December, 2008 Archives

Family-owned Company Expands in Michigan

Family-owned Company Expands in Michigan

ABMyr Industries recently announced it is expanding its Belleville, MI operation, which will create 38 new jobs by 2011. The family-owned company invested more than $2 million to build and equip a 50,000-square-foot metal fabrication, prototyping and production center within its current facility. ABMyr Industries’ new services utilize a state-of-the-art Mitsubishi Laser Cutter, which produces computer-precision cuts, sealed edges and improved appearance. Combined with their full service metal fabrication and welding shop, ABMyr can provide metal parts assembly, rapid prototyping and production. “Entrepreneurial firms like ABMyr Industries are diversifying and strengthening our economy,” said Van Buren Township Supervisor Cindy King. “We are very excited about ABMyr’s continued growth and creation of new job opportunities. Their expanded presence in the Belleville area is another sign that Belleville continues to be a viable place to live and do business,” added Belleville Mayor Richard Smith. “For over 80 years ABMyr Industries has delivered precision machined products for the automotive, agriculture, appliance, aerospace, and general manufacturing industries. We are proud to leverage this vast experience to provide custom metal fabrication services for small and large product design and manufacturing firms,” said Shane Gerkin, senior vice president of ABMyr Industries.


Retail’s Open Door Policy

Retail’s Open Door Policy

As the U.S. retail industry suffers some of the most severe sales declines in history, stores are taking drastic measures to help boost some last-minute holiday sales. An article in The Wall Street Journal highlights an all-hours free-for-all in New York City’s retail mecca, Times Square. Toys “R” Us opened as normal on Friday, December 19th, but it will not close until 8pm on Christmas Eve—a run of 134 consecutive hours. This allows people, whether mere night owls or those that simply fear mobs of shoppers, to shop for the season’s hottest toys in the middle of the night in less hectic aisles. Other retailers such as Macy’s, L.L. Bean, H&M and Wal-Mart also have adopted marathon open hours in an effort to salvage their industry’s crucial fourth quarter returns. “In this kind of environment, you do whatever it takes,” says Michael Niemira, chief economist at the International Council of Shopping Centers. Some industry analysts don’t report a lack in mall traffic this year, but rather a significant decline in actual purchases. As for me, I haven’t bought one single holiday gift yet. This has less to do with the slowing economy or my hesitancy to engage in battles for parking spots and elbow room, but rather with my family’s and friends’ reluctance to express what they want. (And I have some difficult people to shop for!) It seems that the best gift this December would be more jobs for Americans, a raise for the employed but underpaid, and health coverage for the sick and uninsured.


Coca-Cola Goes Collegiate in Kentucky

Coca-Cola Goes Collegiate in Kentucky

Coca-Cola Enterprises announced yesterday it will locate its new Information Technology Development Center in Louisville, KY. The company intends to recruit from the local collegiate base for the new IT and Business Information Services (BIS) Development Center. The project is expected to create approximately 35 new full-time jobs in the community. The BIS Development Center of Louisville will be an extension of IT services provided from the system’s Atlanta group, where Coca-Cola Enterprises is headquartered. “Coca-Cola Enterprises’ new Information Technology Development Center will be a fantastic addition to Louisville’s business community,” said Gov. Beshear. “By recruiting local college students to fill highly skilled jobs, the company is providing an incentive for students seeking career employment to stay right here in the commonwealth.” “Louisville is an optimal location for a Development Center as it is in the same time-zone as Atlanta and it has excellent technology credentials with IT professionals available from a pool of local universities,” said Michelle Bellamy, senior director of global development for Coca-Cola Enterprises. The 5,600-square-foot BIS Development Center, set to go live in the first quarter of 2009, will extend the BIS mission and build in-house knowledge by reducing reliance on external contractors. It will focus on new development and top-end projects. “We’re excited about this opportunity,” said Bellamy. “We’re creating a new diverse culture filled with fresh perspectives and a keen understanding of the latest technologies. This will allow us to be more innovative and proactive toward our business needs.” In addition to full-time opportunities, the development center will have an active internship program for students during the summer months. Students’ academic skill sets will be matched with key functions within the development center, allowing for growth and better transition after graduation. “These high-tech jobs, with one of world’s best know companies, are exactly the type of jobs we need and want in Louisville,” said Mayor Jerry Abramson. “Coca-Cola has a bright future in our city.” “The ability to attract and retain critical technical and diverse talent is one of Coca-Cola Enterprises’ strategic priorities,” said Percy L. Wells, II, vice president of public affairs and communications, Coca-Cola Enterprises. “The expansion of our BIS system in Louisville demonstrates our commitment to creating a work environment conducive to professional development, growth and one that fosters creativity.” The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority preliminarily approved Coca-Cola Enterprises for tax benefits up to $730,000 under the Kentucky Jobs Development Act, an incentive program designed to increase technology and service-related employment in the commonwealth. “We are thrilled Coca-Cola Enterprises has […]


Utah Wins eBay’s Bid

Utah Wins eBay’s Bid

eBay Inc. and the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) just announced the closing of a land sale in South Jordan City Utah where eBay will develop its first next-generation data center.  The data center will include new technologies and services that will enable eBay to deliver improved capabilities to its hundreds of millions of active users across its many web sites. The new facility will generate approximately 50 new positions at an average of 150 percent of the Salt Lake County annual median wage which may change yearly. Over a 10-year period, the new positions are expected to generate new state wages of approximately $23.7 million.  New state tax revenue is expected to exceed $109 million during the same period. The facility will be the second major building within Daybreak Commerce Park, a 250-acre light industrial park that broke ground last year. “We are pleased to formally announce our plans to build a data center in South Jordan.  The new data center is part of eBay’s plans to construct next-generation advanced data centers to support business-critical technology,” said Terri Jordan, vice president of operations, Marketplaces, eBay. “eBay gives its thanks to the state of Utah, South Jordan City, the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, the Economic Development Corporation of Utah and Kennecott Land Company for their outstanding support that made this project possible.” eBay’s next generation data center will be designed and built with a focus on reducing its environmental impact.  These efficiencies will be generated from a number of technologies incorporated into the mechanical and electrical systems of the facility including a water side economizer that uses outside air to cool water versus motorized chillers and variable speed drives to run fans and chillers on an on-demand basis.  Additionally, rainwater will be used to supply the cooling tower and for landscape irrigation. “Utah is very pleased that eBay has decided to build this leading edge data center in South Jordan.  This decision is another vote of confidence in Utah as a ‘Best State for Business’ and its quality workforce that leads the nation,” said Jason Perry, executive director of the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development. “The active engagement of so many groups committed to enabling eBay’s project underscores why Utah is at the top of site selection lists across the country,” said Scott Kaufmann, vice president of commercial development, Kennecott Land Company. “South Jordan City is excited to welcome eBay Inc. as our next corporate citizen and know they will enjoy all that makes South Jordan […]


TN Nabs $2.5-billion Energy Investment

TN Nabs $2.5-billion Energy Investment

Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen and Economic and Community Development Commissioner Matt Kisber today joined with the chief executive officers of Hemlock Semiconductor and its parent company, Dow Corning, to announce Hemlock Semiconductor’s plan to locate a polycrystalline silicon manufacturing operation at the Commerce Park megasite in Clarksville, TN. The facility, which will produce a primary component used in the manufacture of solar panels and other energy equipment, will mean an investment of $1.2 to $2.5 billion dollars by the company and the creation of 500 jobs, with the potential of employing up to 900 people within five to seven years. If plans are fully implemented, the project would become the largest announced corporate capital investment in Tennessee history. “This announcement shows Tennessee’s commitment to becoming a significant player in the development of ‘green collar’ jobs related to clean energy technologies,” said Bredesen. “With this announcement, Hemlock Semiconductor and Dow Corning have signaled a major shift in the direction of Tennessee’s and the nation’s economies. The people of Tennessee appreciate the leadership of both companies for their confidence in our state.” A formal announcement was issued by the companies this morning, to be followed by an announcement ceremony in Clarksville Monday afternoon on the campus of Austin Peay State University. The governor and commissioner will be joined by Hemlock President and CEO Rick Doornbos, along with the chairman, president and CEO of Dow Corning, Dr. Stephanie Burns, and U.S. Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee. “We live in a time when a growing reliance on sustainable forms of energy is leading to growth rates of 30 percent to 40 percent annually for the solar industry,” said Kisber. “This announcement means Tennessee will play a leading role in the growth of solar technology for many years to come.” “Tennessee’s business climate coupled with a superb site in Clarksville, a strong, productive workforce and an excellent location in proximity to our supply chain and customers made this the right decision,” said Hemlock Semiconductor President and CEO Rick Doornbos. “This investment will allow us to meet growing customer demand both in the near term and in the decades ahead.” “The state of Tennessee and the Clarksville-Montgomery County community showed true partnership in making this project a reality,” said Dr. Stephanie Burns, chairman, president and CEO of Dow Corning. “I believe this is a watershed announcement for all of us.” “Today’s announcement is huge and welcome good news,” said U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander. “It means a cleaner world and better jobs for Tennesseans. I congratulate Governor […]


AllianceTexas’ Success Nears $34 Billion

AllianceTexas’ Success Nears $34 Billion

This week’s economic impact report on AllianceTexas shows a staggering overall impact total: $33.8 billion on North Texas communities. One of the most successful public-private partnerships in the United States, AllianceTexas has been in a vital economic engine for 20 years. Approximately $100 million of combined initial investment from the city of Fort Worth, the state of Texas and the Federal Aviation Administration in AllianceTexas has yielded $6.5 billion in private investment, 29,000 jobs and more than $625.4 million in property taxes. The $625.4 million in property taxes from AllianceTexas since 1990 has been paid to the three cities (Fort Worth, Haslet, Roanoke), two counties (Denton, Tarrant) and two school districts (Northwest, Keller) that it falls within. That number has grown significantly from the $223,000 in property taxes generated from the same area in 1990. AllianceTexas also falls within the town of Westlake, but that community does not have a municipal property tax. From 1990-2007, AllianceTexas companies and Hillwood-related entities along Interstate 35W have paid more than $625.4 million in property taxes, including $88 million in 2007. The companies of AllianceTexas now employ more than 29,000 workers, including 1,900 new jobs added in the past year. New companies and expansion by existing companies have accounted for the employment increase. Daimler Financial Services Americas moved more than 500 employees into its new 160,000-square-foot office building in September. In June, Deloitte purchased 107 acres at Circle T Ranch to build a learning and leadership development center that will employ approximately 450 workers. DynCorp International expanded into 75,344 square feet in the Heritage Commons II building and now has approximately 800 employees at AllianceTexas. On the industrial side, Cinram, which is the logistics provider for Motorola cell phones, has begun to move into its 788,000-square-foot distribution center at AllianceTexas. ENTECH, which is a leading provider of advanced solar energy technology, moved into 71,250 square feet in the Gateway 23 building, which is part of the 5-building, 1.8-million-square-foot speculative building program that Hillwood completed at Alliance in 2008. Also in 2008, the next phase of Alliance Town Center opened. New retailers in the project include Belk Department Stores, PetSmart, Ulta Beauty, Sport Clips, RackRoom Shoes, Dress Barn, Justice Just for Girls, Rue21, EyeMasters, Mattress Firm, Which Wich, Jason’s Deli and Smoothie King. The 168,000-square-foot Sam Moon outlet is under construction and set to open in spring 2009. Hillwood also opened its first multifamily project in AllianceTexas in 2008. The first phase of 288 units was completed in Monterra Village, which is the first 100% […]


$26-million Investment Hits North Carolina

$26-million Investment Hits North Carolina

Precor Incorporated, one of the most respected brands in fitness equipment, announced today that they will open a new Southeast manufacturing, assembly and distribution facility at Rock Creek Center in Eastern Guilford County, North Carolina. The company will invest $26.2 million and build a 225,000-square-foot, LEED-certified building to accommodate its operations. Precor plans to hire approximately 142 employees by 2011. Those employees will receive an average wage of $38,456. The facility will also be the headquarters for the Precor Strength Division. Precor received an economic development incentive grant from Guilford County, which strengthened its decision to locate a new facility there. “This is an exciting time for Greensboro,” says Guilford County Commissioner Chairman Skip Alston. “We welcome Precor with open arms.” Rock Creek Center is a strategic location for Precor because of the easy access to I-40/85 that the site affords. Precor also was attracted by the excellent training opportunities in welding, machining, and upholstery available through Guilford Technical Community College. “GTCC is such an integral partner in attracting Precor to the area,” says Greensboro Economic Development Alliance Chairman, Chuck Cornelio. “Guilford County has so much to offer new companies and we did everything in our power to make their location decision process as seamless as possible. We are thrilled to have a new manufacturing, assembly, and distribution center as well as a new divisional headquarters. I can’t think of a better Christmas present for Greensboro and Guilford County.” The Greensboro Economic Development Alliance (GEDA) worked closely with Precor representatives throughout the site selection process. GEDA also recognizes the Guilford County Commissioners, the North Carolina Community College System, and the North Carolina Department of Commerce, the North Carolina Department of Transportation, and Duke Energy for their efforts in bringing Precor to Guilford County.


Creating a “Monster” in Florence, SC

Creating a “Monster” in Florence, SC

Representatives from the Florence County Economic Development Partnership, the South Carolina Department of Commerce and Red Rock Developments joined Monster officials this month to officially break ground on the career management company’s new customer service facility in Florence, SC. Monster opened a temporary facility in Florence in September and has been recruiting talent and conducting training efforts since the initial announcement in June 2008. Red Rock Developments of Columbia, SC will be the developer behind the new 75,000-square-foot facility. When the facility is complete in fall 2009, it will open with approximately 350 full-time employees, with the ability to grow staff over time. Monster has already employed over 200 agents at their temporary facility in Florence. “We are very excited to be breaking ground on the Florence facility,” said Art O’Donnell, executive vice president, Global Customer Services, Monster. “Florence is a prosperous region that we’re confident will provide us with the smart, customer-oriented talent needed to fill a variety of positions to bring best-in-class service to our customers.” “Monster’s decision to locate in South Carolina is another positive sign that our efforts to enhance the state’s business soil conditions are paying real dividends when it comes to attracting world-class companies and new job opportunities. Today’s groundbreaking brings with it a significant number of new jobs that will positively impact the community in the years ahead. To that end, we remain committed to continuing our efforts to improve the state’s business climate with reforms that will encourage growth and job creation throughout the state,” said Governor Mark Sanford. “As State Senator and resident of Florence County, I’m very pleased to be a part of such a wonderful occasion and welcome another outstanding corporate citizen to our community,” said Senator Hugh K. Leatherman. “Monster establishing a significant presence in Florence continues to show that this community is open for business.”


Investments in St. Louis Metro East approach $9.5 billion

Investments in St. Louis Metro East approach $9.5 billion

After shattering records in 2006-2007, the development pipeline for Southwestern Illinois continued to swell over the past year, reaching a new high of more than $9.4 billion. The 2007-2008 Market Review and Investment Update – released this month by the Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois – shows the total value of projects announced, under construction or completed during the reporting period ending September 30, 2008 up more than half a billion dollars over the prior year. “In the midst of all the pessimistic news about the slow down in the economy, we’re pleased to report that developments were still moving full steam ahead in Southwestern Illinois during the past year,” notes Suzanne Butler, president of the Leadership Council, the member-based, economic development corporation that compiles the economic data for Madison and St. Clair counties. “The continuing investments across so many sectors of our economy reaffirm Southwestern Illinois’ position as a prime Midwestern development location.” Among the highlights from this year’s report: $2.5 billion in projects were already under construction as of the end of September 2008, and $6.1 billion in additional announced projects included the multi-billion dollar investment at ConocoPhillips, which moved forward this fall. As billions of dollars in projects move through the pipeline, the region should be poised for several years of intense construction activity. While this represents tremendous opportunities, the Leadership Council notes the level of activity will come with some challenges, including a sizeable increase in the demand for qualified laborers and greater stress on the region’s infrastructure systems and public services. Continuing to move projects through the pipeline also will be dependent upon solid support from and cooperation with local, national and international funding sources. At $6.46 billion, industrial investments represented the largest chunk of the development pipeline. While mega projects such as those underway or planned by ConocoPhillips, U.S. Steel and Martin Aviation Group account for much of this, also noteworthy is half a billion dollars being invested in alternative energy projects, and $95 million flowing into warehousing facilities. The continued investments in both of these areas can be directly linked to the Metro East’s superior intermodal infrastructure that has firmly positioned the area as a key Midwestern distribution hub. Commercial investments topped $1.3 billion for the second year in a row, with 87 different projects contributing to the total. Approximately $164 million of the total represents projects already completed, while two thirds of the total consists of projects under construction. Although the pipeline includes over a quarter billion dollars in projects announced, that number […]


Lee County, FL launches $25 million cash incentive for expanding/relocating businesses

Lee County, FL launches $25 million cash incentive for expanding/relocating businesses

At a time when tightening credit markets are limiting dollars for economic development, one Florida county has responded with a $25 million cash incentive fund that can provide significant capital for expansion and relocation. Lee County, situated in the heart of Southwest Florida, has launched the FIRST (Financial Incentives for Recruiting Strategic Targets) Initiative as a negotiated, performance-based incentive to attract and grow high-value business projects. The FIRST Initiative focuses on companies that: • Operate within a target industry or high-impact sector as designated by Florida law; • Create at least 75 new full-time equivalent jobs within a three-year period, paying an average wage of at least 125 percent of the Lee County annual average; and, • Make a cumulative capital investment in an amount equal to or greater than the award amount. The Initiative is managed by the Lee County Economic Development Office (EDO), which guides businesses through the application process, evaluates proposed projects and reports recommendations to the board of county commissioners. The board makes final decisions on all incentive applications. “In today’s economy, it is rare for a local government to have the capability of offering cash incentives such as the FIRST Initiative,” said James W. Moore, director of the Lee County EDO. “Through prudent planning and conservative financial management, county leaders have positioned our community to have a strong competitive advantage in the recruitment of high-value employers.” Initiative grants will be performance-based, with incentive payments based on hiring, wage and capital investment criteria. Target industries include life sciences, aviation, shared services, information technology and manufacturing. The FIRST Initiative is among several local and state incentive programs offered through the EDO. Other opportunities include: * Lee County Job Opportunity Program, a cash incentive of up to $2,000 for creation of permanent full-time jobs, with additional payments for job creation within the Lee County Enterprise Zone; * Qualified Target Industry Tax Refund (QTI), a state tax refund designed to support creation of high-wage jobs in targeted high value-added industries; and, * Enterprise Zone Incentives, state tax refunds and credits paired with a local job incentive to spur capital investment and job creation in the Lee County Enterprise Zone. For more information, contact the EDO at (800) 330-3161 or visit www.LeeCountyBusiness.com .