2010 Archives

Dubai Reaches for the Sky

Khalifa Bin Zayed, president of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of Abu Dhabi, no doubt was honored when Dubai decided to put his name on the tallest skyscraper in the universe. But President Zayed can be forgiven if he was somewhat distracted as the 168-story Burj Khalifa tower officially was opened this week. That’s because he was busy averting a new international financial crisis by bailing out Dubai to the tune of $10 billion, the first installment of an estimated $60 billion in overdue bad paper the tiny emirate has piled up during the real estate boom. As the new decade arrived, Dubai unveiled it crown jewel of excess—all 828 meters (about 2,800 feet) of it, 319 meters higher than the previous record-holder, Taipei 101, and almost twice as tall as New York’s venerable Empire State Building. The $1.5-billion Burj Khalifa is the centerpiece of a decade-long construction boom that has transformed Dubai from a desert outpost to a futuristic city that sits like a luxury mirage amid the sand dunes. The mammoth structure, which looks a bit like a telescoping sewing needle, took six years to build. It can be seen for almost 100 miles, meaning oil workers in Abu Dhabi will have something to gape at as they put in overtime to pay off Dubai’s staggering debt. Late last year, Dubai sent shock waves through the world’s battered financial capitals by asking for a freeze on payments owed on $26 billion in debts. The skyscraper’s architects, Chicago-based Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, have called the Burj Khalifa “a bold global icon that will serve as a model for future urban centers.” However, Dubai’s latest status symbol is getting some mixed reviews. Jim Krane, author of “City of Gold: Dubai and the Dream of Capitalism” told CNN: “If you look at it, it’s a really bad idea. It uses as much electricity as an entire city. And every time the toilet is flushed they’ve got to pump water half a mile into the sky.” The telescopic shape also is problematic, Krane noted. “The upper 30 or 40 floors are so tiny that they’re useless, so they can’t use them for anything else apart from storage. They’ve built a small, not so useful storage warehouse half a mile in the sky,” he said. Sounds like a good place to put all those predictions from the early 2000s that the real estate boom would never end.


Schulz Invests $300 Million in MS Pipe Plant

Schulz Invests $300 Million in MS Pipe Plant

Wilh. Schulz GMBH has decided to locate a new $300-million seamless pipe manufacturing facility in Mississippi, Gov Haley Barbour and officials from Schulz announced on Monday. The company, a global supplier of piping components headquartered in Krefeld, Germany selected Tunica County, MS, as the location for its new pipe manufacturing plant. The company’s Mississippi division, which will be known as Schulz Xtruded Products (SXP) will create 500 new jobs at the facility over the next five years. The Tunica County operation will be the company’s first production facility in North America. Gov. Barbour welcomed the industry leader to Mississippi and commended company officials for their commitment to doing business in the state and for the jobs they are creating in the Mississippi Delta. Barbour reportedly asked the Mississippi state legislature to enact a special package of incentives to seal the deal with Schulz. MDA Executive Director Gray Swoope said the company’s new facility in Tunica County will employ state-of-the-art pipe manufacturing processes. The German company was attracted to Mississippi’s skilled and dedicated workforce, he added. Schulz produces and supplies stainless steel and alloy steel seamless pipe products, including seamless and welded pipes, fittings such as elbows, tees, reducers, caps, bends and flanges, and specialized pipe components. Established in 1945, the company is a recognized leader in the industry, specializing in serving the up- and downstream oil and gas sectors and the nuclear and fossil fuel power plant industry. The company also serves the water treatment industry, with a focus on desalination, as well as facilities in diverse areas of the chemical industry.




The New Incentives Guide

The New Incentives Guide

Financial incentives to expand or relocate your business can make the difference in where you choose to grow. This year, we are zeroing in on the newest and most innovative incentives that have been introduced or expanded in the past year.



Alabama Corporate Moves

Hanwha Expands, Creates Jobs in Opelika Hanwha L&C Alabama (formally known as Maxforma Plastics LLC) announced that the company will begin a second major expansion of their manufacturing facility in the Northeast Opelika Industrial Park. Hanwha is a manufacturer of construction materials such as plastic floor materials, artificial marble, automotive components, interior decorations and other plastic products including packing materials and films. According to information provided by the city of Opelika, the company plans to invest another $11 million for a building expansion and equipment in the city. They will add approximately 25,000 square feet to the existing building for a total of 145,000 square feet. The expansion is expected to be completed by August 2010 and will create 25 new jobs. Hanwha L&C Alabama began operation in Opelika in 2005 and is part of the automotive division of Hanwha L&C Corporation based in Seoul, South Korea, a business averaging over $20 billion in annual revenue. Hanwha’s first Opelika expansion in 2008 was a $15 million investment that created 45 new jobs and 42,000 square feet. Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller stated, “We sincerely appreciate Hanwha’s investment in our community and pledge to continue to support their growth and success here in Opelika.” Northeast Opelika Industrial Park is located on 2,200 acres in the northern portion of Opelika along Interstate 85. Equipped to meet a wide variety of site needs, the largest contiguous parcel is 1,200 acres. The city’s large labor pool of over 440,000 within a 30-mile radius, a top community college within five minutes of the park, Auburn University fifteen minutes away, and transportation advantages that include rail service by CSX and close proximity to Atlanta’s Hartsfield International Airport, make Northeast Opelika Industrial Park attractive to the automotive industry. The new expansion will increase the company’s total investment in Opelika to approximately $43 million, according to the city. Hanwha L&C Alabama is a tier one supplier to Hyundai in Alabama and Kia Motors Manufacturing of Georgia. Industrial Park Planned for Northwest Alabama Regional Airport Site Northwest Alabama Regional Airport has submitted a pre-application for a $5 million Federal Aviation Administration discretionary grant that would pay for infrastructure development on about 90 acres of airport property adjacent to the Muscle Shoals Research Airpark. The idea is to develop an industrial park on airport property that would attract aviation-related businesses to Muscle Shoals, AL. The airport board of directors has agreed to provide a $125,000 match if the grant is approved. FAA discretionary money covers 95 percent of an airport improvement […]




60 Seconds with Andy Shapiro, Managing Director, Biggins Lacy Shapiro & Co.

60 Seconds with Andy Shapiro, Managing Director, Biggins Lacy Shapiro & Co.

In a tough economy, some are questioning the use of tax incentives to convince businesses to relocate. Andy Shapiro, Managing Director of Biggins Lacy Shapiro & Co., Princeton, NJ gives us his perspective on whether tax incentives are an effective way to promote development. BF: Are tax incentives often the determining factor in a company’s location decision? AS: Twenty years ago, incentives typically received less weight during the initial site selection process, and became a more key determinant only as the project neared its final stages. Now, as cost control becomes more critical, the search for effective incentives plays a more pronounced role in earlier project stages. Incentives can swing an investment toward an otherwise comparable jurisdiction; or they can make the difference between a decision to move forward and one not to invest at all. BF: Are tax incentives a cost effective tool for job creation? AS: While there has been little research into how effective state job creation tax credits are in promoting job creation, Federal Reserve, researchers have have found that these programs appear to be quite effective at increasing overall business activity within a state. Also, remember that in a growing number of states the tax credit per new job is a percentage of the state income tax withholdings associated with that job. So what you really have is a form of revenue sharing whereby very little public monies are spent on actual job creation. Finally, any calculus of job creation benefits should be sure to take into account the indirect and induced (or “downstream”) jobs created as a result of the multiplier effect from each “direct “ new job. BF: Will states reduce their reliance on tax incentives or will they view them as essential in the site selection competition? AS: We have witnessed budgetary pressures in many states that have threatened existing incentive programs.  Incentives targeting emerging industries, including investment tax credits and venture capital funds, appear to have taken the brunt of this impact. However, so-called “pay as you go” incentives such as job creation tax credits will likely endure as they are considered to be revenue neutral. Also, some states have chosen to double-down during the recession and to increase incentives for new jobs and investment. BF: Do you think tax incentives generally are applied too broadly? AS: Incentives are pricing tools: their impact goes right to a project’s bottom line. State agencies and local jurisdictions use incentives to intervene in the market where a marginal, additional public investment is capable of […]