A group of regional foundations and philanthropists voted this week to award more than $5 million in grants to promote economic development in Northeast Ohio. The Fund for Our Economic Future, a collaboration of donors and philanthropists that provides grants to increase the economic competitiveness of Northeast Ohio, met at the Davis Center in Fellows Riverside Gardens to award one-year grants to six Cleveland-based nonprofit organizations that aim to grow business and attract new companies to Northeast Ohio. The Fund elected to give maximum amounts of $1.3 million to JumpStart, an entreprenuerial assistance organization; $1.1 million to BioEnterprise, which helps grow bioscience and healthcare companies; $825,000 to Team Northeast Ohio, a business attraction organization; $750,000 to the Minority Business Accelerator 2.5+, which provides business growth services to minority-owned businesses with at least $2.5 million in sales; $633,000 to NorTech, which promotes the growth of technology-based industries in the region; and $434,000 to MAGNET, an advocacy group for regional manufacturing industries. The grants will be awarded in phases, said Chris Thompson, a spokesman for the Fund. Grant recipients will have to meet performance “milestones,” to qualify for the maximum amount of grant funds, Thompson said. The Fund also issued two smaller grants. A $200,000 grant was awarded to a group that is working to strengthen the region’s agriculture industry. The collaboration — which includes the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, the Wayne Economic Development Council and the Ashtabula Growth Partnership — hopes to develop more fresh produce, biomass energy, horticulture and other types of specialty agriculture. In addition, a $25,000 grant was issued to help organize the region’s application for a federal planning grant under the Sustainable Communities Initiative being developed by the federal government. The grant would provide as much as $5 million for cooperative regional planning efforts that consider housing, transportation, environmental impact and economic development. “These grants will help Northeast Ohio sustain the progress made throughout the last six years to build new industries, support entrepreneurs and attract growing companies,” said David Abbott, chairman of the Fund. “These grants reflect philanthropy’s strong commitment to strengthening the region’s economic competitiveness.”
In a sign of confidence that the economic recovery has staying power, Toyota is announcing that it will complete construction of its long-delayed auto plant in Blue Springs, MS, and begin operations at the $1.3-billion facility by the fall of 2011. According to a report in The New York Times, the Japanese automaker expects to hire 2,000 workers to build Corollas at the plant. Toyota halted construction on the Mississippi assembly plant 18 months ago when the global economy collapsed. The auto assembly facility is 90 percent complete. General Motors, meanwhile, also gave its vote of confidence to the economic trends by announcing that it will skip the regular two-week summer shutdowns at nine of its 12 U.S. assembly plants. GM is reported a 17 percent rebound in auto sales for the first five months of this year.
A $1 million grant program will put South Dakota in a leadership position pack nationwide in the availability of ethanol blender pumps for motorists, Lt. Gov. Dennis Daugaard said today. The grants, which were processed through the state Energy Policy Office in the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, will help business owners install blender pumps at fuel stations across the state, he said. “As of June 1, there were 157 service stations with blender pumps in 14 states,” Daugaard said. “Minnesota was in the lead with 49, and South Dakota had 42 of them. I’m proud to say that this grant program will make South Dakota the national leader in ethanol blender pumps.” Daugaard said the grants will result in installation of up to 100 blender pumps at 49 more fuel stations in 40 South Dakota communities. That will bring the total number of stations in the state with blender pumps to 90.* Blender pumps allow motorists to select the amount of ethanol in fuels, starting with the traditional 10 percent blend and moving up to blends of 20, 30 and 85 percent ethanol. Studies have shown that mid-level ethanol blends can improve the fuel efficiency of some vehicles. Flexible fuel vehicles can operate on any blend of gasoline and ethanol. “These pumps will conveniently tailor the amount of ethanol in fuel to fit the capabilities of various vehicles,” Daugaard explained. “That will not only benefit motorists but also should increase ethanol use, and that is welcome news for corn farmers, too.” The grants will allow blender pumps to be installed in the following communities: Aberdeen, Arlington, Baltic, Black Hawk, Brookings, Chamberlain, Chancellor, Corsica, Faulkton, Flandreau, Fort Pierre, Frederick, Freeman, Garretson, Gregory, Hoven, Howard, Huron, Ipswich, Kennebec, Lake Preston, Lennox, Leola, Menno, Mitchell, Mobridge, Onida, Parker, Philip, Redfield, Rosholt, Sioux Falls, Sisseton, Tripp, Tyndall, Warner, Wessington, Wessington Springs, Woonsocket, and Yankton. A 2010 law signed by Gov. Mike Rounds appropriated $1 million for blender pump grants. Eligible retail fuel dealers qualified for grants of up to $10,000 per pump to defray the cost of installing blender pumps. The new pumps can cost up to $25,000 each. Funds for the grant program were allocated to South Dakota through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (stimulus funds).
Samsung Austin Semiconductor LLC has announced plans to expand the capacity of its 12-inch semiconductor fabrication plant in Austin with a $3.6 billion investment. The expanded fabrication plant, one of the largest in the United States, will produce advanced logic devices for Samsung’s System LSI business. Currently the Austin plant produces a variety of NAND Flash memory chips. The production of those chips will continue. The company will also hire an additional 500 employees as a result of the expansion. “Forty-five nanometer and below advanced logic applications are in high demand and respective markets are expected to show substantial growth in the coming years. Together with the original advanced IC production capacity in Giheung, Korea, our rapid installment of substantial new capacity in Austin will allow our customers to meet the growing demand for their exciting next generation digital solutions,” said Dr. Stephen Woo, executive vice president and general manager, System LSI, Samsung Electronics. The investment in the Austin campus will build out the second phase of the company’s 2.3-million-square-foot semiconductor complex. The first half of the building was started in 2006 and began production a year later. The 12-inch facility was built in 2007. An older fabrication plant, which produced chips on 8-inch wafers, was closed in 2009 and refurbished for metal (copper) process for 12-inch fabrication. The new facility, which is dedicated to front-end fabrication of advanced 45 nanometer logic process technology and beyond, is expected to be completed by the end of 2011. “This investment, along with the creation of Samsung Austin Semiconductor’s first research and development entity this spring, makes the Austin campus a true semiconductor complex and ensures Austin’s premier status as a center for semiconductor research and manufacturing,” said Dr. W. S. Han, president of Samsung Austin Semiconductor. Equipment move-in and build-out of the clean room will begin almost immediately. “We expect that the facility will be operational by the second quarter of next year,” he said. In March, the company established Samsung Austin Semiconductor Research Center (SARC), which will concentrate on the design of Large Scale Integrated circuits, but is not part of the LSI manufacturing line. The center’s director is Keith Hawkins, a veteran semiconductor researcher, who was senior director of design engineering-microelectronics at Sun Microsystems in Austin prior to joining Samsung. SARC will employ about 50 researchers by the end of 2010. Samsung started in Austin in 1996, when it began construction of its first plant. In total, Samsung has invested about $5.6 billion in the Austin location—by far the largest […]
Iowa saved nearly 300 John Deere jobs in Waterloo last week when it granted state tax credits for a massive company reinvestment in its Waterloo Foundry, according to documents Deere filed with the Iowa Department of Economic Development. Deere will get $15 million in tax credits—$9 million investment tax credit and a $6 million Doubled Research Activities Credit—and indirect financing from the state of Iowa, as it invests $90 million in modernizing its Waterloo Works Foundry over the next four years. A company press release issued last week placed the investment at $100 million. In the process, 60 salaried positions and 235 hourly positions in Waterloo were retained. Jobs performed by those employees would have been outsourced, had an agreement not been reached, according to the documents. Deere also noted in its application for tax credits with IDED that the Waterloo Works Foundry buys more than $82 million in material, supplies and services from Iowa suppliers. “If the Foundry’s operations were outsourced, most, if not all, of these materials, supplies and services would not be purchased in Iowa,” the company wrote in its application. The project’s time line is as follows: A new mold line and core processes is scheduled for completion in 2012; new blast and auto grinding processes, completed in 2013; and infrastructure and office renovation, completed in 2014. According to the documents, the company was not considering moving its foundry operations outside of Iowa if it did not secure the tax credits. “The objective of the project is to decide whether John Deere should manufacture the casting internally in Waterloo or outsource the production to third-party suppliers,” the company said. “If the casting business is outsourced, the vast majority of casting volume will go to suppliers outside the U.S.”
The Obama administration has invested $8 billion in federal stimulus money to create 13 high-speed rail corridors. According to the U.S. Conference of Mayors, some $19 billion of new business and 150,000 jobs will flow to four hub cities—Los Angeles, Chicago, Orlando and Albany, N.Y.—by 2035, where plans for the rail networks are located. The benefits of traveling between 110 and 220 miles per hour will mean better connectivity, shorter travel times and new development around train stations, according to the report. The rail network will spur tourism, give businesses a wider pool of workers to choose from and help grow technology clusters in cities, said Steve Fitzroy, director of operations for the Economic Development Research Group, which conducted the study, during a phone interview. Albany, which is a political center in New York but not well connected to the metropolitan area, will be pulled into New York City’s economic core, said Fitzroy. A high-speed rail link connecting Albany to New York City, Syracuse and places as far off as Montreal have been proposed at various points by state legislators. If the network does goes up, the report states that it would create $2.5 billion in new business in Albany and would add 21,000 jobs. It would increase gross regional product, a measure of the size of the local economy, by $1.4 billion. The train station would spur development, with new additions, hotels and other mixed-use projects coming up in the area, said Fitzroy. But the Northeast network is furthest from being built, according to Oliver Hauck, CEO of Siemens AG, which sponsored the report. The Germany-based manufacturing giant is looking to expand its U.S. operations to include high-speed rail. It has already bought property adjacent to its current Sacramento plant to produce high-speed rail cars, according to Hauck. The Florida high-speed rail system is closest to completion, with the first phase of construction connecting Orlando and Tampa at 168 miles per hour to be finished by 2015, Dyer said. The state received $1.25 billion in stimulus money, which should help it pay the relatively small bill of $3.5 billion for 86 miles of tracks. Since the state had already secured the right of way to create a track network dedicated to passenger rail, the price tag of construction for phase 1 is relatively cheap. Phase 2 will require $8 billion in comparison. So far, Florida has received $65 million, which is the largest amount of funding that has been actually dealt out in the country so far, said Dyer. […]
Cummins Rocky Mountain has announced plans to build a new diesel engine remanufacturing plant in Commerce City, Colorado creating 70 new jobs for the area. The new facility will remanufacture and distribute a full line of Cummins High Horsepower diesel engines. Construction is anticipated to begin this month. The company will receive about $459,000 in various incentives from the city, including sales and use tax exemptions and construction permit fee waivers, said Brittany Morris, economic development director for Commerce City. The state of Colorado also contributed $300,000 in incentives spread out over five years under the state’s Colorado First and Existing Industry job training program, and $384,711 conditionally approved from the Job Growth Incentive program. Matt Cheroutes, spokesman for the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade said the state incentives are performance based and are paid only when the new jobs are actually created. Adams County is matching a portion of the Commerce City incentives, Morris said. Located just east of 104th Avenue and Havana Street, the site will be the home of a $13.3 million, 78,000 square-foot facility that will be the largest Cummins High Horsepower diesel engine remanufacturing plant in North America. The company is calling it the Cummins Rocky Mountain Master Rebuild Center. “This new facility will enable us to improve on our already industry leading customer support capabilities for our existing and future High Horsepower customer base,” states Bill Wolpert, Cummins Rocky Mountain’s president and CEO. Commerce City recently adopted a new Economic Development Strategic Plan and identified industries to target its economic development activities. Brittany Morris, economic development director for Commerce City, said the Cummins Rocky Mountain plan fits within the “advanced manufacturing” target identified in the plan. Eventually, the new facility could employ up to 140 people, according to the city.
The village of St. Johnsville, in conjunction with the Montgomery County Business Development Center, will apply for a $450,000 Community Development Block Grant to assist M.H. Stallman Company in moving its operations to New York state. If the application is approved by the state Office of Community Renewal, the company will use the funds to purchase equipment and machinery as part of a planned renovation project, according to Crystal Ricciuti, an economic development specialist with the county Business Development Center. “This is welcome news for the village of St. Johnsville, as a new company is moving its operations here and is bringing new jobs with it,” said Mayor James Kierzinski. In all, Ricciuti said M.H. Stallman Co.’s project to renovate office, warehouse and manufacturing space in a portion of Cellect’s building on New Street carries a $5.5 million price tag. “Cellect is M.H. Stallman’s top supplier of raw materials, so this move will allow the company to reduce its freight costs, which made reallocation to St. Johnsville attractive,” Ricciuti said. While the terms of the loan require the company to create jobs for 50 new employees, Ricciuti said new developments, including plans to manufacture foam to assist in the cleanup of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill in Louisiana, the number of jobs created will likely be 80. Thirty of those jobs, under separate terms of the CDBG program, are to be created within 24 months, if the application is successful. At the time of the announcement of the loan, M.H. Stallman officials said the company’s plan was to hire at least six administrative officials, 40 manufacturing employees and upper-level management. M.H. Stallman Co. will lease its manufacturing and office space from Cellect. “This will be a separate company, with separate management and separate employees,” said Ricciuti. “They will be in the same building, but they will not be one company.” Two public hearings will be held on the grant application, on June 15 and June 16. The hearings will begin at 6 p.m. and will be held at the Community House at 16 Washington St.
Officials in Genesee County, Mi say they have not received any applications for more than $60 million in available federal stimulus bonds. The deadline is today, unless state lawmakers approve an extension to July 1. The low-interest loans were made available in June 2009 to hard-hit communities to help stimulate the economy by making money available for special projects and developments. The deadline to draw down the funds is December 31 of this year. If the proposed July 1 deadline is approved by lawmakers, anyone interested in using the funds would have to go through the state. For now, all applications have to go through the Genesee County Economic Development Corp. County officials oppose the July 1 deadline and actually are hoping the federal government will extend the end-of-year deadline, but until then they’re willing to help push projects through as quickly as possible, Genesee County Controller George Martini said. Of the at least $60 million available, $53 million of it is in tax-exempt facility bonds available for private borrowers that can be used for commercial and industrial projects that usually would not qualify for tax-exempt financing — such as large manufacturing plants, distribution centers, hotels or research parks. As of last week, there had been no requests in Genesee County to borrow any of the $53 million in facility bonds, said Janice Karcher, who heads up economic development at the chamber.
Eberspaecher North America plans to open a new automotive facility in Greenville County, SC with an investment of $5 million and the initial creation of 30 jobs to provide exhaust systems for BMW Manufacturing Co’s new X3 sports activity vehicle. The announcement was made Wednesday by the South Carolina Department of Commerce and Greenville Area Development Corp. Plans are to begin full production in August, said Gerri Taylor, human relations spokesman for the Mauldin facility at 65 Brookfield Oaks, Mauldin. Dennis Berry, president and chief executive of Michigan-based Eberspaecher North America, said, “The location will put us very close to our customer, BMW, and provide us with an excellent business environment in which to operate. We look forward to starting operations there and appreciate all the support we have received from state and local officials.” BMW is moving production of the X3 from Austria to the Greer plant later this year as it completes a $750 million expansion of the facility, which includes a new assembly facility and expansion of the paint shop. The plant also produces the X5 sports activity vehicle and the X6 sports activity coupe. Eberspaecher’s Mauldin facility will be the Germany-based company’s first South Carolina location. It also has operations in Alabama, Michigan and Ontario, Canada. Joe Taylor, state secretary of commerce, hailed the move. “We continue to see growth in the state’s automotive sector as more suppliers locate operations here, and Eberspaecher North America is the latest example,” he said. “South Carolina affords exceptional access, not only to manufacturers like BMW, but to markets throughout the Southeast. Couple that with a skilled workforce and a world-class port in Charleston, and it is no wonder more companies are bringing their business to the Palmetto State.”