By: Michael Campbell | Twitter: @DinwiddieMonitr
Posted: October 5, 2019 | 1:45 p.m.
$14 million Dinwiddie facility replaces landlocked Petersburg location
DINWIDDIE – One of the county’s newest additions to its business portfolio is hopeful to have their new facility in Dinwiddie’s northeastern corridor completed by the end of the year as Dominion Energy prepares to transition to their facility along West Washington Street across from the Central State Hospital complex.
In an interview, Dominion Energy Media Relations Representative Jeremy Slayton confirmed the multi-state electric utility would be looking to begin operating out of their new office space during the fourth quarter of 2019, roughly two years after plans for their new facility were announced to the public as they sought to move onto land vacated by Southside Virginia Training Center, which ceased operations in June of 2014 as part of the closure of all but one of the state’s training centers at that time.
This office will serve as the replacement to their current office in neighboring Petersburg along East Washington Street near Puddledock Road, which dates back to 1955 and presents a challenge to Dominion in terms of future growth given the 14-acre property is landlocked, serving to stifle any hopes of expansion at the facility.
An aerial shot of Dominion Energy’s current office in Petersburg shows one of the compelling reasons the company is slated to move to Dinwiddie, the landlocked nature of the roughly dozen-acre property presents further expansion. (Google Earth)
“We have been there for more than 60 years and we simply need more space for our employees, our equipment, and vehicles,” Slayton detailed, which saw Dominion look for viable properties, thus placing Dinwiddie on the radar given they own roughly 120 acres along both sides of the Petersburg/Dinwiddie line, with about 52 acres in Petersburg and the adjourning property in Dinwiddie totaling 65 acres.
“We had that acreage and we had that location so, we decided to put the new location there,” he explained. “This new facility is being built on more than 20 acres at the Dinwiddie location.”
According to Slayton, this new office will house Dominion’s distribution and operations teams, like servicemen who work and maintain power lines, along with some of their designers who are tasked engineering how power lines are constructed, along with transmission personnel, along with equipment and other resources.
With plans to move employees from the Petersburg office to their new Dinwiddie facility, Dominion representatives said they will be working with the city to determine the best use for the building once they have vacated the East Washington Street location.
“We are going to retain ownership of the Petersburg property and work with the City of Petersburg to determine the most appropriate use for that building going forward.”
The move westward along Route 36 and U.S. Route 460 to Dinwiddie County may seem significant in terms of logistics but, given their location along West Washington Street, they remain directly connected to a major artery of the region with direct access to Interstates 85 and 95, along with U.S. Routes 1 and 460 in either direction should they need to dispatch equipment and crews to restoration or other activities. When asked, logistics play a key role in determining the location and placement of these kinds of infrastructure.
“We are still going to be on Washington Street, just a bit further west,” Slayton said. “Having a quick response time for outages and making sure we get the power back on for our customers is a big deal for us. We want to be able to respond quickly, efficiently, and safely to any outages that our customers may have.”
In regards to staffing, Slayton said roughly 100 people will work out of the new Dinwiddie County office, with most of those being current Dominion Energy employees but the company didn’t rule out opportunities for hiring.
“Most of [the employees] will be current but, that is not to say that we won’t bring on new people but most will be current employees,” he said.
This new office building along U.S. Route 1 in Dinwiddie County will serve as the new home for roughly 100 Dominion Energy employees as the utility company leaves their smaller office in Petersburg after over over sixty years. (Michael Campbell)
As part of the $14 million development project by Dominion, the company has worked closely with a number of county departments over the course of its conception, from planning and zoning to the Dinwiddie Board of Supervisors themselves as part of a rezoning request that was granted in 2017 for the development, which saw the 50-acre plot rezoned to allow for industrial uses. For Slayton and Dominion, those interactions have been positive and they look forward to fostering deep roots in the community.
“It is important for us to make sure we are working well with our partners in the localities in which we have offices,” he said. “It is very important to us to maintain those relationships moving forward.”
Speaking to the multi-million investment into the county by the utility, he continued, “We are looking forward to working with Dinwiddie just as we did with Petersburg officials and residents. We will continue to help the Petersburg community as we have customers there. We are very active in the community so that is something we are going to continue and we look forward to expanding that to Dinwiddie.”
Slayton reiterated their move westward won’t have a negative impact on their response times to outages in the region.
“We are not going to be slower in terms of responding to outages and emergencies,” he said. “Our customer’s reliability with their power and their safety is our top priority. If there is a reported outage or a wire down, we are still going to respond safely, quickly, and efficiently. We just needed a more modern facility handle our different equipment and trucks.”
According to Slayton, the complex is scheduled for completion in the fourth quarter of 2019.
Copyright 2019 by Womack Publishing
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