For the Record – April 2018

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EASTERN VIRGINIA
Chesapeake Square Mall has a new lease on life. Virginia Beach-based Kotarides Holdings purchased the 29-year-old mall for $12.9 million and wants to revive its reputation as a destination regional mall. The 613,809-square-foot enclosed mall is anchored by J.C. Penney, Burlington Coat Factory and Target stores and Cinemark Chesapeake Square cinemas. Target and Cinemark own their spaces. With a current occupancy rate of 58 percent, the mall has about 100 stores and kiosks. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

CBRE|Charlottesville said the Crossways Shopping Center at 1589-1593 Crossways Boulevard in Chesapeake was bought by Ultimate Retail Realty LLC. An affiliate of Harbor Group International LLC was the seller. Financial details of the deal were not released. Crossways is a 152,564-square-foot regional shopping center anchored by a 45,000-square-foot Grand Furniture store and a 45,000-square-foot Ashley HomeStore. Other tenants include a 42,697-square-foot U.S. Coast Guard Exchange and a 19,564-square-foot Jo-Ann Fabrics store. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

At Fort Monroe, all roads lead to 2019. To that end, the Fort Monroe Authority unveiled in February the preliminary details of a proposed nearly $8 million project, which the authority hopes will culminate with a new Visitor and Education Center by August 2019. The goal is to have the new center launch coincide with the 400th anniversary and commemoration of the arrival of the first Africans in 1619 to English North America at Old Point Comfort. The plan is vital to the mission and future identity of Fort Monroe, says Executive Director Glenn Oder. (Daily Press)

If you’re interested in installing a few solar panels on your roof, Hampton Roads Solar Co-op is ready to provide a helping hand. The regional co-op, which stretches from Virginia Beach to Williamsburg, is part of Solar United Neighbors, a nonprofit dedicated to helping individuals and small businesses harness solar energy. Founded in 2007, the nonprofit operates in 10 states and the District of Columbia. “Our job is to help communities address some of the barriers to go solar,” said Aaron Sutch, program director for Solar United Neighbors of Virginia. The nonprofit has done 650 installations in Virginia. (The Virginia Gazette)

Muhlbauer International has opened its Smart Factory Competence Center that added 51,200 square feet to its U.S. headquarters in Oakland Industrial Park in Newport News. The space adds a showroom for product demonstrations and training, as well as additional assembly capacity. Before the expansion, the German company was operating out of 33,100 square feet of office and assembly space. It produces personalized ID cards and other card-related security documents, as well as smart labels for access control, supply chain management and tracking of textiles, and applications for retail. (Inside Business)

The first building in the Newport News Tech Center Research Park near Jefferson Lab is on track to complete construction this fall, and its committed anchor tenant expects to employ about 200 workers there, leaders confirmed. Medical device firm ivWatch signed a letter of intent for more than 25,000 square feet of space and plans to consolidate and relocate its Hampton and James City County offices in the building, where the company would have more room to grow, said ivWatch President and CEO Gary Warren. (Daily Press)

The Port of Virginia in early March launched the initial phase of a trucker reservation system (TRS) at its largest terminal. TRS is an effort to manage truck flow volume at Norfolk International Terminals, the port’s largest marine terminal. In the first phase, motor carriers calling between 5 and 7 a.m. Monday through Friday at the terminal will be required to have a reservation. Reservations also will be required for truckers visiting NIT between 7 and 9 a.m. on Saturday. TRS will be added to the port’s Virginia International Gateway terminal in Portsmouth this summer. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

Norfolk-based S.L. Nusbaum Realty Co. has joined forces with another local company, Atlantic Dominion Distributors, on a $35 million apartment community in Virginia Beach. Work began in December on the 282-unit Mezzo Apartment Homes, a gated community on Virginia Beach Boulevard that will offer multiple floor plans and upscale amenities. One-, two- and three-bedroom units are planned with lake views, along with studio apartments. According to Nusbaum, rents will range from $1,075 to $1,750. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

Summit Pointe Realty LLC has unveiled plans for continued development of Summit Pointe in Chesapeake. Summit Pointe is presently zoned to develop 1 million square feet of office space, more than 1,400 residences, up to 500,000 square feet of retail space and 250,000 square feet of hospitality and conference space. The project, which represents an investment of more than $300 million, will be developed in a number of phases. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

A proposed unmanned-systems facility for testing drones in York County is getting some money to get off the ground. The idea is to turn a 192-acre former state fuel farm off Penniman Road into a place for businesses to test drones, possibly leading to an industrial park for those businesses and a park for drone hobbyists. The land is now unused and is an approved Federal Aviation Administration fly zone. GO Virginia awarded $150,000 to the project, which is sponsored by all localities on the Peninsula. The localities will also put up $150,000 to match the award. That pool of money will go to preliminary work for the project, like forming a regional industrial facilities authority and consulting with an engineering firm to determine the project’s feasibility, according to Jim Noel, York County’s economic development director. (Daily Press)

SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA
The presumptive buyer of BVU’s OptiNet Network has new financial backing for the deal from a private Georgia firm. Sunset Digital Communications announced it is now working with ITC Capital Partners. ITC replaces HIG Capital Partners of Miami, which had backed Sunset’s $50 million acquisition of OptiNet from the beginning. Terms of the new arrangement weren’t released. Sunset expects to close on the purchase of the fiber-optic network before the end of the second quarter, according to Chief Operating Officer Ryan Elswick. (Bristol Herald Courier)

A proposal to expand the Barter Theatre into North Carolina moved forward in March when the Mount Airy Board of Commissioners approved an operating agreement. The city plans to develop the former Spencer’s Mill industry property in Mount Airy into a hotel and conference center, an apartment complex and a 500-seat Barter theater. The building is a block from the city’s Main Street. The city and Barter previously signed a letter of intent regarding the expansion of the Abingdon-based theater. The Barter plans to develop North Carolina-based programming for the new theater, similar to what it already does in Abingdon. (Bristol Herald Courier)

LIUNA, the Laborers’ International Union of North America, has entered into a second agreement with the Virginia Community College System to train state residents for jobs related to a new pipeline project. The agreement aims to put people to work on the Mountain Valley Pipeline project, which will distribute natural gas through pipelines running from West Virginia to Virginia. LIUNA said in a news release that as many as 2,400 skilled workers will be needed in Virginia for the project. Work is expected to begin this year and continue for about 18 months. Under the agreement between the union and the college system on the Mountain Valley pipeline, at least a fourth of workers hired will live in the vicinity of the project, which will run from the West Virginia line through Southwest Virginia. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

Work is progressing at The Meadows property in Abingdon, which will be the home of a new Food City complex and sports fields. A list of tenants has been confirmed, including Holiday Inn Express, Jersey Mike’s Subs and Eastman Credit Union. Other tenants will include an unnamed national pet store, which will be a junior anchor store, Great Clips, Moe’s Southwest Grill, Noire Nail Bar and G2K games, said Stephen Spangler of Marathon Realty Corp. Marathon is the realty company for K-VA-T Food Stores, the parent company for the Abingdon-based Food City grocery chain. (Bristol Herald Courier)

ROANOKE/NEW RIVER VALLEY
Franklin County Distilleries has opened its much-anticipated tasting room in Boones Mill. The company has made spirits in Franklin County for years, but this is the first time it’s had a tasting room where patrons can sip its products. The tasting room at 25156 Virgil H. Goode Highway (U.S. 220) has been under renovation for more than a year and was given the official OK to open after a referendum was passed in November allowing liquor by the drink in Boones Mill. (The Roanoke Times)

Gabe’s, a private fashion retailer headquartered in Morgantown, W.Va., has signed a lease for a 33,712-square-foot store at the NewValley View Shops in Roanoke. The store will occupy the former HH Gregg property and is scheduled to open later this year. Founded in 1961, Gabe’s operates 74 stores nationally. This will be its first store in the Roanoke region. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

The Kroger in Blacksburg on South Main Street is getting a $4.6 million makeover. The project will add a larger alcohol section, a Starbucks coffee shop, new restrooms, new flooring throughout and updated decorations. The location will not close during the project, which is expected to be finished in August or September. (The Roanoke Times)

The Roanoke Regional Partnership’s annual report for 2017 showed gains in economic activity. The announced projects for the area represented $89 million in new investment, 633 primary jobs and $378 million in recurring annual economic impact. The report said the business investment program and its government partners were involved in 12 successful locations and expansions: Altec, Appalachian Power Co., Deschutes Brewery, Earth Fare, Harkness Screens, Humm Kombucha, Parkway Brewing, PowerSchool, Sampson Bladen Oil Co., Three Notch’d Brewing, Wilson International and Wholesome Harvest. (News release)

NORTHERN VIRGINIA
Chevy Chase-based aerospace and defense investment firm Enlightenment Capital said in February it has invested in Arlington-based ByteCubed, a consulting firm that works with a number of government agencies on business intelligence, technology automation and data science solutions — popular buzzwords with government agencies looking to undertake sweeping IT modernization initiatives. Terms of the investment weren’t disclosed. (Washington Business Journal)

McLean-based cloud networking provider GTT Communications Inc. plans to acquire London-based Interoute, which operates one of Europe’s largest independent fiber networks and cloud networking platforms, for about $2.3 billion in cash. GTT said the deal would expand its global IP network with a fiber footprint interconnecting 126 cities in 29 countries. The deal is also expected to add more than 1,000 customers, primarily in Europe. GTT said it has received committed debt financing for the transaction from a group of financial institutions and committed equity financing of $250 million from its largest institutional investor, The Spruce House Partnership, and Acacia Partners. GTT said in late February it expected the transaction to close in three to six months, subject to customary regulatory approvals. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

A new Tysons investment firm has acquired government IT services company Intelligent Decisions and has split it into two standalone companies. This is the first deal for The Acacia Group, which is pumping capital into the two businesses — one focused on products, the other on services — and putting new leadership in place to grow on its work with the intelligence community, Department of Defense and federal civilian customers. Terms weren’t disclosed. (Washington Business Journal)

BlackRock and Pamplona Capital Management have jointly acquired PhishMe, a cybersecurity company based in Leesburg, in a deal that valued the firm at $400 million. Pamplona has purchased a two-thirds stake in the business, while BlackRock has bought the remainder, a person familiar with the terms of the deal told Fortune. In addition to the change in ownership, PhishMe rebranded itself as “Cofense.” The new name derives from a combination of “collaborative” (or “collective”) and “defense.” (Fortune)

SHENANDOAH VALLEY
An agreement has been reached for The Ogden Newspapers Inc., a family-owned newspaper group based in Wheeling, W.Va., with 43 daily newspapers published in 16 states, to become the new owner of the Byrd Newspapers. The sale includes the Byrd family’s two daily newspapers, The Winchester Star and the Daily News-Record of Harrisonburg, and their associated websites, winchesterstar.com and dnronline.com. Also included are the Page News & Courier, The Warren Sentinel, The Shenandoah Valley-Herald, The Valley Banner and Skyline publications. The transaction does not include any affiliated real estate. The Byrd family has been in the publishing business in the Shenandoah Valley since 1897. Five generations of the Byrd family have been involved in the management of the business. (The Winchester Star)

CornerStone Bank began its 10th year by announcing that the bank will issue its first shareholder cash dividend. The dividend will be a 25-cent per share, one-time disbursement to all shareholders of record as of April 30, payable on June 15. Begun in 2009, the Lexington-based bank offers a range of financial services including individual and business checking, retail and commercial lending, mortgage services, investments, bill pay and mobile banking. CornerStone Bank operates two branches in Lexington. (News release)

Edinburg-based Shenandoah Telecommunications Co. (Shentel), a provider of cable, internet and wireless services, has announced the launch of a product designed to enhance and extend WiFi service in homes. Wall-to-Wall WiFi from Shentel offers a modem with signal extenders to cover all of a home’s livable space. In addition to improving wireless internet service access, Shentel said the new product also gives consumers enhanced control over their wireless networks, setting parental controls, testing internet speed and managing access. Shentel teamed with Hitron Technologies on the product. (News release)

Stover Funeral Home & Crematory Inc. in Strasburg is celebrating its 140th anniversary. Established in 1878, it had been owned by the Stover family until being purchased by Stanley and Patsy Morehead in 1985. (Northern Virginia Daily)

SOUTHERN VIRGINIA
The recent troubles of the privately-run Carlisle School extend to uncertain revenue streams and staffing cuts, a review of financial tax documents reveal. The Martinsville-based K-12 coeducational school, which recently announced plans to close its Danville satellite campus at the end of the current academic year, has cut staff as revenue from money donations has fluctuated wildly in recent years. During a span of three years, the school trimmed staff by 33 positions or 24 percent — going from 139 employees to 106 — according to three years of 990 tax forms filed by Carlisle with the Internal Revenue Service. (Danville Register & Bee)

Danville Public Schools’ entry-level positions are compensated lower than many surrounding districts, according to preliminary data from a salary study. Linda Resio, representing the Evergreen Solutions firm conducting the study, presented the initial findings to the Danville School Board in February. Starting salaries were the main problem area for the district, Resio said. The salaries were compensated below the pay grade midpoint of surrounding school districts. (Danville Register & Bee)

Miles of recreational trails and a bevy of annual runs have helped Danville earn the designation of Runner Friendly Community by the Road Runner’s Club of America. This recent pronouncement came as no surprise to members of the local running community. “To be designated a runner friendly community is just another part of progression for Danville,” said Adam Jones, owner of The Brick Running & Tri Store, located downtown. (Danville Register & Bee)

Accreditation of the College of Business and Economics at Longwood University has been extended another five years by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Only 799 business schools in 53 countries maintain accreditation from AACSB. (The Farmville Herald)

Panaceutics, a North Carolina-based manufacturer of personalized medical and nutritional products, will invest $5.8 million to establish a research and development and high-tech manufacturing facility in Pittsylvania County. The move is expected to create 70 jobs. Panaceutics, which has its headquarters in North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park, focuses on nutraceuticals and food products through a small batch manufacturing platform technology. Since 2015, The Launch Place in Danville has invested half a million dollars in Panaceutics. Since that time, the company developed a patented automation and proprietary software platform. (VirginiaBusiness.com)

Gov. Ralph Northam visited Stuart’s Pioneer Community Hospital in February to sign a bill that could pave the way for the hospital’s reopening. The bill keeps Pioneer’s certificate of public need and acute-care hospital license current and in effect. Pioneer filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March 2016 and closed its doors last September.

CENTRAL VIRGINIA
The population of Albemarle County is estimated to have grown by more than 8,000 people since 2010, and county officials are seeking ways to help offset the cost of new residential development. “The county needs about 700 new homes a year to keep up with the increased population,” said Vito Cetta, a developer and member of the Residential Development Impact Group. The Board of Supervisors created the group in 2016 in the wake of a new General Assembly law that severely restricted a practice through which Virginia localities can ask for cash and infrastructure in exchange for rezoning or special-use permits. “The county has traditionally used proffers as its primary tool to obtain contributions on cash, land and infrastructure from residential rezonings to help offset the impacts on public facilities,” reads the group’s final report. (Charlottesville Tomorrow)

Allegiant Air is launching new nonstop service between Richmond International Airport and Nashville in June, a twice-weekly flight that will meet what the low-cost air carrier sees as “pent-up demand” for travel between the Southern cities, a company spokeswoman said. The service will be seasonal at first: Flights can be booked beginning now for travel between June 14 and Nov. 4. Fares, which cover just a seat on the aircraft — not baggage or other services — start at $55 one way. Troy Bell, a spokesman for the Richmond airport, said the new route will be the first nonstop service to Nashville in at least 18 years. About 41,000 people travel between the two cities right now without a nonstop flight, Bell said. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Lynchburg-based BWX Technologies Inc. announced that the U.S. Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program has exercised contract options with its subsidiary BWXT Nuclear Operations Group Inc. totaling about $492 million for the manufacture of naval nuclear reactor components. The contract options involve a variety of manufacturing and material procurement activities that will primarily support Virginia-class submarine construction. BWXT facilities in Lynchburg; Barberton and Euclid, Ohio; and Mount Vernon, Ind., will be involved in the work during the next several years. (News release)

Capital One has awarded a $100,000 grant to J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College to help with the college’s plan to relocate its culinary arts program to a new building in Richmond’s East End. The grant is through Future Edge, Capital One’s five-year $150 million investment in grants and initiatives in the communities where it has operations. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Conversion of the former GRTC Transit bus barn and depot buildings in Richmond into apartments has been completed. At the seven-acre property, now called Cary Street Station, all of the 160 apartments in eight existing buildings are leased. The 125 apartments in two new buildings constructed on the property — one along West Cary Street and another along Grayland Avenue — are completed, and about half of those apartments are leased. The development has 214 one-bedroom, 69 two-bedroom and two three-bedroom apartments. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Dominion Payroll, a Richmond-based payroll and human resource services company, is expanding again. The company has bought PayVision Online, the largest privately owned payroll firm in the Dallas area, with plans to expand operations throughout Texas. Terms of the deal, which closed Feb. 1, were not disclosed. PayVision Online serves about 500 clients mostly in Texas and processes monthly paychecks for 15,000 to 20,000 people. In comparison, Dominion Payroll has more than 2,500 clients nationwide and processes payroll for more than 100,000 people nationwide every month, many of those in the Richmond region. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Devon USA announced plans in February for a 320,853-square-foot warehouse facility at James River Logistics Center in Chesterfield County. The project, dubbed “Project Lightning 2, ” would be identical in size and scope to a building developed by Devon last year at Enterchange at Northlake in Ashland that was later leased by Amazon.com. That project was completed in six months from the start of construction and was the largest industrial transaction in the Richmond market last year, according to Cushman & Wakefield|Thalhimer. (Virginia-Business.com)

A new microbrewery is coming to Appomattox in April. Krikelkay Brewing Co., which will be the county’s only brewery, plans to open in the Triangle Plaza in the former Carquest Auto Parts space at 201 Old Courthouse Road. Owner Keith Vogt, a Pamplin resident, said the brewery will brew its own beer on site and will feature a variety of craft beers such as stouts, pilsners, wheat beers and India Pale Ales. (The News & Advance)

Piedmont Virginia Community College is partnering with the Laborers’ International Union of North America to train Virginians to work on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The union and the Virginia Community College System signed a memorandum in January. As many as 2,400 pipeline workers will train at six community colleges, including PVCC, that are near the pipeline. They will have guaranteed wages of $20 per hour, a $5 per diem and free family health care, according to a news release. Training will provide local residents with skills necessary for a range of pipeline work and construction careers, officials said. (The Daily Progress)

Telecommunications giant Verizon Communications Inc. completed its acquisition of wireless spectrum holder Straight Path Communications for about $3.1 billion. The deal to buy Henrico County-based Straight Path, which holds spectrum licenses that can be used for faster 5G service, ends an intense bidding war with rival AT&T Inc. last spring. Straight Path had been a key acquisition target because the company holds a portfolio of 39 GHz and 28 GHz wireless spectrum licenses that can be used for 5G, or next generation, wireless technology. Verizon and Straight Path signed a merger deal on May 11. Straight Path shareholders approved it at a special meeting on Aug. 2. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

The University of Virginia’s research and medical future may be outside of Charlottesville. In early March, members of the school’s board of visitors debated initiatives to increase research dollars and expand successful programs beyond Central Virginia. Pushes to spread research investment and wellness programs in northern and southwestern parts of the state may help the university become a global player in health and research, but there’s still a long way to go, officials said. In 2017, the University of Virginia ranked 40th in the country for funding from the National Institutes of Health, according to data compiled by the Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research. (The Daily Progress)

West Creek Financial Inc., a Henrico County-based firm that provides consumer financing services for retailers, has added a second office and is expecting to create about 100 jobs over the next year as the firm expands into new markets. The additional space will allow West Creek Financial to grow from 57 employees to more than 150. New positions will include customer service representatives, dealer support employees and sales professionals. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

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