City News

Press Releases and Announcements

Mayor Stoney names directors for Human Resources, Finance; appoints Interim Budget Director

Mayor Levar M. Stoney today is pleased to announce the appointment of Mona Adkins-Easley to the be the Director of the City of Richmond Department of Human Resources, and the appointment of Sheila D. White to be the Director of the city’s Department of Finance.

 

Mayor Stoney also announced today that Office of Budget & Strategic Planning Deputy Director Jason P. May will serve as Interim Director beginning June 15, following the departure of longtime director Dr. Jay Brown, who recently accepted a job as Deputy County Administrator for Hanover County.

 

Both Ms. Adkins-Easley and Ms. White had been serving as interim directors of their respective departments prior to their appointments. Mr. May will serve in the interim director’s position while the city seeks a replacement for Dr. Brown, who had served since 2014 through two mayoral administrations.

 

“Dr. Brown has served the city with distinction and we wish him the best in his new role,” said Mayor Stoney. “Fortunately, we have a deep bench, and I’m very pleased that we were able to fill these critical positions from within the ranks of our talented workforce. The City of Richmond is known for recruiting and cultivating stellar public servants, and I know Mona, Sheila and Jason are the right people at the right time to continue the successful management and upward trajectory of our city.”

 

Ms. Adkins-Easley is an experienced human resources executive who has spent more than 35 years in public service, including serving as the Associate Vice President for Human Resources at Virginia State University for 17 years and in the same title at Norfolk State University for four years, until her retirement in 2018. She joined the City of Richmond in October 2019 as Interim Director of Human Resources. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Norfolk State University and a Master’s in Public Administration from Virginia Commonwealth University.

 

Ms. White was serving as Senior Deputy Director of Finance before her appointment in February to the position of Interim Finance Director. A certified Public Accountant with more than 20 years of experience in both accounting and operations roles, Ms. White holds a degree in Accounting from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and an M.B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

 

Mr. May has 11 years of experience in municipal budgeting and 19 years of experience in local government, having served as Assistant to the City Manager for the City of Kannapolis, North Carolina prior to joining the City of Richmond in 2019 as deputy director. He holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, and a Master’s in Public Administration from Appalachian State University. 

 

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Governor Northam Announces Biotech Company Aditxt to Build State-of-the-Art Facility in Richmond and Create Over 300 New Jobs

Governor Ralph Northam today announced that Aditxt (Aditx Therapeutics, Inc.) (Nasdaq: ADTX), a biotech innovation company focused on improving the health of the immune system, will establish its first high-capacity AditxtScore™ Center in the City of Richmond in the second half of 2021. Aditxt plans to create more than 300 new jobs and targets making a capital investment of $31.5 million over three years to scale up its state-of-the-art immune monitoring center, including projected new jobs, laboratory equipment, and construction. Governor Northam and company officials announced the project during an event at the Virginia Bio+Tech Park, a campus of Activation Capital, where the company will occupy 25,000 square feet of Bio+Tech 8 with plans for future expansion.

“The Richmond region has emerged as a hub for cutting-edge biotech companies, and this thriving industry will be bolstered by the addition of Aditxt’s Immune Monitoring Center,” said Governor Northam. “The Virginia Bio+Tech Park is an ideal location for the company to continue its groundbreaking work to improve the health of our communities and help us better understand our own immune systems—something that has become extremely important over the past year. We are honored to welcome Aditxt to the Commonwealth, and we thank the company for creating more than 300 well-paid jobs for the people of Virginia.”

AditxtScore™ is pioneering a new approach to immune health monitoring that will provide a personalized profile of the immune system. By assessing an individual’s immune biomarkers, AditxtScore™ is able to measure indications of immunity to specific disease. AditxtScore™ applications include the recently commercialized AditxtScore™ for COVID-19, developed for use in detecting antibodies and neutralizing antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 antigens.

Since going public in June 2020, Aditxt has moved aggressively to fulfill its mission to prolong life and enhance quality of life by improving the health of the immune system. Alongside AditxtScore™, the company is developing the AditxtReprogramming™ therapeutic platform which is currently in a pre-clinical stage and is designed to retrain the immune system to induce tolerance with an objective of addressing rejection of transplanted organs, autoimmune diseases, and allergies. Aditxt expects to initiate clinical studies in patients by the end of 2021.

“Aditxt has the potential to significantly improve human health and longevity, and we are proud to welcome this innovative company to the Commonwealth,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “Greater Richmond offers world-class education institutions, research assets, and a pipeline of skilled talent that will support Aditxt’s mission, and we look forward to working with the company as it grows in Virginia.”

“Richmond is an ideal location for our first high-capacity AditxtScore™ Center given its skilled workforce, location, and infrastructure,” said Amro Albanna, Co-founder and CEO of Aditxt. “As we begin rolling out the AditxtScore™ platform and applications for immune monitoring, the establishment of an AditxtScore™ Immune Monitoring Network is vital to realizing our full vision for AditxtScore™, which is to transform immune diagnosis from reactive testing to proactive monitoring. We look forward to working with the community to complete this important step in the execution of Aditxt’s strategic plan, and we are grateful to the Commonwealth of Virginia, Governor Northam, his team, and all involved for their support and welcoming reception.”

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) worked with the City of Richmond and the Virginia Bio+Tech Park to secure the project for the Commonwealth. Governor Northam approved a $1.3 million grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund to assist the City of Richmond with the project. Aditxt is eligible to receive state benefits from the Virginia Enterprise Zone Program, administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, and a Research and Development Expenses Tax Credit for qualifying research and development expenses.

Support for Aditxt’s job creation will be provided through the Virginia Talent Accelerator Program, a workforce initiative created by VEDP in collaboration with the Virginia Community College System and other higher education partners, with funding support from the Northam Administration and the Virginia General Assembly. Launched in 2019, the program accelerates new facility start-ups through the direct delivery of recruitment and training services that are fully customized to a company’s unique products, processes, equipment, standards, and culture. All program services are provided at no cost to qualified new and expanding companies as an incentive for job creation.

“Life science innovation is a growing industry in Richmond, and we continue to get better with the addition of Aditxt,” said Mayor Levar Stoney. “The company’s anticipated investment into the City of Richmond and the potential 300 plus new jobs created will absolutely have a positive impact on the city’s economic growth. Equally important, the work the company does will have a far-reaching impact, advancing the health of our community and others around the world. Richmond is proud to be part of these advancements as home to Aditxt’s first high-capacity AditxtScore™ Center.”

“Aditxt choosing to locate its operations in downtown Richmond within the Virginia Bio+Tech Park is a signal that central Virginia has the talent, infrastructure, and resources needed for supporting life sciences companies,” said Chandra Briggman, President and CEO of Activation Capital and the Virginia Bio+Tech Park. “This announcement is significant for Richmond and the Commonwealth, and we are looking forward to welcoming Aditxt to our innovation ecosystem.”

“I am pleased that Richmond has been selected as home to Aditxt’s first immune monitoring center,” said Congressman A. Donald McEachin. “Today’s announcement is not only a testament to Virginia’s talented workforce and rich capacity for innovation, but it also exemplifies the power of public-private partnership in the Commonwealth to serve the greater good while creating well-paid jobs and expanding opportunities throughout all of our communities. I look forward to seeing Aditxt grow and prosper here in Virginia’s fourth congressional district.”

“The potential creation of over 300 high-quality jobs and an expected multi-million dollar investment in our city is an exciting opportunity for Richmond,” said Senator Jennifer McClellan. “The AditxtScore™ Center will complement our expanding biotechnology and life science industry and our growing skilled workforce pipeline. I am looking forward to seeing the success of Aditxt in continuing the economic growth of our community.”

“I am happy to welcome Aditxt to the City of Richmond,” said Delegate Jeff Bourne. “The company’s work in the life sciences field underscores Richmond’s status as a growing city for innovation and investment. I am proud that Aditxt chose to call Richmond home.”


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Resort Casino Evaluation Panel reduces short list to two operators

The City of Richmond’s Resort Casino Evaluation Panel has reduced the shortlist of proposed resort casino projects being considered to Live! Casino & Hotel Richmond and ONE Casino + Resort.

The proposed Bally’s Richmond Casino Resort and the project’s proposed site of Parkway Crossings (Chippenham Parkway and Powhite Parkway) are no longer being considered by the Evaluation Panel.

“We appreciate Bally’s interest to develop a resort casino project in Richmond,” said Leonard Sledge, Director of the city’s Department of Economic Development.  “The Evaluation Panel is no longer considering the Bally’s project or the Parkway Crossings site for a resort casino due to concerns about site access, environmental factors, and required approvals from non-city entities that may not be granted or extend the project timeline.  We also appreciate the many Richmond citizens who have shared their thoughts throughout this process.”

The Evaluation Panel is continuing its evaluation of the remaining proposals and sites (Live! Casino & Hotel at 1301 N. Arthur Ashe Boulevard and ONE Casino + Resort at 2001 Walmsley Boulevard).  Factors in the evaluation of the proposals include:  community impact and community benefits; location; direct revenue impact to the city; project feasibility and project sustainability; and economic development impact.

While the City has concluded its first two phases of community engagement, citizens are encouraged to continue to share their comments on the proposed resort casino projects. Comments can be emailed to econdev@richmondgov.com. The next phase of the city-led community engagement will start in May when the Evaluation Panel shares its recommended operator, location, and terms of the deal. The City has not promoted and is not participating in meetings convened by the two remaining respondents.

Information on the City’s resort casino competitive process can be found at https://www.rva.gov/economic-development/resort-casino.

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Governor Northam, Mayor Stoney announce sustainable biotech firm to expand operations in Richmond, creating 250 new jobs

Grenova Inc. to invest $10.6 million to increase production of pipette tip cleaning, washing and sterilizing machines

Governor Ralph Northam today announced that Grenova Inc., a Virginia-based sustainable biotech firm that designs, develops, and manufactures devices that wash and sterilize contaminated pipette tips for reuse, will invest $10.6 million to expand in the City of Richmond. The company will relocate its operations from Manchester to a larger facility in Scott’s Addition and increase capacity with new production lines in response to the shortage of pipette tips used for COVID-19 testing. Governor Northam joined company leaders at the site of Grenova’s future location at 1900 Ellen Road to celebrate the project, which will add 250 new jobs over the next three years.

“We are thrilled to celebrate this homegrown sustainable biotech firm expanding and adding to its workforce in Richmond,” said Governor Northam. “It is remarkable to see Virginia’s innovative life sciences businesses quickly adapt and respond to critical needs as we fight this pandemic. Grenova is an emerging industry leader that has achieved exponential growth in a short time, and I applaud the company for leveraging its technology and expertise to address a global shortage and reduce environmental waste.”

Founded in Richmond in 2014, Grenova’s mission is to help lower costs and reduce biohazard waste by delivering groundbreaking approaches in dealing with plastic consumables. The company’s product, Tipnovus™ enables laboratories to wash and sanitize pipette tips for reuse numerous times, cutting associated consumable costs by up to 96 percent. Ten pipette tips are used to fully conduct one COVID-19 test, resulting in a worldwide shortage of the plastic consumable. Grenova’s technology allows healthcare systems to safely wash and reuse the pipette tips used for testing, which has helped to end pipette tip shortages and improve access to COVID-19 testing while making labs more environmentally friendly. Due to demand for Grenova’s products, the company has quadrupled in size in the last year. Grenova sells products from its Richmond facility to laboratories and distributors across the United States, as well as in Europe and Asia.

“This expansion project is an important win that will create 250 new, high-quality jobs and help improve Richmond’s standing as a life sciences hub,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “Grenova is a great success story for the Commonwealth, and we are confident the region will continue to provide the business climate and workforce needed for years to come.”

“Our growth is a sign that the world is ready to rethink, reimagine, and reinvent the way plastic consumables like pipette tips are washed and reused within the life sciences industry and beyond,” said Ali Safavi, Founder and CEO of Grenova. “We’re proud to make our bold solution possible from our expanded headquarters in Richmond thanks to the Commonwealth’s thriving ecosystem of world-class talent, resources, and infrastructure.”

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with the City of Richmond to secure the project for the Commonwealth. Grenova Inc. is eligible to receive state benefits from the Virginia Enterprise Zone Program, administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, and funding and services to support the company’s employee recruitment and training activities will be provided through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program.

“Grenova’s sustainable solution for lab testing consumable products is a premier example of how great ideas and ingenuity flourish in the City of Richmond,” said Mayor Levar Stoney. “The City is thankful for the company’s capital investment and new job creation. Grenova’s new facility in Scott’s Addition demonstrates that entrepreneurial and life science ecosystems in Richmond are strong and continue to have a far-reaching impact.”

“The expansion of Grenova Inc. is wonderful news for Richmond,” said Congressman Donald McEachin. “Creating jobs and reducing biohazardous waste are two critical goals that are good for Richmond and for the Commonwealth. Once again, Virginia leads the way.”

“I am so pleased to see Grenova’s expansion to its new and larger facility in Scott’s Addition,” said Senator Ghazala Hashmi. “Grenova’s introduction of innovative technologies helps to address the global shortage of pipette tips during this pandemic and also highlights how we can reduce biohazard waste. This expansion will bring exciting new jobs opportunities and further talent development in Richmond.”

“I am happy to hear that Grenova Inc. will be expanding its operations in the City of Richmond,” said Delegate Jeffrey Bourne. “The work that the company is doing to reuse pipette tips is an essential cog in the machine that is our COVID-19 response. Grenova’s presence in Richmond continues to provide important jobs as well as contributes to Richmond’s status as a place for innovation and growth.”


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Mayor announces city acquisition of Burial Ground for Freed People of Color on North 5th Street

Mayor Levar M. Stoney announced today the City of Richmond has acquired the private land on 1305 North 5th Street – the known location of the historic Burial Ground for Freed People of Color.

Back in February, the city was the only bidder for the property, which was sold at auction for a bid of $145,000. City officials completed the transaction on Friday, April 16 and obtained the title to the property.

The purchased parcel represents 1.21 acres of a two-acre public burying ground established by the City of Richmond in 1816.  One acre was set aside for enslaved people and the other for free people of color. The last reported burial was recorded in 1879.

Over the past 200 years, the cemetery was expanded, referred to by various names, and desecrated -- including grave robbing to supply the Medical College of Virginia with cadavers in the mid-nineteenth century.

In 1960, the city sold the property to the Sun Oil Company with no acknowledgement of the cemetery.  A small gas station was constructed on the property, and in the 1970s a billboard was erected.

The city’s next step will be to identify funding and to issue a request for proposals for a cultural resource management firm to perform additional research and archaeological investigation, with a view toward proper commemoration and memorialization of the site.

“This important acquisition is yet another step in our efforts to reclaim the hidden and abandoned history of the African-Americans who built this city,” said Mayor Stoney. “If we are to truly reconcile the shameful history of slavery and injustice and heal as a city and a nation, we must respect and honor the memories of those who lived and died under this oppression by telling their stories so they will not be forgotten.”


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