Change language to Arabic Change language to Chinese (Simplified) Change language to Dutch Change language to English Change language to French Change language to German Change language to Italian Change language to Japanese Change language to Portuguese Change language to Russian Change language to Spanish

Blog | 5 min read

Region’s economic development flourishes in 2023

January 22, 2024

Richmond, Virginia

Greater Richmond maintained economic momentum in 2023 thanks to the region’s ample business advantages such as its low cost of doing business, strategic location and strong education-to-workforce pipeline. For these reasons and more, companies and developers continue investing in Greater Richmond.

Here are a few of the top economic development stories of 2023:

Announcements

ISO Group

New-to-market companies included firms such as ISO Group, SanMar Corporation and CEEUS. ISO Group, a Netherlands-based horticulture automation solutions company, will open its first U.S. operation, adding 30 jobs. Promotional apparel and accessories wholesaler, SanMar Corporation, will establish its largest distribution center, investing at least $50 million and creating more than 1,000 new jobs. CEEUS, Inc., will invest $37 million to establish a warehouse and distribution center. The electrical distributor will create 30 new jobs. 

Expansions

Richmond National Group

Several existing companies announced local expansions, further investing in Greater Richmond. Leading household products manufacturer Church & Dwight Co. will invest $27 million to expand, adding 53 jobs. Berkley Insurance Company will invest $6.1 million and add 72 jobs. Another insurance company, Richmond National Group, will expand its headquarters by adding more than 100 new jobs to meet demand.

ABB revealed plans for a $6 million expansion to add nearly 100 manufacturing jobs.  Japanese beer giant Sapporo recently acquired Stone Brewing, and this year invested $40 million to increase local production capacity. The brewer will add nearly 80 new jobs to support production expansion, which services the East Coast.  

Groundbreakings + openings

Many companies and organizations that announced new and expanding projects in 2022 broke ground or began operations in 2023. In preparation for its $1 billion manufacturing facility, The LEGO Group hired approximately 500 people for its temporary distribution center prior to completing its billion-dollar production hub. California-based Plenty Unlimited broke ground on its $300 million indoor vertical farming campus, which will be the world’s largest upon completion.

Plenty development

Locally headquartered Performance Food Group began operations at its 332,000 sq.ft. sales and distribution center. The food distribution giant will add nearly 125 new jobs over the next few years. Cascades, a leader in manufacturing green packaging and hygiene products, completed production of its first roll of 100 percent recycled containerboard, adding 700 jobs during construction and 180 permanent jobs to its $500 million retrofit. Weidmüller Group, a leading electronic component design and manufacturing company, will invest $16.4 million and add more than 100 new jobs.

Additionally, the Henrico Sports & Events Center opened its doors and is expected to bring $33 million of economic activity to the area. The $50 million, 185,000 sq.ft. facility can hold up to 4,500 guests and will host sports tournaments, concerts and more.

New + redevelopments

Several new development and redevelopment projects are happening throughout Greater Richmond. For example, the Upper Magnolia Green megasite development received a $25 million grant from the Virginia Business Ready Sites Program which identifies and assesses sites ready for enhanced development. GreenCity, a $2.3 billion mixed-use eco-district, will incorporate an additional 110 acres. The property will be a vital part of the development, which will include a 17,000-seat arena, 2.2 million sq.ft. of office space, two hotels and more.

Demolition began for the new Springline at District 60 development. The first phase of the 42-acre site will include 27,000 sq.ft. of commercial space, 300 residential units, a sports and entertainment venue as well as office and mixed-use buildings.

Local developers plan a mixed-use infill and partial redevelopment of a nearly 20-acre office complex located in the Westwood area. The multi-phase project, currently housing Ukrops Homestyle Food and Bakery alongside its catering business, will ultimately consist of 1,000 multifamily residential units, a mix of retail, restaurant, office and hotel uses.

Diamond District

The City of Richmond is looking to the future with three redevelopment projects. The Diamond District includes a 67-acre, pedestrian-friendly development connecting to adjacent neighborhoods that will feature a new MiLB baseball stadium, office space, parks, residential options and more. Development proposals have been submitted for Richmond’s City Center project, a mixed-use innovation district that will help spur life sciences research and development. Lastly, Richmond Amphitheater LLC announced plans to bring a $30 million, 7,500-seat amphitheater to downtown’s riverfront, home to the wildly popular Richmond Folk Festival.

A future data center park moved towards development as Tract filed a zoning request to create a shovel-ready development site in Hanover County. If the zoning request is approved, the company plans to purchase about 1,200 acres and invest $50 million to build the infrastructure needed for a data center. Plus, a local construction firm, Hourigan, filed initial rezoning plans with Henrico County for a proposed 320-acre data center campus.

Regional assets grow

The Advanced Pharmaceutical Manufacturing cluster in Richmond, Virginia, was named one of 31 Tech Hubs by the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration. The designation is the first phase of the new Tech Hubs program, which is an economic development initiative that identifies burgeoning high-potential regions and aims to drive regional innovation and job creation.

Richmond International Airport

Richmond International Airport (RIC) earned the Most Efficient Airport in North America award from the Air Transport Research Society (ATRS). Breeze Airways is adding several new, nonstop flights to Los Angeles, Calif.; Cincinnati, Ohio; and New York-Islip, N.Y. The Breeze flight from RIC to Los Angeles International Airport is the first direct flight available between the two cities. The airport also received a $1 million federal grant to develop nonstop flight service from Richmond to the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

From new company announcements to expansions and groundbreakings as well as upcoming redevelopments and regional assets, Greater Richmond economic development was on the rise in 2023 and does not appear to be slowing down in 2024.

Watch GRP’s 2023 recap video here:

Visit the GRP newsroom to read more Greater Richmond stories.