It’s been a pretty good year in the Roanoke Region. From announcements of new jobs and investment to stellar events and a place millennials want to live, it’s no surprise that the region has been in the news.
Here are our top 10 stories of 2017:
Altec Industries, which has been manufacturing aerial trucks for the electric utility and telecommunications industries in Botetourt County since 2001, has announced an expansion with an investment of $30 million and 180 new jobs in October.
The Roanoke Region’s beer brewing industry continues to grow: Parkway Brewing Co. will expand its operation in Salem, creating 13 new jobs over the next three years. Parkway also will invest $750,000 in new equipment and purchase $20,500 of net-new Virginia-grown agricultural products to help fuel the company’s expansion beyond the Commonwealth.
Humm Kombucha, one of the fastest growing kombucha companies in the United States, announced in October that it will build an East Coast manufacturing facility in the city of Roanoke. The company, based in Bend, Ore., will invest more than $10 million in a 100,000 square foot facility to be built on a 12-acre site in the Roanoke Centre for Industry & Technology where it will employ approximately 50 people. Humm is the second Bend-based company to locate in Roanoke, following the 2016 announcement that Deschutes Brewery will build a brewery in the same industrial park.
When the Roanoke Regional Partnership, Roanoke Outside and Roanoke Parks and Recreation founded the Anthem GO Outside Festival seven years ago, the aim was to build a festival that would leverage our outdoor reputation to attract business and investment. This year’s festival was the biggest to date with attendance up 20 percent and more than 36,000 people on site.
PowerSchool announced in September that it will add 96 jobs to its 85 existing local positions and invest $1.8 million in new offices in the 110 Franklin building in Downtown Roanoke. The company will occupy two floors (approx. 40,000 square feet) in the former Norfolk Southern Building. PowerSchool, a leading education technology platform for K-12, is headquartered in Folsom, California and established its Roanoke presence in 2016 with the acquisition of successful local start-up Interactive Achievement.
Look outside – there are green spaces everywhere. From trails to outdoor festivals to locally sourced food, the region knows what it means to be green. And Expedia has noticed as well, adding Roanoke to its 2017 list of 20 Greenest Cities in the Nation in April. Roanoke makes the small city (population up to 100,000) list.
Governor Terry McAuliffe joined Virginia Tech and Carilion Clinic officials to begin construction on a new facility in Roanoke on Oct. 24 to expand biomedical research and provide enhanced experiential learning opportunities to students at all levels. Known as the Virginia Tech Carilion Biomedical Research Expansion, the 139,000-gross-square-foot building will rise on the Virginia Tech Carilion Health Sciences and Technology Campus at Jefferson Street and Reserve Avenue.
America’s Toughest Road Marathon just keeps getting bigger. Highlights from the April race include 2,507 registered runners (11% increase over 2016), the first official double marathon sold out, and runners traveled from nine countries and 43 states for the event.
Deschutes Brewery, which is planning an $85 million production facility in Roanoke, opened a tasting room in Roanoke this year. The location at 315 Market St. includes more than 15 taps of Deschutes beers, growler fill-ups, merchandise, and food. The Roanoke Regional Partnership played a vital role in helping the brewery select the region for its $85 million East Coast production and manufacturing facility.
Where are the coolest and most affordable cities for millennials? If you guess Roanoke, then you are right. The Roanoke Region was noted as one of “25 Cities that Millennials Can Afford and Actually Want to Live In” by The Penny Hoarder in July. Roanoke came in at No. 12 with an affordability rank of 5, millennial happiness rank of 18, and economy health rank of 15.