When we last checked with Curt Schilling, the beloved Boston Red Sox pitching icon was considering parlaying his status as Beantown’s baseball Moses into a run for the late Sen. Ted Kennedy’s U.S. Senate seat in Massachusetts. Now, Schilling is considering trading the Massachusetts venue of his video game business for a site in neighboring Rhode Island and a $75 million loan from the Rhode Island Economic Development Corp. What a difference a year makes. Schilling became a Bosox legend when he won Game 6 of the 2004 American League Championship Series while blood from an injured ankle seeped through his sock. Largely because of Schilling’s red sock, the Red Sox were able to overcome the hated New York Yankees, who at one point led the ACLS 3-0. The famous “bloody sock” episode—and some long-ball from the vitamin-enhanced bats of Manny Ramirez and David “Big Papi” Ortiz—enabled the Red Sox to finally lift the 86-year-old “Curse of the Bambino,” so named because New England’s star-crossed major league team had failed to win a World Series since its owner traded Babe Ruth to New York in 1918. Boston swept the 2004 World Series and Schilling was hailed in Beantown as the greatest thing since clam chowder. In addition to speculation about a potential political career, Schilling became a fixture on talk radio, generated a ton of web traffic with his blog, and started a video game business called 38 Studios LLC, named after his uniform number. Now comes news that Schilling is in active discussions with Rhode Island’s EDC to move the Maynard, MA-based company, which employs 180 (it also has an outlet in Maryland), to Providence. Apparently, Schilling is looking for bigger digs because he just landed a deal with Electronic Arts Inc. to market one of his video games and expects to expand to up to 500 employees. If baseball history is a guide, Red Sox loyalists should not consider this a LeBron James-scale defection. Before he was a World Series hero in Boston, Schilling was a World Series hero in Phoenix when he led the Arizona Diamondbacks to the crown in 2001. And before he was a World Series hero in Phoenix, Schilling led the Philadelphia Phillies to the World Series in 1993. However, the Phillies lost the ’93 series, so presumably that rules out a Schilling candidacy for governor of Pennsylvania.
The below-the-belt punch delivered last night to the solar plexus of the city of Cleveland by its wayward native son (by way of Akron), LeBron James, soon may be magnified by an equally devastating blow to the city’s pocketbook. The emotional toll of LeBron’s nationally televised announcement that he is “taking his talents” and moving them to Miami was obvious even before the self-styled Chosen One finished explaining the rationale behind his decision to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers and cement himself into a trio of NBA superstars on the Miami Heat. In the middle of King James’ self-centered proclamation (“this was about making me happy”), ESPN cut to a shot of some Cavaliers fans reacting to LeBron’s announcement: They were setting fire to his Cavaliers jersey in the parking lot of a local tavern. Later, Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert issue a scathing open letter in which he denounced Clevelend’s “narcissistic former hero” for his “cowardly act of betrayal.” To maintain the suspense in the run-up to his television spectacular on ESPN, LeBron didn’t bother to make a courtesy call to his hometown franchise to clue them in regarding the pain he was about to inflict on them. He gave long-suffering Cleveland sports fans even less notice than their previous most-hated pariah, Cleveland Browns owner Art Modell, who years ago abruptly moved the city’s beloved NFL franchise to Baltimore. According to economic analysts, the pain from LeBron’s defection will be financial as well as physical. Analysts estimate downtown businesses in Cleveland will lose at least $48 million per year in the wake of LeBron’s departure; the region will lose an additional $150 million in revenue derived from the Cavaliers perennial appearances in NBA playoffs; and the value of the Cavaliers franchise may be downgraded by more than $100 million. And last, but not least, James pays more than $1 million per year in taxes to local governments. LeBron insists he has no intention of moving out of his Ohio residence, but we can safely assume he may have second thoughts about this when the smell of burning Cavaliers jerseys (and season tickets) reaches his mansion. Those are just the tangible figures. Intangibles, like the value of the LeBron “brand” being synonymous with Cleveland are harder to estimate. But hundreds of millions of dollars does not seem like an exaggeration. The monetary side is only one part of James’ value, said economist LeRoy Brooks of John Carroll University in University Heights. The other part, in economist’s terms, is utility. That’s a bureaucratic […]
Pennsylvania is expanding its commitment to advancing clean, solar energy with the investment of $18 million in 37 projects in 16 counties. “These new projects are creating jobs while helping to make the development and deployment of solar technology more affordable,” said Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary Austin Burke. “Ultimately, this means substantial energy savings for families, businesses, schools and municipalities that use clean, renewable technologies.” The 37 projects, approved through the state’s solar energy program, are in Adams, Allegheny, Beaver, Berks, Bucks, Chester, Cumberland, Franklin, Lancaster, Lawrence, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia, Schuylkill and York counties. They are expected to leverage nearly $88 million in private investments. The solar projects will have an installed capacity of more than 24 megawatts and will generate at least 26,600 megawatt hours of electricity annually, or enough to power approximately 2,700 Pennsylvania homes. In addition to generating 26,600 solar renewable energy credits a year, the systems will annually save $5.2 million during each of the next 20 years.
Governor Mitch Daniels joined executives from technology services firm, Miller Consulting Group, to announce the company will expand its operations in Noblesville, IN creating up to 230 new jobs by the end of 2013. The company, which provides computer-aided design and engineering services for the aerospace, defense and medical device industries, plans to invest $2.1 million in computer software, hardware and equipment. According to Inside INdiana Business, the company will lease a portion of the historic Model Mill building on Mulberry Street. “Days like today can’t come often enough in Indiana; hundreds of high-quality jobs in downtown Noblesville is certainly reason to celebrate,” said Daniels. Miller Consulting Group will begin hiring engineers, managers, technicians and IT personnel immediately. “We’ve been fortunate to establish some great client relationships out of state and while we considered moving our headquarters to be closer to them, we also realized the many benefits of staying in Indiana,” said Dale Miller, Miller Consulting president. “We sincerely appreciated the way that the Hamilton County Alliance, the city of Noblesville and the state of Indiana supported our project and decision to grow in Indiana.” Miller Consulting Group’s latest expansion comes on the heels of the company’s announced plans to open a Warsaw office to serve orthopedic manufacturing customers. The company expects to hire up to 25 computer-assisted design and engineering technicians by year-end. The Indiana Economic Development Corporation offered Miller Consulting up to $2.5 million in performance-based tax credits and up to $120,000 in training grants based on the company’s job creation plans. The city of Noblesville will consider additional property tax abatement.
Saratoga Potato Chips, with international headquarters in Brampton, Ontario, is investing $4.9 million to establish a U.S. headquarters in Allen County, IN. The facility in Fort Wayne, which will be completed in 2013, will create 175 jobs. The Indiana Economic Development Corp. will provide $1 million in Economic Development for a Growing Economy tax credits for the project over a 10-year period. The company makes traditional potato chips, kettle chips and popcorn. With about $27 million in sales last year, its arrival is significant, said Ashley Steenman, senior development officer with the Fort Wayne-Allen County Economic Development Alliance. Saratoga’s owner, Peter Margie, also owns Olde York Potato Chips, which has a facility in Allen County. But the new business will be under the Saratoga name, making chips and perhaps popcorn for store brands, Steenman said. It will move into a 138,000-square-foot building that has been vacant for some time, she said. “Saratoga’s Indiana headquarters gives us closer proximity to our U.S. customers, many of which are located in the Midwest. State and local officials have created an excellent business environment that made our decision to locate in Indiana an easy one,” Steenman said. Allen County Council will consider phasing in taxes associated with the project. Saratoga could save nearly $131,520 on real and personal property taxes over seven years. The company is also eligible for $10,000 in recruitment and assessment services, $125,000 in job-specific training, and $10,000 in computer training services from WorkOne Northeast.
The national battle among states to lure entertainment industry dollars has intensified this month, with several states upping the ante in film production tax credits whiles others are dropping out of the competition. On July 1, Florida became the latest state to offer generous tax incentives to motion picture, TV documentary and digital media producers. Florida activated its Entertainment Industry Incentives Program, which offers a total of $242 million in transferable tax credits over the next five years for projects that locate in the Sunshine State. More than $50 million of these credits are earmarked for the 2010/2011 fiscal year. Florida’s Office of Film & Entertainment has begun accepting applications for the Entertainment Industry Financial Incentive program via electronic submission for projects with a principal photography or project start within 180 days of the application date (principal photography or project start date must be July 1, 2010 or later to qualify). The priority for qualifying/certifying projects for tax credit awards is determined on a first-come, first-served basis within its appropriate queue. Eligible productions include films, TV, documentaries, digital media projects, commercials and music videos. About 33 states have adopted tax incentives to spur entertainment industry production in their venues, but some budget-strapped states are having second thoughts about the value of these programs. Included in the passage last week of New Jersey’s $28.4 billion budget is the suspension of tax credits for film and digital media content production in the Garden State. New Jersey had offered a 20 percent tax credit since 2006, but the votes to approve the budget by the state’s Assembly and Senate eliminated it effective July 1. About $15 million will be raised as a result of the suspension, part of Gov. Chris Christie’s first budget as the state’s chief executive. Producers, actors and others involved with two network TV shows that filmed in New Jersey—“Law and Order: Special Victims Unit” and “Mercy”—lobbied at a public hearing early last month to save the credit. Producers of the former have already said they intend to relocate production across the river to New York, which is considering raising its film incentives pool to $420 million despite a multi-billion-dollar budget deficit crisis.
CT&T, a Korean-based world leader in manufacturing electric vehicles, is forming a joint venture with 2AM Group of Spartanburg, SC to build electric cars in the state. The venture, called CT&T Southeast LLC, will invest $21 million and create 370 new jobs to support its production over the next five years. Company officials project the Spartanburg County facility to be fully operational by the fourth quarter of this year. “Upstate South Carolina is an ideal location for our first North American assembly facility,” said CT&T Chief Executive Officer Young Gi Lee. “We are very happy to be located in an area that provides automotive infrastructure, a skilled workforce and proximity to markets that are prime targets for electric vehicle ownership.” Under the joint venture agreement, CT&T will manufacture its flagship e ZONE and c ZONE vehicles in South Carolina. The e ZONE electric low speed vehicle offers a range of up to 70 miles in a single charge through its advanced technology lithium polymer battery. The advanced lithium polymer battery provides twice the mileage and lifespan of traditional lead acid batteries, and is 30 percent smaller and lighter. The c ZONE line consists of a range of low speed electric off-road and street legal LSVs. They have applications for commercial use and are ideal neighborhood transportation for planned communities and resort properties. “We are delighted to be part of the history making for South Carolina and CT&T to produce and distribute their vehicles throughout the U.S.,” stated Artie Perry, president and CEO of 2AM Group. “We feel that our knowledge and presence in the automotive industry will factor well in generating a good start up here, and we look forward to adding additional jobs in South Carolina where we are headquartered,” Perry added, “we know we will make a success with all the efforts from the state and county behind us.” Gov. Mark Sanford welcomed CT&T to South Carolina noting, “Today serves as a reminder that South Carolina is making strides even in these challenging economic times. This announcement represents not only a significant investment and hundreds of new jobs, but also another step toward expanding our state’s role in next generation technologies.” CT&T Southeast will locate its new assembly facility in the Hwy. 290 Commerce Park in Duncan, SC, in coordination with the existing 2AM facility allowing for total building access of over 300,000 square feet. CT&T currently has U.S. operations in Atlanta, GA and Long Beach, CA. CT&T Company Ltd. is located in Seoul, Korea with manufacturing facilities […]
The U.S. Postal Service was at it again this week, banging its tin cup and trying to buy more time to reinvent a dying business model while confronting a growing annual budget deficit that now exceeds $7 billion. However, before we see the blueprint for moving our 19th century postal system into the 21st, the nation’s mail carriers apparently need some more triage. They are asking us to pony up another two cents for a first-class stamp—the sixth time the price of stamps has increased in the past 10 years. On Jan. 2, the price of a first-class stamp will be 46 cents, which is almost twice as much as it cost to buy a stamp in 1990. But you won’t be able to tell this by looking at a stamp, because the Postal Service stopped putting the price on its stamps years ago. This sad news was accompanied by a laughable a bit of public relations balm: in addition to the first-class rate increase (expected to raise $3 billion), the Postal Service will be issuing some special “forever” stamps. The “forever” stamps, adorned with evergreens, will remain permanently priced at 44 cents, with one caveat: you can only use them during the Christmas holiday crunch. What’s next, specially priced stamps for Mother’s Day cards going to Toledo? The Postal Service eliminated the equivalent of 50,000 jobs this year and began the process of closing nearly 10 percent of its facilities. Unfortunately, these measures have had about as much of an impact on the flow of red ink as one of BP’s oil-leak containment caps. Before the latest stamp price increase was announced, trial balloons were briefly floated proposing to eliminate Saturday mail deliveries and cut back on postal workers’ pensions. These lead balloons were quickly shot down, especially the latter, which made the postal workers’ union go…well, postal. After spending more than 20 years watching UPS and FedEx eat its lunch in the overnight and two-day delivery market —most of those U.S. Postal Service overnight boxes they tout on TV actually are flown by the private carriers—the Postal Service is now watching the World Wide Web devour what’s left. In just the past 12 months, the amount of snail mail has declined by almost 13 percent. It is not a stretch to suggest that the only remaining profit centers for the U.S.P.S. are those fake government letters touting mortgage refinancing and the fake “pay to the order of” checks that car dealers spew out. Come to think of it, that’s probably […]
The state, Montrose County, the Montrose Economic Development Corp. and the city of Montrose are prepared to offer a package of incentives to an international manufacturing company, which officials are declining to identify until a deal is struck. County spokeswoman Kristin Scuderi said the company is headquartered outside the U.S. and intends to move to North America. She said the company has narrowed the locations it is considering to Montrose and one other city she did not know. The company would immediately create 40 new jobs and a total of 200 within two to three years, making it one of the largest employers in Montrose, said Sandy Head, president and executive director of the Montrose Economic Development Corp. She said the company’s average annual wage is $49,000, about 50 percent more than Montrose County’s average annual wage of $32,800. Head wrote an e-mail to Montrose Economic Development Corp. investors, seeking their support. She described the company’s clientele as “very high-end” and said they’re based both in the U.S. and outside the country. She wrote that the company’s customers will travel to and stay in Montrose for several days and possibly purchase second homes in the area. Scuderi said the county’s unemployment rate has been above the national average, so the introduction of new jobs would be a boom to the unemployed. Head said Wednesday the Montrose Economic Development Corp. has been working for seven months to try to lure the company to Montrose. She said officials hope to know whether the company will select Montrose in the next four to six weeks. Head said a number of incentives are being dangled in front of the company. She said the state and the Montrose Economic Development Corp. are offering cash through a state job-training program, performance-based incentives and enterprise zone tax credits. The county is proposing a property tax credit and another incentive, while the city is offering breaks on development and permit fees, she said.
Oklahoma City Council Members today approved amendments to a 2008 joint agreement between developer Horizon Group Properties LP (HGP), the Oklahoma City Economic Development Trust and The City of Oklahoma City for the developer to build an outlet mall in Oklahoma City. An agreement was first signed in May 2008 between city entities and the developer. The project was set to open in November 2009, but dramatic changes in the retail market and the developer’s difficulty to obtain financing took a toll on the project. The original agreement required a minimum investment of $50 million by HGP. The project was expected to generate approximately $106 million in annual retail sales at the center and an estimated $4.1 million in sales tax revenues each year for the city. Further, HGP requested incentives with the agreement to include a regional marketing reimbursement of $5.5 million over a ten-year period (approximately 12.5 percent of sales taxes received). Details within the amended agreement include a change in size of the center from 340,000 square feet to 320,000 square feet, and an increase from $2,395,000 to $3,937,690 in public improvements to the site from the city, which includes $1 million for Drive 2, a private road. The project is expected to generate 700 construction jobs and 1,000 permanent jobs, with $19 million in direct payroll. It is anticipated that the property will bring 90 retailers into the outlet center with a possible 75,000-square-foot expansion on several out-parcels based on the success of the mall. By August 31, 2010, the developer must meet certain requirements before the city proceeds with public improvements. By end of August, the developer needs to close on land acquisition, execute its construction contract and provide evidence of financing for the project.