2010 Archives

Inside LiveXchange

Business Facilities LiveXchange is an invitation-only event for corporate executives responsible for choosing a new location for their companies’ next facility. Delegates meet with senior economic developers from across North America; attend seminars, workshops, and think tanks led by experts in the field of relocation and expansion; and network with other corporate executives faced with the same corporate growth challenges. This month, we preview some of the high-profile speakers who will be making presentations at our 2010 LiveXchange keynote address, seminars and workshops.



The Carolinas Corporate Moves

The Carolinas Corporate Moves

Caterpillar Grows in Lee County, NC Caterpillar Inc. will enlarge its Sanford plant in Lee County, NC and create 325 jobs over the next four years. A Caterpillar supplier will also come to the city bringing 160 jobs. The $28 million expansion is expected to be complete by July of 2011 with new jobs paying an average annual wage of $35,602. Caterpillar is the world’s largest maker of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, and industrial gas turbines. The Sanford development will include a 270,000-square-foot building addition providing additional capacity to meet the growing demand for skid loaders used in landscaping and construction. Michael Walden, an economist with N.C. State says that Sanford offers an abundance of skilled labor and is connected to a good transportation network that allows the factory to supply businesses on the East Coast. This is the latest in a string of investments announced recently by the 13-county Research Triangle Region, which is home to The Research Triangle Park (RTP), the three urban core counties of Durham, Orange and Wake and the 10 rural counties of Chatham, Franklin, Granville, Harnett, Johnston, Lee, Moore, Person, Vance and Warren. In 2010, new and expanding companies announced more than $233 million in capital investments in those 10 counties for projects expected to create 675 jobs over the next few years. That follows more than $316 million in investments and 1,240 new jobs announced in those counties during 2009. Caterpillar’s decision has broad implications for the Research Triangle Region, as the company can receive as much as $8 million in state and local incentives if it meets hiring goals in Sanford and retains at least 739 existing jobs at its factories in Clayton and Sanford. The company must also keep 86 administrative jobs in Cary or move them elsewhere in North Carolina. ATG Access Gears Up Transition to Harnett County ATG Access Inc., a UK based company that came to Harnett County, NC in 2009, announced that they have acquired the vehicle barrier and gate division of the Canadian Allen-Vanguard Corporation. ATG will fully transition the business from Canada to their facility in Lillington, NC. The company will remain at eight employees, but 2,000 square feet of space at its Lillington site has been identified for future expansion related to this acquisition. “They assured us there would be room for our expansion here in Harnett County,” CEO Ray Barnett says, “and they certainly have supported us. This acquisition comes on the back of strong performance for almost […]


New Jersey Corporate Moves

A new form of entertainment is coming to Jersey City later this year when Pole Position Raceway opens its doors just a mile away from the Statue of Liberty. The state-of-the-art indoor karting center will feature two giant race tracks inside a 75,000-square-foot-facility, and the location couldn’t be much better. “I think people are going to really be amazed at what we are creating,” said owner Eyal Farage. “Since I was introduced to this sport, I wanted to bring it to the East Coast, and there isn’t a better market or location. It’s appealing to people ages six to 60, and older.”   Pole Position Races into Jersey City Pole Position Raceway was founded in Los Angeles, California in 2005 and has become the nation’s premiere chain of indoor kart tracks in the United States with six locations. Those involved with the Pole Position Raceway brand includes 2004 NASCAR Champion Kurt Busch, 7-time AMA Supercross Champion Jeremy McGrath, X-games freestyle gold medalist Mike Metzger, and several dozen professional car and motorcycle racers. The company’s motto is “built for racers, by racers,” and they feel that everyone has a desire to go fast. Think karting is just kid’s play? Well, think again. The average customer age at the other facilities is 31 years old, and indoor kart racing is fun for the entire family and both casual and serious racers alike. The Jersey City facility will allow up to 10 drivers at a time to compete in side-by-side action. Best of all, the karts use electric technology so there are no fumes! “The idea of building a green facility was very important to me,” Farage added. “Electric technology has made significant advances during the past few years, and that really influenced our decision to bring it to this area. We have adult karts for racers who are at least 56 inches tall and separate junior karts for kids who are at least 48 inches tall.” With a plan to open additional Raceway’s in the Tri-State area, Eyal choose Jersey City for his first venue. First, Jersey City has become the “6th borough”. The transit system to and from enables millions of people from NYC boroughs to visit easily. Secondly, Jersey City dwellers are the people Pole Position Raceway targets to enjoy the karting experience. Thirdly, because a track requires a large space, most Pole Position Raceway’s are in industrial areas. “Jersey City has done a tremendous job incentivizing commercial business’s to add value in former industrial areas,” Farage said. The Liberty […]


60 Seconds with E. Mitchell Roob, Jr., Chief Executive Officer of Indiana Economic Development Corp.

60 Seconds with E. Mitchell Roob, Jr., Chief Executive Officer of Indiana Economic Development Corp.

Many states are considering replacing state economic development agencies with public-private partnerships. We asked IEDC’s chief executive to tell us how these partnerships work. BF: Is a public-private partnership a more effective vehicle for job creation than a state economic development agency or a Department of Commerce? MR: It certainly has worked for us in Indiana. If you look at the results, IEDC has been three- or four-fold more productive as a public-private partnership. Indiana is now leading the nation in per capita private-sector job growth. We are very responsive—we move at the speed of business. If you ask us for a site search and an offer on your project, we can get that accomplished in a week and often within three days. We are a transactional agency. BF: How does IEDC interact with the governor and other top state officials to execute Indiana’s overall economic development strategy? MR: What separates us from our predecessors is not only the structure of the public-private partnership, but the focus that Gov. Daniels has brought to economic development. The governor chairs the IEDC board of directors and he has made it clear to every member of his cabinet that job growth is the top priority in the state of Indiana. So across state government, everyone is working to expedite economic development needs, including permitting and building roads. We have a great espirit de corps across the state government. When we prepare to bring a project to Indiana, we can bring together any parts of the state government that are needed to close the deal, get them in the same room, and get a positive answer that will create new jobs in Indiana. BF: How does a public-private partnership like IEDC maintain the transparency of its development efforts? MR: We are audited routinely, these audits are made public, and all of our transactions and expenditures are public, even more so than our predecessor agency. BF: State economic development agencies and some public-private partnerships have been challenged recently about their claims of job growth. What is the best way to verify that projects actually are generating the jobs they have promised? MR: We are precluded by statute from indicating an exact number of jobs because these jobs are attached to taxpayer ID numbers, and that information cannot be released. Also, many companies prefer not to release precise job numbers or undertake the cost of capturing and providing that information. We make certain that our tax incentives are post-performance, meaning the jobs have been created first […]


U.S. EDA Funds Business Innovation Center in Pennsylvania

U.S. EDA Funds Business Innovation Center in Pennsylvania

The U.S. Economic Development Administration has awarded more than $2.2 million to build a second small business innovation center in Wilkes-Barre, PA. The announcement was made by Willie Taylor, regional director of the Economic Development Administration’s Philadelphia office. Taylor was joined at the downtown Wilkes-Barre site by U.S. Rep. Paul Kanjorski, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, Wilkes-Barre Mayor Tom Leighton, state Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski, Luzerne County Commissioner Maryanne Petrilla and officials from the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Business and Industry. The Greater Wilkes-Barre Development Corporation, an affiliate of the chamber, will undertake the project, which involves constructing a 30,000-square-foot building at 27-29 S. Main St. at an estimated cost of about $5 million. In addition to the award of $2,263,500 in federal funds, the project already received $2 million from the state Department of Community and Economic Development’s Industrial Development Program and Local Share Account grant funds. The Greater Wilkes-Barre Development Corp. will pay the remaining debt through equity financing, said John Augustine, senior director of economic and entrepreneurial development for the chamber. Construction of the new innovation center should begin in the first quarter of next year and will take about one year to construct, according to the chamber. Since its opening in 2004, the current Innovation Center on South Main Street has housed 15 start-up companies, which have created more than 115 jobs paying average annual wages of $62,000, according to the chamber. Twelve remain today in the entrepreneurial resource center. which provides service to start-up and early stage firms. The site for the second center is located in a Keystone Opportunity Zone, excluding it from specific state and local taxes.



CGS Tyre Plans New Facility in Iowa

CGS Tyre Plans New Facility in Iowa

Gov. Chet Culver and CGS Tyre have announced that the company will invest $43 million in a new agricultural tire plant in Charles City, IA. The announcement was made at the Farm Progress Show. CGS Tyre said it would create 159 jobs at the new plant, which is expected to open in 2012. Gov. Culver said the Iowa Department of Economic Development has been talking about bringing the company to Iowa for the past six years. CGS Tyre and the Iowa DED signed an agreement at the news conference this week.


Paging Mr. Kong

For almost 80 years, the Empire State Building has reigned supreme over the New York skyline. Although it was supplanted as the world’s tallest building in the 1970s, the Empire State Building never lost its unsurpassed majesty. The awesome spire that rose from the depths of the Great Depression in less than 14 months and soared into the imagination of everyone who wanted to touch the sky remains an iconic symbol of power, determination and achievement. The Empire State Building towered alone and apart from all the pretenders, a reassuring sentinel connecting our past with our future. Until now. A real estate outfit called Vornado Realty Trust has convinced New York City’s Planning Commission that it would be a great idea to build a hulking 1,216-foot-tall monstrosity on 34th Street and Seventh Avenue, two blocks west and directly in line with King Kong’s favorite roost on 34th and Fifth. If Vornado’s block of granite and glass goes ahead as planned, only the top 34 feet of the Empire State Building’s antenna will be visible to everyone west of the Hudson River. From the north, the two towers will look like a poorly planned replica of the World Trade Center, or perhaps the South Tower and the box it came in. Vornado is a large, faceless conglomerate that buys and sells properties. One of its first ventures in the late 1950s was a shabby department store in New Jersey called Two Guys From Harrison. After selling a few truckloads of discount lampshades, a second store was opened in another Jersey town and the name was reduced to Two Guys. From this inspiring vision, a real estate dynasty was born. The ingenious planners of New York decided to permit Vornado to exceed the height limit for its tower at 15 Penn Plaza by a whopping 56 percent because the site is across the street from Pennsylvania Station, gotham’s busiest transit hub. The site of Vornado’s proposed atrocity adds irony to insult. New York City natives painfully recall the City Planning Commission’s 1967 approval of the demolition of the original Penn Station to make way for a third and depressingly round iteration of Madison Square Garden. The original Penn Station was a Victorian masterpiece. Its wanton destruction has long been considered the vilest desecration of New York’s architecture in the city’s storied history. The current Penn Station is a cramped and underground rat warren that is so bad the city has been trying without success for two decades to convert the mammoth U.S. Post […]


Blade Maker Chooses Fall River, MA Site

Blade Maker Chooses Fall River, MA Site

TPI Composites, Inc., a leading global supplier of wind turbine blades, has announced plans to open a wind blade innovation center in Fall River, Massachusetts that will support TPI’s manufacturing facilities around the world. The Fall River plant will serve as a center for development of advanced blade manufacturing technology and a launching pad for new wind blade products.  The facility will also offer limited production capacity for land based as well as offshore wind turbine blades.  Governor Deval Patrick, U.S. Representative Barney Frank and Fall River Mayor William Flanagan took part in the announcement. The 69,000 square foot Fall River development center will initially allow TPI to manufacture blades as long as 62 meters with even larger blades possible with further expansion.  Prototype blades produced at this location will be delivered by barge to the new Wind Technology Testing Center in Charlestown, Massachusetts for testing and optimization. “We are very pleased to have the opportunity to expand our wind blade development and prototype capabilities through this new innovation center,” said Steve Lockard, president and CEO of TPI. “The efficient access to the water, proximity to an outstanding work force and support received from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the city made Fall River the ideal place for TPI’s expansion. The addition of this facility will position TPI well for the future as the demand for larger, higher-performance wind turbine blades continues to grow.” “I welcome TPI Composites to Massachusetts, where they become part of our growing wind energy industry,” said Governor Patrick. “With facilities like the Wind Technology Testing Center and companies like TPI, Massachusetts will lead the nation in the next generation of wind energy technology.” To support this facility, the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) has awarded TPI a $250,000 grant, contingent upon creating and maintaining 30 jobs. The facility, located at the Tillotson Complex at 63 Water Street, is expected to open in early 2011 and will initially employ 30 to 50 associates. Neil Tillotson, who the complex is named for, was one of TPI’s initial investors in 1968. TPI built recreational boats in the building during the 1970s and 1980s. “Bringing a major wind blade manufacturer to the state to carry out development, testing and training for the advanced manufacturing of wind blades will help build the wind blade cluster in Massachusetts, and provide a local customer for our Wind Technology Testing Center,” said MassCEC’s Executive Director Patrick Cloney. The innovation center will operate as a sister facility to TPI’s Warren, Rhode Island plant located […]