September, 2008 Archives
The Palmetto State’s Department of Commerce is casting lines into international waters in an attempt to reel in foreign traders.
With a bevy of financial incentives, acres of available land, and an assortment of creative thinkers, California is home to one of the largest state economies in the nation. Lucrative business deals await, and it’s not too late to take part in this modern-day gold rush.
The biotechnology and pharmaceuticals sectors have become engines for economic development across the country.
Spokane: An Unspoken Success Story of the West Located on the eastern side of Washington state, 18 miles west of Idaho and 100 miles south of Canada, the Spokane region is home to 1.4 million people in the Inland Northwest. Since 2005, the Spokane region’s labor force has doubled the national average’s pace, adding more than 21,000 jobs since 2002. Spokane’s workforce is comprised of more than 90% college graduates, and more than 65,000 students study within a 75-mile radius of the city. The education hub of the Inland Northwest, Spokane has the second largest community college district in Washington, and the area boasts 18 higher education institutions in total. More than 60% of residents have attended college and almost 30% hold a bachelor’s degree, while more than 10% hold degrees beyond the post-baccalaureate level. Spokane’s attractive business climate has drawn some interesting organizations to its region. One in particular is Seattle-based Lighthouse for the Blind, Inc., which plans to open a satellite facility in Spokane this month, and increase its workforce to 40 people within three years. Within its first year, the Lighthouse hopes to employ five to 10 people who are blind. The U.S. Labor Department reports at least a 70% unemployment rate among the blind. Available positions at the Lighthouse include machinists, production workers, computer instructors, IT specialists, receptionists, and Web programmers, among others. The Lighthouse offers support services such as orientation and mobility training, housing support, and computer training. Spokane’s Power of Community Created in 2001, the Spokane Community Empowerment Zone (CEZ) spurs economic development throughout Spokane County by offering tax incentives to qualified businesses engaged in manufacturing, R&D or software development. Businesses must apply for the credits prior to groundbreaking or hiring; locate or expand within the designated geographic area (Spokane’s West Central, East Central, and Hillyard neighborhoods); and/or locate in a county having a designated zone and hire employees who are residents of the zone. Forty-two companies have taken advantage of the CEZ benefits, saving a combined $8 million in tax incentives. In turn, these companies have invested $94 million into the Spokane region and created 1,210 new jobs in total. Spokane’s CEZ offers: A Sales and Use Tax Deferral or Exemption on new equipment and construction costs for new or remodeled buildings used in manufacturing, R&D activities, or computer-related activities. A Business and Occupation New Job Tax Credit of $2,000 (for wages and benefits worth $40,000 or less) or $4,000 (for wages and benefits worth more than $40,000) per new job created by […]
A Location With Everything Going For It Uniquely situated along 1-74 between Indianapolis and Cincinnati, Greensburg/Decatur County has proven itself to be a great place to live, work and prosper. Area residents enjoy multiple golf courses, a state-of-the-art youth sports complex, first-class medical care, and dozens of community gatherings, events and festivals. Greensburg/Decatur County is a strong site selection choice for a variety of reasons, including labor and land availability, transportation access, quality of life, and a business-friendly tax climate. A reinvigorated rail line, I-74, and Greensburg-Decatur County Airport (which has a 3,500-foot paved runway) provide multiple access points to today’s lanes of commerce, with the utilities and technology capabilities in place to support businesses of all sizes. Whether dealing with customers on Main Street or in Tokyo, businesses can rest assured that their efforts can be supported in Greensburg/Decatur County. Greensburg/Decatur County boasts two shovel-ready sites, and training and education funding is available for development. Home to a new Honda auto plant, Greensburg/Decatur Economic Development Corp. is actively courting other overseas companies and will soon post a Japanese-language version of its Web site. Honda’s $550-million Decatur Plant Starts Rolling Honda recently completed its new $550-million automotive plant on a 1,700-acre tract in Decatur County, IN, near Greensburg, 50 miles southeast of Indianapolis. The plant is beginning mass production of fuel efficient four-cylinder vehicles this fall, with an annual production capacity of 200,000 vehicles and employment of 2,000 associates. The new Indiana plant, Honda’s sixth auto plant and 14th major plant overall in North America, will help boost Honda’s total North American auto production capacity from 1.4 million units to more than 1.6 million units in 2008, grow Honda’s employment in North America to more than 37,000 associates and increase North American capital investment to more than $9 billion. “Honda’s success in America has been based on our strong commitment to our customers,” says Koichi Kondo, president of American Honda Motor Co., Inc., and chief operating officer of Honda’s North America Region operations. “We believe the great state of Indiana has what we need to continue this success-an outstanding community of people, excellent transportation systems, and the necessary infrastructure to support industry. It is an ideal location in the Midwest both for our network of parts suppliers and as a central location for all of our customers across the country.” In 2005, American Honda achieved record U.S. sales of 1,462,472 new Honda and Acura cars and light trucks, the ninth straight year of record annual sales. In order to meet […]
Toyoda Gosei Set to Build in Batesville In March, Toyoda Gosei North American Group announced plans to build a new automotive parts manufacturing plant in Batesville, MS. The facility will develop and produce interior and exterior plastic automotive components for Toyota Motor Manufacturing Mississippi, Inc. Toyoda Gosei will invest approximately $19 million into the new 103,300-square-foot plant, located on 14.27 acres of land just off of Interstate 55. The company plans to begin production and employ 120 workers by 2010. The Mississippi Development Authority’s project team helped Toyoda Gosei narrow down the Batesville site from contenders in at least two other states. “The Mississippi Development Authority and Panola County Partnership have been a valuable resource for Toyoda Gosei as we begin building a positive relationship with the Batesville community,” says Takashi Matsuura, president of Toyoda Gosei. “Both organizations also played a key role in introducing Toyoda Gosei to various incentive programs that include training for our future workforce.” Toyoda Gosei currently has manufacturing operations in six states, in addition to headquarters in Japan, Belgium, Thailand, and Troy, MI. The corporation’s worldwide employment numbers total more than 23,000 people throughout 16 countries. Vuteq and Toyota Forge a Partnership In 2009, Vuteq USA, Inc. plans to open a new manufacturing facility in New Albany, MS. The $31-million plant is expected to employ 130 people. Vuteq will provide Toyota with more than 50 injection-molded parts, as well as the assembly of the deckboard and various component parts. Vuteq will begin production next year to coincide with the start-up of Toyota’s new Highlander SUV plant. An additional 500 workers are expected to be employed by Vuteq to work at the Toyota SUV facility. “Vuteq USA’s decision to locate in New Albany further demonstrates Mississippi’s commitment to partner with automotive suppliers to create a winning situation for the company, the community in which it will locate, and the state,” says Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour. “During the process of selecting sites, the overwhelming attribute of New Albany was its friendly and welcoming nature,” says Vuteq Canada President Chris Spence, who will oversee the new facility. Oxford Wins Over Winchester In February, the Winchester Company of Olin, Inc., announced plans to relocate its military packaging operations to an existing facility in Oxford, MS. This $3-million investment is expected to create 100 new jobs. Formerly based in East Alton, IL, Winchester’s packaging operations will utilize about 85,000 to 90,000 square feet in its existing Oxford facility. Plant equipment will be moved from Illinois to Mississippi, and a […]
First Major U.S. Coal-to-Liquids Plant to be Built in Benwood The nation’s first modern coal-to-liquids plant will be built in the Marshall County Industrial Park in Benwood, WV. Consol Energy Inc. and Synthesis Energy Systems Inc. (SES) intend to jointly develop their first U.S. coal gasification and liquefaction plant in an $800-million investment. Consol and SES have formed Northern Appalachia Fuel LLC (NAF) to develop the new plant. Gov. Joe Manchin and Sen. Jay Rockefeller, with support from Sen. Robert C. Byrd and West Virginia’s Congressional delegation, company executives and officials from the Regional Economic Development Partnership (RED) announced the project in July. Coal will be converted to synthetic gas using SES proprietary technology. The synthetic gas will be used to produce about 720,000 metric tons per year of methanol that can be used as a feedstock for the chemical industry. Officials expect the project will be capable of converting methanol to about 100 million gallons per year of 87-octane gasoline. As envisioned, the project will include a river terminal facility, where products will be stored in tanks for off-loading into barges for delivery to energy users. According to press reports, the West Virginia Development Office offered incentives worth up to $196 million to the Consol Energy and SES joint venture. When Gov. Manchin and the companies announced plans for the plant, Manchin’s office said Consol, SES, the state and the Regional Economic Development Partnership had signed a memorandum of understanding under which the state and the partnership will provide financing and tax incentives to the project over a 10-year period. The state will provide the project team the Economic Opportunity Credit-a state tax break that allows a company to apply 20 percent of a project’s investment as a credit against the company’s corporate net income and business franchise taxes over 10 years. The value of this incentive is projected to be $160 million, but is limited by the project’s actual state tax liability, the memo reads. The memo also says that if the project moves forward as planned, the Regional Economic Development Partnership will host a meeting with the Marshall County Commission, at which time the joint venture can request a tax-increment financing plan agreement with the county for utility and major infrastructure improvements. The tax-increment financing plan is estimated to be worth up to $35 million. Tax-increment financing uses increases in property tax revenues from a designated district for infrastructure improvements. The memo also says the Regional Economic Development Partnership will sell the joint venture 23.5 acres […]
Chattanooga Gets a $1-Billion Windfall from Volkswagon Tennessee scored its largest economic development coup in more than a decade when Volkswagon Group of America announced in July that it will build its new U.S. automotive production facility in Chattanooga. The Chattanooga plant marks a return to U.S. production for VW, which closed its last North American plant in Pennsylvania in 1988. The German auto giant’s decision to locate car production in Tennessee is expected to bring more than 2,000 jobs and pump nearly $1 billion into the local economy. The company will build the facility in the Enterprise South Industrial Park, located 12 miles northeast of downtown Chattanooga. The 1,350-acre site is owned 100% by the city of Chattanooga and Hamilton County. Adjacent to Interstate 75, It is certified as an industrial megasite by the Tennessee Valley Authority. The new VW plant is expected to have an initial production capacity of 150,000 vehicles, including a new midsize sedan that Volkswagon is designing for the North American market. Production at the plant will commence in 2011. Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen declared that Volkswagon picked the Tennessee site over competing locations in Michigan and Alabama because of “shared values, [Tennessee’s] commitment to innovation, and [its] strong respect for the environment.” “This project will have a significant impact on the economy of Tennessee and the region for decades to come,” Bredesen said at the plant siting announcement. “Volkswagon and Chattanooga have a lot in common,” added Chattanooga City Mayor Ron Littlefield. “Both are serious about environmental sustainability and 21st century manufacturing.” Industry analysts noted that the falling value of the U.S. dollar may have been a key factor in VW’s decision to resume car production in the U.S. The decline of the U.S. currency has increased the cost of overseas production, and conversely made U.S.-based auto manufacturing more cost effective. The Tennessee Department of Economic Development put together a comprehensive package of incentives to seal the deal with Volkswagon, including statutory incentives tied to job creation and capital investment. Additional support in the deal included assistance for building up public infrastructure and job training. Japanese Auto Supplier NSK Chooses Dyersburg Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen and Economic and Community Development Commissioner Matt Kisber joined officials from NSK Steering Systems America, Inc. in May to celebrate the grand opening of their new facility in Dyersburg. The 100,000-square-foot plant will house 140 employees and represents a capital investment of more than $6 million.”The decision by NSK to come to Dyersburg illustrates just what can be […]
When a project gets put on the shelf, key players shouldn’t put themselves on hold. They should be ready to leverage the situation to their advantage.
P.S. Reilly is the president and CEO of the Athena Institute, a Washington-based consulting firm for organizations seeking clean and sustainable solutions. BF: What initial factors should a community consider before embarking on a waterfront revitalization? PR: Waterfront was an overlooked asset for decades-no more. But community waterfront revitalization can imply a significant commitment of time and resources, often in the form of large visions with multi-staged projects. Starting with a critical mass of community decision makers on board with the need and vision to revitalize the waterfront is key. Some begin with a large public engagement process to define the vision; others build a plan and then bring the citizens on board. Early efforts involve identifying initial funding strategies, often utilizing public/private partnerships and government assistance. Initial scoping should also outline the unique development challenges arising either from the previous use or planned use of the waterfront. The potential for project cost/time overruns loom larger where significant environmental issues or complex permitting processes exist. BF: What specific communities are undergoing innovative, noteworthy waterfront enhancements? PR: The Southeast False Creek (SEFC) and Olympic Village in Vancouver, BC is dealing with huge growth, and the presence of the Olympics in 2010 provides the incentive to build a world-class sustainable development. Historically, the SEFC site was used for industrial and commercial purposes. While maintaining ties to the past, SEFC will be a model sustainable, mixed use development with goods and services within walking distance and housing that is linked by transit and in proximity to local jobs. Shoreline works will include a new island and inter-tidal fish habitat, a bridge, a boardwalk, and a seaside greenway and bikeway. During the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, the area will be temporarily transformed into the Olympic Village, housing approximately 2,800 athletes and officials. Eventually the development will be home to 16,000 people. Another community is Bremerton, WA’s Harborside District where more than $500 million in new construction has been completed since 2000. The sheer size of the redevelopment is impressive: parks, hotels, restaurants, condos, a ferry and bus service, a marina, a boardwalk, and office facilities are just a few newly built structures. To fund these projects, federal, state and local government, public/private partnerships, and private financing were all tapped-no new taxes to citizens were involved. BF: What are current trends pertaining to sustainable waterfront redevelopment? PR: For development in the water, such as marinas and piers, new techniques have created light-permeable, grated floats that allow vegetation to survive. At the shore, communities […]