Logistics Network Beckons Firms
One reason so many expanding tech firms choose Virginia is its transportation and logistics infrastructure.
Jeff Anderson, who took office last month as executive director of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, says Virginia's location provides a competitive recruiting tool.
"The state is very close to and tied in to the federal government," says Anderson. "You also have the logistics of Virginia, being centrally located on the East Coast. And then, on the west side of Virginia, you have the Interstate 81 Corridor which continues to build. That is very positive for the south and west side of Virginia."
With Interstates 66, 64, 95 and 81, plus the four-lane U.S. Highway 29 running north and south through the heart of Virginia, the Old Dominion has become a favorite location not only for growing technology companies, but also for expanding trucking firms.
Northern Virginia, southern Virginia, Hampton Roads and the Roanoke Valley have all become preferred locations for distribution centers for manufacturing companies seeking increased access to East Coast and Southeast markets.
This same logistics network, which includes the seaports of Hampton Roads and the inland port of Front Royal, also beckons factories.
In Roanoke Valley, Virginia Forge Co. announced Aug. 23 that it will undertake an $18.25 million expansion of its operations in Botetourt County. Phase one of the expansion will be a $12.25 million investment and will increase employment to 65.
Based in the small town of Buchanan, Virginia Forge has compiled a record since 1997 as the most efficient and most technically advanced forging plant in the U.S. and is a major supplier of automotive wheel hubs.
In Martinsville in Henry County, Texturing Services Inc. announced earlier this year that it will invest $14 million in its new plant and reach total employment of 200 within 30 months.
TSI will occupy 219,000 sq. ft. (20,345 sq. m.) of the former VF Imagewear property on Walker Road in Henry County. The company currently operates in Reidsville, N.C., but cannot expand there, necessitating the move of the entire operation to Martinsville.
Henry County also received a major boost in April when plans were unveiled to bring HT Motorsports and the Virginia Motorsports Technology Center to the area. The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Team of HT Motorsports is locating in Martinsville in a partnership with Patrick Henry Community College and Arrington Manufacturing.
The team will employ 75 workers over the first 30 months, paying an average of $16 an hour. The team will invest $400,000 in machinery, equipment and site improvements.
Paris Ceramics, a subsidiary of UK-based Smallbone plc, announced in September that it will open a factory in Prince Edward County. The $2 million facility will manufacture stone flooring and stone-related products and employ 30.
In Norfolk, Ford Motor Co. announced in February that it will invest $26.6 million to build a multi-story sequencing center that will increase production efficiency and aid suppliers.
In Arlington, BNA Inc. announced June 22 that it will invest $110 million to relocate its headquarters from Washington, D.C., bringing more than 1,000 jobs to Arlington County's Crystal City by 2007. BNA is a publisher of print and electronic news.
In Wythe County, PepsiCo Inc. announced June 23 that it will invest $140 million to build a manufacturing and distribution complex in Progress Park and create 250 jobs. Virginia beat out North Carolina and Maryland for the plant, which will produce Gatorade and Propel Fitness Water sports drinks.
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