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Alabama Corporate Moves

Royal Tech, Cash Acme Open Cullman Facilities Two major industrial projects are bringing hundreds of new jobs to the Cullman, AL area. Cash Acme broke ground late last year on a new distribution plant in Cullman, a move that should create up to 100 jobs in 2011. Michigan-based Royal Technologies, a plastic molding injection company, also expanded into Cullman in 2010. The new 200,000-square-foot Royal Technologies plant is located at the corner of Alabama Highways 157 and 278, and will function as a manufacturing facility for injection molding, urethane foam and light assembly parts for office furniture and interior trim for automobiles. The project was first announced in February 2009, and construction was completed a few months ago. Royal Technologies president Jim Vander Kolk told the Cullman Times he was impressed by the efficiency of the planning and construction for the company’s new manufacturing facility in Alabama. “Honestly, we had a lot of options when we were in the process of looking for somewhere in the south to expand to,” Vander Kolk said. “We made the decision to come here in the fall of 2008, and I’m happy to say every day that has gone by has confirmed we made the right call. Our experience with local government on every level has been excellent and exactly what we were promised coming in.” Royal Technologies manufactures injection molding, urethane foam and light assembly parts for office furniture and interior trim for automobiles. The new facility opened with 85 employees. Within a year, Vander Kolk said that number could rise to around 200. The company could employ more than 300 people within two years, according to projections released when the plant was announced last year. “This building is built for the needs of today, but we do plan to grow,” Vander Kolk said Wednesday, while touring the site. “If we work hard, are honest, and do a good job, we plan to add a lot of new jobs. We’re working hard to embrace this community and be a lasting part of Cullman and Cullman County.” Throughout the construction process for the new plant, Royal Technologies facilities director Doug Oosterbaan said the company made a concerted effort to use local contractors from the Cullman area. “We’ve used Apel Steel, Manning Construction, Goss Electric, Hardy Mechanical and other local companies,” he said. “They have been really great to work with.” “We are especially grateful to have been selected by a quality company like Royal Technologies for their southeast operation.” Cullman Economic Development Agency Director […]




Washington Corporate Moves

SeaTac Sustains Robust Growth The City of SeaTac, WA, enjoyed outstanding success with commercial real estate and economic development in 2010. Even in the face of a continuing recession the city proved to be an attractive location for a wide variety of new businesses. Tens of thousands of square feet of vacant space was leased and many new jobs were created in the city. A new hotel is under construction and several new restaurants opened, reflecting the expanding appeal of the community. “Each new business increases the retail, service and dining opportunities for residents, employees and travelers in the City of SeaTac,” said Jeff Robinson of the City of SeaTac. “We are pleased that so many companies added to the diversity of our community and increased the opportunities for jobs and revenue within the city.” These new businesses represent almost every sector of the economy ranging from retail and service to warehousing, distribution, light industry and hospitality. One of the properties currently under construction is the Hampton Inn and Suites, the first new hotel built in the city in the past decade. “This will be our fourth hotel in the City of SeaTac,” said Faruq Ramzanalli of Hotel Concepts. “We are very impressed with how every department within the city works with developers. They are extremely friendly and knowledgeable and we are on a first-name basis with everyone there.” WallyPark has operated parking garages to serve Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in SeaTac since 2003. A new premier parking garage opened in November 2010 that is a mixed-use property with retail and commercial space on the ground floor. “We are pleased to bring a new standard of airport parking to the Puget Sound area,” said Charles Bassett, WallyPark’s chief operating officer. “Our third location represents our long-term commitment to providing travelers with a convenient, world-class parking experience.” New retail stores include the Cinco de Mayo Market, International Market and Saran African Market. A new O’Reilly Auto Parts is under construction, and a new AutoZone is in the permitting process. Among the new restaurants to open their doors are India Pabla Bistro, Tacqueria El Rinconsito and Las Palmas, a Salvadoran restaurant. “I want to bring something new to the community,” said Jose Paulino, owner of Las Palmas. “We have a large population in SeaTac and our surrounding neighborhoods that will appreciate our menu.” The Department of Homeland Security consolidated and expanded some of its operations to the City of SeaTac. New tenants in our warehouse, distribution and light industrial sectors include NW Crane […]


Maryland Streamlines Development Process

Maryland Streamlines Development Process

Gov. Martin O’Malley has launched “Business in Maryland Made Easy,” an economic development initiative and part of the governor’s ongoing efforts to improve the conditions that allow businesses to grow and create jobs. “Maryland Made Easy”includes specific strategies for state agencies to help improve Maryland’s business environment by streamlining processes, simplifying regulations and improving communication. In making the announcement, Gov. O’Malley outlined recently adopted improvements to the State Highway Administration’s access permit review. He introduced members of the newly formed Maryland Small Business Commission and charged them with identifying other permitting, licensing and regulatory areas for review. “As we transition our state into the new economy, we have to listen to the men and women on the front line of job creation on how to improve infrastructure, support our innovation economy, enhance the skills and talents of our people and improve our business environment,” said Gov. O’Malley. “In the past two years, we worked to unlock credit through the Maryland Small Business Credit Recovery Program and increase access to financial resources through Credit Connections. And just five weeks ago, at our first Maryland Forward forum on jobs and the economy, people told me that we needed to do a better job marketing those resources and I’m pleased to announce that we’ve heeded the call, and today, we’re releasing a new financing guide.” Joining the governor were John McLaughlin, CEO of DAP and a member of the Maryland Economic Development Commission, Ackneil Muldrow, Small Business Commission Chair, Jay Steinmetz, CEO of Barcoding and Manuel Hidalgo, executive director of Latino Economic Development Corporation. “One of the most effective roles my colleagues – such as secretaries Swaim-Staley and Sanchez who are here today – and I can perform is to be advocates for transparency, predictability and accountability in government,” said Christian Johansson, Secretary of the Department of Business and Economic Development. With stakeholder process reviews, we’re working across state agencies to identify and remove barriers to business success.” In addition to stakeholder process reviews, Maryland Made Easy includes a planned Central Business Licensing (CBL) system, an initiative of the DBED and the Department of Information Technology to create a centralized, online system for all business licenses and permits. The CBL will eventually provide businesses with a one-stop shop to complete and submit various applications and permits regardless of agency or type of business. The governor will soon sign an Executive Order on Expedited Project Review to increase cooperation and communication in resolving cross-agency issues to facilitate major development projects and reduce delays. Gov. O’Malley also […]


Rising tide of red ink

Rising tide of red ink

Anyone who thought state budget deficits were confined to one or two regions of the United States had a sobering wake-up call in the form of a report issued this month by the Center on Budget and Policy. The report indicates that the sea of red ink has now washed over no less than 44 states. Nevada, Illinois, New Jersey, Texas and California lead the list of states in arrears, each compiling current deficits that amount to roughly one-third of their budgets. Nevada currently is facing a $1.5-billion deficit that is equivalent to 45.2 percent of the state budget; Illinois’s deficit is about $15 billion, or 44.9 percent of its budget; New Jersey weighs in at $10.5 billion, or 37.4 percent of its budget; Texas is facing a $13.4 billion gap, 31.5 of its budget total; and California, despite draconian budget cuts in the past two years, still has a $25.4-billion gap to close. States that are closest to making ends, according to the center’s report, are Indiana, West Virginia, Montana, Iowa, and Massachusetts, which range from the Hoosier State’s 2 percent shortfall (approximately $270 million) to Massachusetts’ $1.8-billion deficit (5.7 percent of budget). Proposed remedies include a bill reportedly circulating in Congress that will enable states to file for bankruptcy so they can renegotiate obligations like pension payments. However, a less-painful cure can be found in the 2010 census results: the Census Bureau reports that the fastest growth was achieved by states without a state income tax.


IA Governor Unveils Public-Private Agency

IA Governor Unveils Public-Private Agency

Gov. Terry Branstad plans to unveil details Monday about a new economic development authority that would replace the existing agency, according to a report in the Des Moines Register. Gov. Branstad is expected to introduce the new Iowa Partnership for Economic Progress at his weekly press conference. He campaigned on a plan to scrap the existing Iowa Department of Economic Development, saying it was dysfunctional, citing mismanagement of the state’s film tax credit program, which resulted in the dismissal of several top economic development administrators. Gov. Branstad has said he wants a new public-private agency that’s more responsive to business needs. Debi Durham, the new economic development director, told lawmakers last week that she believes an authority gives the state greater flexibility to help expanding businesses. According to Durham, a partnership may make it easier for Iowa businesses to access federal industrial revenue bonds. Gov. Branstad also plans to cut corporate income taxes by half and would reduce commercial property taxes by 40 percent over five years. He want to maintain a pared-down Iowa Values Fund for business incentives, but is eliminating the Iowa Power Fund, designed to spark renewable energy development.


Auto Parts Supplier Expands in Troy, MI

Auto Parts Supplier Expands in Troy, MI

Automotive parts supplier ArvinMeritor will invest $23 million in facility and equipment upgrades to its headquarters in Troy, MI. The company got approval from the Troy City Council this week for personal and real property tax abatements that will total $2.4 million, $454,457 which will be city taxes, over a 12-year period. ArvinMeritor, which specializes in heavy duty truck, defense and industrial drive train components, will invest $10.7 million in new equipment and $6.4 million in facilities upgrades within the next five years. The upgrades are part of ArvinMeritor’s plans expand its output of hybrid drive train systems and enhanced safety features on defense vehicles, and re-enter the off-highway axle and brake markets. The upgrades will allow ArvinMeritor to add 125 engineers, designers and technicians to its current staff of 749. The average salary of these new jobs will be $1,185 per week.