130 jobs leaving Hopewell
By Caitlin Davis, Senior Staff Writer
Mar 4, 2014, 16:06
JAMES PEACEMAKER JR./HOPEWELL NEWS/NEWS-PATRIOT Evonik plans to move 130 people out of its offices on Sixth Street in Hopewell to Chesterfield. Manufacturing will stay in Hopewell.
HOPEWELL — One of the city’s largest employers is sending more than 100 local jobs to Chesterfield.
In an announcement by Gov. Terry McAuliffe on Thursday morning, Envoik Industries, will invest $15 million to relocate its offices.
Though the chemical company is going to expand its Business and Innovation Center in Chesterfield County, the manufacturing plant will still remain in Hopewell. The move to Chesterfield will also create 50 new jobs over the course of five years while still keeping the 130 jobs that already existed at the corporate offices in Hopewell.
“Evonik’s decision to stay in Virginia is a win-win for the state and the Greater Richmond region. Evonik Corporation’s expansion of its research and development facilities in Chesterfield County and the creation of 50 new jobs is a testament to Virginia’s ability to attract innovative and growing companies to the Commonwealth and will contribute to the long-term economic sustainability of the community,” Gov. McAuliffe said in a statement.
According to a press release, Virginia competed against New Jersey and Indiana for the home of Evonik.
“Virginia is a great place to do business,” Dr. Reinhold Brand, senior vice president and general manager of Evonik’s Consumer Specialities business unit in North America, said in a statement. “The state is known as very business friendly. The region has highly educated workforce. Talent from all over the world can be attracted to work and live here in Virginia.”
Another competition existed between the city of Hopewell and Chesterfield County for the corporate offices of Evonik. Mayor Mike Bujakowski said despite their best efforts, the city was not able to win the fight.
“The fact that they left is like being the prettiest contestant in a beauty pageant and you come in second,” Bujakowski said. The city presented a rendering of a new building for the company which would have been built at the Patrick Copeland site, overlooking the Appomattox and James Rivers.
“We had the prettiest and best proposal for them and it just didn’t work,” the Mayor said in the day following the announcement.
Evonik, an industrial group from Germany and active in over 100 countries around the world, will move out of the facility on Sixth Ave. in Hopewell to a facility near the Chesterfield Airport. The company will still remain as a presence in Hopewell as the manufacturing site will still continue to operate in the city.
“It’s not gloom and doom by any means,” Bujakowski said. “We hate to lose any business but the great news is they stayed in Virginia and that helps all of us and that’s a good thing. What’s good for Virginia is good for us.”
The project also helped get off the ground by Former Gov. Bob McDonnell as he worked with the Virginia Economic Development Partnership to help secure a $500,000 grant from the Governor’s Opportunity Fund.
“We are proud to welcome Evonik to our corporate family,” Jim Holland, chairman of the Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors said in a statement. “As a world leader in the manufacturing and developing of specialty chemicals, we are extremely pleased that they have chosen Chesterfield County for their new Business and Innovation Center. Research and development is one of our target growth markets and this announcement certainly fit well into our economic base. We look forward to their continued growth.”
Brand also stated the Evonik employees are “very excited” about the “bright future with the new facility.”
Bujakowski is looking at move as a bright, new future for Hopewell as well. He said the city will start looking at the building on Sixth Avenue for other possible business projects.
“When one door closes, another opens,” Bujakowski said. “At the end of the day it’s good for all of us. It appeared inevitable they were going to leave, but we’re in that mode in Hopewell to get things done.”