Local Business and Economic Development
Among the early business casualties of the coronavirus pandemic and crowd size restrictions – dining areas at restaurants that now must rely on preparing meals customers eat at home. There’s a special promotion for those businesses all this week as WLNI’s Gene Marrano reports:
The TGI Fridays restaurant on Timberlake Road is “permanently closed” with no advance notice. A sign is posted at the restaurant entrance saying that is the case, and a person answering the phone said the same thing but would not offer any further comment. The posted sign reads: “Effective March 9, 2020, this TGI Fridays location is permanently closed. We appreciated your loyalty and hope to see you at one of our other locations soon.” Further information is not yet available.
NEWS RELEASE: BWX Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: BWXT) announced today that the U.S. Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program has awarded subsidiary BWXT Nuclear Operations Group, Inc. (BWXT NOG) new contracts with options totaling approximately $1 billion for the manufacture of naval nuclear reactor components.
“We are proud to provide nuclear propulsion systems that enable U.S. Navy sailors and aviators to protect freedom around the globe,” BWXT President and Chief Executive Officer Rex D. Geveden said. “We appreciate the U.S. Navy’s continued trust in our employees and our capability to perform this important work.”
The initial contract award booked in the fourth quarter of 2019 constitutes two-thirds of the anticipated total value. The remaining contract option award is expected later this year, subject to annual Congressional appropriations.
A variety of naval nuclear reactor component manufacturing and material procurement activities will be performed over the term of this contract to support Ford-class carrier construction. This work will be performed at BWXT NOG locations in Lynchburg, Virginia; Barberton and Euclid, Ohio; and Mount Vernon, Indiana.
The award announced today is in addition to the submarine reactor component and fuel manufacturing and long-lead materials contracts announced last year. Together, these contracts represent a total of nearly $4 billion in additional naval nuclear propulsion work awarded in 2019, including future-year options.
A Forest plant that makes specialty heavy and aerial lift trucks is expanding and creating 61 new jobs. Governor Northam’s office announced today that Custom Truck One Source will invest more than $2.5 million to double its production. The company’s website says the facility “sits on a 28-acre campus that includes a 42,000 sq. ft. assembly plant, a 40,000 square foot fabrication facility, repair shop, and 5 massive paint booths.”
NEWS RELEASE: Governor Ralph Northam today announced that Custom Truck One Source, a manufacturer and distributor of specialized trucks and heavy equipment, will invest $2.6 million to expand its existing manufacturing operation in Bedford County. The company will double production at its operation in Forest, Virginia to meet growing demand from its customers, creating 61 new jobs.
Flowers Foods will expand its Lynchburg bakery operations, creating 15 new jobs. Flowers operates 46 bakeries in 18 states, and its brands range from Nature’s Own to Tastycake. The Lynchburg bakery expansion will transform it into an organic facility.
NEWS RELEASE: Governor Ralph Northam today announced that Flowers Foods, one of the nation’s largest producers of packaged baked foods, will invest $25 million to expand and transform its Lynchburg bakery into an organic facility, creating 15 new jobs. The bakery, which the company has operated for more than 40 years, will serve the Mid-Atlantic market. Virginia successfully competed with other states for the project.
NEWS RELEASE: Dick’s Sporting Goods is coming to River Ridge with an anticipated opening in fall 2020. This is a significant addition to the property that paves the way for other big name retailers to open at River Ridge.
River Ridge officially announces the fully executed lease to open at the East End of River Ridge’s new development. Construction on the East End is underway, with the demolition of the former Sears.
Once the new Dick’s Sporting Goods location opens at River Ridge, the store at the Wards Crossing shopping center will close. The 45,000-square-foot River Ridge location will be 50% larger than the location at Wards Crossing, allowing for more merchandise and a greater assortment of departments than those available at the current location.
“There has been a lot of speculation surrounding this announcement, so we are thrilled to finally be able to share the news,” said Craig Pettitt, Vice President Retail Real Estate at Liberty University, owners of River Ridge. “With many student athletes in the area and a variety of outdoor activities in Central Virginia, we think Dick’s Sporting Goods makes perfect sense as an addition to the property.”
Dick’s Sporting Goods is the first new retailer with plans to open on the East End, and Pettitt says that guests can expect similar announcements to come.
“We expect more big name retailers to follow now that River Ridge has secured Dick’s Sporting Goods,” Pettitt said.
NEWS RELEASE: On Wednesday, December 4, City Planner Tom Martin received notification from Acres of Virginia, the engineering firm representing NRM Associates, that their client would be postponing The Villas at Lynchburg project again and would not be going to the December 11 Planning Commission meeting or the January 14, 2020 City Council meeting. Acres of Virginia did not offer a reason on behalf of their clients for this decision.
This is the second time the property owner has requested that the project be removed from the Planning Commission agenda. The first request was granted to allow the property owner time to revise their site plan after taking into consideration feedback from the residents in the adjoining neighborhood.
A sparkling wine producer is preparing to establish operations in Nelson County. Virginia Sparkling Company is an offshoot of Veritas Vineyard and Winery. It will produce sparkling wine in a former textile mill along State Route 151, a roadway already branded as “Nelson 151 Craft Beverage Trail”.
NEWS RELEASE: Governor Ralph Northam today announced that Virginia Sparkling Company will invest $590,000 and create six new jobs to establish a new sparkling wine production facility in Nelson County. The company will source exclusively from Virginia and is committing to purchase 168 tons of Virginia grapes over the next three years. This facility will be an important new asset for Virginia’s craft beverage industry, providing partner wineries a new high-quality product for engaging their customers.
“Today’s announcement underscores Virginia’s already sparkling reputation as a premier destination for wine,” said Governor Northam. “With more than 300 wineries and vineyards, the wine industry in Virginia generates nearly $1.37 billion for our economy each year, provides new markets for our farmers, and offers unique agritourism opportunities for our visitors. We thank Virginia Sparkling Company for their investment and look forward to toasting their success in the Commonwealth for years to come.”
The craft beverage industry has become an important driver of the Nelson County’s tourism-focused economy, which saw more than $211 million in visitor expenditures in 2018. This is both the first economic development announcement in Nelson County and the first Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development (AFID) facility grant awarded to the county during the Northam administration. The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) worked with Nelson County and Virginia Sparkling Company to secure this project for the Commonwealth. Governor Northam approved a $40,000 AFID grant Fund for the project, which Nelson County will match with local funds.
“I am pleased the Commonwealth could partner with Nelson County through its first ever AFID grant to support this innovative and impactful addition to Virginia’s wine industry,” said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Bettina Ring. “I commend the Virginia Sparkling Company for their commitment to source 100 percent of their grapes from the Commonwealth and for elevating the industry as a whole by partnering with numerous wineries to make world-class sparkling wine.”
“Sparkling wine represents a great opportunity here in Virginia,” said George Hodson, Chief Executive Officer of Virginia Sparkling Company. “There is significant demand from both producers and consumers of Virginia sparkling wine and we are excited to have the opportunity to increase the amount of high quality sparkling wine available in the Commonwealth.”
An affiliate of Veritas Vineyard & Winery, Virginia Sparkling Company will use “méthode traditionnelle” to produce Champagne-style wines for sale under the label of the Virginia wineries with whom they have collaborated. Virginia Sparkling Company will be located in a former textile mill along Nelson County’s popular Nelson 151 Craft Beverage Trail. The mill also houses the tasting room for Flying Fox Vineyard & Winery, another Veritas affiliate.
“Nelson County has long been a leader in Virginia’s craft beverage and tourism industries,” said Chairman of the Nelson County Board of Supervisors Larry Saunders. “The family behind the Virginia Sparkling Company is familiar to Nelson and an important part of the success we have had. Following the company motto, ‘In Vino Veritas, in wine there is truth,’ they will no doubt remain true to their legacy of quality wine with this next venture. On behalf of the county and the community, we welcome the Virginia Sparkling Company and wish them much success.”
“Virginia’s winemakers produce some of the best wines in the world and I am tremendously thankful to Virginia Sparkling Company for this investment in Nelson County, in Virginia’s 5th Congressional District,” said Congressman Denver Riggleman. “This project will help Virginia farmers and the company’s investment in rural Virginia will help Nelson County thrive.”
“Virginia’s farm winery business has its roots in Nelson County,” said Senator Creigh Deeds. “Virginia Sparkling Company is taking that business the next step by adding value to existing product. Congratulations to Virginia Sparkling, Nelson County and the Northam administration for working collaboratively to create jobs and grow Virginia agriculture.”
Starr Hill Brewery plans to open a location in downtown Lynchburg in the former Grassroots Local Market. The brewery, which has locations in Crozet and Roanoke, hopes to open Starr Hill Brewery on Main next year, and work on the 4,000 square foot site will begin sometime this winter. City leaders say they are excited for the new attraction for locals and visitors alike.
NEWS RELEASE: Starr Hill Brewery is excited to announce the opening of Starr Hill Brewery on Main in Downtown Lynchburg in early 2020. To celebrate the announcement, Starr Hill will host a free concert at The Glass House on Thursday, October 24 that will feature one of their favorite Virginia bands, Lord Nelson.
Starr Hill on Main will be located at 1300 Main Street. Just one block from the Community Market and easy access to the Bluffwalk, the brewery is centrally located in Historic Downtown. The brewery and taproom will lease nearly 4,000 total square feet, housing a 5-barrel brewing system. Beers brewed on-site will feature local collaborations as well as unique brews only available in the Lynchburg location. The taproom area will have an open-concept seating layout that will incorporate a brewhouse lounge area and traditional bar seating. Starr Hill will also propose an outdoor seating area that will create a vibrant urban atmosphere, extending the comfortable indoor space.“We believe in the vision for Downtown Lynchburg and that Main Street is the right location for our pilot brewery and taproom. This community’s enthusiasm to work together to create a vibrant and dynamic city is fantastic,” says Brewmaster Robbie O’Cain. “We are anxious to begin brewing in Downtown Lynchburg and will showcase exclusive beers for the Hill City as well as our expansive beer lineup from our other outposts.”