Virginia has again received a top ranking in the Pollina Corporate Real Estate/AEDI Top 10 Pro-Business States for 2015. For the third straight year, the Commonwealth was ranked No. 4 overall and was the top state on the East Coast. Virginia was ranked in the top three from 2004-2012.
“Clearly a national leader in the 12 years of this study, no other state comes close to Virginia when it comes to being a consistent pro-business state. Virginia holds the distinction of being the only state to remain within the top five pro-business states for the entire history of this study,” said Brent A. Pollina, president of Park Ridge, Illinois-based Pollina Corporate Real Estate Inc. and author of the study.
Virginia received an overall grade of A as it has for the last five years. The Commonwealth was the No. 1 state in the Stage II section, which is based on metrics at the state economic development agency level, such as incentives and marketing/website/response to new and existing employers.
“Governor Terry McAuliffe and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership should be commended for their efforts to consistently remain competitive, as they have clearly worked to preserve the tools Virginia needs to remain one of the most pro-business state in the country,” continued Pollina.
YesVirginia Business Blog | A place for news, opinions, and information regarding the Virginia Economic Development Partnership.
Yesterday, Unilever announced plans to invest $96.2 million to upgrade its Lipton Tea Plant in Suffolk, part of the Hampton Roads region of Virginia.
The Lipton Tea plant has operated out of Suffolk since 1955 and is the largest tea processing facility in the U.S., producing nearly all the Lipton tea bags sold throughout North America.
The investment will allow the company to increase production by both expanding and upgrading to more modern equipment. The Suffolk plant already has a reputation for efficiency and sustainability—in 2009 it became a “zero-landfill” facility through a combination of recycling, composting, and converting waste into usable energy.
Close proximity to the international Port of Virginia was a key deciding factor in the Commonwealth’s favor. Unilever already utilizes the port to bring in loose tea from all over the world for processing at its Suffolk plant. The Port of Virginia offers access to 250 ports in more than 100 overseas locations.
The strength of the Hampton Roads employee pool was another positive factor cited by the company. More than 300 highly-skilled workers currently support the Lipton plant.
This investment adds to Virginia’s growing food and beverage cluster. Home to household names such as Hershey Foods, Nestlé Prepared Foods, Kraft Foods, and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, more than 550 food and beverage manufacturing companies have established operations in the Commonwealth.
To learn why food and beverage companies have invested more than $1.9 in Virginia over the last decade, click here.
Governor McDonnell presents Bill Kelly, Suffolk Supply Chain Leader, Unilever, with a commemorative share of stock in the Virginia Company at the Lipton Tea plant announcement event in Suffolk, Va.