Building a hub
Fairwinds Landing to support offshore wind, defense, shipping
Fairwinds Landing LLC is demolishing dilapidated infrastructure, preparing to construct new facilities and signing tenants as it transforms Norfolk Southern Corp.’s Lambert’s Point Docks in Norfolk into Fairwinds Landing, a maritime operations and logistics center supporting Hampton Roads’ offshore wind, defense and transportation industries.
A Virginia Beach-based partnership between The Miller Group, Balicore Construction and Fairlead Integrated, Fairwinds Landing signed a 30-year lease with Norfolk Southern for the 111-acre property in August 2022. Since then, the real estate holding company has begun investing more than $100 million in buildings and infrastructure in preparation to host companies.
Portsmouth-based Fairlead Integrated, an electrical and mechanical product supplier, leased a significant portion of the Fairwinds Landing facility late last year and will bring more than 500 jobs supporting offshore wind energy and maritime operations to the region. Fairlead Integrated is leasing a significant portion of the site to support its shipbuilding and repair operations and has secured a contract with Newport News Shipbuilding to store large steel structures for aircraft carriers at Fairwinds Landing.
Fairwinds Landing received a $3.5 million grant in January through the Virginia Economic Development Partnership’s Virginia Business Ready Sites Program to demolish about 450,000 square feet of dilapidated warehouses, remove obsolete rail tracks and conduct engineering surveys. Construction is expected to begin before the end of June and last three to five years.
Additionally, Fairwinds Landing is close to Dominion Energy Inc.’s $9.8 billion Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) project off the coast of Virginia Beach and Avangrid Renewables LLC’s Kitty Hawk Wind project. A 2021 North Carolina Department of Commerce study ranked Lambert’s Point and its neighbor across the Elizabeth River, Portsmouth Marine Terminal, as the top East Coast facilities able to support the U.S.’s nascent offshore wind supply chain.
Adjacent to Norfolk Southern’s coal terminal, the waterfront industrial property has room for the large components used in offshore wind projects, as well as more than 6,000 linear feet of deep-water pier frontage on the Elizabeth River, along with rail capabilities and no air draft restrictions.
“This property is a diamond in the rough,” says Mike Hopkins, managing director of Fairwinds Landing. “We were not intending to get into offshore wind, but we saw a lot of potential here.”
Hopkins says Fairwinds Landing tenants will support various facets of the offshore wind supply chain, including manufacturing, fabrication and assembly, construction, storage, maintenance, and operations. The facility has already generated tremendous interest from companies involved in the offshore wind industry, he says. “Everybody is trying to attract offshore wind tenants, but there are a lot of natural characteristics that make this one of the most desirable sites on the East Coast.”
Fairwinds Landing also is negotiating with Dominion Energy Inc. to house operations and maintenance functions for its offshore wind farm. Across the Elizabeth River, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy S.A. is building a $200 million offshore wind turbine blade factory, the nation’s first, to support the $9.8 billion wind farm. “We’re talking to the Port of Virginia and Dominion Energy to create an offshore wind hub in Hampton Roads,” Hopkins says.
Hopkins says he has a “high degree of confidence” that Fairwinds Landing will secure other major tenants in the next several months.
“Offshore wind, shipbuilding and repair, and cargo transportation and logistics are three pillars of this area’s economic foundation,” he adds. “The combination of this provides a great mix to make the most out of the revitalization of this property.”