2023 Deals Of The Year

Entries for Deal of the Year awards spanned industries, investment types, and winning strategies. Here are the stories of this year’s picks.

2023 Impact Awards2023 Impact Awards

In addition to the Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze projects that led the pack, Business Facilities editors selected a number of projects from the pool of entries for recognition for the magazine’s Impact Awards. Here are those projects:

ADVANCED MANUFACTURING

Siemens—City of Fort Worth (TX)

Fort Worth Economic Development Partnership; Tarrant County; Texas Economic Development, Office of the Texas Governor

Siemens—the largest industrial manufacturing company in Europe—is investing $150 million in Fort Worth, TX through the creation of its high-tech manufacturing plant.

The company has committed to creating 167 full-time jobs by December 2024, ramping up to more than 700 jobs by December 2026, and maintained over a minimum 10-year period. Operations are expected to begin in early 2025.

The plant is expected to play a key role in advancing smart building, advanced energy, and artificial intelligence industries. The Fort Worth site represents nearly 30% of the company’s $500 million investment in critical infrastructure manufacturing in the U.S. in 2023.

Fort Worth’s work with Siemens reflects broader efforts by the city to recruit projects that support a reshoring of domestic manufacturing supply chains—especially for critical materials. This approach has coincided with the federal government’s prioritization and investment in similar initiatives, especially across smart manufacturing technologies and high-performance computing.

The Siemens facility adds to Fort Worth’s manufacturing cluster, which is driving toward more advanced manufacturing processes and products while leveraging (and adding to) the region’s technical and engineering workforce.


AEROSPACE/DEFENSE

General Dynamics Electric Boat—AdvanceCT

Connecticut Department of Economic & Community Development; Town of Groton

Electric Boat, a subsidiary of defense giant General Dynamics, has been a cornerstone of Connecticut’s manufacturing ecosystem for more than 100 years. Electric Boat currently operates eight facilities in five states and Washington, DC, which includes its primary shipyard in Groton, CT and main engineering offices in New London, CT.

The U.S. Navy has made it a priority to update and upgrade the country’s submarine fleet by supplementing it with Virginia-class attack submarines and new Columbia-class ballistic missile submarines. Electric Boat produces both classes of nuclear-powered submarines.

Connecticut is the No. 1 state in the nation for federal defense spending per resident, and in the past year alone, Electric Boat has secured more than $7.9 billion in federal government contract funding for the creation of these submarines.

Additionally, Electric Boat expects to create 5,750 jobs with its latest project, and more than 3,800 of those will be based in Connecticut.


AGRI-TECH

Plant Agricultural Systems (Plant-AS)—Lubbock Economic Development Alliance (TX); Amarillo Economic Development Corporation (TX)

With a vision to modernize the digital infrastructure required to support fresh produce demand worldwide, Plant Agricultural Systems (PLANT-AS) announced in June 2023 its expansion to West Texas.

In Lubbock, PLANT-AS will develop 13.3 million square feet of advanced Controlled-Environment Agriculture (CEA) production facilities on 700 acres. The company expects to invest $670 million and ultimately employ more than 900 full-time workers.

Its Amarillo project will include the development of nine million square feet of advanced CEA production facilities on 400 acres. PLANT-AS anticipates a $510 million capital expenditure and employing more than 700 full-time employees.

As the region’s technology sector continues to develop, PLANT-AS’ advanced production facilities serve as modern data centers where artificial intelligence will support production in processing crop-cycle data.

The production footprint in West Texas will service the greater southwestern United States and catalyze impact on a global scale.

Current produce standard requires out-of-season fruits and vegetables to not only be domestically transported from other regions of the country but also imported from Mexico and some South American countries, which can take weeks to arrive at their final destination. This project will allow for fresh produce distribution within 72 hours to the residents of eight surrounding states.


AVIATION

Joby Aviation—JobsOhio

Ohio Department of Transportation; Dayton Development Coalition; Ohio Department of Development; Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport; Greater Springfield Partnership; City of Dayton; Dayton International Airport

Joby Aviation made the largest aerospace manufacturing investment in Ohio history in September 2023—adding momentum to the state’s advanced air mobility (AAM) strategy.

Joby will produce up to 500 all-electric air taxis annually at the facility and expects to offer more than $140 million in new annual payroll. It projects a broader impact of $13 billion and 15,000 jobs by 2045.

The deal, a $500 million investment, came after years of planning, collaboration, and groundwork, led over the past decade by JobsOhio, the state’s private, nonprofit corporation for economic development, and the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT).

The Joby plant will produce craft capable of carrying a pilot and up to four passengers, with speeds of up to 200 miles per hour over a 100-mile range. The Dayton plant, expected to be operational in 2025, will be the first large-scale aircraft manufacturing facility in Ohio in a century.

Beyond physical infrastructure, JobsOhio has worked to identify and develop potential markets for future generations of aircraft. The organization set up five Regional AAM Teams tasked with assessing their regions’ assets to identify potential business use cases in health care and cargo logistics.


BUILDING PRODUCTS MANUFACTURING

Saint-Gobain / Certain-Teed Gypsum—Putnam County Chamber of Commerce (FL)

Putnam County Chamber of Commerce/PCEDC; Putnam County Board of County Commissioners; JAXUSA Partnership; Enterprise Florida, Inc.; CareerSource Florida

Saint-Gobain’s $235 million investment expansion of its CertainTeed gypsum manufacturing facility is the second largest in the history of Putnam County, FL. The expansion for the manufacturing and warehouse space in Palatka is expected to bring 111 jobs to the area.

It’s also in line with Saint-Gobain’s global “Grow and Impact strategy,” which involves increasing its presence in key markets.

The expansion, which is expected to be complete by the third quarter of 2025, will more than double production capacity.

Florida Commerce Secretary J. Alex Kelly said the expansion is a “strategic investment” for Florida-based manufacturing.

As part of the upgrades, the site will have a focus on sustainability, including an ultra-low energy board dryer and a new mill system with heat recovery technology.

The Palatka facility, strategically located near the Port of Jacksonville, began operations in 2001, currently employs more than 150 people, and is one of the largest gypsum plants in the southeastern United States.


CANADA

Magna International—City of Brampton, Ontario; Panattoni Development Company

Invest Ontario; City of Brampton Economic Development Office; Colliers International; CAP Ontario Inc.; NexRock Design Build; BMO Financial Group; Torkin Manes LLP

Magna, a mobility technology company, will invest more than $470 million to increase its presence throughout Ontario, Canada. The expansions are supported by $23.6 million in grants from the Ontario government and are expected to bring more than 1,000 jobs to the province.

In Brampton, there will be a new, 490,000-square-foot leased facility where battery enclosures for electric vehicles will be manufactured.

The facility, which will be built by Panattoni Development, is the largest of six investments announced by the company. Its presence builds on Brampton’s support of its automotive and parts manufacturing sector.

“The fact this facility will be focused on the burgeoning electric vehicle market only adds to that momentum and bolsters our city’s reputation as a leader in innovation and advanced manufacturing,” Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown said. “As Magna makes new investments across Canada, we are excited that they are expanding for the long term here in Brampton by opening an eighth location in our city that will create 560 new manufacturing jobs.”

Magna also is investing in the Guelph, Belleville, Newmarket, Windsor, and Penetanguishene markets as it expands its reach throughout Canada.


CLEAN ENERGY

First Solar—Louisiana Economic Development

One Acadiana; Iberia Industrial Development Foundation

In August 2023, Louisiana Economic Development (LED) struck a deal with First Solar, the largest solar energy manufacturer in the Western Hemisphere. This became one of the largest private capital investments the area has ever seen.

With the help of LED and local partners, First Solar selected Acadiana Regional Airport as the site of its fifth American manufacturing facility. The company said it will invest up to $1.1 billion in the facility, which will produce high-performance photovoltaic (PV) solar modules.

The Acadiana facility will produce First Solar’s Series 7 modules, which are expected to be manufactured with 100% U.S.-made components. The project will be completed by 2026.

Founded in 1999, First Solar is a leading American-based energy technology company and global provider of eco-efficient solar modules.

The company is unique among the world’s 10 largest solar panel manufacturers as the only company with a U.S headquarters and without a base of operations in China. This project will greatly increase the domestic production of solar panels and add to the solar panel production First Solar already has in place in the United States.


DISTRIBUTION CENTERS

Conair, LLC—Washington County, Maryland

State of Maryland Department of Commerce; Washington County; Department of Business and Economic Development; Trammell Crow Company; Binswanger

With a planned capital investment of more than $70 million, Conair LLC’s distribution center project is expected to create more than 700 jobs for Washington County, MD, over the next decade.

The 2.1-million-square-foot building was the largest industrial lease year-to-date nationally when announced in October 2023.

Based in Stamford, CT, Conair has operations worldwide. It is the leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of kitchen appliances, cookware, beauty products, travel accessories, and personal care items.

The location provides Conair with skilled workforce labor, convenient access to highways, as well as FedEx ground and UPS Ground freight hubs.

Washington County, MD is also located at the intersection of the CSX and Norfolk Southern rail systems. Conair will be able to service customers across a substantial portion of the United States within a day or less.

Conair’s decision to locate the new facility in Western Maryland will enhance the company’s long-term growth.


EV BATTERY SUPPLIER

Albemarle Corporation—Chester County Economic Development (SC)

South Carolina Department of Commerce; South Carolina Ports Authority; South Carolina Coordinating Council for Economic Development; South Carolina I-77 Alliance; Chester County Council; Duke Energy; L&C Railroad (Gulf & Ohio Railways); readySC, a division of SC Technical College System

Albemarle’s $1.3 billion Mega-Flex lithium hydroxide processing facility in Chester County, SC is the single largest investment in the South Carolina’s history in a Tier III or Tier IV County. Chester County is a Tier IV County.

The 800-acre site will produce about 50,000 tons of battery-grade lithium hydroxide annually, enough to support the production of more than 2 million electric vehicles (EVs). Albemarle is expected to create more than 300 jobs.

The Albemarle Mega-Flex project secures Chester County’s position in one of the fastest-growing sectors of the global economy.

The project joins other notable related wins for South Carolina, such as construction of a $2 billion EV factory that Volkswagen spin-off Scout Motors is building a half-hour to the south, just north of Columbia.

The project also secures an enduring partnership with Albemarle, a corporation with a history of commitment to local communities that values the new connections it’s making with Chester County.


EV SUPPLIER/MANUFACTURING

Magna International—Tennessee Department of Economic & Community Development

Lawrence County; City of Lawrenceburg; Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce; Tennessee Valley Authority

Magna will invest more than $790 million to build the first two supplier facilities at Ford’s BlueOval City supplier park in Stanton, TN.

Ford’s on-site supplier park will allow for vertical integration to aid in efficient production at BlueOval City, which will be capable of producing 500,000 electric trucks a year at full production.

Magna will supply Ford’s BlueOval City with battery enclosures, truck frames and seats for the automaker’s second-generation electric truck.

The two facilities include a new 800,000-square-foot frame and battery enclosures facility and a 140,000-square-foot seating facility.

The battery enclosures facility will join one of Magna’s sister plants in Ontario, Canada, which is currently producing battery enclosures for the Ford F-150 Lightning. The seating facility’s employees will produce polyurethane foam and assemble and sequence “just-in-time” (JIT) complete seats.

In addition, Magna will construct a new, 400,000-square-foot stamping and assembly plant at the Team Lawrence Commerce Park—West, a Select Tennessee Certified Site in Lawrenceburg, TN, that will produce truck frames.

As a result, Magna will create roughly 1,300 new jobs for the Volunteer State. Production at all three plants is scheduled to begin in 2025.


FOOD MANUFACTURING

American Foods Group—Missouri Partnership

Missouri Department of Economic Development; Missouri Development Finance Board; Missouri Department of Agriculture; Missouri Department of Transportation; Missouri Department of Natural Resources; Missouri One Start; Missouri Department of Corrections; Greater Warren County Economic Development Council (GWCEDC); Greater St. Louis, Inc.; Warren County; St. Charles Community College; St. Charles Water District #2; Norfolk Southern; Ameren; Cuivre River Electric; Cochran Engineering; Missouri Farmers Car

American Foods Group (AFG), a family-owned, U.S. beef processing company, chose Missouri for its new, $800 million state-of-the-art beef processing facility.

Announced in September 2022, the 775,000-square-foot facility is expected to create more than 1,300 new jobs in the region and generate more than $1 billion in annual economic impact in the state.

“As a third-generation farmer and cattleman myself, I am proud to welcome AFG to Missouri. This is a major development that will benefit Missouri’s agricultural producers and consumers for years to come,” said Governor Mike Parson. “With $94 billion contributed to our economy annually, we appreciate that agriculture is our number one industry. AFG’s investment in Missouri further signals to the nation and world what we’ve known all along, that Missouri is the best place for companies to grow and expand.”

With 50% of the nation’s crops and livestock produced within 500 miles of the St. Louis region, AFG will support an annual payroll of more than $80 million, reaching farms and ranches statewide. The project will be fully operational by the end of 2024.


FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT (FDI)

Enel North America / 3Sun USA LLC—Tulsa’s Future (OK); Tulsa Ports

Oklahoma Department of Commerce; Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO)

The Enel 3SUN USA 6GW facility announcement in May 2023 is a key foreign direct investment in Oklahoma—and the largest primary job economic development project in state history.

3SUN is the largest Italian photovoltaic company, intended to compete with the most important European and worldwide companies in this sector. 3SUN and Enel Greenpower joined forces to build the first facility of its kind in North America.

It will be a fully integrated facility producing solar panels as the end product, and 3Sun USA will not have to depend on any cell and module technology from foreign countries to produce their solar panels. Everything will be done in house.

In the modeled area of the Tulsa MSA, which spans seven counties in northeast Oklahoma, more than 1 million residents will be positively impacted by the scale of this project. 3SUN was expected to break ground in January, with the site fully operational in early 2026.


HYDROGEN ENERGY

Nel Hydrogen—Michigan Economic Development Corporation

Detroit Regional Partnership

Less than five months after making a case to Nel Hydrogen executives that Michigan was the best place to establish global operations, the Norwegian hydrogen company did just that.

Team Michigan secured this clean energy win, announcing at the 2023 SelectUSA Investment Summit in Maryland that Nel Hydrogen would establish an automated gigawatt electrolyzer manufacturing facility in Michigan.

The project is expected to generate upwards of $400 million in capital investment and create 517 jobs that build on Michigan’s leadership throughout the hydrogen space.

In September 2023, Nel Hydrogen also announced that it had selected Plymouth Charter Township for its new automated gigafactory, which will produce electrolyzer technology for green hydrogen production.

The company cited the short distance to its collaboration partner General Motors, headquartered in Detroit, as an additional deciding factor in the choice of Michigan. The two companies collaborated to develop further and improve Nel’s PEM electrolyzer technology.

The new 507,000-square-foot manufacturing facility will be used to manufacture Proton Exchange Membrane and Alkaline hydrogen electrolyzers and is expected to be a full greenfield build constructed specifically for Nel Hydrogen.


MANUFACTURING EXPANSION

Ford Meter Box—Grow Wabash County (IN)

Northeast Indiana region (Adams, Allen, DeKalb, Huntington, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben, Wabash, Wells, and Whitley counties)

Ford Meter Box has maintained its status as one of Wabash County’s top employers and a leading company in manufacturing for the waterworks industry.

It has been a pillar institution in Wabash County since 1911 and has seen considerable growth and expansion since its founding in 1898.

A roughly $300 million investment, this expansion includes construction of a 300,000 square-foot building and up to 126 jobs by 2027. To accommodate the expansion, Ford Meter Box purchased an 87.5-acre site in the Wabash Business Complex.

Prior expansions took place at its original location on Manchester Avenue, but the new project includes a new foundry and an expanded fleet of machines for the manufacturing and processing of waterworks parts.

This project will result in growth on a regional level, especially within the 11-county region of Northeast Indiana. In addition to the 126 jobs Ford Meter Box intends to create to staff this new foundry, an estimated 99 additional jobs will be induced and/or indirectly created within the span of a single year.

On October 26, 2023, Grow Wabash County hosted a groundbreaking ceremony to signify the beginning of construction on the project.


PLASTICS

Manner Polymers—Jefferson County Development Corporation (IL)

SI Now; Illinois Dept. of Commerce & Economic Opportunity; Intersect Illinois

Manner Polymers, one of the five largest flexible PVC compounders in North America, recently broke ground for a 90,000-square-foot facility in Mount Vernon, IL.

This project will have a significant impact for a town of 15,000 people, creating 60 direct jobs and 200 construction jobs. Sitting on 30 acres, the facility will result in a capital expenditure of $50 million, impacting Jefferson County and 18 surrounding communities.

“Not only will we incorporate the most advanced manufacturing control systems available, but we will also produce substantially all of the electricity that we use,” said Raj Bhargava, CEO
of Manner Polymers. “Our objective is to build the lowest cost, highest quality, most environmentally sustainable flexible PVC compounding plant in the world.”

Based in McKinney, TX, Manner Polymers manufactures custom, specialty, and commodity compounds for a variety of industries, including: building and construction; industrial and commercial; automotive and transportation; consumer products; appliance and electric; agriculture; telecommunications; and medical.

Located at the crossroads of Interstates 64 and 57, Mount Vernon has been known for its role in manufacturing since the early 1970s.


SEMICONDUCTORS

Integra Technologies—Kansas Department of Commerce

Greater Wichita Partnership; City of Bel Aire; U.S. Senator Jerry Moran

The employee-owned Integra Technologies will establish a 1 million-square-foot plant and headquarters in Wichita, KS.

The fully integrated provider of semiconductor packaging, testing, qualification, and other services is investing nearly $2 billion for the project.

“As the second-largest private investment in Kansas history, this project will be transformative for our state’s economy, providing over 5,000 high-paying jobs that will help more Kansans create better lives for themselves and their children,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “Integra’s investment is further proof that we have put Kansas on the map, establishing our state on the forefront of innovation and national security.”

Integra’s expansion plans are designed to address identified risks in the U.S. semiconductor supply chain, support domestic semiconductor production, and strengthen advanced manufacturing throughout Kansas.

A Wichita State University economic impact study on the semiconductor industry found that in 2021, Kansas had 39 semiconductor and “other electronic-component manufacturing establishments supporting more than 1,276 jobs.”

“Due to the high level of skilled labor within Wichita and the Kansas market, adding a semiconductor manufacturing company is expected to fit in the market without significant labor or wage disruptions,” the report stated.


SOCIAL IMPACT

Westrock Coffee Company—Arkansas Economic Development Commission

Conway Chamber of Commerce; City of Conway; Conway Corporation

In June 2023, Westrock Coffee Company announced a $300 million investment to expand its development, production, packaging, and distribution facility in Conway, AR. The expansion is expected to create 600 new jobs in the Central Arkansas region.

Westrock, headquartered in Arkansas, has its roots in philanthropy. Scott Ford, CEO and Co-Founder, created the company to help Rwandan coffee farmers get a fair price for their crop.

Ford said on the November 2023 episode of the Arkansas Inc. Podcast that during a visit Rwanda, he learned coffee was the “main cash crop” for small-holder farmers but there were only two mills in the country.

The price being offered at the mills was “about half what coffee in that part of the world was trading for,” so he decided to build a mill to offer a fair price.

“We then figured out that the best way to grow that model around the world was to have a business that people gave us their demand,” Ford said. “So if we can go in, in the developed world, we get a greater book of business to go place orders for coffee around the developing world, and that way we can expand that model to impact millions of people.”

Since its founding, Ford has expanded the company’s reach to help coffee growers in developing countries throughout the world.


SOLAR PANEL MANUFACTURING

Maxeon Solar Technologies—State of New Mexico

New Mexico Partnership; New Mexico Economic Development Department

Maxeon Solar Technologies chose New Mexico for its $1 billion manufacturing facility. The Singapore-based company’s planned 1.9 million-square-foot complex is the first commercial-scale solar cell manufacturer in the country and is expected to employ up to 1,800 people.

The company plans to begin construction in the first quarter of 2024, with factory ramp up to commence in 2025. The complex will be built on a 160-acre site and include solar cell fabrication, panel assembly, a warehouse, a research and development lab, and administrative offices.

The Maxeon plant’s planned capacity is roughly double the size of the largest silicon solar manufacturing facility currently operating in the U.S.

At full production, the facility is projected to manufacture up to 8 million solar panels annually. The new facility will produce the latest-generation cell technology and solar modules to meet the rapidly growing demand to serve both the Utility Scale Power Plant market and Distributed Generation rooftop applications.


WORKFORCE

Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation—Gadsden-Etowah Industrial Development Authority (AL)

Alabama State Department of Commerce; Alabama Power; Economic Development Partnership of Alabama; City of Gadsden; Northeast Alabama Regional Airport Authority

On June 21, 2023, Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation (USNC), the U.S.-based global leader in the deployment of fourth-generation gas-cooled microreactors, announced its selection of Gadsden, AL, for its MMR Assembly Plant (MAP). The facility will manufacture, assemble, test, and inspect the non-radiological modules needed to construct USNC’s industry leading Micro Modular® Reactor (MMR®).

The facility represents a $232 million investment in advanced nuclear infrastructure, benefiting the community, the Southeast region, and the nation. When operational, the facility will employ 250 professional and technical workers.

“We are attracted to Gadsden by their skilled workforce and the outstanding training programs and support they are bringing to the table,” said Ted Coulter, Plant Director for the MMR factory at USNC. “In Gadsden, I have confidence we can hire local talent and operate with both safety and efficiency. We are looking forward to becoming a member of the community.”

USNC representatives noted potential for expansion and export as demand gains global interest and traction.

There is also potential for suppliers to establish a local presence, creating even more growth and opportunity in and around Gadsden.

Construction is slated to begin in 2024 with the facility operational in 2027.

Click here to read more articles from Business Facilities’ January/February 2024 Issue.

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