Alternative Energy Park Planned in NorfolkThe former Ford Norfolk Assembly Plant location will become one of the country’s next alternative energy plants, according to the Jacoby Group in Atlanta. The plant has a total land area of 109 acres of industrially-zoned waterfront and rail-served land with approximately 2.6 million square feet of manufacturing facilities and convenient access to I-464 and I-64. The plant has 1,500 feet fronting the Eastern Branch of the Elizabeth River and a 450-foot concrete pier has been constructed to the barge-depth channel. Norfolk is also moving forward in the development of offshore wind energy. The Virginia city is a member of VOW, Virginia’s Offshore Wind Coalition. Our shipbuilders, fabricators, distributors and integrated electronic system providers are representative of the supply chain resources that will be needed to make offshore wind energy a reality. Proponents of commercial wind power 12 miles or beyond Virginia's coast believe the giant turbines could ultimately provide 10 percent of the state's annual electricity demand and operate without incident in the military's busy seas. The Department of Defense is studying 25 tracts identified for optimum winds. A recent report identifies 18 tracts as compatible with military needs and rules as long as certain guidelines are met. They were not detailed in the report. Scientists, engineers and geographers at Virginia Tech—ARI, Old Dominion University, Science Applications International Corp., Paliria Energy, Norfolk State University and James Madison University—are researching offshore wind power, mapping offshore areas and economic development impact. Download several presentations from the vcerc.org site.
Norfolk Southern: Riding the Rails to GrowthNorfolk Southern Corp. participated in the location of 70 new industries and the expansion of 23 existing industries along its rail lines in 2009, according to figures released by the company. Norfolk Southern assisted state and local government and economic development officials throughout 19 states in helping customers identify ideal locations for new and expanded facilities. New plants and expansions represented an investment of more than $3.1 billion by Norfolk Southern customers and are expected to create 3,000 jobs in the railroad’s territory, eventually generating more than 138,500 carloads of new rail traffic annually. The energy sector anchored our results during 2009,” said Newell Baker, assistant vice president industrial development. “Our group assisted in the location or expansion of 24 energy related facilities in 12 states across our service area. Ethanol production and distribution accounted for the lion’s share of energy projects, with 11 new and expanded facilities that began to receive NS rail service in 2009.” The balance of other projects secured during 2009 was distributed among several of the broad product areas Norfolk Southern serves. Norfolk Southern works with state and local economic development authorities on projects involving site location and development of infrastructure to connect customers to its rail system and provides free and confidential plant location services, including industrial park planning, site layout, track design, and logistics assistance. During the past 10 years, Norfolk Southern’s Industrial Development Department has participated in the location or expansion of 1,084 facilities, representing an investment of $23.9 billion and creating nearly 50,000 customer jobs in the territory served by the railroad. Norfolk Southern Corp. is one of the nation’s premier transportation companies. Its Norfolk Southern Railway subsidiary operates approximately 21,000 route miles in 22 states and the District of Columbia, serving every major container port in the eastern U. S. and providing efficient connections to Western rail carriers. Norfolk Southern operates the most extensive intermodal network in the East and is North America’s largest rail carrier of metals and automotive products.
Polymer Group Launches $65M ExpansionPolymer Group Inc. has started a major expansion of its Waynesboro, VA plant, with the project representing a $65 million investment.The Charlotte-based nonwovens manufacturer is installing production equipment at the site through a lease agreement under a joint venture between GE Capital and ING Capital. “This expansion continues to build upon PGI’s ability to employ industry-leading technologies, combined with recent proprietary technological development,” says Daniel Guerrero, Polymer Group vice president and general manager of the U.S. region. “The installation of this advanced equipment enables PGI to deliver differentiated products to customers that will achieve enhanced and improved barrier, softness and opacity compared to the current marketplace capabilities for use in such products as diapers, and surgical gowns and drapes.” The project will add 41 jobs to the Waynesboro operation. The expansion is slated for completion in the second half of 2011.Polymer Group chose the Virginia site for the project earlier this year, selecting it over the company’s Mooresville plant. Incentives may have been the key to the deal. Virginia promised $1.5 million in two grants, as well as job-training assistance for the new employees. The two operations competed for the project for at least six months.The addition would have nearly doubled the size of the company’s 210,000-square-foot plant in Mooresville Business Park. The facility employs 115 workers.
Linden Lab Taps Terremark for Critical IT Infrastructure of Virtual 3D EnvironmentTerremark Worldwide, Inc., a leading global provider of managed IT infrastructure services, recently announced that Second Life developer Linden Lab has selected the Network Access Point (NAP) of the Capital Region to co-locate the critical IT infrastructure that brings to life the world's leading 3D virtual world environment. Developed and launched by Linden Lab in 2003, Second Life has become one of the largest hubs for user-generated content in the world, boasting a robust "inworld" economy with more than $450 million in annual user-to-user transactions. When it opens later this month in Culpeper, VA, Terremark Worldwide, Inc's NAP of the Capital Region will be the most secure and technologically sophisticated datacenter on the Eastern seaboard. From this advanced datacenter campus outside Washington, D.C., Terremark will provide Linden Lab industry-leading co-location services supported by fully redundant power systems that meet the needs of today's high-density computing environments. The NAP of the Capital Region's innovative design, featuring security elements that exceed federal government standards and power infrastructure backed by 100 percent service level agreements for the datacenter's power and environmental systems, offered Linden Lab the ideal facility for the business-critical infrastructure that powers Second Life. "As Second Life continues to expand its infrastructure to meet current and future demands in user traffic and content generation, we felt Terremark's full suite of world-class IT solutions provided a high level of flexibility for those future business and technology needs," said Frank Ambrose, senior vice president of global technology for Linden Lab. "The NAP of the Capital Region's sophisticated design affords us the opportunity to expand in multiple facilities within the same campus while partnering with a company that shares our commitment to limiting the environmental impact of activities by employing energy-efficient systems." With continued strong demand for world-class IT infrastructure solutions from both federal government agencies and large enterprises, Terremark launched construction on the second datacenter facility on the NAP of the Capital Region's 30-acre campus in January, and the project continues on-schedule, with completion expected in the early part of 2010. The datacenter campus, designed to accommodate up to five, 50,000-square-foot independent datacenters and one 72,000-square-foot office building, meets the needs of today's power, space and bandwidth-intensive mission-critical applications and hot/warm sites for disaster recovery/COOP environments. "The fact that Linden Lab has selected to co-locate their critical infrastructure in Terremark's datacenter outside Washington, D.C. is a powerful testament to our impressive combination of leading-edge solutions and world-class datacenters," said Barry Field, Terremark's senior vice president for U.S. Commercial Sales. "From co-location and disaster recovery to cloud computing and secure information services, the availability of our complete set of offerings from a global datacenter footprint presents compelling value to public and private-sector organizations searching for solutions to meet their full-range of IT needs." Culpeper has positioned itself as a new breed of business location—high-tech with a high quality of life. Today's ideal location is found where geography, technology, and quality of life converge to create new opportunities for growing businesses, while retaining the qualities that make it an ideal place to raise a family.
Wood Furniture Maker Expands in GalaxHere's news one doesn't see everyday: A domestic wood furniture vendor expanding production. Case goods manufacturer Vaughan-Bassett Furniture will invest $2.15 million to expand its Galax, VA, plant, and add an additional 100 jobs, Virginia Governor Tim Kaine recently announced. "Vaughan-Bassett Furniture is the largest manufacturer of wooden adult bedroom furniture in the U.S. and began in Galax in 1919. The company has thrived in the Commonwealth for nine decades and will continue to be a significant employer and corporate partner in Southwest Virginia," Gov. Kaine said. Vaughan-Bassett, which makes 95 percent of its bedroom and dining room furniture in the United States, already employs more than 574 people in the Galax facility. "We believe our employees here in Galax represent the finest furniture workforce in the world," said Wyatt P.E. Bassett, president and CEO of Vaughan-Bassett Furniture Company. "We are committed to growing our company, and that means we will need both more machines and more employees here in Galax to operate them." The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with the City of Galax and Virginia's Corridor to secure the project for Virginia. Gov. Kaine approved a $75,000 grant from the Governor's Opportunity Fund to assist Galax with the project. The Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission approved $200,000 in Tobacco Region Opportunity Funds for the project. The Virginia Department of Business Assistance will provide training help through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program.
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