By Business Facilities Staff
From the July/August 2020 Issue
16th Annual Rankings: 2020 Metro Rankings Report
ORLANDO: NOT JUST A TOURIST TOWN
When people think of Orlando, FL, the first thing that usually comes to mind is the Magic Kingdom at Disney World. But anyone who thinks Orlando is just a tourist town is missing the big picture: Orlando tops our list of cities with the Best Business Climate.
The fact is that nearly 80 percent of employment in Orlando is not connected to hospitality and tourism. Orlando has been busy leading the nation in job growth and higher education. By leveraging its well-earned reputation as a center for R&D, Orlando has blossomed into a leading tech hub.
Orlando is home to a high volume of tech transfer and commercialization that’s fueled by a top R&D university, specialized research labs/centers and one of the top technology incubation systems and research parks in the country.
A good example of specialized research is the BRIDG facility. BRIDG is a versatile boutique microelectronics fabrication facility with 200mm (8-inch) wafer fab capabilities; it serves as a conduit matching industry needs with university and government lab research.
Established in Florida as a not-for-profit, industry-friendly public-private partnership through support of visionary partners, BRIDG accelerates technology commercialization by providing solutions to bridge technology and capability gaps across multiple fields, with research, development and manufacturing focused on advanced system integration solutions, smart sensor platforms and non-CMOS electronics devices. The fabrication facility is a platform for the development and low-volume production of microelectronic devices.
By leveraging technology capabilities, processes and background intellectual property, BRIDG provides open-innovation platforms at the economies of scale needed for cost-effective manufacturing, allowing partners to be globally competitive. With capabilities that enable advances in many industries, including medical, agricultural, space, defense, cybersecurity, food and environmental safety, autonomous vehicles and critical infrastructure, BRIDG also serves as a catalyst for economic growth and diversification.
Orlando boasts a young, well-educated and diverse workforce with more than 1.2 million people. With an annual population growth rate of 2.3 percent and a labor force growth rate of 3.5 percent, Orlando is among the nation’s fastest-growing population and employment markets, ensuring a strong and stable labor pool for well into the future.
In 2014, Hitachi and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries merged their fossil power generation businesses, becoming Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Americas, Inc. The company quickly decided to build its new headquarters in Metro Orlando.
“The quality of life, the pro-business environment, the highly developed transportation hub and the high quality of the regional talent base are key reasons why we call Orlando home,” said Paul Browning, CEO at Mitsubishi Hitachi Power.
Atlanta, GA, our second-place city for Best Business Climate is a red-hot center of technology. Georgia’s capital tops the leaderboard in our Tech Hubs category; Atlanta also snared fourth place in BF’s Cyber Cities ranking and no. 6 in our Startup Ecosystems category.
In a 2019 Snapshots interview with BF, Invest Atlanta CEO Eloisa Klementich, told us that a growing pool of tech talent is a major attraction bringing tech players to Atlanta.
“Technology companies are drawn to Atlanta for its fast-growing pool of tech talent, a lower cost of doing business and living compared to other major markets, and the global connectivity provided through Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the world’s most-traveled airport,” Klementich said.
“Atlanta is seeing increased venture capital investment, with area startups raising about $1.15 billion last year. Metro Atlanta is also home to nearly 65 corporate innovation centers, incubators, accelerators and co-working spaces,” she added.
To foster a thriving tech sector, Invest Atlanta and the City of Atlanta offer innovation programs such as Students2Startups, the Atlanta International Startup Exchange and the Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative (WEI).
Microsoft recently announced it will invest $75 million in a new facility focused on artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud services; the facility will be located in the West Midtown section of Atlanta. The facility, expected to open in summer 2021, will create 1,500 jobs.
“Atlanta has a rich culture and history of innovation, making it a unique place for tech growth,” said Terrell Cox, general manager, Microsoft. “We are excited to expand our presence and further engage with the community and surrounding region, contributing positively to technical opportunity, digital fluency and economic development.”
The new facility will be a client-facing workplace that will focus on artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud services, including retail space for engaging directly with customers. Microsoft company will occupy 523,000 square feet in the Atlantic Yards complex at Atlantic Station.
“We are excited that a global leader like Microsoft Corp. is expanding its investment in Georgia with tech jobs that will be truly beneficial to the company and our state,” said Gov. Brian Kemp at the project announcement.
“I am confident that our top-notch tech talent and education pipeline will continue to be an asset to Microsoft. We are laser-focused on providing high-quality jobs for hardworking Georgians, and I thank Microsoft for our growing partnership.”
This growth reflects the company’s expanded investment in Metro Atlanta. Microsoft currently operates a cloud computing engineering center in the Coda Building at Technology Square and maintains offices in Alpharetta and Buckhead.
“Atlanta’s highly skilled workforce and history of successful public-private partnerships are two major reasons why business leaders like Microsoft continue to invest in our city,” said Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. “Thank you to Microsoft for selecting Atlanta as its newest home. This is a significant expansion that will create hundreds of new jobs and further establish our city as a global leader for software development.”
Midtown Atlanta has become a top innovation district and a hub for tech companies. Schools within the University System of Georgia work closely with businesses looking to locate in the state to ensure students are trained with the skills necessary for mutual success. In addition to other higher education programs in Georgia, the company will continue its collaborative partnership with the University System of Georgia around talent, technology and innovation.
“The University System of Georgia stands ready to work with Microsoft as we help connect it with our highly skilled graduates and meet its need for ongoing professional development, training and research,” said University System of Georgia Chancellor Steve Wrigley. “This is a fantastic economic development opportunity, and our 26 institutions are excited to show our capability and commitment toward fostering the company’s growth.”
DALLAS, TX: TOP MILLENNIAL MAGNET
If it surprises you that Dallas has become irresistible to millennials, you haven’t been paying attention. The Texas city has grabbed the crown in our Millennial Magnets category.
Big D’s reputation as a home to hipsters who work and play 24/7 was cemented with Uber’s selection of the Deep Ellum neighborhood of Dallas for its new U.S. General and Administrative Hub, which earned the City of Dallas Office of Economic Development our 2019 Deal of the Year Bronze Award.
The project is expected create 3,000 direct new jobs over the next 10 years, generating a projected direct economic impact of nearly $700 million and $324 million in direct new wages during the same period.
Uber Technologies’ new U.S. hub will reside in The Epic, a new mixed-use development on Pacific Ave. across the street from the Deep Ellum rail station in the heart of the vibrant historic area east of downtown Dallas. Westdale Real Estate Investment and KDC, the developers of The Epic, have agreed to build a second office tower specifically for Uber.
Construction on the second office tower will be completed in approximately two years. In the meantime, Uber is leasing 168,000 square feet (60.6 percent of the space) at The Epic’s first office tower, currently under construction. Once the second 500,000-square-foot tower is constructed, Uber will lease 450,000 square feet of that building and move all operations into it. It is anticipated that the ride-sharing giant will move into the second tower by 2023, and will execute a minimum 10-year lease with renewal options.
When Uber announced its plan to establish a new U.S. hub, Dallas quickly became a contender on its shortlist of possible locations. Dallas was the first city in Texas to offer the Uber app, said Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, and has since “become a hub of innovation for our platform.”
When he announced last August that Dallas had won the competition for Uber’s coveted U.S. hub, Khosrowshahi said the hip vibe of the Deep Ellum neighborhood was a big factor in sealing the deal. “We wanted to make sure that we have this office in a particularly cool section of town and make the offices incredibly attractive,” he said, highlighting the company’s preference to be located in a city and neighborhood where it can benefit from a truly 24-hour live-work-play environment.
In addition to its pioneering ride-sharing platform, Uber Technologies currently offers a variety of services, including food delivery (Uber Eats), freight shipping (Uber Freight), healthcare transportation (Uber Health), electric bike and scooter sharing (JUMP) and public transit solutions (UberPool). Plans for future services include self-driving vehicle technologies and an aerial ridesharing division, Uber Elevate. Uber is based in San Francisco and currently has 785 worldwide operations and an estimated 110-million worldwide users.
The incentives for the Uber project included a Texas Enterprise Fund (TEF) grant of $24 million (or $8,000 per job, based on a commitment off 3,000 jobs); a five-year, 50-percent business personal property tax abatement from the City of Dallas; a 10-year, 90 percent personal property tax abatement from Dallas County; and a nomination to be designated as a Texas Enterprise Project under the Texas Enterprise Zone Act, a state sales/use tax refund program.
Denver, CO, which took second place in our annual millennial magnets sweepstakes, is no. 1 in our Startup Ecosystems category.
According to a recent report from commercial real estate giant CBRE, areas with high concentrations or clusters of rapidly growing tech firms have created economic growth and changed office market dynamics. The report stated that tech companies leased more than 2 million square feet in metro Denver in 2018 and more than 907,000 square feet through the third quarter of 2019.
“Denver has done a remarkable job of growing local tech firms and attracting second offices. The availability of tech talent and location of office space are both important factors,” the report stated.
According to CBRE’s 2019 Scoring Tech Talent report, 107,170 people held tech occupations in Denver (roles including: software developers and programmers; computer support, database and systems; computer and information systems managers; and technology engineering-related), in 2018, reflecting a 30.9 percent job growth rate from 2013 (nontech occupations grew eight percent over the same period).
Colorado’s tech talent pipeline continues to grow, the CBRE report said, fueled both by homegrown talent from Colorado universities and in-migration of highly educated professionals from out of state who are attracted to the region’s job opportunities and live-work-play culture.
“Colorado’s tech sector also is nurtured by an entrepreneurial culture that is uniquely supportive, providing extensive resources to startups as they launch and mature. Venture capital-funded companies founded by alumni of top regional universities include Groupon, Vir Biotechnology, 23andMe, Wheels Up and Uptake. The University of Colorado alone has raised $5.2 billion for 323 start-up companies,” the report stated.
NEW ORLEANS: LOGISTICS LEADER
Whether it’s by land, sea, river, air, rail—or in a pipeline—no metro offers more options to ship goods than New Orleans. NOLA takes the crown in our metro Logistics Leaders ranking.
For 300 Years, New Orleans has been the business gateway to America and the world. Local businesses benefit from incredible multimodal transportation (rail, air, truck, barge and ship) and value-added offerings, including warehousing, storage, third-party logistics providers, state-of-the-art facilities, rail connectivity, port operations, ground and air freight, and wholesalers.
The Port of New Orleans, a deep-water port, and its network of land, river, rail and roadway is the definition of elite multimodal connectivity. It is the nation’s only deep-water port with six Class-1 railroads. And, if that’s not enough to convince you that NOLA is the logistics champ—the Crescent City recently cut the ribbon on a new international airport.
NOLA’s international air hub has a new name as well as a sparkling new $1 billion, 35-gate terminal: Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY). Satchmo’s new digs show off the spirit of New Orleans throughout the facility through the presence of live music and local restaurants that characterize New Orleans’ distinct culture.
HEADQUARTERS OF HEADQUARTERS
Irving, TX continues to show us that it can punch above its weight class, snaring our no. 7 ranking for Corporate HQ Leaders, a top 10 that is filled with much larger cities, including Irving’s next-door neighbor, second place Houston.
Texas, and North Texas in particular, enjoyed blazing economic growth over the last decade as U.S. and foreign-based corporations relocated their regional and corporate headquarters to benefit from the state’s pro-business tax climate, world-class infrastructure, skilled workforce, affordable housing and central location.
With a population of 240,000, the City of Irving’s highly desirable attributes and amenities have earned it the reputation as the Headquarters of Headquarters.
Irving, TX and Las Colinas, the city’s 12,000-acre masterpiece of a master-planned urban center, have an enviable and unmatched location immediately adjacent to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and 10 minutes to Dallas Love Field. The City intersects with highways 183, 114, 635 and George Bush Turnpike, four of the most important thoroughfares in North Texas. This central location, highway infrastructure and the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) system gives employers access to a population of 3.3 million skilled workers within a 30-minute commute. However, location is only one reason the city has attracted global headquarters for some of America’s largest companies.
“We have a healthy pipeline of prospective relocation deals representing more than one billion dollars in capital investments and tens of thousands of jobs,” said Beth A. Bowman, President and CEO of the Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce and Irving Economic Development Partnership.
A young, educated workforce and population diversity are two more reasons why Irving-Las Colinas has attracted and retained U.S. corporations and a remarkable 150 foreign-based companies. The median age in Irving-Las Colinas is 32, which is six percent lower than the Texas average; 35 percent of the city’s population is foreign born.
Lifestyle choices are also important to employers to help recruit and retain workforce talent. With 56 beautiful, small lakes throughout Irving-Las Colinas, parks, jogging trails, museums, colleges, hospitals, golf courses, cultural and recreational institutions, a convention center and new convention hotel, Las Colinas Urban Center, the city’s business hub, is an oasis in the heart of a major metropolitan area. Venetian-styled canals flank one side of the 125-acre Lake Carolyn with walking paths that meander around offices, shops, restaurants and luxury multi-family residential areas.
Irving’s Las Colinas Urban Center is also a model Transit Oriented Development (TOD) community. TODs are compact, walkable, pedestrian-oriented, mixed-use communities with access to a rapid commuter train system that reduces the need for driving and energy consumption up to 85 percent. Millennial workers find that this lower-stress lifestyle makes Irving-Las Colinas a highly desirable place to live, work, play, walk and visit.
Irving-Las Colinas’ Hidden Ridge development is a 51-acre, $1 billion TOD with over 3,000,000 square feet of planned Class A office space. The mixed-use project, located adjacent to the newest DART rail station scheduled to open later this year, includes the recently completed 1 million-square-foot global headquarters for Pioneer Natural Resources. Hidden Ridge is near Lake Carolyn, Water Street with more than 1,900 multi-family units, restaurants and green space, and the popular Toyota Music Factory entertainment district.
Irving-Las Colinas is also known as a city Built for Business. In a statewide survey of office building projects, Irving-Las Colinas ranked second with more than 4 million square feet of building during the past 10 years. Warehouse construction, particularly important in filling the growing needs for e-commerce companies, is an important part of the Irving economy.
Irving’s master-planned Las Colinas Urban Center has successfully blended the needs of the corporate workplace with innovative technology, beautiful living options and the full range of recreation and entertainment that attracts millennial workforce talent—all within walking distance and convenient transportation. Access to 5G wireless technology allows employees to work at the office, in the community or from their home with seamless connectivity.
“We are confident that North Texas economic fundamentals are the strongest in the nation, and that they remain so particularly for Irving-Las Colinas. We are the address that corporations want. We have the amenities that employers need to attract and retain talent in a safe competitive environment. We have value, location and infrastructure,” Bowman said.
MANUFACTURING CLOUT IN NW OHIO
If anyone tells you that manufacturing isn’t what it used to be in the Rust Belt, tell them to check our top 10 for Manufacturing (Mid-Sized MSAs): three of the top-ranked metros are in Ohio (Toledo at no. 2, Dayton at no. 3 and Akron at no. 7).
The Toledo/Northwest Ohio region has been at the heart of industrial activity since it was founded, and now has taken its place at the forefront of high-tech, advanced technologies. This region possesses the very best of the manufacturing mindset because it’s ingrained in the business community, upheld by the universities and proudly embraced by the region’s people. An abundance of educated employees have helped Northwest Ohio become one of the most robust environments for advanced manufacturing. In the past three years, Northwest Ohio has attracted 140 advanced manufacturing projects representing $3.3 billion and creating more than 5,400 new jobs.
Northwest Ohio offers a talented employment base of more than 130,000 people in manufacturing. The region is home to dozens of higher education institutions, including highly recognized community colleges that offer customized training programs to fit the technical needs of both businesses and individuals.
Ohio has the lowest tax burden on new investment in the Midwest, keeping the cost of doing business low. The NW region has immediate access to three of the country’s most traveled interstates, is home to the largest general cargo port on the Great Lakes and is located within a day’s drive to nearly half the U.S. and Canadian marketplace.
Northwest Ohio’s logistical advantages also make it a key location for manufacturing: within a 300-mile radius of Toledo, the region has access to the most industrial square footage in the United States and Canada. The region has immediate access to three of the country’s most traveled interstates (I-80, I-90 and I-75) and is the largest general cargo port on the Great Lakes. Coupled with its low-cost business environment and location in a state ranking third in manufacturing employment nationwide, Northwest Ohio is leading the new tech-savvy manufacturing industrial revolution.
Northwest Ohio has a rich history of manufacturing that continues to flourish in today’s global economy. From automotive to advanced materials—this region’s manufacturing landscape is more diverse than ever before. The Ohio Manufacturing Extension Partnership supports this valuable industry by providing the products, services and assistance that are dedicated to the productivity, growth and global competitiveness of Ohio manufacturers. The Ohio MEP program works with specialized nonprofits to provide low-cost business and technical assistance to small- and medium-sized manufacturers.
MEMPHIS, TN: TRILLION GALLONS OF AGUA
This year, BF is creating a new metro rankings category, Water Infrastructure. We anticipate that, as the impact of climate change becomes more apparent, water resources and water management will rise to a top priority for states and metros. Memphis, TN, which sits on top of a pristine aquifer with nearly 100 trillion gallons of water in it, is without a doubt the top-ranked metro in our first Water Infrastructure ranking.
Evaluating water resources comes down to three essentials: quantity, quality and cost. And each one of those elements is very nearly unrivaled in Memphis, which means when you take a sip, you’re tasting some refreshing economic development.
Jerry Collins, president and CEO of the Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division, said, “Memphis may be the most water-rich city in the whole world because we have this huge river that flows past Memphis and none of our drinking water comes from that river. All of our drinking water comes from artesian wells and an underground aquifer which is 400 to 1,200 feet below the surface.”
The Memphis Sands aquifer has 99.8 trillion gallons of water in the Greater Memphis region. If you took the water beneath Shelby County and put it on the surface, it would cover the county almost to the top of the Clark Tower.
As for quality, the water is naturally filtered through clay and sand. When taken from some 250 wells in the area it’s aerated to eliminate some iron and dissolved gases. “Basically, it’s getting oxygen into the water,” Collins said. And then there’s filtration which, he said, “just takes iron out of the water.” Finally, it’s treated with minimum levels of chlorine and fluoride as mandated by the EPA.
The cost is reflected in that industrial utility customers have the lowest water bill in the nation. “Many cities have water prices for the same amount of water that are two to three times higher than what our citizens pay,” Collins said.
Memphis Light Gas and Water’s Sheahan Station is one of several huge pumping facilities that keep Memphis Sands Aquifer water flowing through city pipes.
The problems with river-supplied water essentially don’t exist in Memphis—if Memphis got its water from the Mississippi, the treatment costs would be about three times as much as it is now. There is also the fact that the water is so clean and available that it’s less expensive to deal with. Because it’s so pure to begin with, Memphis water can be further purified at far less cost than elsewhere. Research hospitals, laboratories, high-tech manufacturing and similar industries need ultrapure water.
The average cost for a gallon of ultrapure water in Memphis is roughly $1; even in a water-rich state like Minnesota, costs could be more than 10 times higher than it is in the Tennessee city. If you factor in the lower cost of water re-use and maintenance, Memphis’ water advantages are even more profound. A manufacturing facility with a cooling tower can reuse Memphis water for eight or 10 cycles.
While the amount of water in the aquifers is known and the amount coming out is known, the rate of replenishment is not clear. A Blue Stream Task Force established by the City of Memphis has been tasked with addressing this issue. Some 50 representatives of business, government and nonprofits will figure out how best to move ahead and protect a bountiful supply of clean and readily available water.
SAN FRANCISCO, LOS ANGELES ROLLING IN DOUGH
It’s not a surprise that New York City remains the financial capital of the known universe, but the emergence of San Francisco as no. 2 and Los Angeles as no.3 in our Financial Hubs leaderboard may raise a few eyebrows. (We’ll admit we’re still getting used to the fact that L.A. has a downtown.)
According to Investopedia.com, a financial hub refers to a city with a strategic location, leading financial institutions, reputed stock exchanges, a dense concentration of public and private banks and trading and insurance companies. In addition, the website says, these hubs are equipped with first-class infrastructure, communications and commercial systems, and there is a transparent and sound legal and regulatory regime backed by a stable political system.
Since Los Angeles has always been on the forefront of pushing the envelope, the City of Angels is likely to be the first venue to establish a public bank. Following the passage of a state bill, local public banking advocates say they plan to make Los Angeles the first city in the country to establish its own bank.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom has approved a bill allowing local governments to establish public banks. Newsom’s signature makes California the only state aside from North Dakota to permit government-run banks.
City officials acknowledge it could take years before a public bank would actually be up and running in the city. Advocates want L.A. to withdraw its deposits from commercial banks like Wells Fargo and put them into a new, publicly owned financial institution.
SPECIAL REPORT: Industrial Parks
Top Industrial Parks Offer World-Class Logistics
This year, for the first time, BF is ranking the leading industrial parks in our Metro Rankings Report.
Size counts in our new Industrial Parks ranking: the top three mega-complexes in this new category—Tahoe-Reno industrial Center in Nevada, Elk Grove Business Park in Illinois and TGS Cedar Port Industrial Park in Baytown, TX—could also hold their own in any global ranking of these self-contained cities of industry.
Today’s most successful industrial parks have much more to offer than available sites in prime locations. They’re master-planned, turn-key logistics hubs with world-class infrastructure.
TGS Cedar Port Industrial Park, located in Chambers County near Houston, TX, is the largest master-planned, rail-and-barge-served industrial park in the U.S., offering industry-leading access for distribution, manufacturing and terminal users.
Ideally situated in Baytown across the Houston Ship Channel from Bayport and Barbours Cut Container Terminals, TGS Cedar Port spans approximately 15,000 acres with heavy utilities and industrial and commercial transportation infrastructure in place.
With more than 11,000 acres available for sale, lease, build-to-suit and design builds, including in excess of 3 miles of barge depth waterfront, land sites are delivered “turn-key”—fully entitled with utilities and detention in place. GS Cedar Port is both barge-served and is dual served by the Union Pacific and the BNSF railroads, and can accommodate users from four acres to more than 1,500 acres.
“Since acquiring TGS Cedar Port Industrial Park in 2014, Cedar Port Partners’ vision has been to create the railroad infrastructure and operations capability to serve the greater Houston market, as well as the nation,” said James Scott, president of Construction and Infrastructure of TGS Cedar Port Partners, L.P.
“Cedar Port has a global reach supported by the two Port of Houston world-class container ports near the park. By the end of this year, Cedar Port will have constructed over $200 million in common rail, barge, utility and drainage infrastructure to the development of the industrial park,” Scott said.
TGS Cedar Port—located in the Houston Industrial sector’s Southeast submarket, which has been one of the fastest-growing in all of Texas during the past six years—is one of the largest intermodal transportation logistics facilities in the world, with more than 100 miles of dual service operating track owned and operated within the park.
The mainline rail service at the park is provided by Union Pacific and BNSF Railway. Both operators share track rights to the industrial rail spur entering the park, and the Union Pacific and BNSF operate nearby intermodal facilities in Harris County. TGS operates and oversees rail service within the park and can tailor operations to customer needs. The current storage capacity is 4,000 railcars (expanding to over 5,000). The current rail infrastructure includes the Union Pacific and BNSF interchange yard, which can interchange six 135-car trains; has the capability to handle 286,000-lb. railcars; and offers rail-served aggregates, asphalt and ready mix plants; rail-served warehousing, steel mills, chemical plants, and other industries. The infrastructure also includes a locomotive repair facility and railcar transloading, cleaning and repair facilities.
A short barge trip from Bayport and Barbours Cut Container Terminals, the industrial park has an existing barge dock along Cedar Bayou, on the western boundary of the park with a draft depth of 12 feet. The dock is currently being used by tenants within the park, but excess capacity remains. An additional barge dock for the industrial park will be constructed adjacent to the existing dock.
The park boasts a combination of more than 12 million square feet of new speculative cross-dock and rail-served facilities and existing industrial and manufacturing warehouses. Available incentives include tax abatements, workforce training funds, Foreign Trade Zone designation and financing for infrastructure development and site improvements.
Sites are typically delivered turn-key, net of detention and outside of 500-year flood plain. Other improvements typically include heavy-haul road, potable water and sanitary sewer. Multiple telecommunications services are available, and industrial sized electrical is located throughout the Park.
Five roads have access into the industrial park, including the new master-planned highway, Cedar Port Parkway, a heavy haul-rated roadway now under construction.
Cedar Port Industrial Park has a plethora of industrial pipeline infrastructure in the park that can be used to transport both feedstocks (commodities including crude, ethane, ethylene and refined products) or finished goods.
TGS Cedar Port is being marketed by John Simons, Joel Michael, and Holden Rushing of NAI Partners, the 5th-largest commercial real estate services firm in Houston, and the largest and only independently-owned brokerage in the top five.
TGS Cedar Port is proud to be part of the solution to keep your supply-chain fluid. For additional information, please visit www.tgscedarport.com.
MIDAMERICA: INDUSTRIAL UTOPIA IN OKLAHOMA
It has been called an “industrial utopia”. MidAmerica Industrial Park (MAIP) is the third-largest industrial park in the U.S.
With 9,000 acres under single ownership since its inception, MidAmerica is celebrating 60 years of success, serving 80 companies and over 4,500 employees. The Park is perfectly centered between Tulsa, OK and Northwest AR. 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.
MidAmerica is located within the boundaries of the Cherokee Nation (the nation’s largest tribe), with an off-the-chart ad valorem tax base that supports K-12 education.
MidAmerica is owned and operated by a self-sustaining public trust with the sole mission of increasing area employment by bringing new businesses to the region and by assisting in the growth of existing businesses. This mission opened the way for the crucial advantages of a park-owned water and wastewater system. It has also translated into park governance and service that is wholly responsive to tenant needs.
MAIP offers a stable, protected environment to its businesses. Because revenues are generated by water sales and park land sales and leases, the trust requires no state or federal tax dollars for support.
Because the trust also enjoys regulatory sovereignty, startups, expansions and relocations are streamlined with fast decisions and lower costs—eliminating red tape and fees. There are no building inspection processes requiring approval prior to construction; there are also no impact fees, sewer hook-up charges, water hook-up charges, building permit fees, storm drainage fees or building inspection fees. Each of these lower engineering and construction costs.
History proves that MidAmerica is not only here to stay, but here to grow. Looking forward, MidAmerica is focused on building infrastructure and amenities that will support corporate growth and expansion. MidAmerica’s Armin Road and Igloo Valley development have 1,000 acres that can be customized to fit virtually any corporate need. These developments have all utilities, roads and environmental studies complete, making the green spaces shovel-ready, buy today build tomorrow.
MidAmerica’s water and wastewater treatment facilities service industrial customers with plenty of capacity to accommodate future growth. Grand River Dam Authority is adjacent to the park providing 1,900 megawatts of reliable electricity via hydro, wind, coal and natural gas at highly competitive rates.
For businesses looking to locate to MidAmerica, the Park is uniquely positioned to incentivize new business from every angle. Because MidAmerica incentives are added to both state and federal incentives, the packages offered to businesses are the most comprehensive in the nation.
MidAmerica offers a $40-million “Quick Action” incentive fund to assist new companies with the costs associated with business relocation. The fund is comprised of three components: education and training, land cost offsetting and reduction, and specialized infrastructure.
With land, water and power readily available, the Park’s “sense of place” is now more important than ever as a key to success. Demographics of all ages are drawn to the amenities of a big city but want the affordability, lifestyle and convenience of a community. MidAmerica is making this a reality with their newest initiative, The District.
The District, a 162-acre development that incorporates retail, residential, parks and trails near the Park, is set to open this year. The new development is a fusion of walkable retail areas and residential living combined with a natural environment that offers wide-open spaces and outdoor activity. It includes 32,000 square feet of retail space, a 100-unit multi-story living complex, 100 residential homes and 10 acres of parks and outdoor spaces, with connectivity via walking and biking trail systems.
MidAmerica partners on multiple fronts with area technical schools and universities. Recently the Park invested over $3 million in career centers and state-of-the-art STEM labs in18 area school districts.
In fall of 2019, MidAmerica opened a BMX track, and is building the ridership base through STEM programs. The Park has free bikes for local youth to use and a thriving BMX community that supports the track. Additionally, MidAmerica partners with Northeast Technology Center and Rogers State University to create a new “Center of Excellence” combining technology, training and opportunity. Implementing proven best practices in workforce development, these are just a few examples of MAIPs focus on training.
TEXAMERICAS CENTER: RED TEAM CUTS RED TAPE
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. A massive mixed-use industrial park boasting more than 12,000 acres and 3 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, a U.S. Army PX and the emergency services of the Red River Army Depot. It’s also home to TC@TAC, a state-of-the-art 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 (also known as the Expansion Parcel) 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.
TAC consistently invests in site improvements. In 2019, TAC rehabilitated over 277,000 square feet of former warehouse space of which more than 250,000 square feet was leased immediately, leaving over 22,000 square feet still available. TAC added two new industries—supplemental production and solar energy—and nine new tenants, including businesses from Michigan and Arizona.
TAC recently completed $2.25 million in infrastructure improvements and signed contracts to perform $1.6 million of improvements to occupied buildings, including installing an 18-inch sanitary sewer line; one sanitary sewer lift station; a 10-inch water line; and five fire hydrants. TAC also made road, accessibility and utility service improvements. They’ve added multiple incentives, including Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) Agreements and Foreign Trade Zone Texas Enterprise Zone.