With the potential for new growth, though, are operational pressures. The industry struggles to find enough skilled people to staff positions. It’s the target of cyber criminals intent on hacking the hotels’ large cache of personal credit-card data. Throw in increased competition from Airbnb and other players in the short-term online rental industry, and it becomes apparent that the industry behind those carefree vacation images is anything but carefree.
“It’s not fun and games,” says Mark Carrier, president of B.F. Saul Hospitality Group in Northern Virginia and the 2015 vice chairman of the American Hotel and Lodging Association. The AHLA is a national association representing the 1.8 million-employee U.S. lodging industry. In Virginia that includes 1,495 properties and 45,092 lodging jobs.
“It’s a real business with a real return on investment that benefits the community. Things like the governor’s focus on Dulles Airport is huge when you think of that as a massive piece of public infrastructure and the need to get more passenger traffic through.’’ Carrier was referring to the $50 million in the state’s recently passed biennial budget that’s earmarked for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which manages Dulles. The idea behind the money is to cut fees charged to airlines to make Dulles more competitive, driving up domestic traveler traffic.
That’s the kind of public support, say industry insiders, that will help Virginia take tourism to the next level. During a recent gathering of C-suite executives for a roundtable discussion on Virginia’s tourism and hospitality industry at the Salamander Resort & Spa in Middleburg (see story and transcript), the overall mood was optimistic.
Ian Carter, president of global development, architecture, design and construction for Hilton, has served on state tourism boards in Florida and California. “As a general statement, I would say, yes, we’re pretty competitive.’’
Virginia is a diverse state, he notes. “We’re close to D.C. on the edge of the northern part of the state. We’ve got beaches. We’ve got resorts.”
Hilton gauges the health of the state by looking at the performance of its inventory in Virginia. “In our case, we’ve got close to 22,000 rooms in operation in the state,” says Carter. “We’ve got a pipeline of just under 4,000 rooms, meaning hotels that are going to open in the next two years. More than half of those are under construction. We see good representation of our brands and others.”
Another good sign for Virginia? Hotel occupancy rates are on the rise. They averaged 61.6 percent in 2015, compared with 59.7 percent in 2014, according to STR Inc., a hotel market data company. Meanwhile, the average daily rate per room (ADR) increased from $99.93 to $103.96.
Government’s double-edged sword
When it comes to room-rate revenue, Virginia — the No. 1 state for U S. defense expenditures with $54.7 billion spent here in 2014 — is hurt by federal lodging per-diem rates, says Eric Terry, president of the Virginia Restaurant, Lodging & Travel Association.
Terry grew up in Virginia and returned in 2014 after working for years in the Texas hospitality industry. He fingers the government’s reimbursement rate as “just a killer” for Virginia’s hospitality markets. The national standard rate for 2016 is $89 per night.
Reimbursement is based on location of government work activities, so the rate varies across the commonwealth. It is influenced by things such as seasonality and an area’s average daily rates. In May, per-diem rates ranged from $96 in Williamsburg, up from $89 in February, to $121 in Richmond and $226 in Northern Virginia.
“The military in this state has competed with the hotel industry by building large hotels on base, for instance at Fort Lee in Petersburg and at Langley. And now the Department of Defense is negotiating even lower, below-the-standard per-diem rates. It’s a huge concern for us. That’s our biggest impediment to new development in the state,” he said during an interview with Virginia Business.
The location of some of Virginia’s resorts is another challenge, according to Doug Henkel, who leads CBRE’s MidSouth hotel brokerage practice in Norfolk. “They’re not all well located or have ease of access. Look at Kingsmill in Williamsburg as an example. It’s 45 minutes from two airports and two hours from Washington. D.C. You have to have a reason to be there. The same is true for the resorts in the western part of the state,” he says. “... I think Virginia could do a better job of marketing its resorts.”
More and longer visitor stays would help raise room revenue. Rita McClenny, president and CEO of the Virginia Tourism Corp., says her agency is trying to increase the average length of stay for domestic visitors, which currently is about three days.
To do that, Virginia markets a diversity of attractions: history, food, wine and craft beer, the arts, sports and outdoor recreation. “We haven’t forgotten about boomers, but the millennial really is the focus,” says McClenny, “because it’s the 80-million-person market with young families who we want to create legacies and traditions for them to continue to come to Virginia.”
If more marketing dollars become available, McClenny has a wish list. “We desperately want to get to Boston and New York. We just don’t have the financial resources to be in that marketplace.” Instead, she explains, the state’s buy “is 99 percent digital for getting ‘Virginia is For Lover’s’ in the marketplace. ”
With a steady uptick in the amount of domestic travel expenditures in Virginia every year since 2009, hospitality companies are trying to tap into the growth with new product. New hotels and brands are going up across Virginia. For instance, downtown Norfolk looks forward to next year’s opening of a new 300-room hotel and conference center, Norfolk Hilton The Main, which will make the city more competitive as a convention and meeting destination.
Apple REIT Hospitality, based in Richmond, has a portfolio of nearly 200 hotels in 32 states. It recently completed two adjoining hotels in Richmond’s Shockoe Slip: a 135-room Courtyard by Marriott and a 75-suite Residence Inn by Marriott for extended stays.
“Richmond, Va. is a good example of a market that we would like to invest in,” says Krissy Gathright, the company’s executive vice president and COO. “There’s diverse demand generators. You have government, you have universities, you have medical, you have a stable corporate base, and you have amazing opportunities for leisure with the river, the culinary experiences … ’’
Gathright added that she’d like to see an upgraded Richmond Coliseum, something like the modern John Paul Jones arena in Charlottesville. Currently, the city’s aging Coliseum is located near Apple REIT’s downtown Marriott.
The 45-year-old, dome-shaped facility is so outdated that Terry says he got this reaction from an out-of-town visitor. “I was standing beside it with a person who does trade shows across the country and he pointed at it and said, ‘What is that?’ ”
Plans for a new sports/entertainment arena in Virginia Beach are encouraging, adds Terry. The privately financed, 18,000-seat venue will be built across from the Virginia Beach Convention Center, providing new space for sports and other events expected to draw more tourists.
In the pipeline
Another company with projects in the pipeline is Shamin Hotels, based in Chester. One of Central Virginia’s largest hotel operators, it plans to start construction this year on two new hotels in the suburban Short Pump corridor of Henrico County. It also recently invested more than $40 million to open two hotels in a former office tower in downtown Richmond: a 100-room Homewood Suites and a 144-room Hampton Inn & Suites (both Hilton brands). The properties have a ground-level restaurant, fitness center and a soon-to-open rooftop bar and restaurant that will offer commanding views of the James River and state Capitol.
“There is a lot of opportunity to put in some fresh, new product that really caters to the emerging trends in our industry. One of the things that we’re focused on is the millennials,” says Neil Amin, Shamin’s CEO. “Guests previously cared about consistency, and now they care about experience, and I think that trend is here to stay. I think the millennial generation brought that trend to us … They want that unique experience whenever they travel.”
Boutique lifestyle hotels
Which sets up the perfect segue to one of the biggest trends in the hospitality industry: the rise of the upscale, boutique lifestyle hotel. Kimberly Christner, president and CEO of Cornerstone Hospitality in Williamsburg, heads a company that is developing small boutique properties throughout Virginia.
One of its projects is the Craddock Terry Hotel on the waterfront in downtown Lynchburg. The historic hook is that the building used to be a shoe factory. Cornerstone took that story and ran with it, serving the hotel’s continental breakfast in an old-fashioned, wooden shoeshine box and labeling its rooms with shoe-shaped signs.
The result has been a rousing success. The 44-room hotel, which opened in 2007, will soon add 56 more rooms and a rooftop venue with banquet space and bar and restaurant service. Christner likes to point out that the Craddock Terry, one of the first historic reuse projects in Lynchburg, sparked other downtown redevelopment.
Cornerstone also operates the Bolling Wilson Hotel in Wytheville, and it’s developing the Sessions Hotel in Bristol. “We have about eight hotels that will open in 2017 and 2018 that are all boutiques in Virginia, and we’re excited about that,” Christner says.
Typically, the hotels have 30 to 120 rooms. “These projects really are where I think the trend is going,” says Christner, “which is why Hilton and Marriott and Starwood — big companies — are trying to pick off those little independent properties, because they know that you can’t create that in a brand necessarily.”
Traditional financing does not work for these adaptive reuse projects. Christner says her company relies on state and federal historic tax credits, grants and low-interest loan programs to help pay for renovations.
One new welcome form of support is the Virginia Tourism Growth Fund. Cornerstone Hospitality and its partners received the first grant of $250,000 for their Western Front Hotel project in St. Paul, a town of about 1,000 in Southwest Virginia. The matching grant fund began this year to help spur new projects that enhance tourism.
The $7.2 million, 37-room hotel, scheduled to open in spring 2017, will create 13 full-time and 20 part-time jobs. It’s expected to host visitors who come to visit Spearhead Trails, an area with more than 100 miles of trails. “Growing our tourism industry is an essential strategy for diversifying and building a new Virginia economy,” Gov. Terry McAuliffe said in announcing the grant in February.
Another luxury boutique hotel, the 74-room Quirk Hotel in Richmond, has drawn rave reviews for its authentic feel and adjoining art gallery. It opened last September in the city’s arts district in a renovated, 100-year-old Italian Renaissance building that used to house a dry-goods department store.
At the high end of the spectrum are full-scale resorts like the Salamander Resort & Spa in Middleburg. Opened in 2013, it was Virginia’s first new major resort in years. Today, the 340-acre, equestrian-themed resort, located an hour away from Washington, D.C., and 35 minutes from the international gateway of Washington Dulles International Airport, attracts leisure and business travelers. They are drawn by Salamander’s well-heeled location in the heart of Virginia’s horse country and a wide range of amenities — from a luxury spa to an equestrian center and cooking studio.
Prem Devadas, president of Salmander Hotels & Resorts, says the resort’s business is 50 percent leisure and 50 percent group travel. “We really are drawing groups that are looking for a unique, excellent destination, so we’re vying with resorts on the West Coast, the East Coast, Florida and New England,” he says. Many of these groups have never come to Virginia before, he adds, “let alone Northern Virginia.”
Other group business comes from D.C., Maryland and Virginia, with corporate groups, including Hilton Worldwide and law firms, holding meetings and annual retreats at Salamander. “It’s been very exciting to be able to establish a destination,” says Devadas.
Another luxury property, the one-million-square-foot MGM National Harbor, in Prince George’s County, Md., is scheduled to open in the fourth quarter. Located off the banks of the Potomac River, National Harbor already is a tourist destination with a marina, carousel, 180-foot-high Capital Wheel, 150 shops, including a Tanger Outlet Center, and 30 restaurants.
The addition of a $1.3 billion destination resort and casino located just a short ride away from Northern Virginia across the Woodrow Wilson Bridge is expected to impact Virginia tourism and not necessarily in a good way. “I think they will capture some very large groups,” says McClenny.
MGM officials say they plan to deliver a fully appointed property along the lines of a Bellagio (a Las Vegas resort), with a 308-room luxury hotel, a spa, 3,000-seat theater, restaurants and meeting and convention space. “They’re adding a Vegas-style casino with shows and all that stuff. I’d love to think it’s not going to have too big an impact, and it might be more group than transient,” says B.F. Saul’s Carrier. “I do think it will create demand because there isn’t a Vegas-style casino around.’’
One problem may be transportation in terms of getting there, he added, since the Woodrow Wilson Bridge gets crowded with traffic, and there’s no train or Metro stop at National Harbor. The Metro bus system does service the project, and a stop is planned for the new casino resort.
Terry expects the resort to bring wage pressures, since he says casinos typically pay more than other hospitality properties. “From an employment point of view, it’s going to create some real problems for our hotels and stuff on this side of the bridge.” Plus, there’s the initial curiosity factor in a state that doesn’t allow casino gambling. “I think there’s going to be a long line of Virginians just going there to spend money and leave it in that state versus ours,” says Terry.
One nearby locality, Alexandria, is studying ways to respond to what is expected to be a new regional attraction. Located just across the river via water taxi, Alexandria already competes with National Harbor for restaurant and retail business. Yet, its city officials also envision collaborative opportunities such as international trade shows, job fairs and a waterfront performing arts program.
Not all group business wants a casino environment, says McClenny, who is optimistic that those groups will keep coming to Virginia. “They’re going to target a certain segment of the market, the groups and the singles, but other people with their families who are going for something else, they’re going to keep doing the something else.”
HOSPITALITY ROUNDTABLE: State of the industry
MEETINGS AND CONVENTIONS: A millennial mindset2016-04-29T10:00:00+00:00