Magazine Archives

2008 Business Facilities Rankings Report

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Our annual look at the top-ranked localities reflects the fierce competition driving economic development across all regions. We have beefed up our criteria for selecting the best of the best to keep pace with the sophistication and diversity of these efforts.

Metro Spotlight: Albuquerque, NM

Metro Spotlight: Albuquerque, NM Posted on:

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… …Read More…

Metro Spotlight: Inland Empire, CA

Metro Spotlight: Inland Empire, CA Posted on:

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… …Read More…

New York Corporate Moves

New York Corporate Moves Posted on:

Niagara Falls Powers Growth of Green Jobs In May, Empire State Development (ESD) and the New York Power Authority (NYPA) announced an economic development package for Globe Specialty Metals in Niagara County, bringing 500 new “green collar” jobs to the area. The package includes a major allocation of low-cost hydropower from the Niagara Power Project that will serve as the linchpin for the reopening and expansion of Globe’s manufacturing facilities in Niagara Falls. “This is another demonstration of our resolve to revitalize economic development in Upstate New York,” says New York Governor David Paterson. “This project signifies how powerfully competitive New York State can be in attracting businesses when we pool our resources-in this case, low-cost hydropower through NYPA and an Empire Zone incentive through Empire State Development.” Alan Kestenbaum, chairman and CEO of Globe, says, “This project will be a cornerstone for New York to realize its goal of making the state a major center for production and research for renewable energy and, in particular, solar energy products.” Twenty-five percent of Globe’s upgraded silicon production from its new Niagara Falls facility will be used to attract new solar panel manufacturers to New York state, thus spurring the development of the “green collar” industry in Western New York. Globe will reopen the existing Highland Avenue silicon production facility in Niagara Falls and invest in upgrading the equipment to produce approximately 30,000 tons of metallurgical grade silicon annually. In addition, it will build a new 100,000-square-foot facility in Niagara Falls to annually convert its metallurgical grade silicon into 4,000 tons of solar grade silicon, enough to produce 500 megawatts of solar power. ESD and NYPA created an incentive package that provides Globe with 40 megawatts of hydropower over five years and up to $25 million in Empire Zone benefits for up to 10 years. The company will provide a capital investment of $60 million. Medical Center Expands, Quickens Rochester’s Pulse Earlier this year, the University of Rochester Medical Center announced a strategic plan that calls for a $500 million investment over the next five to 10 years. The plan proposes the construction of a Clinical and Translational Science Building to house research and training programs, in addition to a $259-million expansion of Strong Memorial Hospital, a 52,000-square-foot, off-campus ambulatory surgery center. The economic impact of the plan will include 771 new jobs at the medical center, 1,000 permanent jobs in the community, and an average of 1,400 construction jobs per year associated with various projects through 2015. The plan’s medical focus… …Read More…

Georgia Corporate Moves

Georgia Corporate Moves Posted on:

  Alcoa Expands Operations in Eastman In May, Alcoa Architectural Products broke ground at the site of its 2,500-square-foot expansion project at the Eastman-Dodge County Industrial Park in Eastman, GA. Alcoa recently has hired nine new employees and plans to complete construction by summer’s end. “The new office space will not only house our growing employee base, but will showcase our own Reynobond¨ product on the exterior,” says Jeff Jost, Alcoa’s general manager. The company’s Reynobond aluminum composite material was also used in building Home Depot’s headquarters in Atlanta and the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, in addition to numerous facilities around the world. The Eastman expansion also will create the first “green” parking lot in Dodge County, GA. The lot will be made with an environmentally friendly porous pavement system called FilterPave, made of recycled plastic and glass. Alcoa is Dodge County’s largest exporter of manufactured goods, representing more than 94% of the county’s exports handled by the Georgia Ports Authority. The Alcoa plant has more than doubled its business activity since 2003. “When a Fortune 100 company continues to expand and invest here, it says something about what a great place Dodge County is to do business,” says F.J. “Josh” Fenn, president and CEO of Eastman-Dodge County Area Chamber of Commerce. “The project will also bring a new, modern look to the main entrance of the Eastman-Dodge County Industrial Park.” Travelport Taps Atlanta for Corporate Headquarters In early 2008, Travelport, a global distribution system (GDS) provider, announced plans to transform the Worldspan building in Atlanta, GA into its North American headquarters. The company will bring up to 200 jobs to the area by consolidating its operations in Rosemont, IL; Parsippany, NJ; and Denver, CO. Travelport expects to retain 325 jobs in the Atlanta metro area, while creating 100 jobs in Hapeville, GA, where it will expand its data center. The total investment for all of these projects is $33 million. “The consolidation of our business into a North American GDS headquarters is a significant step in building upon synergies between our existing Galileo and recently acquired Worldspan GDS businesses,” says Gordon Wilson, CEO and president of Travelport GDS. “The state of Georgia, Cobb and Fulton counties, and the city of Atlanta have demonstrated strong support for our move. Atlanta has an excellent geographic position, continually growing international direct airline services, and a well-educated, technologically literate workforce.” “Travelport’s decision to locate a division headquarters in Atlanta signals that our position as a hub in the travel and IT… …Read More…