Newport News getting marine technology lab

Newport News, VA — Downtown Newport News will be the site of a new lab for the development of various marine technologies.

The city announced Thursday that LAVLE USA will build a $12 million Marine Electric Propulsion Simulation lab in collaboration with Old Dominion University on 1.33 acres at 351 25th St.

Work is slated to start in the summer of 2019 and last about a year.

LAVLE USA is a joint venture between Japanese battery company 3DOM and Washington-based Ockerman Automation, which specializes in marine engineering, design and systems integration, according to a news release.

The lab will develop marine electric propulsion, advanced energy storage and autonomous systems technology. It will also be a place for workforce development in the shipbuilding and ship repair industries. The city expects the lab to create at least 25 high-paying jobs for designers, engineers, programmers and analysts.

Florence G. Kingston, the city’s director of development, said the project will help “further diversify and enrich our economic base.”The lab will be near many city offices, and the land is currently a city parking lot and some other land. LAVLE will buy the land from the economic development authority. During construction, a temporary lab will be housed in the EDA applied research center.

“The research and development that will be conducted at (the lab) will bring new technology to the commercial and military markets and expand Newport News’ role as a Center of Excellence for maritime innovation and construction,” Mayor McKinley Price said.

The lab grew out of ODU’s digital shipbuilding initiative, which recently netted a two-year grant from GO Virginia, a statewide program to support high-paying job creation.

Josh Reyes, 757-247-4692,, @jdauzreyes

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