VB Development Authority awards company $500K grant

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – STIHL will invest $49 million to expand its Virginia Beach manufacturing facility, the city announced Wednesday.

The company will expand its chain saw guide bar manufacturing facility, adding 26,000 square feet to an existing building, making it 86,000 square feet when it is finished.

The project, according to the city, is expected to create 15 jobs with average annual wages of $60,000 to $100,000 per year.

“For nearly 50 years, the City of Virginia Beach has created an ideal environment for STIHL to continue to grow our business and offer meaningful careers to over 2,500 current employees in Hampton Roads,” said Terry Horan, president of STIHL Inc. in a statement. “We are incredibly proud to be able to continue to expand our Virginia Beach-based manufacturing operations to fulfill the increased demands of our more than 10,000 loyal STIHL Dealers nationwide and their customers.”

The Virginia Beach Development Authority voted to award the company a $500,000 econommic development investment program grant for the expansion, based on its job creation and retention.

The company plans to invest in state-of-the-art equipment and add highly-skilled positions to its team, the city said, including maintenance mechatronic technicians, process engineers, tool and die makers, project coordinators and machine operators.

Virginia Beach City Manager Patrick Duhaney praised the announcement.

“Since 1974, STIHL has consistently expanded its local manufacturing operation and created new employment opportunities for the citizens of Virginia Beach,” Duhaney said. “What started as a 20,000-square-foot manufacturing facility has grown into a 150-acre campus with two million square feet of combined industrial and office space in our city. We look forward to STIHL’s continued growth and our partnership with them.”

STIHL will add a third chain saw guide bar production line to its facility at 825 London Bridge Road, which will increase its production capacity. Currently, that work takes place at other company locations overseas. The expansion, the city said, “lays the groundwork” for more manufacturing activity to come to its Virginia Beach location.

“This is an exciting announcement from one of the world’s most recognizable brands of handheld outdoor power equipment and another win for our city,” said Taylor Adams, Virginia Beach’s deputy city manager and director for economic development. “STIHL’s continued investment in Virginia Beach has benefited the community beyond job creation and capital investment.

“Over the years, through their commitment to our city, they have helped attract other businesses to locate here, further establishing Virginia Beach as a great location for those in the advanced manufacturing sector.”