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South Korean undersea cable manufacturer plans $680 million plant in Chesapeake

Daniel Ko (left), senior vice-president of LS GreenLink's parent company LS Cable and System, and Gov. Glenn Youngkin (right) speak with members of the crowd after LS GreenLink's announcement of its new Chesapeake plant on July 9. Renderings of the plant are visible in the background.
Ryan Murphy
Daniel Ko (left), senior vice-president of LS GreenLink's parent company LS Cable and System, and Gov. Glenn Youngkin (right, in blue) speak with members of the crowd after LS GreenLink's announcement of its new Chesapeake plant on July 9. Renderings of the plant are visible in the background.

The company will employ 330 people to produce submarine electrical cables for offshore power projects.

A South Korean subsea cable manufacturer will open a new factory in Chesapeake, creating 330 new jobs and building the tallest building in the Commonwealth along the way.

State and regional leaders said Tuesday the project is a big step forward in establishing Hampton Roads as a hub for the offshore wind industry.

LS Greenlink is one of the biggest makers of undersea electrical cables in the world. It’ll spend $681 million to build a 750,000 square-foot manufacturing plant starting next year. The first hires are planned for 2026 and construction should finish in 2029.

Once up and running, the facility will create cables more than 7 inches in diameter to carry power from projects like Dominion Energy’s offshore wind farm.

Patrick Shim, the managing director of LS GreenLink, said the company already has a backlog of orders for its undersea cables, and the new facility will serve projects across the globe, not just on the East Coast.

“That means Virginia is at the epicenter of supply chains in a rapidly-growing sector,” Gov. Glenn Youngkin said while announcing the project at the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission’s Regional Building in Chesapeake.

Doug Smith heads the Hampton Roads Economic Development Alliance, which was involved in drawing the company to the area. He said it’ll be the region’s biggest manufacturing project in several decades and could be a turning point for the region as a hub for the global wind industry.

“We’re hopeful it’s a first domino,” Smith said.

Regional leaders have touted the potential for Hampton Roads to become the center of the wind industry, starting with Dominion Energy's large-scale offshore wind project currently under construction off Virginia Beach.

But some efforts to kickstart the sector locallyhave faltered, like a $200 million turbine blade manufacturing facility planned for Portsmouth that was canceled by Siemens Energy in November as part of a global pull-back for the German company. The moveraised questions about the region’s aspirations.

Shim said LS GreenLink is committing to Chesapeake for the long haul. The company has spent the last two years searching for a location and Virginia beat out 14 other states.

Company leaders praised Youngkin and his administration, which first made contact on a trade trip to South Korea last year.

LS GreenLink received a $99 million dollar federal tax credit for the project to satisfy the growing demand from the clean energy industry.

That will be supplemented by $13.2 million in performance-based grants from the Commonwealth Opportunity Fund, which will get paid out as the company builds and hires. Chesapeake has pledged another $12 million in grants as well as $3 million worth of infrastructure improvements at the site.

Once completed, the facility will include the tallest building in the commonwealth: a 660-foot tower that is part of the manufacturing process and feature a conference room at the very top that will be open to the community.

“It’s not just a working building, but it’s going to be a landmark. We want to make it beautiful,” Shim told reporters Tuesday. “You’ll be able to see it from many parts of the city.”

Virginia’s current tallest building is the Westin hotel in Virginia Beach at 508 feet.

Chesapeake Economic Development Director Steven Wright said the city has been marketing the 100-acre brownfield site on the western bank of the Elizabeth River’s Southern Branch for decades. It’s a former industrial site that was also used as a spoil site when the river was dredged.

Wright said the LS GreenLink facility won’t use the whole 100 acres, leaving room for potential expansion of the facility in the future.

Ryan is WHRO’s business and growth reporter. He joined the newsroom in 2021 after eight years at local newspapers, the Daily Press and Virginian-Pilot. Ryan is a Chesapeake native and still tries to hold his breath every time he drives through the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel.


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