Need to Know: Summer 2019
Virginia has once again won CNBC's "Top States for Business." The study ranks all 50 states for business competitiveness using more than 60 metrics in 10 categories including Workforce, Economy, Quality of Life, and Cost of Doing Business. Read the full report here.
Virginia also made a top spot on Business Facilities' 15th Annual Rankings Report. According to Business Facilities, "We do our best to configure our rankings categories and criteria to measure the state of play: not just who’s on top, but also who’s moving up the ladder, how fast they’re moving and who has the best chance to succeed." Virginia’s business climate ranks No. 2 in the report, up three spots since 2018.
Mitsubishi Chemical Composites America, a longtime manufacturer in Chesapeake, recently announced plans to spend almost $5 million on an additional 40,000 square feet of space. According to Bill Yannetti, the company’s President & CEO, “We’re here for the long haul.”
TQ Systems held a grand opening of its new U.S. Headquarters in Chesapeake. TQ Systems, USA is a subsidiary of TQ Group, one of the largest technological service providers and electronics specialists in Germany. TQ Systems moved into the new North American headquarters building of INIT Innovations in Transportation, Inc. in February of 2018 to plant itself in the American market. As a supplier for INIT, TQ Systems is in close association with the German-based transportation technology company.
Franklin Southampton Economic Development, Inc. welcomed Jay Brenchick to their team as President & CEO. Originally from Maine, Brenchick completed a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Advertising from University of Maine, then went on to obtain a master’s degree in Education. After maintaining various positions in the advertising and marketing field, he began his career in economic development in 2001 in New Hampshire before relocating to Virginia in 2013 and working in various economic devleopment positions in both Botetourt County and Roanoke County. “We are excited to have attracted someone with Jay’s background as the new CEO and President of FSEDI,” Board Chairman Brian Hedgepeth comments. "We feel he brings a strong background in not only business expansion, retention and recruitment, but also in strategic planning and workforce development and look forward to continuing to build on the solid foundation FSEDI has established since its inception in 2005."
The Hampton Police Division just opened a brand new, state of the art training facility that will allow them to run three police academies per year and give police officers access to the best modern law enforcement training tools.
ISLE OF WIGHT
M&M Milling announced that they will establish a new milling facility in Isle of Wight County, creating 15 new jobs. The facility, their first on the East Coast, will purchase Virginia-grown shelled corn, grind it into fine flour to mix with other materials for use as a stabilizer, extender, and colorant in the glue used in the manufacture of plywood. Over the next three years, the company is committing to purchase at least $2.3 million, or 575,000 bushels, of Virginia-grown corn.
Isle of Wight County Schools was recognized with an Excellence in Workforce Readiness Award through the Virginia School Boards Association (VSBA) at the VSBA Conference on Education in Richmond on July 23. The awards program was created in 2018 by the VSBA Task Force on Workforce Readiness to highlight exemplary programs in Virginia’s Public Schools focused on preparing the state’s future workforce.
One of Newport News’ most important tools to support business growth in the city is the Virginia Enterprise Zone Program. Newport News’ Enterprise Zones are among the most utilized zones in the state, and each year many Newport News businesses and property owners benefit from the program. State grants totaling $1,341,075 will be awarded in mid-July to 22 applicants - 17 for the state’s Real Property Investment Grant and five for the state’s Job Creation Grant. The 22 applicants represent private capital investment of $18,323,609 and 474 new qualifying jobs.
In June, the Newport News Economic Development Authority (NNEDA) launched its InvestNewportNewsOppZone.com site. It promotes the basics of this new federal tax program and details each of its seven opportunity zones. Thursday, July 25th, the NNEDA hosted two informational sessions targeting the investment, finance, and real estate communities. Both sessions featured speakers who are recognized opportunity zone experts such as tax attorneys and accountants.
The NNEDA selected WeldenField Development, LLC and its Hampton Roads-based Partner, Brian Rowe with WeldenField & Rowe, as the preferred developer for its Endview tract. This selection follows the EDA’s request for qualifications for a highly experienced design/development/build team to plan, design, build and market a premier, predominantly residential community on the Endview tract, a 285-acre parcel adjacent to Endview Plantation at 350 Yorktown Road. The Endview tract is one of the last remaining large-scale residential community sites in the city. The goal is to establish a distinctive, vibrant residential community that builds on the place making opportunities afforded by the site in a manner that is attractive to business executives, professionals and entrepreneurs. WeldenField Development’s vision for the property respects the existing Endview House while leveraging connections to Newport News Park to create a desirable, high-quality residential community.
In June, the City of Norfolk was featured by digital media outlet, BISNOW, as one of five "Tech Markets Emerging in Unexpected Places." In the feature, Interim Director of Economic Development Jared Chalk shares how the new, high-speed, transatlantic cables that have landed in Virginia Beach are game-changers for the entire region. These cables will serve as a job creation opportunity for Norfolk and the surrounding cities, turning Hampton Roads into a globally connected "digital port" and location of choice for emerging information technology companies.
Portsmouth City Council recently voted to support a resolution for a new proposed gaming and entertainment district site. Robert Moore, Portsmouth’s economic development director, proposed a new location for a 400,000-square foot gaming center. Moore believes the new proposed inland location near I-264, Victory Boulevard and TCC's Portsmouth campus has better accessibility than the former proposed waterfront site, which was seven acres at the former Holiday Inn.
Blue Bell Ice Cream celebrated the Grand Opening of their new distribution center, located in Northgate Commerce Park on July 10th. The 14,000-square foot facility includes a cold storage space with loading docks, fleet parking and administrative offices, and will serve cities within a 70-mile radius. The popular ice cream brand, based out of Texas, had not been available in local grocery stores in several years. The company is expected to hire up to 20 new employees to staff the new facility.
Virginia Beach was named this year’s "Best Big City to Live" by Wallethub. Wallethub used 56 key indicators, such as education, cost of living and job opportunities, to compare the 62 largest cities in America. Read the full report here.
The Virginia Beach Development Authority (VBDA) has approved an Economic Development Investment Program (EDIP) grant of $100,000 to support the growth of LifeNet Health's cutting-edge research programs. The Virginia Beach-based organ and tissue bank is investing close to $1.8 million in upgrades at its facility in the Lynnhaven business corridor. The company plans to add 44 jobs, with an average annual salary of more than $55,000, excluding benefits, as part of an expansion to one of its Virginia Beach facilities. Founded in 1982, LifeNet Health has grown into a global leader in regenerative medicine, with six locations in Virginia Beach and a worldwide infrastructure that includes facilities throughout the United States, as well as Europe.
THe Port of VIrginia
The Port of Virginia celebrated the completion of the $320 million expansion to Virginia International Gateway (VIG) on July 23rd. This was the first step to increase overall annual container capacity by 40% by 2020. The expansion was completed under budget, ahead of schedule, and included adding four new 170-foot-tall ship-to-shore cranes, the largest on the East Coast.