By Business Facilities Staff
From the July/August 2022 Issue
18th Annual Rankings: 2022 Metro Rankings Report
In Business Facilities’ 18th Annual Rankings Report, metro areas and cities of all sizes are recognized for attracting and retaining businesses from numerous industry sectors. The ranking looks at the number of corporate headquarters in a metro area region, and the 10 locations ranked in 2022 represent a wide swath across the U.S. For this year, the Corporate Headquarters ranking expanded its view from cities to metro areas.
Taking the top spot in the magazine’s latest ranking is the NYC Metro area (New York City/Jersey City, NJ/White Plains, NY). The NYC Metro area occupied the top spot in 2021 and retained that position for 2022 because it has the highest number of corporate headquarters of all U.S. cities.
Filling out the 2022 top five metro areas for Corporate Headquarters are: #2 Chicago/Naperville/Evanston, IL; #3 Houston/The Woodlands/Sugar Land, TX; #4 Dallas/Irving/Plano, TX; and #5 San Francisco/San Mateo/Redwood City, CA. Tied for #6 are Atlanta/Sandy Springs/Alpharetta, GA and San Jose/Sunnyvale, Santa Clara CA; followed by #7 Washington DC/Arlington, VA/Alexandria, VA. Sharing the #8 spot in this ranking are Boston, MA and Minneapolis/St. Paul/Bloomington, MN. And, #9 Richmond, VA and #10 Los Angeles/Long Beach/Anaheim, CA round out the list.
“As we evaluated the locations companies have chosen for their home base, there are familiar names along with new. Looking ahead to next year’s Rankings Report, we are excited to see what metros might join this list,” said BF Editorial Director Anne Cosgrove
FINTECH, CRYPTO LEADERS
From coast to coast, fintech industry players are looking for locations that will provide the infrastructure, workforce, and business climate to support their success. In this year’s report, two Fintech Leaders rankings highlight cities with the workforce, regulatory environment, and overall ecosystem geared for this burgeoning area of the finance world. Leading for overall Fintech Leader markets is New York City, ranked #1 this year. Following the Big Apple on the list is San Francisco, CA, well-known for its tech- friendly business climate.
“The sheer size of New York City’s financial and technology infrastructure positions the metro as a fintech leader. This year, we looked at the number of fintech startups along with available talent, and NYC topped the list,” said Cosgrove.
Rounding out the top 5 metros in the Fintech Leaders ranking are: Toronto, ON; Atlanta, GA; and Boston, MA, respectively.
A second category—Fintech Leaders (Job Growth) lists Pittsburgh, PA as leader there. This location is followed by Philadelphia, PA; Irving, TX; Raleigh, NC; Roanoke, TX; Tempe, AZ; Chandler, AZ; Baltimore, MD; Dallas, TX; and Cleveland, OH.
The related Crypto Market Leaders ranking, focused on available jobs and job growth, is topped by San Francisco, CA. Completing the top half of that leaderboard are: Austin, TX; New York City; Miami-Fort Lauderdale, FL; and Denver, CO.
With the significant expansion of activity in the fintech sector—an expansive term applied to technology-driven disruptions in financial services, where financial companies and startups use artificial intelligence (AI) and other tech in day-to-day processes, BF rankings introduced the category to our Metro rankings for this year (added to the State rankings last year). The global fintech market was valued at USD7301.78 billion in 2020 and is projected to grow at a CAGR of 26.87% by 2026, according to a October 2021 report from research firm, ResearchandMarkets.com.
The report, “Global FinTech Market, By Technology, By Service, By Application, By Region, Competition Forecast & Opportunities, 2026” found that “rising popularity for digital payments, increased investments in technology-based solutions, supportive government regulations, and increased adoption of IOT devices are expected to positively influence the global fintech market in the coming years.”
The report noted that AI has become a critical element in terms of collecting data, analyzing information, and creating customer-centric products. Based on service, the market can be segmented into payment, fund transfers, personal finance, loans, insurance, and others including equity, wealth management, etc. The payment segment is expected to dominate the market in the year 2020, however the insurance segment is expected to grow at the fastest growth rate in the forecast period. Based on end-use industry, the market is sub-segmented into banking, insurance, securities, and others including ecommerce, ITR, etc. The banking segment captures the highest market share in the year 2020 and is expected to dominate the market in the forecast period (to 2026) as well.
SIZE INTO ACCOUNT: ELK GROVE BUSINESS PARK #1
Elk Grove Village Business Park located in Elk Grove Village, IL has topped the leaderboard for Industrial Parks in BF’s rankings this year. Industrial Parks ranking takes into account park size, location to markets, growth potential, and recent expansions, as well as distinctive assets like water resources, on-site utilities, residential developments, and other amenities.
Elk Grove Village is home to the largest industrial park in the United States with over 5,600 businesses, 22 data centers, and more than 400 manufacturers that specialize in plastic, metal, food, tech, and more. The park is located around a highly connected transportation hub—adjacent to O’Hare International Airport; at the crossroads of transcontinental freight rail service; and accessible by to interstate highways.
In 2018, the Elk Grove Technology Park was established within the existing business park to provide sites geared to technology-centric companies.
Ranked second in Industrial Parks is TGS Cedar Port Industrial Park (TGSCP), the largest master-planned rail-and-barge-served industrial park in the U.S. Located in Baytown, TX, TGS Cedar Port Industrial Park spans 15,000 acres, with over 11,000 acres available for development.
The park is an ideal location for light or heavy industrial use, manufacturing of all types, waterfront operations, and warehouse/distribution operations.
Further down the leaderboard at #5, another Texas industrial park made the list: TexAmericas Center (TAC), in Bowie County. Located along the Interstate 30 corridor, just 15 miles west of Texarkana, TAC is a 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 space, TAC services the Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas markets. Formed in 1998 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. 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 TC@TAC, 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.
MidAmerica Industrial Park (MAIP), in Pryor, OK (halfway between Tulsa and Northwest AR), has ranked 4th in our 2022 Industrial Parks ranking—holding its place from 2021. 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 startup Canoo announced a commitment in 2021 to create more than 2,000 jobs and build its first mega microfactory on a 400-acre site at MAIP. The company is currently moving toward the construction, with site work earlier this year there.
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.
At the #6 spot on the 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% of the manufacturing jobs in Rhode Island.
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.
In Charleston, SC, Camp Hall Camp Hall is a first-of-its-kind, master-planned industrial work space located in Charleston, SC. It is also ranked #7 in the Industrial Parks ranking—the third consecutive year the site has been ranked.
Camp Hall provides worldwide access via connected interstate, nearby airports and deepwater ports. And on site, a commitment to providing high-quality utility infrastructure will support the needs of future users and help attract world-class employers.
A brand-new interchange to I-26 is open and allows easy accessibility into the heart of Camp Hall. A comprehensive network of mobility options is currently under construction, including miles of on-site, three- to five-lane primary arterial roads.
Sanitary sewer and potable water services for Camp Hall are provided by Berkeley County Water and Sanitation via new mains and supporting infrastructure. Phase One was completed in 2018, and additional branch mains will be extended to individual sites within Camp Hall as needed in the future.
In line with the needs of a 21st century workspace, Camp Hall is actively working with mobile network providers to ensure connectivity throughout the campus. In addition, Camp Hall will have redundancy in fiber and power services — a must-have for the modern-day workforce.
And, Camp Hall is committed to maintaining an environment that is authentic to the natural habitat of coastal South Carolina. 28% of the site’s 6,800+ acres will be preserved land devoted to natural growth, wildlife habitats and features developed to maintain and improve a healthy local ecosystem.
Also in the ranking at #10 is 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, opened its 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 early 2021
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.
For places to move goods, Memphis, TN shows a repeat performance as the top ranked metro in the magazine’s Logistics Leaders ranking. This ranking 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 4.4 million metric tons of cargo, according to Airports Council International’s annual tally.
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% of the U.S. population overnight and 68% 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. 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
New Orleans, a perennial leader in BF’s Logistics Leaders rankings for several years, takes the second place spot, followed by Louisville, KY; Los Angeles, CA; and Savannah, GA, respectively.
Filling out the top 10 Logistics Leaders rankings: Houston, TX; Seattle-Tacoma, WA; Norfolk, VA; Anchorage, AK; and Columbus, OH.
“With manufacturing, distribution, and supply chain all top of mind for business leaders, especially during the past several years, Business Facilities is pleased to recognize these locations that are helping lead the way to economic success for businesses across the nation,” said BF’s Cosgrove.
METROS FOR MOVERS
Recently released U.S. Census Bureau population estimates emphasize that it was domestic out-migration that exerted an outsized demographic impact on large metropolitan areas during the prime 12 months of the COVID-19 pandemic. These estimates—for the period July 1, 2020 to July 1, 2021—reveal an absolute decline in the aggregate size of the nation’s 56 major metropolitan areas (those with populations exceeding 1 million). At the same time, smaller metro areas, as a group, experienced higher population growth than in each of the previous two years, while non-metropolitan America showed the greatest annual population gain in more than a decade.
A new category for BF’s rankings this year is Metros For Movers in recognition of remote work demands, as well as the need for companies to attract workforce beyond traditional means. Looking at incentives that cities and towns are offering, the top spot in this category goes to Morgantown, WV. Through the Ascend WV program, those who meet qualifications receive up to $12,000 to relocate in Morgantown. Rounding out the top 5 are: Topeka, KS; Tulsa, OK; Bentonville, AR; and New Haven, CT.
In 2021, Morgantown, WV welcomed 110 people (“movers”) Ascend’s first class has a diverse background and will bring a wide array of talents to their new community. Their work spans industries ranging from technology and healthcare to management and manufacturing.
The 53 class members hail from as far away as Berlin, Germany, and from 21 different U.S. states and the District of Columbia. More applicants will be coming from California than any other state, and the average annual income of those selected is approximately $105,000. Many of the new West Virginians are bringing their families with them; a total of more than 110 people will relocate to the Morgantown area when the inaugural class makes its move.,
CITY OF BRAMPTON STAYS ATOP FOOD PROCESSING
Brampton, Ontario has repeated as the top-ranked Food Processing hub in BF‘s 18th annual Metro Rankings Report.
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.
Brampton is part of an Ontario government pilot program announced in November 2021. The province is investing $25 million over three years to strengthen the agri-food supply chain there. This funding will incentivize industry investment in projects that help address the processing capacity shortage and increase the sector’s competitiveness and resilience against future disruptions.
“Agriculture and food processing are a driving force that help power the Ontario economy and will contribute to our recovery and prosperity,” said Lisa Thompson, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.“ This strategic investment will not only boost capacity and competitiveness in Ontario’s agri-food processing sector, but it will also position the sector for long-term growth, create jobs, and promote economic opportunities for rural communities.”
Starting in 2021-22, the Strategic Agri-Food Processing Fund is providing grants of up to $3 million to agri-food processing businesses to invest in capital, equipment and technology. The initiative aims to increase processing capacity and productivity while also enhancing the food security of Ontarians.
“Workers in the agri-food sector have kept our supply chains strong through the pandemic, and Ontario’s agricultural and agri-food sector will play an important role in our province’s recovery and prosperity,” said Peter Bethlenfalvy, Minister of Finance. “Attracting investments that lead to good, well-paying jobs is a critical part of our plan to Build Ontario. This funding will go a long way toward ensuring this essential sector is more efficient, competitive and resilient against future disruptions.”
The program launched this past spring.
DATA CENTER LOCATIONS THAT LEAD
Data Center Leaders took into account relocations and expansions, plus jobs numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Also taken into account was JLL’s tally of net absorption (MW) in 2021. In its report on the data center market, JLL noted social media and tech companies in Northern VA and Chicago drove demand there. Expanding hyperscale footprints in Phoenix and Dallas drove gains there, and in the Seattle-Portland region demand tripled in 2021 due to tech company activity.
The Northern Virginia metro region takes the top spot this year—it held the #1 place in last year’s ranking also. In Loudon County, VA there are more than any other location, with 26 million square feet of existing space, and another eight million square feet under development. This is due to Ashburn sits atop the world’s densest intersection of fiber networks, making it an ideal location to store and distribute data for Internet companies like Amazon, Meta, Microsoft and Google.
Northern Virginia—and other data center hot spots (#2 Phoenix and #3 Seattle-Portland, in the BF rankings)—will grapple with its energy-intensive nature this year and looking forward. Regulatory changes should be expected as government, utilities, and other stakeholders address the issue.
Sustainable, “green” data center design, construction, and operation may be seen increasingly as operators plan these sites.
This summer, Vantage Data Centers, a global provider of hyperscale data center campuses, announced that it had closed on a $300 million USD green loan in recognition of the sustainable design features of its VA13 data center located in Northern Virginia. The loan was structured and arranged by Societe Generale, one of Europe’s leading investment banks.
VA13 will be a 44MW data center located on Vantage’s 42-acre, 146MW mega campus in “Data Center Alley.” The 365,000 square foot facility is currently under development and scheduled to be operational in the fall 2022. This will be the third data center on the campus, which will total more than 1 million square feet across five facilities once fully developed. The campus features including hyper-efficient cooling with outside air economization using minimal water, outdoor lights powered by solar and wind energy sources, solar-powered electric vehicle charging stations and drought-resistant landscaping.
In order to qualify for a green loan, recipients must generally meet specific criteria for their sustainability measures such as water conservation and carbon emissions reduction, as well as achieving a low Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE).
“Not only does this green loan expedite our pursuit of sustainable solutions for data centers, but it adds to the diversity of Vantage’s funding vehicles, enabling us to move quickly alongside customer demand,” said Sharif Metwalli, Chief Financial Officer at Vantage Data Centers. “Partnering with hyperscalers often entails rapid development which can bring a substantial impact on the environment, but with this loan, we have the flexibility to prioritize speed without sacrificing sustainability. Given its many benefits, we anticipate leveraging green financing for future developments as we continue expanding our footprint globally.”
“Vantage is committed to reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2030, and this loan gets us even closer to actualizing our goal,” explained Amanda Sutton, Senior Director of Sustainability, Vantage Data Centers. “Vantage’s dedication to sustainable operations made us an ideal candidate for this loan, and it’s just one more step in our journey to positively impact climate change.”
This is Vantage’s second successful execution of a de novo green loan. Previously the company obtained a $68 million green loan as part of a multi-phase financing from Societe Generale to fund the development of a third 32MW facility on its growing Quebec City campus. This facility opened its doors earlier this year.
In 2021, Vantage announced it will achieve net zero carbon emissions globally by 2030.
BOSTON METRO: LEADING RESOURCES FOR LIFE SCIENCES
Massachusetts is known for its life sciences and biotech markets. And this year’s Biopharma Leaders and Life Sciences Leaders are both led by the Boston metro area, ranked #1 in both categories.
Supporting the life sciences industry in the state is MassBio (Massachusetts Biotechnology Council), a group with a mission to grow the industry, add value to the healthcare system, and improve patient lives. Founded in 1985, MassBio works to advance policy and promote education, while providing member programs, events, industry information, and services for the state’s life sciences cluster—#1 in the world.
MassBio has developed a rating system to determine a municipality’s readiness to host biotechnology facilities based on the community’s zoning practices and infrastructure capacity. BioReady® rates communities in four tiers from Bronze up to Platinum. Through these ratings, MassBio seeks to provide cities and towns a platform to tell their stories that will ultimately help biotechnology companies find the most favorable destinations to locate. There are currently 90 BioReady communities across the Commonwealth.
Biopharma Leaders ranks two west coast markets for second and third place—San Francisco Bay Area and San Diego, CA.
The Life Sciences Leaders following the Boston-Cambridge, MA in its top spot are Washington, DC/Baltimore, MD and San Francisco, CA.
TOP PORTS: WEST COAST MOVES CARGO
This year’s Top Container Ports in our rankings were evaluated based on number of TEUs (Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units) moved in 2021, and taking into account 2022 numbers to date. Leading the pack based on volume of cargo moved is the Port of Los Angeles (CA), which moved 876,611 in June alone. At the mid-point of 2022, the Port has handled more than 5.4 million TEUs, matching last year’s record-setting pace.
In 2021, the Port of Los Angeles moved nearly 10.7 million TEUs.
“Halfway through the year, we’ve been able to reduce the number of vessels waiting to berth by 75%, allowing dock workers to efficiently process more vessels,” said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka. “We’re already beginning to handle back-to-school, fall fashion and year-end holiday goods. Despite inflation and higher-than-usual inventory, we expect cargo volume to remain robust the second half of the year.”
In June 2022 loaded imports reached 444,680 TEUs compared to the previous year, a decrease of 5% but 12% higher than the previous five-year June average.