Posts by: Economic Development HQ.com

Los Angeles Economic Development Corp Steps in to Save Huy Fong Foods Jobs

The stand-off between the City of Irwindale and Huy Fong Foods, maker of the popular Sriracha chili sauce, has attracted nationwide attention after the company’s owner David Tran invited delegations from cities and state interested in getting Huy Fong Foods to relocate.

Sriracha sauce from Huy Fong Foods

Sriracha sauce from Huy Fong Foods (photo – huyfong.com)

The prospect of losing hundreds of jobs and a multi-million dollar manufacturing facility has led to interested stakeholders trying to mediate and work out a solution.

The Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation made it known that they are continuing to meet with both City of Irwindale officials and Huy Fong Foods to figure out a solution that addresses the concerns of both sides.

The whole kerfuffle arose out of complaints made by some residents in Irwindale about odors from the crushed peppers emanating from the Huy Fong Foods facility that was allegedly causing headaches, and irritation in the eyes and throats.

The City filed a lawsuit against Huy Fong Foods last October, resulting in a Los Angeles Superior Court judge ordering the company to curb unhealthy odors emanating from the plant, but did not grant the restraining order that would have shut down the plant.

The issue came to a boil after the Irwindale City Council scheduled a resolution declaring the fumes from the Huy Fong Foods facility to be a public nuisance. This was the last straw for David Tran, who then made it known that he would relocate the facility elsewhere, and invited representatives of interested cities and states to tour the plant in person and decide for themselves whether the fumes were so bad as to be a “public nuisance.”

The company has received more than two dozen responses from communities that are interested in securing the Huy Fong Foods relocation.

The Huy Fong Foods facility is a multi-million dollar state-of-the-art plant which employs more than 90 full-time workers and another 150 seasonal workers in the fall to produce 20 million bottles of hot sauce annually.

The sad part about the current stand-off is that the City worked hard with the company and developers to turn an abandoned pit into this thriving factory. The resolution to declare the plant a public nuisance has for now been tabled to be taken up at the city council’s next meeting on May 7. If the resolution is adopted at that time, that would give Huy Fong Foods until July 22 to curb the odors.

The Los Angeles Economic Development Corp, meanwhile, is trying to save the jobs and prevent Huy Fong Foods from relocating elsewhere outside the county or state. LAEDC said in a statement that, “We will do everything that we can to ensure that Huy Fong Foods remains in Irwindale ‚Äî and in L.A. County, the #1 manufacturing capital of America.”

California Economic Development Initiative Begins With Hiring Credit Pilots

California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. announced pilot programs in Fresno, Merced and Riverside under which employers in these communities will be offered tax credits for creating new jobs and hiring workers.

California Governor's Economic Development Initiative

California Governor’s Economic Development Initiative

The New Employment Credit (NEC) is one of the three main components of the California Governor’s Economic Development Initiative (AB 93 and SB 90) that was passed last year.

As approved under this legislation, NEC is meant to be used as a tax incentive to spur new jobs and help businesses grow in California communities that have the highest rates of unemployment and poverty.

The Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz), which is the lead entity handling California economic development efforts and initiatives, has been tasked with overseeing the hiring credit and designating five pilot areas.

In choosing Fresno, Merced and Riverside for the first round, GO-Biz evaluated poverty, wage and employment data to identify these three as areas of the state that would benefit the most from an expanded hiring credit.

These designations for the three communities are effective immediately and applicable for four years, with the possibility of GO-Biz subsequently extending the designations for another three years.

California’s unemployment rate has dropped from 12.1 to 8.1 percent since Gov. Brown took office, and the state has added more than one million jobs.

Gov. Brown said that California‚Äôs economy is steadily improving, with more than a million Californians now back to work after the massive mortgage meltdown. “These tax credits will spur new jobs and help communities hardest hit by the recession,” said Gov. Brown.

The NEC and other parts of the Governor’s Economic Development Initiative (GEDI) are being funded by diverting approximately $750 million annually from the state‚Äôs Enterprise Zone program.

Apart from the hiring credit, the legislation also includes a statewide sales tax exemption for biotech and manufacturing companies on qualifying manufacturing and R&D equipment purchases.

The legislation also approved a “California Competes Credit” as an economic development incentive to be negotiated by GO-Biz and businesses planning to relocate or expand in the state.

Square Inc East Coast Expansion Facilitated by $5M NY Economic Development Incentives

Square Inc., a startup that offers tools that enable sellers to accept payments on mobile and run and grow their business, announced that it will be opening an East Coast headquarters in New York City.

Square Inc

Square Inc

Empire State Development, the chief New York economic development agency, facilitated Square’s expansion by offering up to $5 million in Excelsior tax credits. These are performance-based incentives tied to the company’s investment and job creation commitments.

Square will be moving from their current office to the new one in SoHo later this summer. The move will allow the company to create more than 350 new jobs, in addition to their existing 35 employees in New York City.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo said that Square’s decision to create a new East Coast headquarters in SoHo is the latest in a growing trend of start-up, innovative tech industry firms that have chosen New York State as the place to expand their business.

Square Inc, which was co-founded by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, opened its first office in New York in October 2012 after having acquired design agency 80/20. Apart from the NYC office and their headquarters in San Francisco, the company also has offices in Atlanta, Kitchener-Waterloo and Tokyo. All put together, they currently have more than 800 employees.

One of the reasons they decided to expand operations in New York City and open a new East Coast headquarters is that the New York Metropolitan area already has more than 100,000 local sellers who are accepting payments with Square. These sellers are facilitating commerce worth more than $1 billion, and helping grow the city’s economy.

Demetrios Marantis, head of international government, regulatory, and policy work at Square, said New York exerts a significant impact on global commerce, technology and art, which Marantis says is something they do every day at Square as they help local sellers grow their business.

Empire State Development President, CEO, and Commissioner Kenneth Adams said that under Gov. Coumo’s leadership, New York’s focus on economic development is leading to more private investment by industry leaders, which he said means more jobs for New Yorkers.

Adams added that by supporting Square’s new East Coast headquarters in New York, they are creating new opportunities for nearly 400 New Yorkers, and proving that the Empire State is a place where high-tech pioneers want to come to innovate and succeed.

North Carolina to Support Economic Development Through Historic Building Rehabilitation

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory announced that his budget will include grant funding for economic development programs designed to rehabilitate buildings across the state.

NC Historic Preservation Office

NC Historic Preservation Office (photo – hpo.ncdcr.gov)

The budget will have $500,000 in funding for the Main Street Solutions Fund, which supports rehabilitation efforts in smaller towns in North Carolina by providing matching grants.

Gov. McCrory also said he would support legislation to replace the state’s Historic Preservation Tax Credit which is scheduled to sunset at the end of this year.

The Governor made his announcement in front of the former Pickett Cotton Mill site. This site is slated to be occupied by Belgian green office furniture maker BuzziSpace.

Gov. McCrory said that old and abandoned factories and mills are becoming housing and business spaces, sparking economic revitalization in cities and towns across North Carolina. ‚ÄúHistoric revitalization means jobs, economic development and a rebirth of many downtowns. Companies are relocating to these spaces from across this great nation and from around the world,” said Gov. McCrory.

Historic preservation incentives provided by the federal and state governments since 1976 have helped generate more than $1.7 billion in private investments in North Carolina while helping preserve the state’s priceless historic character.

The Historic Rehabilitation Investment Program, which would be administered by the State Historic Preservation Office, supports the reuse of historic industrial-age infrastructure to be in line with the demands of a new economy. The program is designed under a demand-driven model that aligns with the North Carolina Economic Development Board’s NC Jobs Plan.

The Historic Rehabilitation Investment Program, along with the Main Street Solutions Fund, will strive to help bring about a renaissance in towns and cities that are reinventing themselves after the loss of industries such as manufacturing and tobacco.

Secretary Susan Kluttz of the NC Department of Cultural Resources, which houses the State Historic Preservation Office, said she was proud of Governor McCrory’s decision to promote the rehabilitation of historic buildings in North Carolina for proven economic development and job creation.

Myrick Howard, president of Preservation North Carolina, likewise noted that there are few activities that are as job intensive and return more money to local communities than historic rehabilitation. Howard added that they have high hopes for this new program.

Duke Energy Announces Site Selection of Five South Carolina Properties Under Site Readiness Program

For the eighth successive year, Duke Energy is sponsoring the Site Readiness Program to evaluate and improve sites for potential industrial development in the counties that Duke Energy serves in South Carolina and North Carolina.

Consider the Carolinas

Consider the Carolinas (photo – considerthecarolinas.com)

This year, Duke Energy’s site selection process for the 2014 Site Readiness Program has thrown up five industrial sites in South Carolina. These sites will now be prepared so as to assist communities in competing to attract companies and jobs.

One of the five chosen locations in South Carolina is the Florence Regional Airport Industrial Park. This 438-acre parcel in Florence County, SC has the potential for large-scale aerospace industrial recruitment.

The other four locations to be included in the Site Readiness Program are as follows:-

Capps II Industrial Site – 168 acres of former farmland in Marion County, SC;

Reliance Industrial Site – 100 acres in Bennettsville, Marion County, SC. This site provides easy access to I-74 in North Carolina and I-95 in South Carolina;

Alligator Industrial Park – 550-acre site near McBee in Chesterfield County, SC. This site is located right on S.C. Highway 151, and offers both natural gas and electricity, and also direct access to rail; and

Kingstree Site – This is a 314-acre farmland site in Williamsburg County, which may help the area diversify their tax base and be regionally competitive in attracting new jobs and industry.

This is not just an ordinary site certification program, because these sites will now be subjected to an extended site evaluation and improvement process that can take up to 18 months. Duke Energy has hired nationally known site selection consulting firm McCallum Sweeney Consulting for conducting the site studies.

Local economic development professionals and county leaders in the five aforementioned South Carolina locations will be collaborating with Duke Energy to develop a strategy for providing natural gas, electricity, sewer and water to these sites.

Stu Heishman, Duke Energy vice president for economic and business development, said that the price of electricity is one of the most important considerations for large industrial customers. “Duke Energy provides affordable, reliable and increasingly clean electricity. Electric rates at Duke Energy are competitive regionally and well below the national average,” said Heishman.

The counties will be provided with recommendations for everything from road improvements to easements and rights-of-way required for developing the sites, and any steps that need to be taken to mitigate the potential environmental impacts.

When the site studies are complete, Duke Energy will provide the findings as a detailed report to the counties, including conceptual drawings.

Once the site readiness has improved, Duke Energy’s business development team will assist in marketing the site to companies nationwide that are looking to expand or relocate.

Since the Site Readiness Program began in 2006, Duke Energy has evaluated 114 sites in the Carolinas. “We’ve been successful,” said Heishman. “So far, we’ve won 12 major projects on those properties, resulting in approximately 2,100 jobs and approximately $2.9 billion in capital investment.”

To find out more about the Site Readiness Program and Duke Energy’s other economic development efforts and initiatives in North Carolina and South Carolina, visit considerthecarolinas.com.

NJIT to Facilitate Economic Development Through New Jersey Innovation Institute

The New Jersey Institute of Technology has officially launched the New Jersey Innovation Institute (NJII) as an NJIT corporation.

Senator Cory Booker speaking at NJIT's New Jersey Innovation Institute  launch

Senator Cory Booker speaking at NJIT’s New Jersey Innovation Institute launch (photo – njit.edu)

Government and industry leaders attending the event highlighted the venture’s potential to facilitate New Jersey economic development by marrying industry-driven agendas with NJIT’s technological and intellectual assets.

NJIT President Joel S. Bloom was joined at the opening by U.S. Senator Cory Booker, NJ Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, Panasonic Corp. of North America Chairman and CEO Joe Taylor, State Senator Raymond Lesniak, and NJ Secretary of Higher Education Rochelle Hendricks.

Bloom said that economic development is in NJIT’s blood and is expressly stated as part of their mission to serve New Jersey industries by providing a skilled workforce.

The new Innovation Institute will house five sector-focused innovation labs specializing in developing technological solutions for challenges identified by industry partners, and will provide a broad range of related services.

The five sectors are defense and homeland security, financial services, civil infrastructure, healthcare delivery systems, and bio-pharmaceutical production.

Don Sebastian, president of the New Jersey Innovation Institute, said that they will not be repackaging what NJIT is already producing. NJII will instead be asking the industry what the Innovation Institute can do for them.

Sebastian added that by following industry-led agendas designed to spur economic development and business growth in New Jersey, the Innovation Institute will facilitate product creation and enhancement and develop technological solutions for sector-wide and company-focused challenges.

Senator Cory Booker said that NJIT is poised to help industries at every stage, from the birth of an idea in a lab to refining how that idea is produced. “The New Jersey Innovation Institute is going to help our state remain one of America’s most important engines for economic growth and global competitiveness,” added Sen. Booker.

Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno said that the announcement shows that there is power in partnerships. “New Jersey is perfectly positioned to leverage the state’s academic assets with industry to develop and nurture economic development opportunities that will generate jobs,” added Lt. Governor Guadagno.

NJIT is New Jersey’s science and technology university, and consists of six colleges, including the Newark College of Engineering, College of Science and Liberal Arts, College of Architecture and Design, and the College of Computing Sciences.

These four, along with the School of Management and Albert Dorman Honors College, together enroll about 10,000 students in 120 programs providing bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees.

San Francisco Economic Development Office Announces LinkedIn Expansion

The San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development announced that LinkedIn, the largest professional network on the Internet, has signed a lease with developer Tishman Speyer for an entire 26-story building that is under construction.

Tishman Speyer tower at 222 Second St. in San Francisco to be leased by  LinkedIn

Tishman Speyer tower at 222 Second St. in San Francisco to be leased by LinkedIn (photo – tishmanspeyer.com)

“As a national leader in job creation, San Francisco is the perfect home for a company that is connecting people to jobs, and I am pleased that LinkedIn is significantly expanding their presence here,” said San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee.

Mayor Lee added that the company’s decision to grow in the Innovation Capital of the World demonstrates, once again, investor confidence in the City.

The Mountain View, CA-based LinkedIn has been growing fast, and announced a few days ago that they now have more than 300 million members, of which more than 100 million are in the U.S.

As part of its growth strategy, the company has been ramping up its presence in San Francisco, and already occupies 135,000 square feet of space at One Montgomery Tower, and will soon be adding another 87,000 square feet at 505 Howard Street.

The 26-story Tishman Speyer tower at 222 Second Street will give LinkedIn 452,418 square feet more. The San Francisco Economic Development Office estimates that this new space will be able to accommodate around 2,500 LinkedIn jobs in San Francisco.

LinkedIn Head of Workplace Jim Morgensen said that with this new building, LinkedIn is committed to expanding in San Francisco, giving the company access to some of the most talented professionals in the world for a variety of functions including sales, operations and technology.

Morgensen said they look forward to San Francisco becoming a larger part of their growing Bay Area presence.

The new Tishman Speyer development, which will be ready for occupancy in 2016, is designed to be a green building and will be seeking LEED Gold certification. Together with on-site as well as area amenities, it will offer 8,500 square feet of public space.

Carl Shannon, senior managing director for Tishman Speyer, said that San Francisco’s office market is thriving, with companies recognizing the many advantages of a state-of-the-art building in a downtown location. Shannon said that this building was planned and designed accordingly, and added that they think LinkedIn is a perfect fit.

U.S. Economic Development Administration Awards $3M in Grants For Massachusetts Projects

The U.S. Economic Development Administration announced $3 million in grants to support projects in Massachusetts that are expected to generate more than $300 million in private investment and help create 560 jobs.

DAS Matt Erskine and Congressman Jim McGovern announce grant awards in Worcester, MA

DAS Matt Erskine and Congressman Jim McGovern announce grant awards in Worcester, MA (photo – U.S. EDA)

U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Matt Erskine was in Massachusetts for the announcements, and joined Congressman Jim McGovern at the former Worcester Telegram & Gazette (T&G) building in Worcester, MA.

EDA has awarded a $1 million grant to New Garden Park, Inc., to help establish the Worcester Technology and Idea Development Exchange Center in the T&G building. This technology incubator and accelerator will help create 100 jobs by offering a central location in downtown Worcester for entrepreneurs to start a business.

The building on 20 Franklin Street is in the heart of Worcester’s downtown, with City Hall and the Worcester Common across the street. The Worcester Telegram & Gazette was produced, printed and distributed from this 135,000-square-foot facility from the early 20th century through to 2008.

Placing this key building back into active use to reenergize the area around City Hall and the Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts was one of the priority projects undertaken by City of Worcester and the Worcester Business Development Corporation under their 2008-2010 Strategic Plan.

Congressman McGovern said that the T&G Building project is a key component of Worcester’s downtown revitalization, and said the Exchange being established in the building will be an investment in the future of the economy, one with enormous potential.

Erskine also visited Devens, MA where he announced that the EDA had awarded a $1.85 million grant for the final phase of the Jackson Road reconstruction project at the Devens Industrial Park.

This grant, which will be awarded to the Massachusetts Development Finance Agency of Boston, will help two companies in the automotive and film/video production sectors to expand their operations, in the process generating $307 million in private investment and creating 460 jobs.

Erskine said these grants will provide Worcester’s startups and entrepreneurs with the space and technical assistance they need to grow and thrive, and make infrastructure improvements in Devens that will grow the region’s manufacturing and business base.

Marty Jones, president and CEO of MassDevelopment, said this announcement by the U.S. Economic Development Administration represents a vote of confidence from Washington for everything MassDevelopment has done in Devens to work with businesses for providing thousands of good jobs.

Oklahoma City Mulls Economic Development Incentives for TapStone Energy HQ

The Oklahoma City Economic Development Trust is being asked to consider approving incentives for Tapstone Energy to ensure their headquarters is located in Oklahoma City, and the company creates new jobs.

OCEDT

OCEDT

Tapstone, which is an oil and gas company, is currently headquartered in Oklahoma City and plans to add 150 new high-paying jobs over the next five years.

The average annual wage of the new jobs will be $146,133. The estimated new payroll for the first year alone is $8,176,000, and it will rise up to $18,524,400 in three years.

Tapstone plans to invest $10 million for redeveloping the facility in Bricktown and installing office equipment. They currently have 35 employees housed in their offices in Oklahoma Tower.

The Greater Oklahoma City Chamber has been working with the company since early this year, and Tapstone considered several other locations before deciding on Oklahoma City for the expansion and job creation.

State and local economic development incentives were said to be important in positioning Oklahoma City as a competitive location for this project, which is expected to have a total economic impact of more than $106.6 million in the first three years.

The sales and property tax revenue from the project is expected to be $1,150,187 for the initial five-year agreement period, and then $225,516 annually after that.

The Greater Oklahoma City Chamber Economic Development Division recommended that the City and OCEDT approve a local incentives package of $1.45 million for Tapstone Energy, based on the job creation, potential for future growth, and the fact that it establishes Oklahoma City as the company’s headquarters.

The City Council and OCEDT Trustees will now be taking up a resolution to approve the agreement. If approved, the resolution would authorize the OCEDT General Manager to negotiate the terms of the agreement with Tapstone Energy. The final agreement would then again need to be approved by the City Council and the Trust.

Frankfort Economic Development Plan Helps Attract Indiana Packers Pork Project

The Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) announced that pork products producer Indiana Packers Corp. has decided to locate its second facility in the state in Frankfort, IN.

Indiana Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann and Indiana Packers executives at expansion announcement

Indiana Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann and Indiana Packers executives at expansion announcement (photo – IEDC)

Indiana Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann joined Indiana Packers executives for the announcement.

Indiana Packers will be creating 98 new jobs associated with this facility by 2016. The company already has another existing facility in Delphi, IN and a workforce of more than 2,000 employees.

Indiana Packers produces 3.5 million pounds of fresh pork every day, and serves retail and food service customers all over the U.S. and in 31 foreign countries.

The company, a U.S. subsidiary of Japan’s Mitsubishi Corporation, will be investing $2.28 million to acquire, renovate and equip a currently vacant 56,500 square-foot building in Frankfort.

Once operational by August 2014, the new facility will be used as a distribution center for pork shipping and warehousing.

Russ Yearwood, president of Indiana Packers, said the location and workforce in Frankfort complements the company’s growth plan. Yearwood said the project was made possible because the State of Indiana, Clinton County and Frankfort officials teamed up to work in partnership with Indiana Packers.

Frankfort Mayor Chris McBarnes said they are always pleased when a company is interested in locating into an existing structure because it means a formerly vacant property can be revitalized.

Mayor McBarnes added that the fact that Indiana Packers is willing to redevelop the property they have chosen was an important and appreciated step in the city’s enhanced economic development landscape.

The Mayor also noted that the creation of the Frankfort economic development plan had an important role to play in positioning the city to attract such a strong food manufacturing leader as Indiana Packers Corp.

The City of Frankfort created an economic development plan using CDBG grant funds. City officials and the economic development team are working in tandem with the Frankfort Redevelopment Commission on a “Frankfort is open for business” approach which calls for creating shovel ready sites, strengthening existing industries, attracting new product lines and businesses, and focusing on job creation.

The plan also calls for developing a relationship with the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, so that Frankfort will be in consideration whenever new businesses are looking to relocate to the state.

For its part, the IEDC facilitated the Indiana Packers project by offering up to $400,000 in performance-based tax credits and $139,500 in training grants tied to the company’s job creation plans. The City of Frankfort is offering additional local incentives in the form of a property tax abatement.

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