March 2023

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Monthly News from Hampton Roads

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Note from the President

Doug Smith, Alliance President & CEO

Spring is a time of fresh starts and awakening, and spring here at the Alliance has been no exception. Our business development efforts have been extremely busy, with several trips in the books and a variety scheduled for the remainder of 2023.

Some of our business development activities from the past 45 days include:

  • Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) Conference, Orlando, Florida – RILA is the U.S. trade association for retailers. Our team attended alongside the Port of Virginia and VEDP. The Alliance set up several meetings with site selectors, encouraging visits to Hampton Roads.
  • Building Bridges Event – The Alliance sponsored the "Building Bridges to Global Markets Summit" in downtown Norfolk. The event was a first-of-its-kind series organized by the U.S. Commercial Service, as part of a Global Diversity Export Initiative. The City of Norfolk welcomed Arun Venkataraman, Asst. Secretary of Commerce for Global Markets, and Director General of the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service as keynote speaker. The goal was to connect SMEs in underserved communities with global business opportunities.
  • CIDEP Mission to Toronto – The Alliance and City of Norfolk met with 14 companies in the Toronto area relevant to the Alliance’s targeted industries, which already resulted in one visit to Hampton Roads and three additional planned visits. Canada is a strong market for the Hampton Roads region.
  • Houston Mission – The Alliance partnered with the City of Virginia Beach on an event in Houston with a focus on energy, manufacturing and logistics companies.
  • VEDA Conference – Staff attended the 2023 VEDA Spring Conference at the Newport News Marriott at City Center. Along with representatives from most of our member localities, our region presented a session on the Eastern Virginia Regional Industrial Facilities Authority (EVRIFA). Mallory Butler, City of Newport News, and Yuri Adams, City of Williamsburg, were the Conference Committee Co-Chairs.
  • PM&P Mission to Belgium and Netherlands – The Alliance led a mission with the City of Chesapeake, calling on European companies relevant to the Alliance’s target industries with a focus on advanced manufacturing.
  • Business Network for Offshore Wind International Partnering Forum – The Alliance, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the City of Virginia Beach were exhibitors at the Business Network for Offshore Wind's IPF in Baltimore and held numerous meetings with offshore wind companies.

Over the next quarter the Business Development team has nearly a dozen more trips scheduled, domestic and international. In addition, the Alliance is making strides to improve the business climate that we market to prospective companies in myriad ways, including initiatives to advance more sites to business-ready status and developing a comprehensive regional energy strategy. We have some very large projects we hope to announce in the coming months. Thank you again for all your support!  

Your ally in economic development,

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Hampton Roads Alliance Annual Meeting Recap Video

Thank you to all who attended our Annual Meeting last month at the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art. This year’s meeting included a keynote presentation from Robert Boehringer, Managing Director, Site Selection & Project Development for KPMG. In his address, Robert imparted his best advice for how Hampton Roads can get on the list, stay on the list, and close the deal for a major project. For those who could not attend, check out this recap video to see some highlights from the event! 

View the Recap
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Atlantic Park Deal Closes; Construction to Begin Immediately in Virginia Beach

Atlantic Park, a $335-million mixed-used development, is a done deal, and construction will begin immediately.

Virginia Beach and the developer, Venture Realty Group, announced. Pharrell Williams is a partner in the project, which will be built on the former dome site in the heart of the resort area.

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$130M Mixed-Use Development Planned for Hampton

A proposed $130 million development will bring 118 townhomes, 284 luxury apartments, 96 senior apartments and 6,000 square feet of retail space to Hampton.

The project, called The Olde Hampton Village, will span 16 parcels across nearly 23 acres near downtown Hampton, at the former site of the Lincoln Park housing development.

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Norfolk Ship Repair Contractor to Add New Jobs in $500,000 Expansion

A veteran-owned ship repair contractor is expanding its facilities and making a $500,000 investment in Norfolk. Advanced Integrated Technologies, based in Norfolk Industrial Park, plans to increase its capacity by adding 76 new jobs, Gov. Glenn Youngkin announced.

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Opinion: Norfolk Event Aims to Help Local Businesses Reach Global Markets

Small and medium-sized businesses are the cornerstone of local economies. Their success is felt far and wide and reaches deep into their communities. Yet, many entrepreneurs fail to take full advantage of the benefits that come from selling to global markets.

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Governor Glenn Youngkin Announces Virginia Labor Force Participation Nears Pre-Pandemic Level

Governor Glenn Youngkin announced Virginia’s labor force participation rate has increased to 65.6% in February, the highest rate since February 2020’s pre-pandemic rate of 65.7%. According to BLS Local Area Unemployment Statistics, the labor force in Virginia increased by 17,618 to 4,505,193.  

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$6.5M Green Hydrogen Fuel Program Projected to Bring Hundreds of Jobs to Hampton Roads

The Hampton Roads Alliance and the cities of Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth and Virginia Beach, in a partnership with Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, are creating a $6.5 million green hydrogen fuel program to help kick-start a local industry. The project includes plans for three to five transition projects, a demonstration and education site and a workforce training program.

New businesses, especially larger economic development projects like the Richmond Lego factory have nonnegotiable clean energy requirements, Hampton Roads Alliance President and CEO Doug Smith said. “They’re looking for direct renewable energy."

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Youngkin Announces $8.1M in GO Virginia Grants

A variety of projects around the state intended to spur economic and workforce development will get a boost from $8.1 million in state GO Virginia grants, Gov. Glenn Youngkin announced. The 17 projects are expected to add hundreds of jobs. Nearly $4.8 million will fund two Virginia Tech projects, including one expected to build a talent pipeline for the emerging nanotechnology industry in Northern Virginia and another to transition to the production of green hydrogen in Hampton Roads.

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Navy Celebrating Women's History Month: Admiral Says Females 'Can Do Anything in Today's Military'

For the Navy, 2023 has been a year of firsts. Captain Janet Days became the first Black woman to become the commanding officer of Naval Station Norfolk for the first time in the base's 106-year history. 2023 also saw former Naval Air Station Oceana pilot Lt. Amanda Lee becoming their first female F/A-18E/F demo pilot for the Navy flight demonstration squadron, the Blue Angels.

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Cleanest Cities In America: Top 5 Pristine Places In The U.S., Per Experts

Virginia Beach ranks number two on this list of the cleanest. cities in America! In the cleanest cities in America, smog is sorely lacking. Not every city can claim the infamy of dirtiest cities in America. Sure, clean cities don’t have air as thick as homemade gravy, they’re not covered in litter at every intersection, and they don’t smell like your neighbor’s baby’s diapers. But you can always head toward pristine places to get air practically approved of by Mr. Clean. So, we’ve compiled a list of the top five cleanest cities in America, according to experts.

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Splitting Seawater Could Provide an Endless Source of Green Hydrogen

Few climate solutions come without downsides. “Green” hydrogen, made by using renewable energy to split water molecules, could power heavy vehicles and decarbonize industries such as steelmaking without spewing a whiff of carbon dioxide. Several research teams are reporting advances in producing hydrogen directly from seawater, which could become an inexhaustible source of green hydrogen.

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HII Receives Additive Manufacturing Approval from Naval Sea Systems Command

Global all-domain defense partner HII announced that its Newport News Shipbuilding division recently received approval as a vendor to provide some additive manufacturing components to Naval Sea Systems platforms. The certification enables NNS to use additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, to fabricate pipefittings or other potential components for use on aircraft carriers, submarines and other NAVSEA platforms.

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Hourigan Promotes CAO to Construction President

Richmond-based construction and development firm Hourigan Group has promoted Bryan Jones to head its construction division, the company announced. Jones joined Hourigan in 2016 and served as chief administrative officer before his promotion to president of construction.

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Norfolk International Terminals rail upgrades on track for 2024 completion

A project to increase the port’s capacity to handle rail cargo by more than 35% is nearing completion.The Virginia Port Authority is finishing up an $83 million rail yard expansion at Norfolk International Terminals. Construction has reached the halfway point and is expected to finish in 2024.

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Hampton Roads Amazon Delivery Stations Focus on Inclusion, Community

Logistically speaking, Charles Cannon didn’t plan out his life, but it has all come together just as seamlessly as the four delivery stations he oversees for Amazon. The Pittsburgh native and father, honed his skills for 11 years working for FedEx before relocating to Hampton Roads and joining Amazon seven years ago.

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Rivers Casino Portsmouth Reports $24M Revenue in First Full Month of Operation

Rivers Casino Portsmouth reported $24.7 million of gaming revenue in its first full month of operation, according to the Virginia Lottery Board. The board’s February activity report shows it collected a total of $38.4 million in revenue from the state’s two operational casinos. Rivers Casino Portsmouth received its operating license in November and opened on Jan. 23. The Hard Rock Bristol opened its doors in July.

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Hampton Roads Alliance Partners with Port & Starboard to Build a Collaborative Digital Platform for Regional Economic Development Organizations

The Hampton Roads Alliance is collaboratively leading the region in business retention, expansion, and attraction by bringing local economic development organizations and the Hampton Roads Workforce Council together in their Salesforce CRM platform. 

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Sapphire Gas Solutions and Bauer Compressors Announce National Partnership

Sapphire Gas Solutions and Bauer Compressors, Inc. are pleased to announce a national partnership between the two industry leaders. The partnership allows Sapphire to deploy, construct, and maintain an array of state-of-the-art Bauer manufactured gas compressors and provide OEM parts servicing multiple critical industries covering Canada, the United States of America, and Mexico. 

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Resetting the Bar: Law Firms Consider Mergers to Meet Staffing Demands

Two venerable Virginia law firms — Roanoke’s Woods Rogers PLC and Norfolk’s Vandeventer Black LLP — combined forces in July 2022, creating the state’s fifth largest firm, Woods Rogers Vandeventer Black PLC, based in Roanoke. It’s a true statewide firm, with branch offices in Norfolk, Richmond, Lynchburg and Charlottesville, in addition to locations in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, and Hamburg, Germany.

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2023 Maritime Symposium

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The Annual Maritime Symposium is presented by Old Dominion University's Office of Maritime Initiatives with the Institute for Coastal Adaptation and Resilience , Maritime Industrial Base Ecosystem Digital Shipbuilding, and the International Maritime, Ports and Logistics Institute in partnership with the Virginia Maritime Association.

This Symposium will take place April 12 and 13, 2023 at the Virginia Modeling, Analysis, and Simulation Center located in Suffolk, Virginia.

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