By BF Editors
From the January/February 2024 Issue
In January, Business Facilities announced its annual Deal of the Year awards, and on the following pages are the stories of these top economic development deals of 2023. Four projects were selected by our panel of judges and Business Facilities editors who reviewed dozens of entries to narrow the winners down to Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze selections. Investments by Toyota, Tesla, Scout Motors, and Amazon Web Services (AWS), respectively, are the projects recognized for the top spots.
These four projects are taking place in North Carolina, Nevada, South Carolina, and Virginia, respectively. That is great news for the regions that these companies are investing in—a sure way to generate even more jobs in the area to service these companies as they construct their facilities and operate for decades to come. It is also a sign that businesses believe in the communities they’ve chosen to locate or expand an existing operation.
In addition, the Business Facilities Impact Awards highlight projects and the economic development organizations and partners that worked on these deals. Featuring 19 categories, the Impact Awards showcase a particular angle that made these projects stand out to the Business Facilities editors
Business Facilities thanks everyone who participated in this annual event, from the economic development groups that submitted their entries to our judges who took the time to evaluate the candidates to the companies that made it all possible.
State of North Carolina recognized for $8 billion Toyota Expansion.
Now valued at nearly $14 billion after the October 2023 announcement of a planned $8 billion expansion, the Toyota Battery Manufacturing North Carolina (TBMNC) electric vehicle battery manufacturing plant represents the largest single company investment in North Carolina’s history. Established in 2021, the Greensboro-Randolph megasite in Liberty, NC is also company’s first North American battery manufacturing plant.
Toyota’s move there began with a $1.29 billion investment for a plant to supply batteries to Toyota’s first U.S. EV operation. That initial investment is creating at least 1,750 jobs and growing the state’s economy by at least $9.5 billion over 20 years. In 2022, a $2.5 billion expansion added 350 jobs, boosting capacity to support battery electric vehicle (BEV) production and total employment to approximately 2,100. In May 2023, a second $2.1 billion expansion was put in place.
The 2023 Platinum Deal of the Year Award presented to the State of North Carolina by Business Facilities focuses on the decision by Toyota to implement a proactive infrastructure investment, designed to quickly support future expansion opportunities at its site in the Tar Heel State. The $8 billion investment brings the value of the project since 2021 to $13.9 billion and is expected to create more than 5,000 jobs total. Production will be increased in a phased approach, with line launches planned through 2030 to reach a total production of more than 30GWh annually. Overall, the campus will feature seven million square feet.
“The future of mobility is electrification, and the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite is the ideal location to make that future a reality,” said Ted Ogawa, CEO of Toyota Motor North America at the announcement last fall. “North Carolina offers the right conditions for this investment, including the infrastructure, high-quality education system, access to a diverse and skilled workforce, and a welcoming environment for doing business. Today marks the beginning of a mutually beneficial partnership with the Tar Heel state as we embark on our journey to achieve carbon neutrality and provide mobility for all.”
This latest expansion plan from Toyota represents significant growth in North Carolina’s EV sector, helping to secure its spot along the Battery Belt, which stretches from Atlanta to Detroit. In the last three years, the state has seen more than $11 billion invested in the industry, including a $2 billion investment from VinFast, a Vietnamese auto manufacturer that selected Chatham County in 2022 for the company’s first North American automotive assembly and battery manufacturing plant.
North Carolina Department of Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders said last fall, “This expansion validates my commitment to aligning economic development with workforce development, ensuring we can provide a highly skilled workforce that meets the needs of Toyota and the state’s fast-growing clean energy industry, today and well into the future.”
Located in an area that was once a hub for tobacco and textile manufacturing, the Toyota plant will bring significant life back to the community, which has struggled since the shift away from those industries. The 5,000 jobs will revive the community and provide high-paying, salaried positions for residents skilled—or eager to be skilled—in manufacturing.
To provide employees for Toyota’s growing operation in the state and help residents meet those needs and expand their skills, North Carolina’s workforce development system, NCWorks, is supporting the company’s hiring process. This includes initial screening and engagement from the state community college system and customized training programs.
Toyota has donated a total of $200,000 to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Asheboro and Greensboro, Junior Achievement of the Triad, Shift_ed and Volunteer Center of the Triad. In 2022, the company announced a $1 million investment in North Carolina students enrolled with Communities in Schools Randolph County and North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.
Project Impact Estimates
Expansion will bring total number of direct jobs created to 5,100.
$8 billion planned investment adds to existing $5.9 billion at the Toyota megasite since 2021.
Expands North Carolina’s position as a growing hub for EV industry.
Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) recognized for $3.6 billion Tesla expansion at its Gigafactory Nevada.
Tesla, Inc. announced in January 2023 its plans to make a $3.6 billion capital investment at its Gigafactory Nevada in Storey County, outside Reno, NV. The electric vehicle maker plans to add 4 million square feet with the establishment of two separate factories at its existing Gigafactory site—one of five such Tesla facilities in the world.
The expansion at the Storey County site comprises two new facilities. One is Tesla’s first Semi factory; Semi is the company’s fully electric combination truck, with 500 miles of range. The second facility is a battery manufacturing facility, a 100 GWh 4680 cell factory with capacity to produce enough batteries for 1.5 million light-duty vehicles annually.
Since 2014, Tesla has invested $6.2 billion in facilities in Nevada having built the 5.4 million square-foot Gigafactory in Storey County, which provided 17,000 local construction jobs. Gigafactory Nevada has also directly hired more than 11,000, nearly double the initial plan for 6,500 jobs.
As part of the expansion announced last January, Tesla plans to create 3,000 jobs. Employment was expected in phases beginning with 200 new jobs in 2023, ramping up to full capacity by 2030.
The Business Facilities Gold Deal of the Year Award presented to the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) recognizes the role the organization has had on Tesla’s continued expansion in the Silver State.
“Since the inception of GOED, the main goal has been to diversify Nevada’s economy,” said Tom Burns, GOED Executive Director in March 2023. “The Nevada-Tesla partnership cemented a new economic sector in Nevada for the manufacturing of electric vehicle battery packs and drive units, and energy storage products. Tesla’s Gigafactory propelled Nevada’s manufacturing industry, establishing lithium-ion batteries as the state’s eighth largest export both nationally and internationally.”
The new semi-truck factory and the battery manufacturing plant are expected to create more than 9,000 construction jobs, and nearly 6,000 additional indirect and induced jobs through 2027. This level of construction activity could result in a one-time economic impact of $2.8 billion over the next six years. The Tesla expansion could create an annual economic impact estimated at $2.2 billion or $38 billion over the next 20 years. The 3,000 people Tesla will employ will generate $209 million in annual wages by 2030.
Assuming a capital investment of $3.6 billion in land, buildings and equipment, the company could generate an estimated $21.8 million in gross average annual property tax revenues, $11.2 million in gross average annual sales taxes, $1.1 million in average annual business license taxes on utilities, and $2.1 million in gross average annual modified business taxes over 20 years. All total, this will result in an estimated $685 million in net state and local revenues the next 20 years.
“Tesla has far exceeded every promise they made going back to 2014,” said Governor Joe Lombardo last March, who chairs the GOED Board. “To date, they have invested $6.2 billion in Nevada, built a 5.4 million square foot Gigafactory which provided 17,000 local construction jobs and created more than 11,000 highly paid permanent jobs.”
The expansion is also expected to support significant additional economic activity at related local suppliers in Nevada within the electric vehicle ecosystem.
In December 2022, Tesla CEO Elon Musk appeared in Nevada in December to present the all-electric semi-truck that the company will build, delivering it to client PepsiCo and announcing Tesla’s use of the vehicles between Nevada and its facility in Fremont, CA.
Project Impact Estimates
The Tesla expansion is slated to create 3,000 direct jobs, with average hourly wage of $33.49.
Construction activity of $2.8 billion over six years.
Total economic impact (construction and operations) of $40.8 billion over 20 years.
South Carolina Department of Commerce & Richland County Economic Development are recognized for $2 billion Scout Motors investment.
In March 2023, Scout Motors Inc. announced it would establish its first manufacturing plant in Blythewood, SC, outside near Columbia. At this Richland County site, the company will build all-electric, next-generation trucks and rugged SUVs that reflect the iconic Scout vehicles produced from 1960 to 1980.
The company’s $2 billion investment has the potential to create approximately 4,000 jobs. At full capacity, more than 200,000 Scout vehicles may be produced annually at the facility. A wholly-owned subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group, this maker of electric trucks and rugged SUVs is building a factory that will occupy 1,100 acres. Vehicle production is targeted to begin by the end of 2026.
When Richland County first set out to develop its 1,300-acre Blythewood Industrial Park along Interstate 77, just outside downtown Columbia the expectation was the establishment of relatively small facilities and a multitude of tenants. The Blythewood Industrial Site spans approximately 1,600 acres. The trajectory for the Park changed in part influenced by President Biden signed into law the Inflation Reduction Act in August 2022. With the legislation incentivizing green technology across all industry, from electric vehicles to solar power, the arrival of Scout Motors in South Carolina was put in motion.
The Business Facilities Silver Deal of the Year Award presented to South Carolina Department of Commerce, along with Richland County, South Carolina, recognizes the role each organization fulfilled in attracting Scout Motors to the state, and the site it chose.
“Entering the market with an EV-based vehicle like Scout is a bold move—one that will help our state achieve a sustained future,” said South Carolina Commerce Secretary Harry M. Lightsey III.
“We welcome Scout Motors and appreciate the company’s confidence and commitment to take this bold journey with South Carolina.”
Jeff Ruble, Director of the Richland County Economic Development Office, said at the project announcement, “Richland County has spent years laying the groundwork for today’s historic announcement, and we are thrilled that Scout shares our view that this area is the ideal location for a world-class company to plant its flag.”
Announcing the investment, Scott Keogh, Scout Motors President and CEO, said, “We’re honored to partner with South Carolina to usher in this new era for Scout.”
The company’s March 3, 2023 news release stated: “Bordered by I-77 and Blythewood Road, its strategic location is less than 20 miles north of Columbia and near major cities and talent hubs such as Charleston, Charlotte, Greenville, and Atlanta. This proximity gives Scout unrivaled access to major highways, ports of Charleston and Savannah, and universities focused on automotive engineering.”
Scout Motors will work with local schools and colleges to train workers for the new jobs at its manufacturing facility. To help source employees, the state will build a 25,000 square-foot training facility on-site, and workforce development groups are partnering with Richland County to purchase and develop an offsite training facility. The county provided incentives to the company and dedicated land for an on-site daycare center.
With 12.8% of the region’s workers currently in manufacturing jobs, the Scout investment is poised to impact the arc of economic growth in Blythewood, SC and surrounding communities. As the company’s human resources director remarked, “Scout isn’t creating jobs, they are creating careers in manufacturing.”
Project Impact Estimates
The Scout Motors plant is expected to create 4,000+ jobs at the site.
Economic analysis conducted by University of South Carolina economist Joey Von Nessen estimates that by 2029, Scout will have a $4.2 billion annual economic impact on the state.
The Virginia Economic Development Partnership is recognized for its role in Amazon Web Services’ $35 billion expansion across the state.
In January 2023, Governor Glenn Youngkin announced that Amazon Web Services (AWS) would expand its footprint in Virginia, investing $35 billion by 2040 to establish multiple data center campuses across the Commonwealth. The company’s planned investment will create at least 1,000 total new jobs across multiple campuses.
Roger Wehner, Director of Economic Development at AWS, said at the investment announcement, “Virginia is a world leader in innovation and cloud computing, thanks to its investment in a robust, highly skilled workforce and emphasis on long-term public and private partnerships.”
AWS continues to expand its massive cloud cluster in Northern Virginia, where it operates more than 50 data centers. The region is the largest single concentration of corporate data center infrastructure on Earth, housing the infrastructure for the AWS US-East cloud region.
The Business Facilities Bronze Deal of the Year Award presented to the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) recognizes the role the organization played in securing the decision for AWS to continue its investment in the state. AWS established its first data centers and operations facilities in Virginia in 2006, and its success in the state led to this largest capital investment in the history of the Commonwealth.
Between 2011 and 2021, AWS invested more than $51.9 billion in Virginia, putting the company among the state’s largest private-sector employers with more than 8,700 full-time jobs in corporate offices and data centers. These roles include data center technicians, engineers, solutions architects, sales representatives, account managers, software development engineers, and cloud experts.
As the company began looking at locations for new data centers on the East Coast, Virginia was on the short list.
One winning factor is the pipeline of talent in the state, ensuring AWS access to a skilled workforce for its new and expanding operations. To build on an already high concentration of tech talent, Virginia, donors, and corporate partners are investing more than $2 billion into the state’s Tech Talent Investment Program (TTIP). The aim is to double the number of graduates annually in computer science and closely related fields. TTIP will add 32,000 computer science graduates in excess of current levels over the next 20 years.
“We are thrilled to see Amazon Web Services expand its footprint in Virginia with multiple data center campuses across the Commonwealth,” said Jason El Koubi, VEDP President and CEO. “The economic impact of AWS is transformational for Virginia, and these world-class data centers will bring historic capital investment and high-quality, 21st-century jobs.”
Virginia’s commitment to preparing project-ready sites throughout the state was critical to AWS’s expansion. VEDP worked with AWS for five years to ensure the state could meet the company’s requirements for the major data center expansion. In the various iterations of the project, the company’s needs shifted from 50-acre sites to multiple 1,000-acre campuses with 15-year development plans and various energy and utility requirements. With key partnerships between the administrations of Gov. Youngkin and former Governor Northam, the Virginia Departments of Environmental Quality and Transportation, the Virginia General Assembly and Major Employment and Investment Project Approval Commission, local partners, and state utility partners, the necessary results were delivered.
As part of the $35 billion investment, AWS has selected Louisa County, Virginia for an $11 billion investment to establish two data center campuses.
The increased tax base from data center investments supports schools, essential community services such as first responders, and infrastructure investments such as parks and roads.
Project Impact Estimates
$35 billion investment will create 1,000+ jobs across Virginia. AWS currently employs 8,800 in the state.
In 2022, the business personal property taxes paid by AWS in connection with its data centers in Virginia totaled $334 million.
Each January, Business Facilities recognizes economic development organizations for their work in securing significant corporate relocation, expansion, or retention projects. The Deal of the Year Awards judging process focuses on capital investment, jobs creation, innovation, and impact on the community overall.
Economic development organizations submitted for evaluation projects announced between September 2022 and the entry deadline of December 15, 2023.
Along with Business Facilities’ editors, the 2023 Deal of the Year judges are listed below. We thank them for their time and their insight for the 2023 Deal of the Year Awards.
For the Deal of the Year Award, an economic development deal is defined as:
- A project or effort that resulted in the relocation/expansion of a company to a location served by the entering organization;
- A project resulting in the expansion of a company already within the territory served by the entering organization;
- A project or effort that resulted in the demonstrable retention of a company that would have
- otherwise left, in whole or in part, the territory served by the entering organization;
- Any combination of these.
Nominees were requested to provide economic impact numbers, including direct, indirect and induced figures for economic output, job creation and capital investment when available, as well as anticipated new wages; and a narrative about the deal.