Like a child waiting for Christmas, communities surrounding Fort Lee have been anticipating the completion of the $1.2 billion expansion of the base since as far back as 2005. Most localities have not known what exactly to expect and exactly when to expect it.
A recent report released by the Crater Planning District Commission (CPDC) details the impact of the BRAC (Base Closure and Realignment Commission) on the area. The analysis addresses prime construction contracts and first-tier subcontracts, but the contracts have spread the BRAC money throughout Virginia and localities adjacent to the base.
“Shortly after the BRAC decisions were announced, some in the business community were skeptical about companies in this are benefitting,” said Denny Morris, CPDC executive director. “There were those who thought that large companies from out of state would come in and bring all there subs and workers with them; that has proven not to be the case.”
According to the report, of the 35 prime contracts analyzed, 24 of them were awarded to 15 Virginia-based companies, and 678 subcontracts were awarded to 449 Virginia-based firms. A total of $710.2 million in building contracts were awarded to Virginia companies.
Two large Chesterfield companies were awarded three prime construction contracts at Fort Lee. Whiting Turner, located in the Arboretum office complex in Midlothian, landed $13 million in construction work on the base and Ironbridge Construction, a disabled-veteran owned company located on Enon Church Road, won two contracts totaling $12.6 million.
According to Glen Richardson, project manager for Ironbridge, the company is working on its second contract at Fort Lee: A $9-million troop dining facility that will feed 1,300 troops a minute with a staff of about 36. “We’re about 65 percent complete and expect to finish by the first of March,” Richardson said. Ironbridge also completed a $3.6-million ammunition magazine in July. Ironbridge Construction has other Department of Defense jobs, as well, including one at Fort Benning, Ga., and at Radford, Va.
Fifty-four Chesterfield subcontractors gained 99 jobs through prime contractors as part of 678 subcontracts gained statewide on post at Fort Lee. Combined, Amelia County, Chesterfield, Colonial Heights, Henrico County, Hopewell, Petersburg, Powhatan County, Prince George County and Richmond have racked up 412 subcontracts spread among 242 contracting companies.
The Crater Procurement Technical Assistance Center is available to assist businesses that are interested in expanding through government contracting whether federal, state or local, according to Morris. Staff is available for one-on-one counseling, classes are offered and an online bid match system is available. For additional information visit www.craterptac.org  or call 804-861-1666.