Growth highlighted at Chamber program

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Suffolk News-Herald

Steel beams and strips of insulation are still exposed inside Bridgeway Technology Center II.

But that didn’t keep the estimated 250 people inside the unfinished 67,500-square-foot building Tuesday from getting a clear look into Suffolk’s future.

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&uot;We selected this particular site for the State of the City program because you can see the future from here,&uot; said Mayor E. Dana Dickens III. Sponsored by the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce, the event drew business leaders from across Hampton Roads.

&uot;Within these walls, soon we will see new technology…new tools, new software, new systems pioneered to make our future better and brighter. &uot;…If you look through those windows over there, you can see where Lockheed Martin is building its $35 million Global Vision Integration Center,&uot; he said. &uot;It will become a key link in our national defense network, where computer simulation technology will be used to develop new products for the Department of Defense and other national security customers.&uot;

The two buildings, located off College Drive, in Bridgeway Commerce Park, showcase the city’s continuing success in the economic development arena.

&uot;Last year, we saw nine major local expansions and 18 new businesses come into the city,&uot; Dickens said. &uot;Combined, these 25 companies have announced more than $120 million in new capital investment and have created 1,000 new jobs.

&uot;Over the last six years, new investment has totaled $572 million dollars and created more than 5,000 new jobs.&uot;

The city, recently named the 43rd fastest growing community in the country, is attracting approximately 1,000 new households annually, he said.

A key element vital in both the city’s residential and commercial development in recent years is the City Council’s focus on six priorities: economic development; education; downtown, neighborhood and village revitalization; quality of life; and smart growth.

&uot;These five strategic priorities chart the course for the city’s progress and prosperity,&uot; Dickens said.

&uot;All of our strategic priorities are interrelated, and underlying all of our efforts is our smart growth philosophy that enables us to grow in a manageable way.&uot;