NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) – Governor Ralph Northam joined Newport News Mayor McKinley L. Price and Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball Tuesday morning to make a major economic development announcement for the city.
Northam announced that S23 Holdings, LLC — a maritime, ship repair and manufacturing company — is investing $64.4 million into Newport News.
“This is going to just help transform this neighborhood so much, especially with jobs that are going to come out of this neighborhood,” Price said.
“It’s been an awesome tool to help businesses get started and grow in Hampton Roads and, really, all of Virginia,” Northam said.
Virginia competed with Florida and Puerto Rico for the project, which is expected to create 332 new jobs.
Northam said this investment will not only bring new jobs, but also inspire other companies to invest similarly.
“It’s a great tax benefit for companies such as S23 and it’s one of the tools that we have in our toolbox economically in Virginia to really help our businesses expand and also bring new businesses, too,” he explained.
Jorge Rivera, CEO and chairman of S23 Holdings, said the company chose Hampton Roads for several reasons.
“The Newport News facility is strategically located on the James River, has the water depth to accommodate deep-draft vessels, offers unrestricted navigational access, and, most importantly, has access to an underutilized workforce.”
His company, which has been primarily located on the Southside, will now have headquarters in the empty field off 14th Street and Jefferson Avenue. He said it’s always been a dream of his to invest this heavily in a local community.
“I want to give. I’m genuinely inspired to give. I came here to this country with a few hundred dollars in my pocket and God has blessed me tremendously, so it’s my job — I don’t know how to say — to give back to the community,” he added.
The project will be located next to Huntington Ingalls Industries and includes the rehabilitation of Piers 14 and 15, as well as the construction of a manufacturing facility and corporate and administrative offices.
The expansion will make S23 and its affiliates the only small business ship repair company with deep-water access in Virginia, according to a news release.
“The shipbuilding and maritime industries have long been economic anchors for Hampton Roads, and our world-class infrastructure and training institutions have helped build a high-quality talent pipeline that allows companies like East Coast Repair and Fabrication to thrive. We are proud that Virginia is able support the company’s impressive growth and look forward to their future success,” said Northam.