While the urge to bid “good riddance” to 2020 is hard to resist, the realist in each of us knows there are tough challenges still ahead in the new year for businesses and professionals across the economic spectrum. From recovery efforts to ongoing developments, here are just a few regional business stories to watch in 2021.
Navigating the Road to Economic Recovery
While there is still no shortage of dire statistics to report from local labor markets and consumer spending, promising news on the vaccine front, hard-earned knowledge from months dealing with the pandemic and improved access to resources for struggling businesses give cause for cautious optimism.
HRBT Expansion Builds a Bridge to the Future
Officials broke ground in October 2020 on the five-year project that will add twin two-lane tunnels adjacent to the existing bridge-tunnel and widen I-64 in both directions. Hampton Roads Connector Partners is the prime contractor for the project.
Summit Pointe an Urban Destination in Chesapeake
The popularity of mixed-use urban developments—incorporating planned office, retail and living spaces—appears to be holding strong around the region, and Chesapeake has gotten into the game with a big brand name in local business as its anchor. Phase 1 of the Summit Pointe development in the Greenbrier area, already completed, includes Dollar Tree’s gleaming new 12-story, 510,000-square-foot office tower and campus complex.
Bigger and Better at the Port of Virginia
A series of ongoing improvements to the Port of Virginia is designed to position the maritime gateway built around the world’s largest natural deep-water harbor as a major player in the industry and on the world stage. These include an $800 million expansion of its terminals, which was capped off by the recent arrival of two massive container cranes, the largest of their kind in the United States, at Norfolk International Terminals.
Future Uncertain for Healthcare Partnership
On Dec. 1, 2020, a report by independent consulting firm Manatt Health Strategies was released on the ReInvent Hampton Roads website. Among other findings, the report notes that our region has “significant untapped potential to realize improvements in its health status and economy by strengthening the working relationships among Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS), Sentara, Old Dominion University (ODU), Norfolk State University (NSU), the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters (CHKD) and other critical stakeholders.”