Governor Terry McAuliffe announced Colonna’s Shipyard, Inc., a full-service ship repair facility and home of America’s largest marine travel lift, will invest over $30 million to expand its operation in the City of Norfolk, creating 51 new jobs. The company will add a larger dry dock for working on today’s largest ships, and also dredge and improve the channel and bulkhead. Colonna’s Shipyard is located in the historic Berkley section of Norfolk and is the oldest continuous family-owned and operated private shipyard in the United States.
Speaking about the announcement, Governor McAuliffe said, “This major investment by one of Virginia’s oldest businesses will expand capacity and improve the maritime infrastructure in Hampton Roads—a significant win for Norfolk and for the Commonwealth. Colonna’s expansion to grow and diversify is an important project in the marine industry and is another step forward in our efforts to build a new Virginia economy.”
“Colonna’s Shipyard has been a longstanding corporate partner in the Commonwealth, and the creation of more new jobs is great news for Norfolk and the region,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones. “This significant expansion is a another great testament to the outstanding talent, infrastructure and quality of life in Hampton Roads, an east coast gateway to the global economy.”
Colonna’s Shipyard was founded in 1875 by Charles J. Colonna, a 26-year-old ship carpenter, using money that he had borrowed. Because money was short on supply, early business was limited to pier-side repairs. Within two years, Charles had added his first marine railway that had a lift capacity of about 40 tons and was powered by two horses. Today, Colonna’s Shipyard occupies over 100 acres of land, with water access to over 3,000 feet of vessel/boat berthing space and lift capacity to accommodate all vessels up to 14,000 tons. It also has a marine travel lift capacity of 1,000 metric tons, the largest in the United States.
“The 140-year relationship with the community, the talented employees living in this area and the support received from the City of Norfolk and the Commonwealth of Virginia made Norfolk the right choice for Colonna’s to pursue the necessary capital improvements to allow us to expand our dry dock operation,” said Tom Godfrey, Colonna’s Shipyard, Inc. CEO. “This expansion will allow Colonna’s to continue to provide quality services to both commercial and government customers throughout the region.
The Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) worked with the City of Norfolk to secure the project for Virginia. Governor McAuliffe approved a $200,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund to assist Norfolk with the project. The Governor also approved a $250,000 performance-based grant from the Virginia Investment Partnership program, an incentive available to existing Virginia companies. The company is eligible to receive state benefits from the Virginia Enterprise Zone Program, administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development. Additional funding and services to support the company’s employee training activities will be provided through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program, administered by VEDP.
“Since 1875, Colonna’s Shipyard has called Norfolk home,” said Paul D. Fraim, Norfolk Mayor. “Through the years, this family-owned company has diversified its business and provided a robust apprenticeship program which put many of our residents to work. We congratulate them on their growth with the addition of 51 highly skilled positions and thank the state for its investment that made this milestone possible.”
As one of my commercial constituents, I am pleased that Colonna’s Shipyard is reaching this latest milestone,” said Delegate Daun Hester. “I know their leadership also strives for the shipyard to be a good neighbor in the Berkley community, so I am optimistic that the company's success will also mean new job opportunities for residents and on-going cooperation between Colonna’s and Berkley citizens.”
“This major investment by Colonna and the 51 new jobs being created give added proof that Governor McAuliffe’s economic policies are working well and deserve continued support in the General Assembly,” said Senator Kenneth Alexander, who grew up in Berkley and whose 5th Senate District includes that community. “We deeply appreciate Colonna’s strong, ongoing faith in Norfolk and in our Berkley neighborhood.”