2021 Economic Development Deal Of The Year: Impact Awards

For 2021, Business Facilities introduced 16 Impact Awards as the latest addition to the Economic Deal of the Year Awards.

By the BF Staff
From the January/February 2022 Issue

Economic Development Impact Awards

This year, for the first time, Business Facilities is including Impact Awards as part of our Economic Deal of the Year Awards. Read below to learn about the 16 companies that are standing out in a crowd in their respective categories.


Smith & Wesson — Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development

Smith & Wesson, the U.S.-based leader in firearms manufacturing and design, is relocating its headquarters, distribution, assembly, and plastic injection molding operations from Springfield, MA to Maryville, TN.

The company manufactures a wide array of handguns (including revolvers and pistols), long guns (including modern sporting rifles, bolt action rifles, and shotguns), handcuffs, suppressors, and other firearm-related products.

The project represents an investment of approximately $125 million and will create 750 new jobs. Smith & Wesson has chosen Partnership Park North in Blount County for its new location. The company will be joining a host of similar companies as more than 20 small arms and ammunition manufacturers now call Tennessee home. The state has seen employment increasing in this sector by 54% during the last five years.

Since 2017, the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (TNECD) has supported 10 economic development projects in Blount County, resulting in approximately 3,100 job commitments and $1.4 billion in capital investment.


SK Siltron CSS — Bay Future, Bay County, MI

SK Siltron is opening a new facility in Bay County, MI to expand its production of silicon-carbide wafers used in electric vehicles. The company’s $302 million project is the single largest investment ever made in the county.

The community, region, and state have a storied history in the manufacturing sector, specifically in the automotive industry. The region has been working to attract EV-related jobs for some time with some level of success. In fact, in the last two years, Michigan has seen nearly $9 billion in planned investments and more than 10,000 jobs added as part of the EV transition.

To make the case that Bay County was the right place for this new facility, Bay Future worked with local and state partners to develop a package of more than $25 million in incentives to make the project a reality.


WuXi STA — Delaware Prosperity Partnership

WuXi, a global pharmaceutical development, manufacturing, and technology company, is building a pharmaceutical manufacturing campus in Middletown, DE, contributing to the region’s growing biotech industry. The state-of-the-art facility, which is expected to open in 2024 and be its first on the East Coast, will include approximately 600,000 square feet of manufacturing, lab, office, amenity, warehousing, and infrastructure space on 187 acres in New Castle County.

The initial phase of construction involves a $510 million capital investment and will be creating nearly 500 full time positions in the area by the end of 2026. Life sciences continues to be one of the region’s fastest growing industries and is one of Delaware’s key target sectors.


Air Products — Edmonton Global

Air Products is investing more than $1 billion to build the world’s largest net-zero hydrogen energy complex in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The complex will include a world-scale auto-thermal reformer (ATR) hydrogen production facility, a carbon-capture operations to remove 95% of the carbon dioxide from the facility and a power generation facility fueled by hydrogen that will offset the remaining 5% of CO2 emissions as well as provide power to the grid.

It will also include a large-scale hydrogen liquefaction facility that will introduce emissions-free liquid hydrogen for the transportation sector in Western Canada and a world-scale air separation facility that will produce clean liquid oxygen and nitrogen, as well as a connection to the Alberta Heartland Hydrogen Pipeline.

Western Canada’s cold climate and long distances between cities create barriers to electric vehicle adoption. The Air Products net-zero hydrogen energy complex will introduce large volumes of liquid hydrogen supply to the region. When complete the Edmonton complex will produce enough hydrogen to supply every public transit agency in Alberta with emissions-free hydrogen fuel.


Digital Currency Group, AdvanceCT

The Digital Currency Group is relocating its headquarters to Stamford, CT from New York City. DCG is the largest conglomerate of companies in the fast-growing cryptocurrency and blockchain industry. Trading upwards of $1.5 billion per day, DCG operates on one of the most sophisticated trading systems in the crypto world. It is the parent company of seven wholly owned subsidiaries, several of which, including Grayscale Investments—the world’s largest digital currency asset manager with more than $50 billion in assets under management—are also relocating to Connecticut.

The company is building out 90,000 square feet of office space, resulting in more than $4.3 million in capital expenditures. They plan to employ more than 300 people at the Stamford location.

Connecticut has a world-renowned history in the financial services and asset management industry with Fairfield County quickly becoming one of the fintech centers in the country, home to companies like iCapital, Synchrony Financial, Tomo, Factset, and Hedgeye.


Toyota Battery Manufacturing — Greensboro-Randolph

Megasite Foundation – Toyota has selected the Greensboro Randolph Megasite in Randolph County, NC to locate its new electric vehicle battery manufacturing facility. The megasite sits on 1,825 acres and is the culmination of a decade of planning by a team of economic developers, engineers, government officials and utility providers to lay the infrastructure necessary for such a large complex.

While most megasites have large land tracts owned by a single landowner or a handful at most, this megasite required the assembling of 90-plus parcels with 70-plus different owners. To the front runners, the mission was simple — to create a transformative manufacturing facility that would employ thousands and once again establish the region as the finest manufacturing area in the Southeast.

Located in the Piedmont Triad Region of North Carolina, the $1.3 billion project is the largest in the state’s history to date. It added 1,750 jobs and that’s just for phase one of the Toyota Battery Manufacturing’s North Carolina project.


Leprino Foods — Lubbock Economic Development

Alliance (TX) – Leprino, the world’s largest supplier of mozzarella and whey products, is one of the largest privately held corporations in the U.S. It employs more than 5,000 people in more than a dozen locations globally. The company has chosen Lubbock, TX for its new 875,000-square-foot food manufacturing facility.

Three years in the making, the project represents the single largest private capital investment in Lubbock’s history. The $870 million project was no small undertaking and will require more than 4,500 unique contractors over the next three years to build it and get it fully operational.

This new plant will play a critical role in the dairy industry in Texas and will have a substantial regional impact for local dairy farmers across the South Plains to fulfill daily production needs. In addition to Lubbock Economic Development Alliance (LEDA) and its private partners, this project was made possible by the combined efforts of the City of Lubbock, Lubbock County, the State of Texas, Roosevelt ISD and Texas Tech University.


Legacy Park / FedEx — Economic Dev. Council of St. Lucie (FL) County

After years of trying to get an industrial park off the ground things are looking up at Legacy Park in St. Lucie County.

The Economic Development Council of St. Lucie County, in collaboration with the company’s site location consultant Duff and Phelps, and developer, the Sansone Group, have attracted FedEx Ground to Port St. Lucie. Fed Ex recently completed a 245,000-square-foot Regional Sortation Center in the winter of 2021.

On the heels of the FedEx announcement, South Florida-based broadline food distributor Cheney Brothers committed to a 427,000-square-foot distribution center immediately to the north. The Sansone Group is also developing two spec buildings and there are three other potential users in various stages of due diligence.

Sansone’s capital infrastructure investment in the park led to a $3.5 million Florida Job Growth Grant to Port St. Lucie to extend Anthony F. Sansone Sr. Blvd., opening up access to more than 100 acres and four other development sites.


Blue Star NBR & Blue Star AGI — Joint Industrial Development Authority of Wythe County (VA) and Virginia’s Industrial Advancement Alliance

Blue Star NBR and Blue Star AGI, a joint venture between Blue Star Manufacturing and American Glove Innovations, are building the world’s first vertically integrated manufacturing campus in Wythe County’s Progress Park. The company acquired the 233-acre site to manufacture its medical grade PPE gloves.

Shepherded by the Joint Industrial Development Authority of Wythe County, the $714 million project is creating more than 2000 new jobs in southwest Virginia.   

The pivotal project is a game changer for the community, region and state in that it is the largest manufacturing project in the area in over a generation and one of the largest Virginia has seen in the past 20-plus years. The job creation and investment in the campus is making a significant impact on a region that has experienced challenges going back decades.


Intel — New Mexico Partnership

Intel is investing $3.5 billion in its New Mexico operations and hiring more than 700 new workers to create a domestic hub for advanced semiconductor manufacturing. While Intel has had a significant presence in New Mexico for more than 40 years, its newest expansion at its Rio Rancho facility in Sandoval County signifies an important shift in the industry.

As the pandemic continues to put stress on the global supply chain, especially for products manufactured overseas, companies such as Intel have started establishing or expanding U.S. manufacturing locations to reach U.S. consumer markets more easily. Intel’s Rio Rancho location will play a critical role in their global operations and the global semiconductor market. The New Mexico Partnership is the state designated single-point-of-contact for companies considering New Mexico for their next expansion or relocation.


Santander Consumer USA — Pasco (FL) Econ. Dev. Council

Santander Consumer USA is investing more than $22 million to upgrade and convert existing retail space to create a new customer contact operation in Pasco County, FL. The scope of the project makes it one of the most impactful economic development projects in the Tampa Bay region to date.

Santander Consumer upfitted a 115,425-square-foot former Target building and committed to 875 new jobs. The company worked with the Pasco Economic Development Council on expediting the permitting process, and with its Workforce Development Manager on workforce data to ensure they had the talent pipeline to support their needs. Not only is Santander Consumer USA’s new location making an impact on the local economy through job creation, redevelopment and capital investment, it is also helping the overall community through a $100,000 grant to the Pasco EDC.


E.J. Gallo — Chester County Economic Development & South Carolina Department of Commerce

E. & J. Gallo Winery, a global wine and spirits company, is building a state-of-the-art production facility and distribution center in Chester County, SC. This $423 million investment will create 496 jobs over the next eight years.

Gallo provides bottling and canning capacity as well as warehousing and distribution for the company’s growing portfolio of wine and spirit brands. The 672-acre site will enable the company to provide turnkey production and distribution processes so that every step of the winemaking process can now take place at this location.

The world’s largest winemaker is bringing nearly 500 jobs to this area, a huge economic boost for the region. Given Chester County’s proximity to the Port of Charleston, one of the deepest seaports on the East Coast, this new location will also serve as a hub for Gallo’s import and export business.


Hill’s Pet Nutrition — Kansas Department of Commerce

Hill’s Pet Nutrition is building a new wet pet food manufacturing plant at the Tonganoxie Business Park in Tonganoxie, KS. The plant will be a state-of-the-art version of Hill’s Topeka plant, the only other Hill’s plant in the world producing canned pet food. With sustainability at the forefront of the design, the facility will be LEED Certified. The Kansas Department of Commerce first brought the opportunity to Hill’s attention.

At $325 million, the project is the largest capital investment ever by a manufacturer in Leavenworth County. Its impact on the tax base of the community, school district, and the county will be substantial. The facility will be highly automated and will require skilled operators. The project is expected to produce more than 80 jobs which will make Hill’s one of the largest employers in this small Kansas community.


Landing HQ — Birmingham (AL) Business Alliance 

Landing, a fast-growing startup, is moving its corporate headquarters from San Francisco to Birmingham, AL. Founded by Bill Smith, a Birmingham native, Landing is a nationwide network of fully furnished apartments available through a membership model. Smith is perhaps best known for creating the shopping app Shipt, which Target purchased for more than $550 million in 2017.

The move is expected to create 816 new full-time jobs and $1.3 billion in payroll for the city over the next 20 years. Though Landing’s relocation is the largest deal the area has seen, there is undeniable momentum around Birmingham as more startup companies look to it as a viable low-cost option.

Since 2020, Landing has experienced 1,250% growth and expanded from nine cities in early 2020 to more than 80, with plans to quickly be in more than 100.


FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies Holly Springs — Wake County Economic Development & Raleigh Chamber

FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies is building North America’s largest end-to-end cell culture CDMO biopharmaceutical manufacturing facility in Holly Springs, NC. The new facility will offer large-scale cell culture manufacturing of bulk drug substance production and provide commercial scale, automated fill-finish, assembly, packaging, and labeling services.

The facility is expected to be operational by spring 2025 and bring in more than 725 jobs for scientists, quality control workers and supply chain experts. The $2 billion project is the largest life sciences investment in the state. To attract businesses such as this, Holly Springs researched the needs of life science companies and made strategic investments in water, sewer and road infrastructure several years ago, including developing one of the most robust reclaimed water systems in the state.


Texas Instruments’ 300-billion semiconductor wafer facilities — Sherman (TX) Economic Development Council

Texas Instruments (TI) has selected Sherman, TX as the location for its new 4.7 million-square-foot plant. The $300-billion semiconductor wafer fabrication facility in Grayson County is being built to meet the increased demand for semiconductors in electronics, particularly in industrial and automotive markets.

TI’s investment in North Texas will come in four phases during the next several years, with construction of the first and second fabrication plants set to begin shortly. Production from the first new facility will began as early as 2025. Total potential investment at the site could reach nearly $30 billion and support 3,200 direct jobs over time. At full build-out, the fabrication plant will be the largest electronics production facility in Texas and among the largest manufacturing plants of any kind in the U.S.

Learn more about our 2021 Economic Development of the Year Gold, Silver, and Bronze Awards.