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Community Profile: Newport News


Shipyard expansion Newport News’ advanced machinery


Investing in the community will benefi t the entire city, says Debra Ramey,a Newport News-based partner with The Shopping Center Group.


fountain. “City Center is the downtown of the Peninsula,” he adds. “It’s surrounded by the biggest law firms, accounting firms and defense contractors on the entire Peninsula, but we want to make it more successful.” City Center’s success could hinge on


filling the dozen or so vacant storefronts with local businesses. “I like to see local restaurants and local merchants,” Long says. “All my life, I’ve done business with my neighbors. I’ve found that the Pen- insula is best served by people from the Peninsula.” At the nearby Tech Center, national


retailers, such as Mellow Mushroom and Whole Foods Market, are staking their claim on the Peninsula. The retail phase is complete, the first phase of upscale apartments are set to open this fall, and construction is expected to start on the signature research park early next year. Set on 50 acres adjacent to the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility, the center will give high-tech companies a place to perform advanced research. That’s crucial for the city’s economic


diversification efforts, says Kingston. “Newport News always envisioned a research park that could take some of the technology coming out of the research at the Jefferson Lab and capitalize on that. Tech Center will allow us to grow small businesses, entrepreneurial businesses and diverse businesses.” The Jefferson Lab is one of only two facilities in the running for a $1 billion


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electron-ion collider, a U.S. Department of Energy research facility that the city expects would have a $4 billion economic impact on the region. A collider is used by researchers to understand what lies inside a nucleus and what holds it together. A decision on the site is expected within the next three years. Aiding these development plans is a


21-mile, $144 million project widening I-64 from four to six lanes. Construc- tion on the first of the project’s three phases — a 5.6 mile segment in Newport News — is expected to be finished by late 2017. “It’s long overdue,” Kingston notes. “This is important not just for Newport News but for the whole Hampton Roads region.”


“I like to see local restaurants and local merchants,” says City Center investor Robert Long. “All my life, I’ve done business with my neighbors.”


corridor is also growing with the expan- sions of Canon Virginia Inc., Continental Corp. and Liebherr Mining Equipment. Virginia’s largest industrial employer, Newport News Shipbuilding, plans to add 1,000 jobs, along with new facilities and equipment to enhance construction on aircraft carriers and Virginia-class submarines. Newport News City Council agreed to provide up to $46 million to help the shipbuilder fund the $750 million investment in new facilities and equipment. The General Assembly approved similar funding during the last legislative session. “That’s really a very strategic investment by the shipyard that will carry it for generations to come,” Kingston says. New jobs and expanded facilities are


also on tap for Newport News Indus- trial Corp., which like Newport News Shipbuilding is a subsidiary of city-based Huntington Ingalls Industries. The 50-year-old company is adding 52,000 square feet of production space at its Oakland Industrial Park site to supply steel modules for nuclear power plants manufacturer Westinghouse. Newport News Industrial now employs about 400 workers but will hire about 125 additional welders, inspectors and quality assurance personnel starting in early next year. “We will be part of the global sup-


ply network for Westinghouse, which is building dozens of nuclear power plants around the world,” explains the company’s


Photos by Mark Rhodes


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