RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — Governor Ralph Northam on Wednesday announced $1.5 million in Port Host Communities Revitalization Fund awards for Newport News, Norfolk and Portsmouth.

The grants will rehabilitate a waterfront industrial property in Portsmouth and create office and retail space in Newport News. It will also develop a testing site for unmanned surface vehicles and unmanned underwater vehicles in Newport News.

Northam says the key to ensuring the continued economic health of the state is investing in our Port Host Communities.

“These three projects will transform port infrastructure and bring new opportunities, economic development, and revitalization to these communities,” said Northam.

The City of Norfolk will receive $394,000 for the Willoughby Boat Ramp. The City of Portsmouth will receive $856,000 for the Shipwright Bulkhead Replacement and the City of Newport News will receive 250,000 for the Jefferson Avenue Co-working Space.

All projects will receive at least a 100% match in funding from public or private sources.

“The flexibility of the Port Host Communities Revitalization Fund is integral to its effectiveness and allows for a wide variety of redevelopment activities,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “Each project is being redeveloped for a market-driven purpose and will breathe new life into these once derelict structures.”

For more information on the Port Host Communities Revitalization Fund, click here.

More details from the governor’s office on 2022 Port Host Communities Revitalization Fund Grant Awards:

City of Portsmouth: Shipwright Bulkhead Replacement | $856,000
The city of Portsmouth will receive funding for Phase I of the Shipwright Project to complete bulkhead replacement at 3301 Shipwright street. Phase I involves replacing 430 linear feet of bulkheads on the 13.2 acre waterfront property. The replacement serves as the foundation of many other renovations planned for the property. The replacement will prevent further erosion, preserve the environment, prevent debris and silt runoff, and provide stability to the land near the shoreline. At completion of Phase I, the existing Fabrication Shop will be immediately available for use.

City of Norfolk: Willoughby Boat Ramp | $394,000
The city of Norfolk, in partnership with Old Dominion University (ODU), is renovating the nearly five-acre Willoughby Boat Ramp to create a testing site for Unmanned Surface Vehicles (USVs) and Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUVs). Several USV/UUV companies operate within the Hampton Roads area and have noted a need for testing sites in order to grow. The boat launch is currently used by several small commercial fishermen. Recreational boating will continue to be available and free at this location. ODU’s Open Seas Technology Innovation Hub will serve as the immediate user, leasing the facility from the city for commercial and academic testing of the USVs/UUVs, as well as helping to market it as a future test site for others.

City of Newport News: Jefferson Avenue Co-working Space, Phase II | $250,000
The city of Newport News is renovating a two-story vacant commercial building (2510 Jefferson Avenue) into ground-floor retail space and second-floor office space. The adjacent building was recently converted into co-working space. The opening of that building in the summer of 2021 has demonstrated a demand for office space in the neighborhood. This property is located on a major thoroughfare that supports port-related transit.