It’s been a pretty good year in the Roanoke Region. Much of the conversation has centered on beer – that’s no surprise with announcements that Deschutes Brewery and Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits are coming here. In fact, the Partnership has announced $233 million in new facilities and equipment, plus 1,132 new jobs in 2016. Then there’s the low cost of living, business friendly environment, and livability factors that can’t be beat.
As the year winds down, let’s celebrate the region’s wins with a quick look back at the top stories of 2016 from the Roanoke Regional Partnership blog.
1. Deschutes Brewery Chooses Roanoke for East Coast Facility
Deschutes Brewery, the fifth largest craft brewer in the United States, announced March 22 that it will build an East Coast brewery in the City of Roanoke. The company will invest $85 million on a 49-acre site in the Roanoke Centre for Industry & Technology, where it will employ 108.
The company conducted a two-year search of several states and cities before deciding on Roanoke. The Roanoke Regional Partnership began talking to Deschutes in 2012 as part of a campaign targeting the craft beer industry. The Partnership coordinated eight visits by the company and its consultant and connected them with dozens of organizations and individuals throughout the region.
2. Botetourt County Chosen by Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits for East Coast Brewing Operation
Ballast Point Brewing and Spirits, the 11th largest craft brewer in the United States in 2015, will invest about $48 million to establish an East Coast brewing operation in Botetourt County. The company has agreed to purchase the 259,040 sq. ft. Lawrence Companies building located on International Parkway in Botetourt Center at Greenfield where it plans to create 178 jobs in manufacturing and retail operations.
San Diego-based Ballast Point Brewing and Spirits was started in 1996 by a small group of home brewers. Today, the company is one of the fastest growing craft beer companies in the United States and a recognized innovator in craft brewing and spirits. Ballast Point employs more than 500 at four facilities in the San Diego, CA area and sells its beer in more than 30 states. It operates as a stand-alone company after its acquisition in 2015 by Constellation Brands (NYSE: STZ and STZ.B).
3. Local Governments Work Together to Acquire Property to Attract Jobs and Investment
Roanoke County, Roanoke, and Salem today announced plans to jointly acquire approximately 106 acres along Interstate 81, near Exit 143, that will help fill the need for larger sites for development. The property is on Wood Haven Road in Roanoke County.
The announcement is the first project of the Western Virginia Regional Industrial Facility Authority (WVRIFA), formed in 2013 to jointly acquire tracts suitable for development. The WVRIFA, enabled by the Virginia Regional Industrial Facilities Act, allows for members to share in tax revenue produced by the eventual user.
4. Salem Ranked as One of the ‘Happiest Cities in Virginia’
Salem is one of the happiest places in Virginia, according to a compilation of data from OnlyInYourState.com.
Salem comes in at No. 5 on the list, behind McLean, Poquoson, Christiansburg and Vienna. The ranking comes from a number of places, including data from the U.S. National Bureau of Economic Research, the General Social Survey, the National Survey of Families and Households, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – all collect surveys that ask respondents to report on overall satisfaction with life.
5. Crystal Spring Named No. 1 Elementary School in Virginia
The students and staff at Crystal Spring Elementary have a new honor to celebrate. The school has been ranked as the top elementary school in Virginia by SchoolDigger.
Crystal Spring Elementary was the top-ranked school out of 1,095 schools all over the state. The Roanoke City Public Schools location on Carolina Avenue has just under 350 students in grades pre-k through fifth.
6. Italian Automotive Component Manufacturer Makes Largest New Location Announcement in Botetourt History
ELDOR Corporation, an Italian manufacturer of automotive components, will invest about $75 million to establish its first North American production plant at Botetourt Center at Greenfield, creating 350 new jobs over the next five years.
This is the largest announcement of jobs and investment in Botetourt County history. The company will begin construction immediately on a 250,000 square foot facility on approximately 53 acres.
7. Roanoke Gets a Big-Time Swimming Mention
Did you know Roanoke is one of the nation’s top swimming cities?
The region made USA Swimming’s “50 Top Swim Cities” list for 2016 and is in the company of locations such as top-ranked San Jose-Santa Clara, Calif. Roanoke was also the biggest mover on this list, leaping 49 spots to No. 45 in the annual ranking. Roanoke, in its debut on the list, was one of three Virginia locations to make the top 50.
8. Roanoke: A Great Alternative to Silicon Valley
Roanoke is mentioned as an “unsung startup tech city” by Entrepreneur magazine in “6 Alternatives to Silicon Valley with Better Weather Than Portland.”
The ranking looks at a few locations that are “ideal for startups looking to plant roots.”
9. We’re Kind of a Big Deal Around Here
When the Roanoke Regional Partnership embarked on a strategy to package the region’s outdoor assets into an economic sector that would attract people, investment and jobs, we knew we were on to something.
The recent results from the “Best of the Blue Ridge 2016” readers’ survey in Blue Ridge Outdoors – the know-all publication covering 10 states – is the latest indication that we’re on the right track. These results show that the community narrative of being one of the best outdoor communities in the United States has taken hold.
MORE (includes list of winners) …
10. Administrative Services Center to Create 200 Jobs in Botetourt
The Virginia Community College System will create a shared services center in the 37,000 sq. ft. Ntelos building on Route 220 in Daleville. The facility will bring together the administrative services from each of the Commonwealth’s 23 community colleges into one location.
Operations will begin on July 1, 2016, with up to 200 jobs phased in over the next several years. Common functions such as procurement, payroll, human resources, and information technology could be provided from the central operation. The shared services concept is common to create cost efficiencies and increase productivity.
11. Blue 5 Named Best Beer Bar in Virginia
Want to grab a beer?
You can find a great selection at the best beer bar in Virginia without having to leave home. Blue 5 in Downtown Roanoke was named Best Beer Bar in Virginia in the annual Great American Beer Bars competition by CraftBeer.com. The voting period was from August to December 2015.
Vote for them again in the 2017 contest!
12. Shell Building in Botetourt County Designed to Attract Jobs
On the heels of recruiting high-profile manufacturers Eldor Corporation, Ballast Point Brewing and Spirits, and Deschutes Brewery to the Roanoke Region, officials broke ground on a shell building — the future home for an advanced manufacturing operation bringing more high-paying jobs.
The building will sit on 22 acres in Botetourt Center at Greenfield and addresses a pressing need in the region – available building inventory. It is a joint project of the Greater Roanoke Valley Development Foundation, the Roanoke Valley Development Corporation, and Botetourt County.
13. Roanoke Named Top Adventure Town by Blue Ridge Outdoors
Top Adventure Town has a nice ring to it. And it’s a moniker we can use all year long. Roanoke is the 2016 Top Large Size Adventure Town winner in the annual ranking from Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine.
The region beat out 47 other contenders and topped Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Baltimore, and Knoxville in head-to-head voting. What makes the win even more impressive is that Roanoke won the large town category, despite competition from locations more than double our size. (That just goes to show how much you love Roanoke!)
The region has earned top town honors four of the last five years as Top Mid-Sized Town in 2015, Best Trail Town in 2013 and was voted Best Mountain Town in 2012.
14. Roanoke Region Gets High Marks in Southern Business & Development
In the latest edition of Southern Business & Development magazine, several Roanoke Region locations are mentioned in the list of “Who’s winning the economic development game in the South?”
The best of list ranks locations from all over the Southern part of the country in 60 different categories.
MORE (includes list of winners) …
15. Deschutes Brewery Already making an Economic Impact in Region
You can already feel the economic impact of Deschutes Brewery’s expansion to the Roanoke Region.
The Street Pub raised $81,000 for nine local nonprofits in late August. The one-day event broke the record for the nationwide event with 241 kegs of beer poured for 22,000 festival-goers.