Welcome to this week's edition of Economic Development and Developers in the News. (Here are all of the past issues.) Please forward this to your friends and colleagues in economic development (especially, but not necessarily, those mentioned!)
$325 million mixed-use development is coming to downtown Huntsville. Property in the downtown urban core will soon be transformed from the former Coca-Cola bottling facility into a mixed use development. (Shane Davis, Huntsville city Urban and Economic Development Director)
Tuscaloosa County Economic Development Authority Executive Director Danielle Winningham provided an update to the Tuscaloosa County Commission after taking over the organization last August. Fourteen potential projects are currently underway, ranging from advanced manufacturing to corporate operations. Of those potential projects, Tuscaloosa County is shortlisted for four. $92 million in investments have been announced by Mercedes-Benz U.S. International, IAC and SMP, resulting in 496 new jobs.
Troy’s new Trojan Marketplace has brought several new retailers like Hobby Lobby, TJ Maxx and Five Below. Trojan Marketplace is one of a few new economic developments that have recently come to Troy, with most of the construction and openings happening during the pandemic.
The Elmore County Economic Development Authority will be hosting the Alabama Student Angler Bass Fishing Association State Classic. This tournament is expecting to bring 275 boats with Junior and Senior angler teams. The economic impact of the event anticipates 900 hotel rooms, 2,700 meals, numerous tanks of gas, and other supplies purchased while in the county. (Ansley Emfinger, Elmore County Economic Development Authority Executive Assistant)
The state of Alabama received the “Gold Shovel Award” from the national business publication Area Development.
Juneau Economic Development Council hosted the 11th Juneau Maritime Festival, a celebration of maritime history, culture and commerce. The festival, which took place on the deck over near the Downtown Public Library, is among the first large, in-person events to be held in the capital city since the pandemic. (Brian Holst, Executive Director)
Projects that helped Arizona earn ‘Gold Shovel’ award include Global Energy Solutions investment of $101 million and 176 jobs; Commercial Metals Company, which is investing more than $300 million and employing 180; PMG Companies 260 jobs and a $20 million investment; Ball Corporation (Red Bull) which is creating 145 jobs and more than $235 million in investment; and Zoom Communications with 250 employees and a $11 million investment.
Americold will spend $84 million on a new 131,000 square foot cold storage and distribution facility in Russellville, creating 30 jobs when construction is completed. The expansion will add 13 million cubic feet to the facility, creating about 42,000 pallet positions for product storage. Americold has entered a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement with the city to abate up to 65% of property taxes for 20 years.
The Long Beach Building Upgrades Incentivizing Long Term Economic Development Initiative — aka the BUILD Initiative — seeks to speed up and streamline Long Beach's permitting process.
Work on the Legacy Partners mixed use development in Livermore came to an abrupt halt during the first week of June when its contractor, Katerra, an international construction firm, filed for bankruptcy.
Los Angeles County has been a huge drag on the state’s overall recovery and is well behind the national pace. In April, L.A.’s unemployment rate was 11%. L.A.’s sharp underperformance in the pandemic era largely can be tied to the county’s strict mandates and heavy reliance on industries that were hard hit by the pandemic. (Mark Schniepp, Director of the California Economic Forecast)
The Rural Resiliency and Recovery Roadmaps program, which will include the city of Steamboat Springs and other local entities, is expected to create more than 100 jobs and as much as $50 million in private investments across the communities involved. A $2.3 million U.S. Economic Development Administration grant is funding the program.
The Arvada City Council will vote Monday evening on zoning changes that would clear the way for a proposed Amazon distribution center, which several residents have spent months trying to block. The project meets all applicable local, regional, and state design and development regulations and uses extensive buffering, strategic operations and thoughtful facility design, and will add land to the adjacent park.
The City of Coachella, California launched Opportunity Coachella, a competition for businesses looking to relocate, launch, or expand into an Opportunity Zone. The competition is now accepting applications and will award more than $15,000 to winners. (Jacob Alvarez, Assistant City Manager)
Grand Junction city officials, developers and organizations are looking to fill vacant buildings and empty lots in order to create a vibrant downtown. These properties are in prime locations being close to the central business district and can meet the needs for more housing or commercial spaces. (Elizabeth Fogarty, director of Visit Grand Junction; Brandon Stam, executive director of the Downtown Development Authority)
Dave Bullock, the interim chief executive with the Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County will step down effective June 30. The organization offered the position to Greg Bedalov, the president of an economic development organization in DuPage County, Illinois. Bedalov withdrew his name from consideration after the announced decrease in funding for the EDC.
The Citrus County CARES Advisory Committee has designated the remaining CARES funds for economic development. The Citrus One-Stop Recovery & Economic Business Center will provide an economic development hub for existing and prospective businesses to obtain all necessary resources to start, grow, and maintain their businesses. (Josh Wooten and Ardath Prendergast, Citrus County Chamber of Commerce; Don Taylor, Economic Development Authority for Citrus County; David Pieklik)
Sarasota County Economic Development Corporation leaders say the county needs to change its zoning policies and offer incentives to competitively attract manufacturers. In the past three years, the EDC hasn’t been able to respond to 12 requests for land because there was not a parcel to accommodate the requests. That equates to a loss of 1,515 jobs and $418 million in capital investments. (Destin Wells, VP Business Development Services; Kate Atkin, Director Investor Engagement; Erin Silk, Director Business Development Services)
A nearly $500,000 federal grant has been awarded to the Walton County Economic Development Alliance for infrastructure improvements at the county's 251-acre Northwest Florida Commerce Park at Woodlawn. (Bill Imfeld, Executive Director WCEDA)
The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity announced local governments can now apply for $175 million through the Rebuild Florida Mitigation General Infrastructure Program. This program is designed to assist local governments and state agencies with making Florida communities more resilient to future disasters by developing large-scale mitigation projects.
Northeast Georgia Inland Port near Gainesville will be built with the help of a $2 million federal grant. The $5.8 million facility will provide a direct rail link to the Port of Savannah via Norfolk Southern. It is expected to create nearly 700 jobs and generate $185 million in private investment. (Griff Lynch, Executive Director; Edward McCarthy, Chief Operating Officer; Chris Logan, Senior Director of Trade Development)
The Coastal Area District Development Authority has announced plans to distribute millions of dollars from recently secured funding to its nine coastal communities in Southeast Georgia. Their goal is to reach out to small, underserved and minority business owners. (Andrew Standard, CEO of CADDA)
Hawaii bankruptcies dropped to their lowest level for the month of May in 15 years. Bankruptcy filings are expected to remain low for the rest of the year thanks to the economy reopening, travel restrictions being lifted and stimulus funds from the federal government. (Eugene Tian, chief economist for the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism)
The under-regulated growth of transient accommodations in Maui has caused an excessive increase in tourism. The Maui Island Plan, approved nine years ago after extensive community engagement, calls for a daily visitor count of no more than one-third of the resident population. As of two years ago, Maui exceeded the visitor-resident ratio cap. In response, the council has recently deliberated on two proposals to temporarily pause the increase of visitor accommodations by enacting one or more moratorium ordinances.
Du Quoin plans to build a 500,000-gallon water tower in industrial park with the Cares Act Recovery Assistance grant. It will create about 20 construction jobs and the U.S. economic development administration expects it to create 121. (Jennifer Olson, Economic Development Director)
Consultants from CallisonRTKL presented their economic strategic plan to Glenview village trustees. There are two approaches to development: controlling the regulatory process, or controlling the outcome.
The Hamilton County Council agreed to fund $425,000 over three years to support early implementation stages of the Hamilton County Center for Career Achievement. The career center is a partnership between local school districts and other groups in Hamilton County to offer CTE, or career and technical education, pathways for students in trades such as energy and agriculture science, and skilled trades such as construction management, exercise science and other disciplines.
Franklin-based, G and H Orthodontics, Inc., will receive about $2 million in state economic development funds and $700,000 in local incentives to establish a new headquarters. Earlier this year, the company considered leaving the city and taking 116 local jobs with it. Now, with the city and state incentives on the table, the company plans to stay, create 154 new jobs and invest nearly $5 million in a new headquarters.
Brad Chambers was selected as the state’s new economic development chief. Chambers succeeds Jim Schellinger, who resigned from the position in March. Jim Staton has served in the role on an interim basis since that time.
Saline County received $846K in cost share funds from the state. The Cost Share program improves road safety, mobility and helps recruit new families and businesses to the state. (Michelle Needham, KDOT Economic Development Programs Manager)
Norton City/County Economic Development announced the Fresh. New. Norton County housing program, encouraging residents to “Fix up your home and your hometown.” The program offers grant-funded incentives including: zero percent short term loans, free lots, downpayment assistance, landfill waiver for teardowns, and $300 to repaint houses. (Mike Posson, Executive Director of Norton City/County Economic Development)
Kansas was the smallest state to receive this year's Gold Shovel Award. The state set a record for new capital investment in 2020, with over $2.5 billion in capital investment.
The Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education announced that Rick W. Smith Sr. will serve as the Council’s new associate vice president for workforce and economic development. (Aaron Thompson, CPE President)
The Interim Joint Committee on Economic Development and Workforce Investment discussed how to make the state more attractive for economic development. Some believe paying off state owed debt and reforming the tax structure will help.
Gregg Gothreaux, the longtime president/CEO of the Lafayette Economic Development Authority, is stepping down. He has led LEDA for 26 years. The LEDA President/CEO position has been posted on thenextmovegroup.com. The position comes with a $250,000 salary and competitive benefits.
Five new economic development and taxing districts were established in Lafayette. The City-Parish Council is considering proposals for districts management. The districts were drawn to exclude residences and avoid having to seek approval from voters to collect sales and hotel/motel taxes that are reserved for use in each district to benefit economic development projects within the district where the taxes are collected. (Rachel Godeaux, director of community and economic development)
Solar developments draw increased scrutiny in the oil and gas state. The push to build solar plants in Louisiana concerns farmers who fear being crowded out of land leases by solar companies with deeper pockets. In recent months, several parishes have issued moratoriums on utility-scale solar projects. And some legislative leaders took aim at solar developments in the recently ended legislative session, asking the Louisiana Economic Development agency to halt property tax breaks for such projects.
A once-vacant Brewer building is now a startup hub that houses businesses that produce goods largely consumed outside of the Bangor region. They include a coffee roaster, a vodka distillery, a company that repurposes shipping containers and two companies that develop and manufacture composite materials.
The Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation will administer a new state-funded $3.4 million economic development grant program for qualifying local nonprofits to support the county’s post-pandemic recovery. The MoCo Economic Development Grant Program for Nonprofits will provide competitively selected grants ranging from $10,000 to $20,000. (Bill Tompkins, Executive VP & COO)
A $3.8 million federal grant will enable Plymouth to make much-needed water infrastructure improvements to the Manomet Pressure Zone. Funding this project is expected to create 3,450 jobs while generating $5.9 million in private investment. The Economic Development Administration is pleased to support the town of Plymouth’s strategy to grow the local economic base through infrastructure improvements designed to attract businesses and promote job growth. (Dennis Alvord, acting assistant secretary of Commerce for Economic Development)
An economic recovery plan is in the works for Shelburne Falls. A town hall meeting was held to prioritize projects to include, such as establishing publicly accessible bathrooms and organizing more cultural events. (Jessica Atwood, FRCOG’s Economic Development Program Manager)
More than three years after the U.S. Supreme Court allowed sports betting, Massachusetts is still trying to get a piece of the action. The Legislature's Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies heard testimony on two dozen proposals to authorize sports wagering, and tax and regulate what is expected to be a multimillion-dollar industry.
Allowing sports betting will create jobs, increase revenue, promote economic development, and recapture Massachusetts money that is moving across its borders.
Gabrielle Gould, who also serves as executive director of the Downtown Amherst Foundation, has been appointed to the Massachusetts Economic Assistance Coordinating Council as its new Western Massachusetts representative.
Tecumseh will receive funding for an economic development fellowship from the Community Economic Development Association of Michigan. The fellow will work on an industrial data and talent study as well as implementing the updated Downtown Development Authority strategic plan. (Jessica Sattler, economic development director for the city)
The Downtown Crookston Development Partnership hosted a listening session to go over results from the 2020 Ward 4 Business Survey, and to discuss the recent Community Survey conducted by the City of Crookston. The city is potentially seeking to dissolve the Crookston Housing & Economic Development Authority and create a Community Development department.
One year after rioting engulfed the Twin Cities, Minnesota legislators say they've finally struck a deal to provide some relief to business owners whose properties were damaged or destroyed in the chaos. The funding includes $80 million for a Mainstreet revitalization program where businesses can apply for $2 million in loans and up to $750,000 in grants for building or rebuilding projects in areas of need. (Henry Jiménez, executive director of the Latino Economic Development Center)
Bourbon County Economic Development Council, Inc. is now Bourbon County REDI. The organization is also in process of transitioning from a 501(c)(6) entity to a 501(c)(3). (Rob Harrington, Executive Director)
Beth Epley from Eastern Plains Economic Development Corporation held a webinar, “What is Economic Development” and how it can assist Montana Employers. The meeting covered revolving loan funding, business planning and technical assistance and grant writing and administration.
Mayor Gaylor Baird said her proposed budget for the 2021-2022 fiscal year invests in services, programs, and infrastructure that will fuel economic recovery and grow a thriving future for Lincoln.
Michael Brown, the executive director of the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development, praised bills passed during the 2021 legislative session as critical to the state’s economy recovery and growth.
Gloucester County Department of Economic Development will foster public/private partnerships in order to create an environment of sustainable growth through retaining, expanding, and attracting quality businesses and by developing an educated and trained workforce. (Tom Bianco, Director; Michelle Shirey, Deputy Director)
After seeing megaprojects on Staten Island’s North Shore fail to materialize or flop after being built over the past decade, some candidates fighting to be the borough’s next generation of leadership are campaigning against high-end luxury developments. The area has attracted over a $1 billion in development plans, much of it incomplete or unbuilt, on city-owned land.
Oswego County officials are increasingly focusing on sewer infrastructure as crucial to economic growth. The sewer infrastructure, which is largely missing or inadequate outside the county’s two cities, remains a significant hindrance to development.
NYC’s creative economy needs a recovery plan. The creative economy is a lot bigger than Broadway venues, museums and SoHo galleries. Before COVID, the city’s creative sector employed nearly 300,000 New Yorkers and spurred $110 billion in annual economic activity, a full eighth of New York City’s economic output. The industry has lagged behind and may be last in line to return unless elected officials and the private sector take bold action.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced construction has completed at Wright's Landing Marina in the City of Oswego. The $3.1 million project is part of the Governor's Lake Ontario Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative. The completed project will make the marina more flood resistant and pedestrian-friendly, which will also improve access to key businesses and enhance safety for visitors.
Shelby Schneider, a veteran of more than two decades in Saratoga County economic development, will be leaving her current role as president and CEO of the Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership. (Aimee Johnson, economic development specialist)
As part of the Westchester Forward initiative, local officials are encouraging residents to “Go Beyond Without Going Far” by spending time in their local hotels, restaurants, outdoor spaces, cultural and historical attractions, and entertainment. (Brittany Brandwein, White Plains BID Executive Director; Natasha Caputo, Westchester County Director of Tourism & Film)
The Economic Development Partnership of NC launched a $2 million national advertising campaign – titled “All in North Carolina – that is focused on increasing awareness and choice of the state as a place where diverse businesses and workforce talent can thrive. (Christopher Chung, CEO; Melissa Smith, VP Business Recruitment & Development)
Eight winners of entrepreneurial grants from the Wilkes Economic Development Corp. have been announced. Four new and four existing small businesses were awarded a total of $13,500. Entries were judged based on potential impact of funding and sustainability of each business. (LeeAnn Nixon, President; Robin Hamby, VP/CFO)
Rockingham County’s Office of Economic Development, Small Business and Tourism is celebrating the 100th year of Gem-Dandy Accessories. The company will be highlighted in the Western Rockingham Chamber of Commerce store front window, along with other Rockingham County industries. (Leigh Cockram, director of economic development and tourism)
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper issued an executive order to expand offshore wind power. The order estimates that offshore wind development along the Atlantic coast of the state will power approximately 2.3 million homes by 2040.
A merger of the city of Dayton’s planning and economic development departments is expected to increase efficiency and provide better customer service and community engagement. The new Department of Planning, Neighborhoods & Development will have 91 full-time employees and have a total operating budget of $10 million. (Todd Kinskey, Director of Planning, Neighborhoods & Development)
Ground will be broken in Navarre for a new Tractor Supply Co. distribution center. The company is investing $70 million in an operation that will employ 375 people in the village, which itself has fewer than 2,000 residents. (Ray Hexamer, CEO Stark Economic Development Board; Mark Samolczyk President Stark Community Foundation)
Land, tax incentives, school districts, utility and road infrastructure, and most recently the coronavirus pandemic are among the reasons that developers and area officials cited for the commercial and residential growth in western Lucas County throughout the years.
City of McAlester Economic Development Director Kirk Ridenour is confident having an approved McAlester Jobs Program will prove helpful in convincing businesses and industries to come to the city and help local businesses expand. Businesses creating at least 10 jobs with an average pay equal to the average pay of the non-uniformed employees of the city of McAlester will qualify for economic incentives.
The Duncan Area Economic Development Foundation will host a job fair on June 25. During the event job seekers can speak directly with employers about available jobs and fill out applications. (Lyle Roggow, President and CEO of the Duncan Area Economic Development Foundation)
Lawrence McKinney began his new role as the president and CEO of the Norman Economic Development Coalition. Former Norman NEDC leader Maureen Hammond recently accepted a similar position in Paris, Texas.
Woodward County Commissioners will consider the possible creation of a Woodward County Economic Development Alliance.
State businesses in the midst of a vigorous post-pandemic economic recovery are scrambling to attract new employees from what has become a limited pool of potential workers. Some experts say the labor shortage could ultimately lead to better pay and benefits. The imbalance could hold back long-term growth and economic expansion. (Tom Johnson, director of Elevate Rapid City)
Japanese-owned spring manufacturer Advanex Americas is making a $17 million investment in Robertson County, relocating the company's headquarters and manufacturing operations from California. (Margot Fosnes, Robertson County Economic Development Officer; Bob Rolfe, Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner)
New businesses are coming to the Bryan-College Station area. Vacant locations are being backfilled by new restaurants, retailers and grocery stores, which city staff said could be of interest for Texas A&M students as customers or potential employees. The sales tax generation report for March 2021 saw a net of $3.2 million, which was 44.2 percent higher than March 2020 and 33.3 percent higher than the sales taxes received in March of 2019. (Stacey Vasquez, the city’s economic development coordinator)
The Colony Economic Development Corporation was named a finalist for the 2021 Workforce Excellence Award from the Texas Economic Development Council for its workforce initiatives implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic. “The Workforce Excellence Award program recognizes exceptional contributions by a Texas community or region that has implemented successful workforce initiatives. Award criteria includes innovativeness, transferability, community commitment and leverage, measured objectives, and secondary benefits,” said Carlton Schwab, president/CEO of the TEDC. Keri Samford, Director of Economic Development at City of The Colony)
The Paris Economic Development Corporation will meet at 5:30 Tuesday night in the Paris City Council Chambers. The board will consider the upcoming budget and a strategic plan for the next two years and adjourn into a closed executive session to discuss potential negotiations with five prospective industries. (Maureen Hammond, Executive Director)
The Trellis Foundation recently presented a $250,000 grant to Workforce Solutions of West Central Texas to support employment training in the area. (Mary Ross, Executive Director of Workforce Solutions)
Governor Greg Abbott announced that Texas is again recognized with a Gold Shovel Award by Area Development magazine for leading among the most populous states in attracting high-value business investments in 2020 that will create a significant number of new jobs in communities across the state. This is the ninth year Texas has won a Gold Shovel Award. Named as one of the most significant job-creating investments across Texas was the Gulf Coast Ammonia project in Texas City that I (Dane Carlson) recruited. Yay me!
No one was checking into Villa Motel during its final months on Nederland Avenue, but hungry motorists might be checking out what comes next to the Nederland location. Checkers is in its due diligence period and design phase with plans to build a hamburger and drink drive-in at the location. (Nederland Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Kay DeCuir)
The state’s best-known corporate incentive program, the Texas Enterprise Fund, got its usual vote of confidence last month. Lawmakers in Austin approved another $100 million for the next two years, allocating roughly the same amount to the so-called deal-closing fund as in recent legislative sessions. (Adriana Cruz, executive director of Economic Development and Tourism for the Office of the Governor.)
The City of Cedar Hill is in negotiations with Hillwood for the High Point 67 project. The project, located on S. US-67 south of Mt Lebanon Road, would be a Class A logistics and manufacturing center with up to 2 million square feet on 180+ acres. The first phase of the project includes 1.3 million square feet on 120 acres. The project is expected to generate more than $75 million in capital investment, $100 million in new taxable value, and support the creation of hundreds of jobs in Cedar Hill.
One tool in the Texas economic development toolkit — Tax Code Chapter 313 — is likely to no longer accept new applications next year.
On the Champlain Islands, staffing shortages are still an issue for many hotels. Still, the mood is optimistic in Grand Isle County heading into the summer. (Andy Julow, executive director of the Lake Champlain Islands Economic Development Corp.)
The City of Waynesboro gained ownership of the old Ladd Elementary School property in March. Last week they announced five new tenants.
Collaboration is the theme for a post-COVID Regional Economic Development Plan. Connected DMV launched the regional economic development strategy initiative. The plan is to improve the competitive advantage of the region both nationally and internationally with ideas to improve local campuses’ innovation sectors. (President and CEO of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, Victor Hoskins)
The Newport News Economic Development Authorityrehabilitated the building at 2506 Jefferson Avenue and turned it into a co-working space where small businesses and entrepreneurs can rent low-cost office space and access business assistance resources. (Mallory Butler, Senior Economic Analyst)
Local government officials are trying to sweeten the deal for entrepreneurs interested in doing business in Altavista with a slew of new economic development incentives that were approved at last Tuesday’s town council meeting. $100,000 has been set aside in the town’s fiscal year 2022 budget for economic development. Current plans are for $75,000 of that amount to fund the town’s new economic development incentives, while the remaining $25,000 has been set aside for any unanticipated costs related to the town’s economic development goals, such as a consultant’s fees or marketing materials.
Economic revitalization can be our response to a changing climate, says. Coalfield Development Corp. has been working with The Nature Conservancy to figure out how we may advance solar projects, and complementary investments, in ways that provide sustained local economic benefit and are informed and driven by local community members. (Brandon Dennison is CEO of Coalfield Development.)
United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development Rural Business-Cooperative Service Administrator Karama Neal unveiled a new grant program to help rural communities create good-paying jobs and support new business opportunities in high-growth fields. Rural Innovation Stronger Economy (RISE) is intended to help rural communities identify and maximize local assets and connect to networks and industry clusters within their region. The new grant encourages a regional, innovation-driven approach to economic development. RISE provides grants of up to $2 million to consortiums of local governments, investors, industry, institutions of higher education, and other public and private entities in rural areas. The funds may be used to form job accelerator partnerships and create high-wage jobs, start or expand businesses, and support economic growth in the rural areas of their region.
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