Cover Story Archives

COVER STORY: Digital Media Takes The Prize

BFMarApr12_cover Posted on:

Millions of pixels are helping to create thousands of jobs in a new high-growth sector of the economy. From feature films to video games, digital media is spreading its computer-generated wings and flying, from traditional locations like California, Massachusetts and New York to up and coming industry leaders Utah, Louisiana and Rhode Island. From the March/April 2012 issue.

COVER STORY: 2011 Economic Development Deal of the Year Awards

BFJanFeb12_Cover Posted on:

Kentucky has a century-long tradition of building cars, going back to the Model T. A new long-term partnership with Ford will bring a bonanza of jobs to the Louisville region as the Bluegrass State sets its sights on becoming the top U.S. automotive manufacturing center.

Winning the Alternative Energy Future

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The U.S. alternative energy industry has seen enormous growth over the past few years. Although the U.S. has a lot of catching up to do to match to global leaders, states across the country are in the process of aggressively investing in the development of renewable energy resources, spurring economic growth and creating jobs.

2010 Economic Development Deal of the Year Awards

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Gold Award With a $3.6-billion expansion of Samsung’s semiconductor fabrication facility in Austin, TX, the capital of the Lone Star State has put everyone on notice that it intends to remain the top U.S. hub in the burgeoning microchip sector. Project Title: Samsung Austin Semiconductor Expansion Entered By: Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce Our blue-ribbon panel of industry experts had to make some tough choices when assessing the nominees for Business Facilities’ 2010 Economic Development Deal of the Year Awards. This year’s competition—our largest field of contestants to date—featured 24 top-flight projects from 20 states. A bevy of major high-tech initiatives went head-to-head with locations enjoying a robust resurgence in traditional manufacturing, including the largest single investment in steel production in years. The judges have spoken: this year’s top honors go to Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, Regional Economic Development, Inc. of Missouri and Louisiana Economic Development. The $3.6-billion expansion of Samsung Austin Semiconductor (SAS) in Texas has been selected as our 2010 Economic Development Deal of the Year Gold Award winner. The semiconductor fabrication plant project was submitted by Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, which also credited the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and Tourism and the City of Austin for their help in sealing the deal. SAS announced in June plans to expand its 12-inch semiconductor fabrication plant in Austin. The project is expected to create up to 7,600 direct and indirect jobs for the Austin Metro Area. The new investment in the Austin fab builds on $5.6 billion the Korean tech giant has previously committed to the SAS facility over the past 14 years, bringing the total investment to approximately $9.2 billion. The company said it would increase employment at the plant from 1,000 to 1,600 by 2011, with annual payroll rising from $70 million to $112 million during the same period. Annual operations at SAS currently inject more than $800 million into the area economy annually; when ripple effects are included, SAS is responsible for more than $1.4 billion each year in local economic activity and $296 million in total worker earnings. Employment at SAS represents more than 13 percent of the Austin, TX area’s technology production base. Almost 3,000 construction workers will be employed in the $633-million build-out of the fab expansion. The expanded semiconductor fab will produced 45-nanometer and below microchips for Samsung’s System LSI business. The plant currently produces a variety of NAND Flash memory chips. “Forty-five nanometer and below advanced logic applications are in high demand and respective markets are expected to… …Read More…

2010 Editors’ Location Picks

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A galaxy of emerging stars made this year’s selections a tough choice for our panel of editors. Here are the standouts that caught our eye with sparkling innovation and steadfast growth.

Race to the Bottom

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KPMG’s 2010 Competitive Alternatives study reveals that the push to be the location with the lowest cost of manufacturing is heating up around the world. In a recovering economy, every major business expansion, relocation or new facility is the focus of intense competition. With fewer projects to zero in on, every location is vying to offer the lowest overall manufacturing costs. One of the most coveted measures of cost competitiveness is found in KPMG’s Competitive Alternatives study, which is conducted every two years. The 2010 Competitive Alternatives survey examined 112 cities in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States. The KPMG study measured 26 significant cost components most likely to vary by location, including: labor, taxes, real estate and utilities, as they applied to 17 business sectors over a 10-year planning horizon. A range of non-cost competitiveness factors also were considered, as were currency exchange rates. The 2010 study was revamped to include a new focus on the largest cities in each country, and it includes a number of major cities not included in the 2008 survey, such as Berlin, Los Angeles, Lyon, Miami, Osaka, Rome and Tokyo. The results, released at the end of March, revealed some bad news for the U.S.—the United States dropped from third place in the 2008 KPMG study to seventh place in the 2010 survey. Mexico and Canada continued to hold onto the first- and second-place rankings, respectively, while the Netherlands surged from number seven to number three. “The global recession has not been the only factor impacting international business over the last two years,” explains Simon Harding, associate partner in KPMG’s Advisory Service practice and head of its Canadian Strategic & Commercial Intelligence practice. “Divergent trends in exchange rates, utility and transportation costs, taxes and incentives all helped to shape the international competitiveness environment in 2010,” Harding noted. “The degree of variation in business costs between major cities in some countries also is quite remarkable. All of these factors highlight the importance of having access to up-to-date intelligence on international business competitiveness issues for both businesses and governments.”   TAMPA AND ATLANTA LEADING LOW-COST LARGE U.S. CITIES Harding told Business Facilities that this year’s emphasis on the largest cities in each country was a primary factor in the downward shift in the U.S. competitiveness ranking. The change in focus impacted on the U.S. ranking due to the greater variation in costs between the largest cities and regional cities in the U. S. The cost… …Read More…