Metro Spotlight | Business Facilities - Economic Development, Site Selection & Workforce Solutions

The city of Greenville, SC is cut from a different cloth.


The city of Greenville, SC is cut from a different cloth.

Metro Spotlight: Greenville/Spartanburg, SC

Metro Spotlight Articles


Metro Spotlight: Johnson City, Tennessee

Metro Spotlight: Johnson City, Tennessee

Johnson City: A Perfect 10 in Tennessee Once a 19th century railroad depot, Johnson City, TN has grown into a successful city with deep musical and historical roots. Positioned in the far eastern stretches of Tennessee, Johnson City spans Washington, Carter and Sullivan Counties. The MSA’s estimated population was 181,607 in 2006, with approximately 60,000 people residing in the city limits. Intelligent residents and a burgeoning business climate combine to make Johnson City one of Tennessee’s most notable metro areas. The knowledge community present at East Tennessee State University (ETSU), home to 13,000 students, solidifies Johnson City’s educational foundation. The public university includes the James H. Quillen College of Medicine, which was ranked fourth in the United States for excellence in rural medical education in 2009’s U.S. News & World Report’s “America’s Best Graduate Schools.” ETSU also was ranked in the top 25% of medical schools for primary care education. The university has a College of Pharmacy, as well. In the business realm, Johnson City recently was ranked tenth by Forbes magazine’s “Best Smaller Metro Area for Business and Careers.” In 2007, Washington County’s workforce totaled 60,600 strong, with a countywide unemployment rate of 4.1%, down from 4.9% in 2005 and 5% in 2003, according to the Tennessee Department of Employment Security. Washington Welcomes Two Japanese Auto Suppliers On October 27, 2008, two Japanese companies held an official opening and building dedication ceremony at the Washington County Industrial Park, located on Highway 11E near Johnson City, TN. Koyo Corporation of USA and Nakatetsu Machining Technologies broke ground in November of 2006 and their new manufacturing facilities became fully operational in May of this year. Both companies are involved in the manufacturing of bearings for the automotive industry and have brought approximately 100 to 150 new jobs, consisting primarily of machining, grinding, assembly, skilled trades and professional positions, to Johnson City and the surrounding area. “This is a positive development for Tennessee and Washington County,” says Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen. “Attracting good-paying manufacturing jobs is an important part of our job creation strategy. Having our efforts embraced by automotive industry leaders like Koyo and Nakatetsu is a strong endorsement of Tennessee’s business climate.” Koyo Corporation of USA’s General Manager Steve McCullough believes the new facilities will be an important step for both companies’ growing businesses. “Our preliminary selection of Washington County reflects our commitment to American manufacturing and the American worker,” says McCullough. “Increased consumer demand for our products requires increased manufacturing capabilities to complement our other U.S. plants and relationships. […]


Metro Spotlight: Fayette County, Georgia

Metro Spotlight: Fayette County, Georgia

Fayette Companies on a Winning Streak In July, Alcan Packaging of Peachtree City, GA was honored as a nominee for the state’s Manufacturer of the Year award. “We’re proud of Alcan because they are very deserving of this nomination,” says Randy Hayes, chairman of the Fayette County Development Authority. “We congratulate them on this achievement and know they will continue to thrive in Fayette.” Alcan, a global packaging company serving numerous industries, was the sole nominee from Fayette County. Other Georgia companies presented with a plaque were Bridgestone Bandag of Griffin; the Griffin plant of Georgia Industries for the Blind; Perkins Shibaura Engines of Griffin; PermaTherm of Monticello; Continental Tire/Adora Plant of Barnesville; Toppan Interamerica of McDonough; and Caterpillar Diversified Power Products of Griffin. During the awards ceremony at Griffin Technical College, Georgia Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle, said Georgia leads the nation in workforce development “primarily because of [our] technical colleges.” In April, Peachtree-based Panasonic Automotive was named by General Motors (GM) as a Supplier of the Year for its overall business performance in providing GM with world-class parts and services. It marks the ninth time in the past 11 years that GM has recognized Panasonic with this honor. “Panasonic is among the best of the best,” says Bo Andersson, GM group vice president, Global Purchasing and Supply Chain. “They understand that our mutual success can only be achieved by sharing common goals and priorities.” “We are honored to have once again been chosen as a Supplier of the Year by General Motors,” says Vince Sarrecchia, president of Panasonic Automotive. “It is a clear indicator that GM recognizes Panasonic’s quality and the value of our brand in the market place, and the connection we have with our customers.” Fayette Fact File • Fayette County is considered a part of the Atlanta Metropolitan Statistical Area. • Fayette County was named for the Marquis de Lafayette. • Fayette County’s largest city is Peachtree City, but the county seat is Fayetteville. Country Cities   Population     Average Household Income Fayette County   109,624     $101,472 City of Fayetteville   13,676     $74,884 Peachtree City   38,736     $94,458 Town of Tyrone   4,637     $86,473


Metro Spotlight: Cuba, Missouri

Metro Spotlight: Cuba, Missouri

A Small Town on the Move Seventy-five minutes from St. Louis’ downtown, Cuba, MO is a growing and prosperous community nestled comfortably in the peaceful Ozarks. Businesses locating in the city will find a growing industrial community coupled with the warmth and serenity of a rural lifestyle. Cuba’s location on Interstate 44, a major U.S. and Missouri artery, links businesses to St. Louis, Chicago, Memphis, Kansas City, Oklahoma City, and the nation. Cuba also offers easy access to transportation by major interstate trucking, rail, bus and air, as well as a state-of-the-art communication infrastructure with digital switching and fiber optic networking. Considering the size of Cuba (a population of around 3,500), the town’s existing industrial park has grown rapidly during the last 20 years. Companies that have moved and expanded in Cuba include Georgia Pacific, Olin, Dana Brake Parts, Inc., and Johnson and Controls, among others. To keep up with this growth, city leaders have opened a new 35-acre industrial park. Located a half mile away from Interstate 44, the Cuba Industrial Park II is adjacent to a 20-bay truck port, with a six-lane bridge to access the Interstate. All utilities are in place. Companies locating in Cuba will find one of Missouri’s most successful Enterprise Zones, offering a low cost of living, affordable new housing, and the lowest corporate and income taxes in the state. Missouri’s average property tax rate is $6.30/$100 on one-third of the value and the county tax is just $4.21/$100 on one-third of the value. Best of all, Cuba has no personal or real estate property taxes. Any qualified business that locates within the Enterprise Zone also can receive a comprehensive series of tax credits, tax abatements, and job training credits. The workforce of Cuba is ready, willing, and affordable. The unemployment rate in the area has averaged 6-7%, providing an ample supply of available and trainable workers. The city’s strong work ethic translates to lower absenteeism, higher productivity, and profits. With a 27% population growth rate over the last census, Cuba’s labor situation will remain attractive for many years to come. Learning in Cuba Cuba’s public school system is fully accredited. Higher education facilities include the University of Missouri-Rolla, East Central College, Linn Technical College and Rolla Technical Institute, plus six state satellite schools within easy driving distance.


Metro Spotlight: Phoenix, Arizona

Metro Spotlight: Phoenix, Arizona

City of the Future Strategically positioned in the Southwest, the Greater Phoenix area is one of 10 U.S. markets projected to experience 85% of the nation’s growth over the next 35 years. Greater Phoenix, which consists of the City of Phoenix, much of the rest of Maricopa County, a large section of Pinal County, and small parts of southern Yavapai County, currently is the 13th largest area in the United States, with an estimated population of four million. The City of Phoenix is the largest state capital in the U.S. in terms of population and is the only state capital with a population of more than one million. With a labor force of over two million people, Greater Phoenix is known as a business and innovation hub with international access for aerospace, high-tech, bioscience, advanced business and sustainable technologies companies. Currently, over 20 major Fortune 500/1000 companies are located in Phoenix, such as Allied Waste, AT&T Inc., Bank of America, Boeing, Google, Morgan Stanley, and Wells Fargo. Honeywell’s Aerospace division is headquartered in Phoenix, and the valley hosts many of its avionics and mechanical facilities. Intel has one of its largest sites in the city, employing about 10,000 employees. Businesses are easily connected to the region, nation and the world with two major airports—Sky Harbor International Airport and Williams Gateway Airport—and a new light-rail system being launched in December 2008. Hot Spot for Solar With an average of 321 days of sun, a high semiconductor workforce concentration, and a lower cost of doing business compared to California, Greater Phoenix is emerging as a leader in the solar industry. Greater Phoenix is now the world’s fourth largest solar market and is home to companies such as American Solar Electric, Green Ideas, Inc., ETA Engineering Inc., Kyocera Solar, Inc., and First Solar. In June 2008, California-based SolarCity, one of the fastest growing solar power companies in the country, announced it is expanding its operations in Phoenix. The company is transferring regional operations to a new 8,200-square-foot facility, which it plans to use as a base to install solar electricity systems for area businesses and residents. “SolarCity is an innovative company, and its unique SolarLease program will promote and accelerate the adoption of solar across the region,” says Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) President and CEO Barry Broome. GPEC, comprised of 18 communities, Maricopa County, and more than 140 private-sector companies, serves as a catalyst to strengthen the region’s economic base and promote Arizona’s sustainable industry. Its efforts are helping create high-wage jobs, […]


Metro Spotlight: Greensburg/Decatur, Indiana

Metro Spotlight: Greensburg/Decatur, Indiana

A Location With Everything Going For It Uniquely situated along 1-74 between Indianapolis and Cincinnati, Greensburg/Decatur County has proven itself to be a great place to live, work and prosper. Area residents enjoy multiple golf courses, a state-of-the-art youth sports complex, first-class medical care, and dozens of community gatherings, events and festivals. Greensburg/Decatur County is a strong site selection choice for a variety of reasons, including labor and land availability, transportation access, quality of life, and a business-friendly tax climate. A reinvigorated rail line, I-74, and Greensburg-Decatur County Airport (which has a 3,500-foot paved runway) provide multiple access points to today’s lanes of commerce, with the utilities and technology capabilities in place to support businesses of all sizes. Whether dealing with customers on Main Street or in Tokyo, businesses can rest assured that their efforts can be supported in Greensburg/Decatur County. Greensburg/Decatur County boasts two shovel-ready sites, and training and education funding is available for development. Home to a new Honda auto plant, Greensburg/Decatur Economic Development Corp. is actively courting other overseas companies and will soon post a Japanese-language version of its Web site. Honda’s $550-million Decatur Plant Starts Rolling Honda recently completed its new $550-million automotive plant on a 1,700-acre tract in Decatur County, IN, near Greensburg, 50 miles southeast of Indianapolis. The plant is beginning mass production of fuel efficient four-cylinder vehicles this fall, with an annual production capacity of 200,000 vehicles and employment of 2,000 associates. The new Indiana plant, Honda’s sixth auto plant and 14th major plant overall in North America, will help boost Honda’s total North American auto production capacity from 1.4 million units to more than 1.6 million units in 2008, grow Honda’s employment in North America to more than 37,000 associates and increase North American capital investment to more than $9 billion. “Honda’s success in America has been based on our strong commitment to our customers,” says Koichi Kondo, president of American Honda Motor Co., Inc., and chief operating officer of Honda’s North America Region operations. “We believe the great state of Indiana has what we need to continue this success-an outstanding community of people, excellent transportation systems, and the necessary infrastructure to support industry. It is an ideal location in the Midwest both for our network of parts suppliers and as a central location for all of our customers across the country.” In 2005, American Honda achieved record U.S. sales of 1,462,472 new Honda and Acura cars and light trucks, the ninth straight year of record annual sales. In order to meet […]


Metro Spotlight: Spokane, Washington

Metro Spotlight: Spokane, Washington

Spokane: An Unspoken Success Story of the West Located on the eastern side of Washington state, 18 miles west of Idaho and 100 miles south of Canada, the Spokane region is home to 1.4 million people in the Inland Northwest. Since 2005, the Spokane region’s labor force has doubled the national average’s pace, adding more than 21,000 jobs since 2002. Spokane’s workforce is comprised of more than 90% college graduates, and more than 65,000 students study within a 75-mile radius of the city. The education hub of the Inland Northwest, Spokane has the second largest community college district in Washington, and the area boasts 18 higher education institutions in total. More than 60% of residents have attended college and almost 30% hold a bachelor’s degree, while more than 10% hold degrees beyond the post-baccalaureate level. Spokane’s attractive business climate has drawn some interesting organizations to its region. One in particular is Seattle-based Lighthouse for the Blind, Inc., which plans to open a satellite facility in Spokane this month, and increase its workforce to 40 people within three years. Within its first year, the Lighthouse hopes to employ five to 10 people who are blind. The U.S. Labor Department reports at least a 70% unemployment rate among the blind. Available positions at the Lighthouse include machinists, production workers, computer instructors, IT specialists, receptionists, and Web programmers, among others. The Lighthouse offers support services such as orientation and mobility training, housing support, and computer training. Spokane’s Power of Community Created in 2001, the Spokane Community Empowerment Zone (CEZ) spurs economic development throughout Spokane County by offering tax incentives to qualified businesses engaged in manufacturing, R&D or software development. Businesses must apply for the credits prior to groundbreaking or hiring; locate or expand within the designated geographic area (Spokane’s West Central, East Central, and Hillyard neighborhoods); and/or locate in a county having a designated zone and hire employees who are residents of the zone. Forty-two companies have taken advantage of the CEZ benefits, saving a combined $8 million in tax incentives. In turn, these companies have invested $94 million into the Spokane region and created 1,210 new jobs in total. Spokane’s CEZ offers: A Sales and Use Tax Deferral or Exemption on new equipment and construction costs for new or remodeled buildings used in manufacturing, R&D activities, or computer-related activities. A Business and Occupation New Job Tax Credit of $2,000 (for wages and benefits worth $40,000 or less) or $4,000 (for wages and benefits worth more than $40,000) per new job created by […]



Metro Spotlight: Inland Empire, CA

Metro Spotlight: Inland Empire, CA

California Expands Its Inland Economic Empire The Inland Empire combines the majority of Riverside and San Bernardino counties, encompassing more than 50 cities, into the largest region of Southern California. Stretching 50 miles wide and 60 miles from north to south, the sprawling empire is surrounded by hills, valleys, and the Santa Ana and Santa Rosa mountain ranges. Its patchwork of small- and medium-sized cities, unincorporated communities, and suburban neighborhoods makes it the United States’ 14th largest metropolitan area. While its cities vary in size and income, economic growth within the entire empire is palpable, particularly in the financial services and retail industries. RANCHO’S BUSINESS BUZZ Rancho Cucamonga is abuzz with business activity. Corporations from various industries operate within the city, but Rancho has been especially attractive to companies specializing in R&D, health care, financial services, retail, and the insurance industry. Twenty-seven major office operations relocated or expanded in Rancho Cucamonga from 1994 to 2007, adding 3,619 employees to the city’s workforce. Some recent moves to Rancho include: • Co-Op Financial Services added 200   jobs in 2007. • Computek International created 20   jobs in 2006. • PFF Bank & Trust relocated its   headquarters and back office   operations in 2006. • Kiwanis International Western District   Office brought 50 jobs in 2005. • Ameriquest Mortgage added 250 jobs   in 2004. Rancho Cucamonga: A Range of Sites for a Range of Companies Rancho Cucamonga offers a wide range of leasable office space, which allows a variety of businesses to find the right site from which to base or expand their operations. Empire Corporate Plaza offers 400,000 square feet, including five two-story buildings varying in size from 75,636 square feet to 84,604 square feet. This project is currently leasing space. Vintner’s Grove is a 138,000-square-foot, master-planned office and medical campus, including a 100,000-square-foot Class “A” office building, as well as smaller buildings ranging in size from 4,276 to 4,690 square feet in a campus-style environment. Vintner’s is scheduled for completion in the third quarter of 2008. One Town Square is a four-story, 90,673-square-foot Class “A” office building. This mixed-use project features upscale apartment homes and work-live units, as well as restaurants. Each floor includes a 22,668-square-foot workspace. This complex is also scheduled for completion in the third quarter of 2008. Cucamonga’s Question: Cash, Check, or Credit? Taxable retail sales in Rancho Cucamonga reached a record $2.6 billion in 2007. Over the years, Rancho Cucamonga’s Redevelopment Agency has encouraged growth of the retail industry, and national retailers have targeted the city’s affluent and upwardly mobile […]


Metro Spotlight: Albuquerque, NM

Metro Spotlight: Albuquerque, NM

Albuquerque: Colonial Past, Sustainable Future Dubbed the “Land of Enchantment,” Albuquerque is an arid, sunny metropolis of about 840,000 people, making it New Mexico’s most populous city. Spread over four counties in the heart of the state, Albuquerque’s essence is difficult to define-both the Sandia Mountains and the Rio Grande run through the city, a former Spanish colonial outpost set within the Chihuahuan Desert. But today, Albuquerque has a modern face thanks to its central location in New Mexico’s Technology Corridor, home to Sandia National Laboratories, Intel, and soon, Hewlett Packard. Sustainable energy also is part of the city’s forward-thinking outlook; 20% of Albuquerque’s electricity is drawn from wind turbines, and a cluster of renewable energy companies has formed in Mesa del Sol, a master-planned community in southern Albuquerque. SCHOTT AG, a German solar power company, recently broke ground there, which is a smart move since the sun shines over Albuquerque more than 300 days per year. Getting Around ABQ Albuquerque MSA Population: 840,000 Labor Force: 407,921 Employment: 392,965 Unemployment: 14,956 NM Unemployment Rate: 3.7% U.S. Unemployment Rate: 5.5% Source: New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions, May 2008 The Albuquerque metropolitan area is serviced by two interstate highways, I-25 and I-40. The local transit agency, ABQ RIDE, operates a series of city buses, while a commuter rail line called the New Mexico Rail Runner Express has serviced Albuquerque since 2006. A rail extension linking to Santa Fe, NM is expected to be finished by the end of 2008. For jet setters, Albuquerque International Sunport is just three miles from the central business district. Also, Double Eagle II Airport is available for both charter and private flights. Rio Rancho Says Howdy to Hewlett Hewlett-Packard announced in June plans to open a technical support center in Rio Rancho, a growing city within Albuquerque’s MSA. Several hundred workers will be hired when the center opens, and the workforce could swell to 1,300 employees by 2012. “This is one of the most significant economic development agreements we’ve ever made,” says New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson. The state has offered the computer giant a bevy of financial incentives that could total $40 million. The largest portion of incentives-$20 to $30 million-would come from New Mexico’s high-wage jobs tax credit program, while the remaining $10 million would come in the form of job training initiatives. Richardson also will lobby the state legislature to approve $12 million in funding to help offset infrastructure costs. The center could open by next summer, though an exact location has not […]