RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The newest addition to the Richmond skyline is now open for business. MeadWestvaco's brand new building overlooking the James River held its grand opening tonight.
You would think that in this economic climate, the last thing you'd be seeing is a brand new shiny office building opening up downtown. But MeadWestvaco and city and state leaders believe that is exactly what Richmond needs to begin crawling out of this recession.
Virginia's new governor made no qualms about his excitement for Richmond's newest downtown building.
"This is a big day for Richmond," said Governor Bob McDonnell.
McDonnell joined a host of Virginia dignitaries celebrating the move of the packaging company MeadWestvaco, from Glen Allen to downtown Richmond. A move McDonnell believes demonstrates the type of state Virginia is for business.
"We wouldn't have MeadWestvaco here tonight if they didn't believe that we had the full package in Richmond and in Virginia for their business and their families to live and to work and to have a good quality of life," he said.
But MeadWestvaco has its share of trouble. Last year the company laid off 2,000 employees. 75 of which were expected to work out of this glistening new building. The company claims its back on solid ground, and Mayor Dwight Jones believes it can spark the beginning of a comeback.
"The recession cannot be something that we think we can cut our way out of, or tax our way out of it, we have to grow our way out of it," Jones said.
And for MeadWestvaco, there is no better destination than River City.
"When we toured Richmond and that surrounding area, we really felt that vibrancy and that energy here," said Linda Shriner, Senior Vice President of MeadWestvaco.
An energy everyone hopes will lead to an economic turnaround. MeadWestvaco expects to have between 650 to 700 people working at the new nine story downtown facility. It includes a gym and a cafeteria that overlooks the river, as well as access to the popular Canal Walk.