Business Facilities’ 2021 Metro Rankings Report

Millennials are migrating into Connecticut from New York City and Boston in droves, making Greater Hartford, CT the top-ranked Millennial Magnet in Business Facilities' 2021 Metro Rankings Report.


https://businessfacilities.com/2021/08/business-facilities-2021-metro-rankings-report/
Millennials are migrating into Connecticut from New York City and Boston in droves, making Greater Hartford, CT the top-ranked Millennial Magnet in Business Facilities' 2021 Metro Rankings Report.
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Business Facilities’ 2021 Metro Rankings Report

Millennials are migrating into Connecticut from New York City and Boston in droves, making Greater Hartford, CT the top-ranked Millennial Magnet in our 2021 Metro Rankings Report.

Business Facilities’ 2021 Metro Rankings Report

By Business Facilities Staff
From the July/August 2021 Issue

17th Annual Rankings: 2021 Metro Rankings Report

2021 Metro Rankings

HARTFORD, CT: TOP MILLENNIAL MAGNETS

Millennials are migrating into Connecticut from New York City and Boston in droves, making Greater Hartford, CT BF’s top-ranked Millennial Magnet in our 2021 Metro Rankings Report.

Local tech companies are locating, expanding and hiring tech talent throughout Connecticut. They’re also attracting and hiring talent from around the world and bringing them to the Greater Hartford region. Labor market analysts Emsi Burning Glass named Hartford the second hottest metro in the U.S. for tech talent.

Companies like India-based HCL Technologies have been creating a presence in Hartford. The information technology company established a global delivery center in downtown Hartford in 2021 and has been hiring, with dozens of job postings available in the Hartford Region.

On the heels of HCL’s announcement, New Jersey-based IT company GalaxE.Solutions decided to expand its presence by leasing a floor at Hartford’s CityPlace. The IT company had already opened an innovation center in Hartford in September 2019 at the Stilts Building downtown.

India-based IT giant Infosys established a presence in Hartford in 2018. By May 2020, the company employed about 500 people in Connecticut and has committed to hiring 1,000 employees in Connecticut by 2023.

These tech companies are also expanding and growing in the Hartford Region by building partnerships with some of the region’s larger companies that are committed to helping foster startup growth and innovation. Some support InsurTech initiatives by providing POCs, advisory services and internship opportunities. Others, like Nassau Financial Group, have gone a step further to create an incubator for InsurTech startups that intend to build a presence in Hartford.

“Hartford is an innovation hub. The opportunities are endless and there’s a huge amount of potential for growth,” emphasizes Launc[H]artford Program Specialist Jazna Stannard, a millennial who moved to Hartford from Boston in early 2021 to work for an initiative that’s helping develop Hartford’s innovation ecosystem by connecting local startups with industry leaders.

The cost of business in Connecticut is substantially lower than northeast hubs like Boston and New York. Combining the total tax cost with the Class “A” office lease costs, Hartford is $1.1 million lower than New York City and $700,000 lower than Boston on an annual basis.

With a lower cost of living and a unique balance of city and country life, young professionals increasingly are drawn to the Hartford region. The new AllHart initiative launched by the MetroHartford Alliance is designed to help young professionals achieve and enjoy work/life balance in the Greater Hartford Region. With a focus on culture, lifestyle and community, AllHart attracts a diverse talent pool and amplifies the sense of connection for millennials living and working in the region.

AllHart provides information about everything from safety to transportation, as well as what makes Hartford unique as a region, what the community values and suggestions for new bars, cafés and experiential dining and outdoor activities to explore. “Hartford is a convergence of diverse cultures and rich history, which creates a breeding ground for world-class music and arts, food cuisines and a varied set of activities each season,” said Jesse Imse, Marketing Communications and Brand Manager at engineering firm AECOM, and HYPE (Hartford Young Professionals and Entrepreneurs) Executive Committee member. “The Hartford Region’s location also plays a role in our uniqueness. Being able to take advantage of hiking, beaches and major cities within a one-day trip is unparalleled.”

Tucson, AZ surges into the top 10 in BF’s Millennial Magnets ranking in 6th place. A diverse and welcoming community, Tucson offers an outstanding quality of life along with a low cost of doing business. Tucson has one of the highest concentrations of startups of any U.S. city its size. Thriving growth sectors in Arizona’s second-largest city include biotech, information technology, optics and solar power.

HQ ARE FLOCKING TO CHARLOTTE, NC

The Charlotte, NC Region is now home to nine of the 500 largest publicly traded companies in the United States, and 18 of the largest 1,000, according to Fortune Magazine. Charlotte added three companies to the Fortune 500 list and two to the Fortune 1000 list over the past year. Charlotte newcomers Honeywell (92) and Truist (217) joined longtime Fortune 500 headquarters like Bank of America (25), Lowe’s (44), Duke Energy (123), Nucor (139) and Sonic Automotive (301). Hickory-based telecommunications company CommScope jumped into the Fortune 500 at No. 381 after ranking 569 in 2019. Brighthouse Financial (457) made the cut for the second year in a row.

Honeywell announced earlier this year that it will locate its headquarters in Charlotte, creating 750 jobs over the next six years. The Fortune 100 company, which provides software-oriented solutions for many of the world’s most complex industries, will bring more than $248 million in investment to Mecklenburg County by the end of 2023.

“We selected Charlotte because it offers a great business environment along with access to a workforce that has the skillset Honeywell will need to be competitive over the coming decades,” said Darius Adamczyk, Honeywell chairman and chief executive officer. “Charlotte also provides Honeywell with many advantages in support of our ongoing transformation and emergence as a premier technology company.”

Honeywell plans to relocate the company’s extended senior management team along with its Safety and Productivity Solutions business group headquarters.

The City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County are supporting the investment through a Business Investment Program (BIP) grant of $46 million over 15 years, the largest BIP ever offered. The county estimates an additional $51 million in net revenue over the 15-year grant. The project was a collaborative effort between the North Carolina Department of Commerce and the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina (EDPNC), along with the City of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County and the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance.

Centene Corporation, a Fortune 50 provider of managed care services for public and private health plans, is building an East Coast regional headquarters and technology hub in Charlotte. The project is bringing 3,237 new jobs to NC and an investment of more than $1 billion by 2032. “We chose Charlotte as the home to our East Coast headquarters because we believe it will enable us to continue our strong growth and our mission to serve the most vulnerable populations,” said Michael F. Neidorff, Chairman, President and CEO of Centene. “We look forward to our future in Charlotte and intend to be a strong part of the community, as we are in all of the places where we have business operations.”

Centene’s 3,237-job commitment makes the company’s new Mecklenburg County campus the largest job creation project in the 18-year history of NC’s Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG) program. The company will retain its existing nearly 600-person workforce at various offices in North Carolina. Its expanded workforce will include allied health professionals, data analysts, information-technology specialists, administrators and others. Centene’s new positions will offer salaries that average $100,089 annually, creating a regional payroll impact of nearly $324 million per year. Mecklenburg County’s overall average annual wage is currently $68,070.

ARLINGTON, VA AND ALEXANDRIA, VA SHINE IN BEST BUSINESS CLIMATE

Arlington, VA, BF’s top-ranked mid-sized metro for Best Business Climate and its neighbor, Alexandria, VA, BF’s top-ranked small metro (population under 200,000) for Best Business Climate, form the epicenter of a thriving tech hub that includes the National Landing site of Amazon’s mammoth HQ2 project.

The eCommerce giant’s second headquarters is expected to create 25,000 direct jobs within 20 years and more than 22,000 indirect jobs during the same period, generating an estimated direct economic impact of more than $55 billion over the 20-year incentive term with Amazon.

The National Landing site, which straddles Arlington and Alexandria alongside the Potomac River, contains over 17 million square feet of existing commercial space and 150 acres of developable land. The National Landing site offered Amazon the rare combination of a massive site in a vibrant, transit-rich, urban location that is a magnet for top talent.

Virginia Tech’s $1-billion Innovation Campus in Alexandria, which will be built on 3.5 acres in the first phase of a new mixed-use development and innovation district near the future Potomac Yard Metrorail Station, was part of the package that secured the HQ2 deal with Amazon, BF’s 2018 Deal of the Year Gold Award winner.

In exchange for performance-based incentives, Amazon agreed to make extensive, long-lasting investments in Virginia’s education, workforce and transportation infrastructure.

Virginia Tech is partnering with Lionstone Investments to build its 1-million-square foot Innovation Campus in Alexandria as part of a new 65-acre mixed-use development in National Landing, just steps away from the future Potomac Yard Metrorail Station. (Lionstone is a data-driven real estate investment firm that specializes in investing in U.S. locations with concentrations of highly productive jobs.) The Campus will sit on 15 acres just south of the Four Mile Run stream that separates Alexandria and Arlington.

The campus will include academic classrooms, incubator space for new startups and research and development, offices for industry collaboration and convening space for alumni events. The development plans call for public open space and ground-floor retail, knitting the campus into the fabric of Alexandria.

A new Metro station is being developed on the Yellow/Blue lines at the south end of the property, providing mass transit service roughly a quarter of a mile from the Innovation Campus. Reagan National Airport will be one Metro stop north of the site and Crystal City, and the new Amazon headquarters, will be two stops away.

“Lionstone uses analytics to identify the human capital driving economic growth, and then invests around them. Potomac Yard is an ideal location to create a sustainable mixed-use community where innovation, economic vitality and a deep pool of technology talent can intersect and thrive,” said Lionstone President Jane Page.

Virginia Tech announced plans to build the Innovation Campus in Alexandria last November as part of the tech-talent pipeline package created by the Virginia Economic Development Partnership and approved by the General Assembly to attract Amazon to build its HQ2 in Northern Virginia.

To refine and execute its vision, Virginia Tech has assembled an experienced senior leadership team to develop curricula, build partnerships and community relationships, and develop a campus location that will benefit the Alexandria community as well as Virginia Tech students and employees.

When complete in about 10 years, the campus will enroll 750 master’s candidates and hundreds of doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows.

Henderson, NV has surged into 5th place in our mid-sized metro ranking for Best Business Climate.

Henderson is a burgeoning business center that has drawn major tech players like Google, Amazon and Haas Automation to the city with a rapidly expanding skilled workforce.

Google, which built a $600-million data center in Henderson in 2019, announced it will double its investment in the city to $1.2 billion. Other companies like K-2, a leading provider of Lithium ion energy storage, and VadaTech, a global supplier of embedded computer solutions, were both founded in Henderson.

Henderson is now Nevada’s second-largest city with a population of 314,232, which is expected to continue growing at a 1.8-percent pace through 2025. Henderson has the Silver State’s highest per capita income, 19 percent higher than the U.S. average.

Proximity to the company’s California headquarters drew Haas Automation to Henderson. A global leader in tool-making with annual sales exceeding $1.8 billion, Haas also needed lots of space for its $327 million manufacturing complex. Henderson offered that, with 20 million square feet of available space, sites and land. The city’s lower costs and taxes and enlightened pro-business climate were factors that sealed the deal.

Henderson has the lowest property taxes and utility rates in the region, and a streamlined regulatory process that adds greater ease and speed to relocating or startup businesses. Lower costs and a “get-to-yes” environment, whether for incentives packages or permitting, have captured the interest of businesses from costlier and more regulatory-bound states.

The city’s 14 master-planned neighborhoods include some of the nation’s fastest-selling real estate. Henderson offers a spectacular array of outdoor recreation options, including 180 miles of trails and over 1,300 acres of city parkland.

BRAMPTON, ONTARIO DEFENDS FOOD PROCESSING CROWN

In our 17th annual Metro Rankings Report, Brampton, Ontario has repeated as the top-ranked Food Processing hub.

As part of Ontario’s Food Cluster—one of North America’s largest Agri-Food sectors—Brampton has a thriving food and beverage sector supported by industry-leading technology, top-quality products and a rich agricultural tradition. Brampton’s food and beverage sector is a one-stop shop complete with food testing, processing and packaging facilities as well as transportation, packaging design, equipment and refrigeration storage, all within the City.

2021 Metro Rankings

2021 Metro Rankings

2021 Metro Rankings

2021 Metro Rankings

Brampton’s food and beverage sectors contribute $1.3 billion annually to the Canadian GDP. 8,500 people are employed in approximately 300 companies in food and beverage manufacturing, processing and support industries.

Top employers in the food and beverage sector in Brampton include headquarters for Loblaws, Maple Lodge Farms and Italpasta. Additionally, key employers like Coca-Cola Bottling and Give and Go Prepared Foods have facilities in Brampton. All of these companies have strategically positioned themselves within Brampton to take advantage of the city’s talent, infrastructure and market access.

Rowan County, NC has joined the top 10 in our metro Food Processing ranking in 5th place.

The Agricultural and Food Technology industries have been undergoing tremendous change due to trends such as changing consumer habits, food safety and security, proliferation of niche brand and an aging population seeking healthier diets. As companies in this industry sector look to adapt to these trends by spending billions on research, new product development and supply chain optimization, more are looking at Rowan County as a location for their investments.

Supported by a wealth of resources in the area, Rowan County and the Charlotte region are transforming into a specialized and world renowned research, development and production center for food production and the biosciences.

Companies like Cheerwine, the manufacturer of the effervescent cherry soft drink that has been an icon of Southern food and culture for more than a century, and newer ones like Carolina Malt House, that provide high quality, locally sourced grains to Southeastern breweries, are two examples of food companies that are flourishing in Rowan County.

Other food processors in the region include Freshouse, Rockwell Farms, Frierich Foods and Patterson Farms. Many are drawn to the area to be near the headquarters of Salisbury-based Food Lion, the grocer that operates more than 1,000 stores in 10 southeastern and mid-Atlantic states and is owned by Ahold Delhaize, the world-leading food retailer based in the Netherlands.

“We are proud of the continued growth of our county’s agbiosciences sector, and the potential it holds to provide a stronger economy for our area,” Rowan EDC President Rod Crider told BF. “We have a strong agricultural heritage and new resources in place to help us build a brighter future. Our strategic location, growing labor pool and logistical advantages make it easy to see why more companies are choosing to locate in Rowan County.”

One of the most valuable resources available to food processors is the North Carolina Food Innovation Lab (NCFIL) in Kannapolis. The NCFIL is a new, current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) pilot plan accelerating plant-based food research, ideation, development and commercialization.

NCFIL brings together the latest in food processing equipment, expert food scientists and partners from across the state to help food companies and entrepreneurs get their products to market quickly and effectively. Managed by NC State University and located in the NC Research Campus, the NCFIL offers services for every stage of product development, including the following: Product Research and Development, Pilot Plant Production, Training and Workshops and Food Industry Consulting.

Another major asset for food processing in Rowan County is its great water resources. Rowan County is especially rich in the water resources required of food processors thanks to its location on the Yadkin River that generates an average daily flow of 2 billion gallons per day (GDP). Maximum daily capacity is 18 million GPD.

Rowan County is situated in the heart of the eastern U.S., one of the largest and fastest-growing consumer markets in the nation. Its abundance of transportation options provide superior logistics as well as supply-chain flexibility. Same-day access to all Eastern U.S. markets is facilitated by three interstates that transect Rowan County—I-85, I-77 and I-40. Rowan County is just 45 minutes from two major international airports and home to the general aviation Mid-Carolina Regional Airport. An intermodal facility is located in nearby Charlotte and other shipping and rail options are easily accessible.

Situated between North Carolina’s Charlotte region and the Piedmont Triad region—two of the fastest growing population centers in the U.S.—Rowan County has access to a 1.4 million person labor force. This continuing influx of talented professionals to the region provides businesses and companies access to a robust pool of highly skilled and educated workers.

MEMPHIS, TN: LOGISTICS LEADER

In our 17th annual Metro Rankings Report, Memphis, TN stands atop our metro Logistics Leaders ranking, overtaking a perennial logistics champ, New Orleans. Our Logistics Leaders category measures all forms of transportation logistics, including shipping by air, rail, water and highway.

Memphis International Airport (MEM), home to the global FedEx hub, is now the busiest cargo airport in the world, mainly due to FedEx Express’ surge in shipment volume in 2020, with 4.6 million metric tons of cargo, according to Airports Council International’s annual tally. MEM overtook Hong Kong International Airport (HKG), now second.

The logistics supremacy in Memphis is not limited to air cargo. Memphis is one of only four U.S. cities to be served by five Class I railroads. Single system shipment is available to all 48 contiguous states, Alaska, Mexico and Canada.

Trucks leaving Memphis can reach 35 percent of the U.S. population overnight and 68 percent on the second day. A confluence of interstate highways offer shipping options by road: I-40 connects coast-to-coast; I-55 intersects Memphis and connects Chicago to Louisiana; I-69 connects Canada to Mexico, with Memphis at the halfway point of the 2,600-mile highway also known as the “NAFTA Superhighway.” The Memphis area is home to more than 400 trucking companies.

The Port of Memphis is 400 river miles from St. Louis and 600 river miles from New Orleans, where cargo can be transferred to ocean-going ships. Commodities shipped through the port include petroleum, steel, salt and grains.

In March 2018, FedEx announced a $1 billion investment in its Memphis hub, to be completed by 2025.

Manufacturers and 3PLs in Memphis metro include Nike, Technicolor, DHL Supply Chain, Williams-Sonoma, McKesson, Ford, Kenco Logistics Services, Barrett Distribution Centers and CEVA Logistics.

Memphis has more logistics workers per capita than any other metropolitan area in the country, with nearly 20 percent of the metro workforce employed in the trade and transportation sector.

The University of Memphis offers supply chain disciplines that include internships, master’s and Ph.D. programs.

INDUSTRIAL PARKS KEEP GETTING BIGGER AND BETTER

Size still counts in our Industrial Parks ranking. The top three mega-complexes in this category—Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center in Nevada, TGS Cedar Port Industrial Park in Baytown, TX and Elk Grove Business Park in Illinois—could also hold their own in any global ranking of these self-contained cities of industry.

But the size of our top-ranked industrial parks is just one of a bevy of weighted factors BF considers in its annual evaluation for this category, including growth potential; recent expansions; and unique assets like water resources, on-site utilities and residential developments for industrial park employees.

Cedar Port, which has added new cold-storage facilities, moves into second place in our 2021 Industrial Parks ranking, rising from third in last year’s evaluation, when this category debuted. [For information about recent developments at Cedar Port, see sidebar.] TexAmericas Center, in Bowie County, TX, surges into 5th place; Tomball Business and Technology Park in Tomball, TX joins our top 10.

Located along the Interstate 30 corridor, just 15 miles west of Texarkana, lies TexAmericas Center (TAC), a unique hybrid of an economic development organization and real estate development and management company. TAC is a state redevelopment authority that remediates military sites, most recently 6,800 acres of a former ammunition depot.

A massive mixed-use industrial park boasting more than 12,000 acres and 3.5 million square feet of commercial and industrial product, TAC services the Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas markets. Formed in 1998 by Texas as part of an initiative to redevelop former military property, TAC offers custom industrial real estate solutions, including purchase, lease, build-to-suit (purchase, lease and reverse) and retrofit or build-out-to-suit options.

TAC and its Regional Economic Development (RED) Team are considered one of the highest-performing and most successful Local Redevelopment Authorities in the U.S. As a state-sanctioned Local Redevelopment Authority, TAC operates as both a private business and a local unit of government. Having a professional engineer on staff and the ability to control its own zoning, contracts and permitting processes allow TAC to provide businesses a much shorter timeline to become operational.

TexAmericas Center is divided into three distinct campuses, each boasting its own unique attributes. The 756-acre Central Campus includes 750,000 square feet and offers over 200 acres of shovel-ready sites, including the Texas Economic Development Council-designated 101-acre S.T.A.R. (Sites That Are Ready) Site, multiple hardstand sites and vehicle performance testing. In addition, the Central Campus features a golf course, walking trails, an exercise track and a U.S. Army PX. It’s also home to [email protected], a technical and vocational education facility developed in partnership with Texarkana College and the U.S. Army to support the training and education mission of the Red River Army Depot and the surrounding business community.

The Eastern Campus boasts 8,900 acres and over 2.1 million square feet of former munitions production and warehouse and storage space, along with office, flex and manufacturing space. Comprised of the former Lone Star Army Ammunition Plant, the campus features 36 miles of rail, including a 350-car classification yard and transload services. The East Campus offers multiple individual business parks, including parks focused on energetics, food processing, heavy manufacturing, heavy utility users, rail-intensive users, wholesale, fulfillment, warehouse and distribution, transloading, enviroTECH and light manufacturing.

The Western Campus consists of 2,900 acres and over 250,000 square feet of former munitions storage bunkers. TAC envisions this property will be home to multiple individual business parks, including those focused on green energy production, AgTECH and data storage. [For more information about recent developments at TAC, see our Snapshots interview with TAC Chief Economic Development Officer Eric Voyles.]

MidAmerica Industrial Park (MAIP), in Pryor, OK (halfway between Tulsa and Northwest AR), ranked 4th in our 2021 Industrial Parks ranking. With 9,000 acres under single ownership since its inception more than 60 years ago, MAIP serves 80 companies with more than 4,500 employees.

MidAmerica is home to Google’s second-largest data center (with an investment of $3.5 billion) and the third-largest agri-nutrition plant operated by DuPont.

Electric vehicle manufacturer Canoo recently announced a commitment to create more than 2,000 jobs and build its first mega microfactory on a 400-acre site at MAIP.

“Oklahoma has always been a pioneer in the energy industry, and this partnership with Canoo shows that our state is an innovation leader in electric vehicle technology,” Gov. Kevin Stitt said. “We are thrilled to partner with Canoo to provide high-paying jobs for Oklahomans and position America as the global leader for vehicle manufacturing for decades to come.”

Canoo’s mega microfactory at MAIP is targeted to open in 2023 and will include a full commercialization facility with a paint, body shop and general assembly plant. The campus will also include a low-volume industrialization facility. Canoo is scheduled to bring its first vehicle to market in Q4 2022 by partnering with VDL Nedcar while the Oklahoma facility is built.

No. 6 on our leaderboard for Industrial Parks is Quonset Business Park in North Kingston, RI.

Once home to a naval base, the park has been transformed into the leading engine of economic development in Rhode Island, supporting over 200 companies and 12,200 jobs. Quonset Business Park has been a leader in job creation and economic growth in the state, attracting more than $2 billion in private investment. The Park is also home to 17 percent of the manufacturing jobs in Rhode Island.

The remaining available land at Quonset can accommodate up to 3.6 million square feet of new construction, and it is easy to become Quonset’s newest company. Quonset’s Site Readiness program makes pre-permitted and pre-engineered parcels available that allow businesses to get shovels in the ground within 90 days of site control.

Quonset’s industrial spaces have the capacity to support large, high-tech operations like Electric Boat and Toray Plastics, while the Commerce Park section accommodates some of the state’s most successful corporations like Ocean State Job Lot. Quonset’s Flex Industrial Campus gives new and expanding companies room to grow in a move-in ready and affordable space, adaptable to the needs of their business. This includes flexible manufacturing, or warehouse space between 10,000 square feet and 40,000 square feet. These are equipped with office spaces, restroom facilities and high bay space for manufacturing, assembly or warehouse use, with ceilings up to 24 feet.

Quonset also offers customizable office space for start-ups, small businesses and professional service companies in the Gateway Office Complex. With the four existing office buildings fully leased, the fifth building is now accepting new tenants. The Gateway Offices provide companies with affordable rates and the option of flexible shorter-term leases. Each facility includes wireless high-speed internet, a shared kitchen and break areas (including an outdoor courtyard), a conference room, an abundance of natural light and multiple restrooms.

Quonset’s location in North Kingstown, RI places businesses in the heart of the Northeast, giving them broad access to the East Coast’s largest customer markets.

Decatur Commerce Park is again No. 9 in our Industrial Parks ranking. The 147-acre Park in Decatur, IL offers up to 1 million square feet that can be divided into parcels. Decatur Commerce Park provides turnkey logistics and a location in the demographic center of the U.S., servicing the huge Chicago, St. Louis and Indianapolis markets, and also provides same day service to Cincinnati, Memphis, Kansas City, Minneapolis, Milwaukee and Detroit.

The nearby ADM Midwest Inland Port is a multimodal hub that delivers both domestic and international flexibility for companies. The 280-acre ADM Intermodal Ramp offers non-congested, toll-free access to rail and highway shipments. Three Class 1 railroads—CN, CSX and Norfolk Southern—and a bevy of highways (Interstates 72, 55, 74, 57 and US Highway 51) make Decatur Commerce Park a prime logistics location.

“Commerce Park has all the right tools to help a business flourish in Decatur, Illinois,” said Jaime Weiss, president of Weiss Realty Co. and owner of Commerce Park. “Whether it be the strong, local workforce, unique transportation opportunities, access to the foreign trade zone or the cost savings associated with the Decatur-Macon County Enterprise Zone, this 147-acre industrial park invites businesses to take advantage of everything Decatur has to offer while allowing them to stay connected and get farther faster.”

When the Decatur Park notched 9th place in our inaugural Industrial Parks ranking last year, Nicole Bateman, president of the Economic Development Corporation of Decatur-Macon County, said the Park was a driver for economic development in the region.

“With rail on site, intermodal ramp across the street and room for a facility up to one-million square feet, it’s easy to see why Commerce Park was recognized as ninth in the nation. It provides rich economic development opportunities for Decatur,” Bateman said.

The 99.5-acre Tomball Business & Technology Park is fully served with all utilities, provides off-site detention and is minutes from Tomball’s major highways. Operated by the Tomball Economic Development Corporation (TEDC), the master-planned and deed-restricted light industrial park utilizes flexible lot sizes and competitive pricing to stand out.

Several companies have announced plans to locate in the Tomball Park. JDR Cable Systems, a subsea power cable company, recently opened their U.S. headquarters in the Park and eCommerce jewelry company, Kinsley Armelle, also decided to make the Tomball Business & Technology Park its corporate headquarters, moving into its facility in January. CCJ Collaborations has started construction on their highly anticipated brewery inside the Park.

Along with U.K.-based JDR, which is owned by Poland-based TFKable Group, international players at Tomball Business & Technology Park include Canadian-based Packers Plus Energy Services and French-based SUEZ Water Technologies & Solutions.

Growth in the Tomball Business & Technology Park has coincided with Tomball’s increasing level of connectivity. Due to the expanded Tomball Parkway and recently completed Grand Parkway, along with nearby Beltway 8 and Interstate 45, Tomball businesses can quickly reach key transportation hubs. The Tomball Business & Technology Park is half an hour from George Bush Intercontinental Airport and less than an hour to Port Houston, each among the nation’s busiest air and seaports. David Wayne Hooks Airport, just five miles from Tomball, gives businesses a nearby option for chartered flights and fixed-based operator (FBO) services.

WICHITA, KS: MOST AFFORDABLE METRO

Wichita, KS takes the crown in our new ranking for Most Affordable metros, followed by Fort Wayne, IN and Lincoln, NE.

Lubbock, TX, which joined the top 10 this year in our 2021 ranking for Best Business Climate (mid-sized metros), also made the cut in the Most Affordable leaderboard.

“A business-friendly climate and affordability are essential elements for growth in 2021,” Rogers said. “This combination gives Lubbock a big advantage as to maximize its growth potential.”

The expansion of four local companies will create more than 500 jobs and bring $11.4 million in capital investments to Lubbock. VXI Global Solutions LLC, an international company which designs and supports customer engagement platforms, will create more than 350 new jobs to serve its long-standing customers. In 2020, CEV Multimedia, a multimedia company which produces and provides Career & Technical Education content and instructional materials, expanded the number of teachers served through its online platform, iCEV, by 200 percent. Over 1.2 million students from across the U.S. and internationally utilize CEV’s curriculum.

The Lubbock-based multimedia company will create 89 new Lubbock-based positions, adding over $229,555 of capital investment into the community. The company also announced plans for facility improvements to its 11,670-square-foot building.

Also headquartered in Lubbock, Starnik Systems announced the groundbreaking of its new 20,000-square-foot headquarters building in southwest Lubbock. This expansion represents a capital investment of $5 million and will bring nearly 75 new jobs, ranging from entry-level specialists to executives.

“Lubbock provides a great opportunity to succeed in all areas of family, education and business. We will continue to invest in this community that we love so much,” said Balu Viswanathan, CEO of Starnik.

SIMFLO, a leader in the vertical and submersible turbine markets, is expanding its facility in Lubbock, adding an additional 35,000 square feet of production, storage, office and training space. The company also announced the construction of a new, enclosed testing facility, which will be one of the largest test pits in North America. The expansion includes the creation of 12 full-time positions, and will have a collective $5 million economic impact.

Click here to read Business Facilities’ 17th Annual Rankings Report: State Rankings

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