Governor Ralph Northam today announced that S23 Holdings, LLC and its affiliates, which include East Coast Repair and Fabrication (ECR), an industry leader in the marine, industrial, and commercial sectors, will invest $64.4 million to establish a corporate and industrial campus for ship repair, manufacturing, and to rehabilitate piers. Virginia successfully competed with Florida and Puerto Rico for the project, which will create 332 new jobs.
“Securing this major investment from S23 Holdings is an important win for Newport News and our Commonwealth as we work to move our economy forward,” said Governor Northam. “The shipbuilding and maritime industries have long been economic anchors for Hampton Roads, and our world-class infrastructure and training institutions have helped build a high-quality talent pipeline that allows companies like East Coast Repair and Fabrication to thrive. We are proud that Virginia is able support the company’s impressive growth and look forward to their future success.”
The company will transform waterfront property at 1201 Terminal Avenue in Newport News and nearby property at 1511 Harbor Lane. The project’s overall investment includes the property acquisition, the rehabilitation of Piers 14 and 15, and the construction of a manufacturing facility and corporate and administrative offices.
“Hampton Roads has played a key role in the maritime industry for decades, and S23 Holdings’ new campus is a strategic fit for this region’s assets and workforce,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “As we focus on Virginia’s economic recovery, we thank the company for its significant investment and for creating 332 new jobs in Newport News.”
Since 1999, S23 Holdings’ affiliate ECR has provided ship repair, fabrication, welding, blasting, and painting services to the maritime and industrial sectors from facilities in Virginia, Florida, and California. The expansion to Newport News allows S23 and its affiliates to accommodate a broader and more diverse group of vessel owners and operators such as Military Sealift Command, MARAD, Crowley, Maersk, and others. It also makes S23 and its affiliates the only small business ship repair company with deep-water access in Virginia. As a result, S23 and its affiliates will be able to fulfill a category of ship repair not presently performed in Hampton Roads.
“S23 Holdings and its affiliates selected Newport News for its expansion after considering a number of locational advantages,” said Jorge Rivera, CEO and Chairman of S23 Holdings. “The Newport News facility is strategically located on the James River, has the water depth to accommodate deep draft vessels, offers unrestricted navigational access, and, most importantly, has access to an underutilized workforce. Workforce development is one of S23’s guiding principles, and our sincere desire to work with the Southeast Community to create new jobs and provide shipyard training was a driving force behind our decision to select Newport News.”
The Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) worked with the City of Newport News to secure the project for Virginia. Governor Northam approved a $664,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund to assist Newport News with the project. S23 Holdings, LLC and its affiliates are eligible to receive state benefits from the Virginia Enterprise Zone Program, administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development. Funding and services to support the company’s employee training activities will be provided through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program.
“We are excited to welcome S23 and its affiliate East Coast Repair and Fabrication to Newport News,” said Mayor of the City of Newport News McKinley L. Price. “The collaboration between VEDP, the Newport News Economic Development Authority, and the Newport News Redevelopment and Housing Authority, has paved the way for S23 and its affiliates to expand upon the rich maritime heritage in our city and provide meaningful opportunities for our citizens. This project reflects the core values of our city and the vision for transformation in the Southeast Community.”
“This project could not come at a better time as we work toward long-term recovery from COVID-19,” said Senator Monty Mason. “Diversification of our economy has always been a goal, but it is even more critical now. This is a win for Newport News and the entire Peninsula, and I am grateful for the work done by the City of Newport News and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership to bring S23 Holdings to our area.”
“This project is an exciting new chapter of our story as the City of Newport News seeks to create more opportunities for training and employment in shipbuilding and repair,” said Delegate Marcia “Cia” Price. “The S23 Holdings’ commitment to hire from the surrounding community speaks to the importance of economic development being accomplished with a heart for the communities we serve.”