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Smithfield to bring 170 jobs

Smithfield Foods will lease a 20,000-square-foot space in North Suffolk’s Bridgeway Technology Center II on Harbour View Boulevard, bringing with it about 170 new jobs to Suffolk.

The Economic Development Authority approved the move in a 7-0 vote following a closed session at its Wednesday meeting.

The move for Smithfield will consolidate offices it has in Missouri and Illinois, bringing with it office, sales and logistics-type jobs, according to city Economic Development Director Kevin Hughes.

He said the city is providing a $30,000 grant to Smithfield as it builds out the space and does its hiring.

“It’s in motion currently, so there are some jobs that are there right now,” Hughes said.

Hughes expects the net financial impact for Suffolk to be about $150,000 annually in tax revenue.

Hughes said the city has been touting for years North Suffolk’s proximity to Interstate 664 and its location at the center of the metro Hampton Roads area.

“That was one of the things that was attractive to them in order to dip into and find new workforce that you had a population on the Peninsula, population in the Southside and in the greater Suffolk and Isle of Wight area with a lot of amenities, restaurants, hotels, et cetera, that are attractive as they’re trying to recruit and bring employment here.”

Smithfield Foods employs more than 54,000 people in the United States, Mexico and Europe. The $15 billion company has its corporate headquarters in Smithfield, and regionally, operates facilities there, in Hampton and Toano. The company recently reorganized its leadership team, with Dennis Organ as the company’s new chief operating officer for U.S. operations.

Hughes said the city has been focusing for the past 10 years on the office space in North Suffolk as a logical location for businesses, including Smithfield. The city had a defense contractor campus that had significant cutbacks, so bringing food-related jobs will help Suffolk diversify its economy and not rely on the federal government, he said.
“They were buying so many companies, they were going to create some synergy and bringing it all to one location so they could interact and work with each other better,” Hughes said. “So that was really the main driver of the project, and they needed to put it in a location that made sense and was attractive for many reasons, and that was one of the drivers of it.”