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39 - Economic Development and Developers in the News

Econ dev news from 95 economic development executives and organizations in 35 states, and Canada.

Dane Carlson
Dane Carlson
15 min read
39 - Economic Development and Developers in the News
Photo by Boxed Water Is Better / Unsplash

Welcome to the 39th weekly edition of Economic Development and Developers in the News.

Today's issue contains economic development news from 95 economic development executives and organizations in 35 states, and Canada.


Arizona

Despite Samsung opting for Texas, Arizona still a heavy hitter for business attraction. The state of Arizona has a lot of young talent and has been able to attract and retain workers. (Chris Lloyd, chairman of the Site Selectors Guild and the senior vice president and director of infrastructure and economic development at McGuireWoods Consulting)

California

Out-of-stock messages are up 258% from November 2019. However, Santa Monica has a secret weapon in the battle for guaranteed, on-time gifts: shopping locally. (Jennifer Taylor, Economic Development Director)

The U.S. Department of Interior has accepted 283 acres of land into federal trust for the Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians. On Wednesday, the tribe announced that two parcels known as Bible Story and Safari World near Coarsegold would be folded into sovereign land for use by the tribe. (Chairwoman Claudia Gonzales)

Canada

The COVID-19 pandemic, climate-related disasters and conflict are driving hunger and malnutrition worldwide, putting the world’s poorest and most vulnerable—especially women and girls—at increased risk of death and disease. As one of the largest donors to the nutrition sector globally, Canada is committed to working with its partners to reclaim the nutrition gains lost during the COVID-19 pandemic while also continuing to focus on the gender dimensions of the nutrition crisis. (Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada)

Colorado

Colorado Creative Industries, a division of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, officially certified Gunnison as a Creative District — one of only 30 statewide. “It wasn’t a difficult decision, just common sense, for us to invest in something that so clearly benefits the whole community,” said Gunnison Rising proponent Dick Bratton. Referencing Richard Florida’s book, “The Rise of the Creative Class,” Bratton said, “that book says that communities that are stronger culturally and intellectually are also stronger economically.” (Anton Sinkewich, Director City of Gunnison Community Development; Christine Costello, Deputy Director of CCI;
Carlie Kenton, Executive Director Gunnison Arts Center)

Connecticut

Registration is open for the Central Connecticut Chambers of Commerce’s upcoming Regional Economic Outlook event.  The program will feature David Lehman, commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development in a panel discussion with area economic development leaders. (Justin Malley, Bristol economic development director; Tod Kallenbach, Burlington economic development commission chair; Rose Ponte, Farmington economic development director; Cindy Bombard, president and CEO of the Central CT Chambers of Commerce)

Florida

Katie Worthington Decker has been hired by the Lakeland Economic Development Council as its senior vice president, second in command to long-time President Steve Scruggs.

Scott Maynard was recently announced as the new economic development director for the St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce.

The Bradenton Area Economic Development Corp. shared highlights of 2021 and their optimism for 2022. The EDC is recognized by the state of Florida as the lead economic development organization for the Bradenton area’s nine communities located on the south side of Tampa Bay. (Sharon Hillstrom, President & CEO Bradenton Area EDC)

Georgia

The Georgia Institute of Technology was awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration as part of its $1 billion Build Back Better Regional Challenge. As a leader in artificial intelligence, manufacturing research, and innovation-led economic development, Georgia Tech will utilize the grant for technical assistance to plan the Georgia Artificial Intelligence Manufacturing Corridor. (Thomas Kurfess and Aaron Stebner in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering; Jay Bailey, President & CEO Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs; Pat Wilson, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development;Alejandra Y. Castillo, assistant secretary of commerce for the EDA; David Bridges, vice president of the Enterprise Innovation Institute at Georgia Tech)

The Georgia Department of Economic Development announced the five companies that earned 2021 GEAR Awards. These awards are designed to recognize forward movement in the state’s automotive and mobility industries through innovation and emerging technologies. (Pat Wilson, Georgia Department of Economic Development Commissioner; Scott McMurray, GDEcD Deputy Commissioner of Global Commerce)

Illinois

Evanston’s ARPA money may boost new programs including  establishing a Business District Ambassador Program. (Paul Zalmezak, City Economic Development Manager; Sarah Flax, City Housing and Grants Manager)

It’s been more than seven years since it was announced that Cronus Chemicals would develop a $1.4 billion fertilizer plant west of Tuscola. Exactly when this project is going to be built is a question Brian Moody, Tuscola’s Chamber and Economic Development director, said he still gets asked — frequently. (Kim Biggs, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency spokeswoman)

Indiana

More than two years after being postponed due to the pandemic, the state is set to host the inaugural Indiana Global Economic Summit in Indianapolis next spring. The event will showcase the state’s leadership role in transformative ideas, disruptive technology and urgent deliberation on the economy of the future.

“The labor force shock of COVID is worse than all the previous downturns since the end of World War II combined,” Ball State economist Michael Hicks said.

Iowa

Cedar Rapids is focused on helping local employers address current workforce issues and is working through a strategic plan to formalize a road map, says Caleb Mason, its economic development manager. Mason started this summer as the city’s second-ever economic development manager, replacing Jasmine Almoayyed, who left that job in July.

Louisiana

The New Orleans BioDistrict has been a dream of economic promoters for more than a decade. The newly formed BioDistrict Board is seeking taxpayer funding to make it “the job-creating hub of the future.” (John D. Pourciau Interim President & CEO; Leigh Ferguson Director of Economic Development)

Gov. John Bel Edwards and Venture Global LNG announced the company will invest more than $10 billion in a new liquefied natural gas facility in Cameron Parish that will employ carbon capture and sequestration technology to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. The project will result in at least 200 direct new jobs, with average annual salaries of $120,000, plus benefits. Louisiana Economic Development estimates the project will result in 867 indirect jobs, or a total of 1,067 jobs in Southwest Louisiana. At the peak of construction, an average of 2,300 construction jobs will be created. (George Swift, president and CEO of the Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance)

Maine

Bangor hosts public forums to discuss economic development strategic plan. (Jason Godfrey, CEO Better City)

Maryland

Montgomery County is home to the new Global Pandemic Prevention and Biodefense Center launched by Connected DMV. The Center’s goal is to help prevent future outbreaks from becoming pandemics by developing a stockpile of human monoclonal antibodies in advance for emerging infectious diseases and by integrating antibody distribution and delivery across the global health and pandemic prevention ecosystem. (Marc Elrich, County Executive; Stu Solomon, President & CEO of Connected DMV;)

Michigan

The Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Opportunity released its recommendations for investing the state’s American Rescue Plan money. One of the recommendations was to fund the “Startup Resiliency Initiative” that would inject $200 million in the state’s early-stage tech ecosystem. (Ara Topouzian, Executive Director Michigan Venture Capital Association; Quentin L. Messer, Jr, CEO, President and Chair, Michigan Economic Development Corporation)

Pierre Batton, Executive VP of Small Business Services at the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, talked about the importance of small business and how the DEGC helps Detroit keep that industry growing.

The Michigan Chamber has voiced its support for a diverse and inclusive package of economic development bills that just yesterday and today overwhelmingly passed the Michigan Legislature. The bills are broad, diverse and inclusive.  There’s something in them for big and small businesses across all industries and urban and rural areas – and importantly, the bills are equally focused on attracting and retaining jobs in Michigan.

City of Monroe officials want to convey some city-owned land that does not factor into their existing development plans. Assistant to the City Manager and Economic Development Director Mark Cochran presented an inventory analysis of city-owned property to city council during its work session Monday.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer joined the Michigan Economic Development Corporation today to announce that EQ United, a logistics provider, and RV components manufacturer, is establishing new operations in the village of Cassopolis with support from the Michigan Strategic Fund. (Quentin Messer, Jr., CEO of the MEDC and President and Chair of the Michigan Strategic Fund; Zach Morris, Executive Director Market Van Buren)

Justin Horvath, president/CEO of Shiawassee Economic Development Partnership, has been named among the best 50 economic developers in North America.

The Senate today took action on a proposed economic development incentive program that supporters have said would enable the state to be more competitive in landing multi-billion dollar projects. SB 769, SB 770 and SB 771 passed the Senate 27-10. The bills would create an economic incentive program that would provide funding through a Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve Fund.

The Detroit Center for Innovation will be built in The District Detroit, a premier sports and entertainment destination featuring residential, retail, educational and office space in the heart of the city. (Chris McGowan, President & CEO The District Detroit)

Minnesota

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development announced that the City of Rochester will receive an Airport Infrastructure Renewal grant of $250,000. The grant will go towards constructing a 12,000 square foot hanger that will be leased to Great Planes Aviation. (Steve Grove, DEED Commissioner)

Missouri

The city of Lake Ozark is looking towards the future when it comes to its economic development. With planned future projects, including a possible Casino and Hotel complex by the Osage Nation, the city is making a list of what they’d like to see done in the next 10-15 years. (Harrison Fry, Economic Development Director City of Lake Ozark)

Nebraska

The Greater Omaha Chamber Economic Development Partnership announced the addition of the Mills County Economic Development Foundation to its coalition of economic development programs – the largest such alliance in the region, bringing the total to eight counties. (Marco Floreani, Executive Director Mills County Economic Development Foundation; Paula Hazlewood, Advance Southwest Iowa Corporation; Michael Rooks, Executive Director, Gateway Development Corporation; Megan Skiles, Executive Director Greater Fremont Development Council; David Brown, President and CEO Greater Omaha Chamber; Dan S. Mauk, Executive Director Nebraska City Area Economic Development Corporation; Andrew Rainbolt, Executive Director Sarpy County Economic Development Corporation)

Nevada

Editorial: Taxpayer giveaways are the “bread and circuses” of economic development.

Six companies in Southern Nevada will create 336 jobs in the next two years — a number that could grow to more than 500 jobs in five years, using tax incentives provided by the Governor’s Office of Economic Development. (Jared Smith, COO Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance; Michael Brown, Executive Director GOED)

New Jersey

The county commissioners approved an economic development grant of $17,000 for Lebanon Borough to cover a majority of costs for engaging a consultant to modernize the borough’s land use ordinances and zoning. (Marc Saluk, Director of Economic Development Hunterdon County)

New York

City & State magazine recently announced its inaugural "Economic Development Power 75” list, identifying policymakers who are driving economic development strategies across New York State. North County Chamber President Garry Douglas appears as #32 in particular recognition of innovative strategies and advocacy related to the North Country's economic connections with Canada. (Susan Matton, Vice President for Economic Development North County Chamber of Commerce;  Joel Wood, Director NAmTrans)

The New York Power Authority Board of Trustees has approved 34 ReCharge NY power allocations to 29 customers in support of more than 22,600 jobs across the state — including 560 newly created jobs — that will also spur more than $629 million in private capital investments. (Empire State Development Acting Commissioner and President & CEO-designate Hope Knight; Justin E. Driscoll, Interim President & CEO ReCharge NY)

North Carolina

Carolinas Gateway Partnership President and CEO Norris Tolson recently told a Rocky Mount Area Chamber of Commerce gathering there are five projects he and his team believe they are going to close deals on in 2022. The numbers amount to a total of $249 million in potential investment and 806 potential jobs.

Toyota will build an automotive battery plant near Greensboro. “This (Toyota) project will anchor the entire 17-county Carolina Core region,” said Loren Hill, regional economic development director for Piedmont Triad Partnership.

Jacksonville Onslow Economic Development announced its new location on Thursday. The organization will now have its own building at the old train depot in Jacksonville at the top of Riverwalk Park on Court Street. (Mark Sutherland, Executive Director Jacksonville Onslow Economic Development)

The Kroger Co., America’s largest grocery retailer, will build a high-tech customer fulfillment center in Cabarrus County and create nearly 700 jobs over five years to support a logistics facility that will be established in the City of Concord. The project in North Carolina will be facilitated by a Job Development Investment Grant approved by the state’s Economic Investment Committee earlier today. Over the course of the 12-year term of this grant, the project is estimated to grow the state’s economy by $820.8 million. (Machelle Baker Sanders, North Carolina Commerce Secretary; Christopher Chung, CEO Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina; Page Castrodale, Executive Director Cabarrus Economic Development Corporation)

Ohio

The Painesville City Council approved legislation to allow the purchase of more than 10 acres of land by Concord Real Estate Investments LLC. Those 10 acres are part of the Joint Economic Development District with Concord Township. The purchase of these 10 acres of property will help create additional jobs with the JEDD district. (Rita McMahon, JEDD Administrator)

Legislation will allow Salem city council to preserve part of the current Community Reinvestment Area map while allowing more properties to qualify for the tax break under a new map. The ordinance is just another step in the process to open up the areas where property owners can earn the tax break on the increased value created by new construction or remodeling. The tax breaks can be sought for residential, commercial and industrial development. In other business, city council authorized spending $7,995 of the American Rescue Plan Act funds through the Sustainable Opportunity Development Center for the purchase and setup of a one-year license for the SizeUp software program to help local small businesses. Julie Needs, Executive Director SOD Center)

Efforts intensify to attract and retain talented workers in the Dayton region. A talented workforce is key to the region’s economic well-being and future, according to a new report commissioned by the First Suburbs Consortium of Dayton. (Stephanie Keinath, vice president of strategic initiatives for the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce; Jack Jensen, executive director of the First Suburbs Consortium of Dayton; Cassie Barlow, president of the Strategic Ohio Council for Higher Education; Tyler Yaple, Director of Government Affairs JobsOhio; Jeff Hoagland, President & CEO Dayton Development Coalition)

JP Nauseef, president and CEO of JobsOhio: “I’d say if you ask what’s the top accomplishment for JobsOhio and our network partners, it’s turning around decades of decline in (targeted) sectors.”

Oklahoma

The Ardmore Development Authority is taking an opportunity to look back over the last 12 months as they close out another successful year. (Andrea Andersson, Vice President)

Shawnee Forward has hired Walter Baker as their Economic Development Lead.

Pennsylvania

About 70 Lawrence County stakeholders gathered at The Villa at Medure’s to hear the final results of a study, “Elevate Lawrence County: An Economic Development Action Plan Focused on People, Product, and Place.”  The event was sponsored by Forward Lawrence Steering Committee and arranged by the Lawrence County Regional Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Corp. (Jay Garner, president of Garner Economics; Alex McCoy, CEO Lawrence County Regional Chamber)

Roquette, a global leader in plant-based ingredients for food, nutrition and health markets, has announced its plans to open an Innovation Center in Montgomery County.  The 23,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility will serve as an “innovation hub” for the company’s team members across the globe and is expected to open in summer 2022. The new facility will create 30 new, full-time jobs over the next three years. (Dennis M. Davin, Secretary – Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development)

Tennessee

Shelbyville-Bedford Partnership, an economic development agency created by Bedford County Government and the City of Shelbyville, held its annual meeting Monday night at the still under-construction Garland King Museum. (Shane Hooper, President & CEO Shelbyville-Bedford Partnership; Bob Rolfe, Commissioner Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development)

Texas

Site Selection Group announced that Madeline Bruner is joining their rapidly growing company.

Texas Tech chancellor, Tedd Mitchell, is pushing for the university to lead city’s growth at the  Wichita Falls Economic Forum. (Henry Florsheim, President/CEO Wichita Falls Chamber of Commerce)

The Prototype Fund, a partnership between the Innovation Hub at Research Park at Texas Tech University and the Lubbock Economic Development Alliance, part of Market Lubbock Inc., has awarded the largest amount of funding to date to 10 technology startups. (Kimberly Gramm, CEO Innovation Hub; John Osborne, President & CEO Lubbock Economic Development Alliance)

Kyle Economic Development is excited to announce that Nitro Swimming, the premier home for swim lessons and competitive swim teams with indoor, climate controlled state-of-the-art swim centers, is coming to Kyle. Nitro Swimming will break ground on the approximately 40,000 square foot building in January 2022, with a grand opening slated for late 2022. (Diana Blank-Torres, Director Kyle Economic Development)

Governor Greg Abbott has appointed Jennifer Harris and Adriana Cruz to the Broadband Office Board of Advisors for terms set to expire on February 1, 2023.

The Port Arthur Economic Development Corporation board has chosen a new leader. Jessica Carpenter, who last worked as development director at Port Lavaca EDC, was named CEO during this week’s meeting. Carpenter was one of three finalists named late last month, the other two being Biguita Hernandez-Smith and Larry Calhoun. (George Davis, Interim CEO)

United States

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo on Monday announced 60 finalists for $1 billion in economic development grants tied to the Biden administration’s coronavirus relief package and aimed at improving job training and regional industry partnerships. There were 529 applicants for the grants. That means roughly 11% of submissions made it to the next round, which will ultimately choose 20 to 30 regional coalitions for up to $100 million in grants that could shape manufacturing, clean energy and life sciences hubs around the country. Twelve of the finalists were from places tied to the coal industry.

Utah

Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson and Rep. Lowry Snow, co-chairs of The Point of the Mountain State Land Authority, explained Utah’s The Point, which is the new redevelopment project at the site of the soon-to-be-relocated Utah State Prison in Draper.

Vermont

The Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation was recently selected to be a US Small Business Administration microloan intermediary. BDCC has received a commitment of $350,000 from the SBA to lend to small businesses throughout southern Vermont.  The Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation is a private nonprofit economic development organization that serves to drive industrial and commercial growth throughout southern Vermont. BDCC is one of 12 Regional Development Corporations providing economic development services to each region of Vermont. The new SBA lending is part of BDCC’s efforts to expand the portfolio of financial products available to borrowers who need alternatives or supplements to traditional commercial loan products available through private lenders.

Abbie Sherman has been appointed Executive Director of the Vermont Economic Progress Council, expanding her role at the Department of Economic Development.  Joan Goldstein, commissioner of the Department of Economic Development, said, "We are confident that she will continue to serve the VEPC board, Vermont businesses, and municipalities very well in her expanded capacity."

Virginia

Governor Ralph Northam today announced Qualtrics, an experience management software company, will invest $15.9 million to expand in Fairfax County. Virginia successfully competed with Pennsylvania and Ohio for the project, which will create 400 new jobs. (Fairfax County Economic Development Authority President and Chief Executive Officer Victor Hoskins)

The United Way of Southwest Virginia announced a new economic development project on Wednesday that will expand childcare throughout the region. The Ready Southwest Virginia Initiative will create a new early childhood system that will expand access to affordable childcare.

Ten Oaks LLC, a manufacturer of residential hardwood floors, will invest nearly $9.3 million in Patrick County to construct a state-of-the-art hardwood sorting and stacking facility. (Patrick County Economic Development Director Sean Adkins)

The Harvest Foundation will invest a total of $7 million over the next four and half years at the Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corporation to continue MHC’s upward trajectory of job creation, wage growth and tourism. (Mark Heath, president and CEO)

Washington

The Seattle Office of Economic Development is partnering with Seattle Good Business Network and Shunpike to match 25 vacant downtown Seattle storefronts with pop-up shops and art installations.  These projects will benefit neighborhoods, small businesses, artists and property owners by creating vibrant and engaging streetscapes that encourage the public to visit downtown Seattle, support local businesses and support local artists—particularly Black, Indigenous, and other entrepreneurs and artists of color. (Pamela Banks, Interim Director)

Clallam County Economic Development Council Executive Director Colleen McAleer explained how the Clallam EDC is trying to lift local economy.

Washington DC

Arctaris Impact Investors, LLC announced its recent Opportunity Zone investment in a $600 million multi-phased development project spanning the Ward 7 and 8 neighborhoods of Washington, D.C. The project is expected to attract additional capital to the region for inclusive development. The investment was catalyzed by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s mandate for city agencies to use the leasing power of the D.C. government to spur economic development in historically underserved communities.

On Monday, Mayor Muriel Bowser and the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development kicked off #FairShot Week by highlighting the District’s economic toolkit at ObviouslyDC.com and launching the next round of the FY22 Great Streets Retail Small Business Grant program. The kickoff will be at the Pop-Up Collaborative, a local woman-owned small business.

West Virginia

Jina Belcher, the homegrown executive director of the New River Gorge Regional Development Authority, is helping set the table on the economic development front in these parts, not just for the city of Beckley and not just for the county of Raleigh. But, as her title suggests, her efforts have been to the benefit of a wider community – hers, by definition, a four-county area encompassing Summers, Nicholas, Fayette and Raleigh counties.  The ripple effects, by all indications, can be and will be even wider.

Beckley leaders are working to secure council votes to take over a major economic development project. Since the early 90s, the Pinecrest Development Corp. has been charged with bringing in new business to the business and technology park located off of the Beckley bypass. But now, they’re hoping to hand over the reigns. Through deeding the property to the City of Beckley, the Pinecrest Development Corp. leaders hope to open the doors to even more business growth. (Treasurer, Nancy Kissinger)

Wisconsin

Regional partnerships and area growth were key topics discussed at the Greater Beloit Economic Development Corporation’s Annual Investors meeting held Wednesday at the Beloit Public Library as the area continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Results of a study and survey commissioned by the Door County Economic Development Corp. on high-speed broadband internet service in the county confirmed what many have long thought — there isn't much broadband available, some areas have little or no internet access at all, and what there is often doesn't offer adequate service. (Executive director Steve Jenkins)


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Founder/Host of Econ Dev Show. By day: Director of Economic Development for Galveston County, Texas.