Posts by: Economic Development

Prologis Commerce Park Positions Tracy, CA for Economic Development and Job Growth

Industrial real estate developer Prologis, Inc. (NYSE:PLD) broke ground on the Prologis International Park of Commerce in Tracy, CA.


Prologis (photo –

At full build-out of 19 million square feet, the park will be the largest master-planned development in Northern California.

The location makes it exceedingly desirable, with three international airports within a 60-mile radius, along with BNSF intermodal and UP intermodal, and the Ports of Oakland and Stockton. Not to mention direct access to the Bay Area’s 7.4 million population with adjacency to I-5, I-205 and I-580.

The reason it hasn’t been developed until now was because a big part of it (over 1,000 acres) was the Cordes Ranch fronting I-205. It’s an ideal location for logistics projects serving the Bay Area, but the mix of different property types made it virtually impossible for developers to push it through the entitlement process.

San Francisco-based Prologis, the world’s largest developer of industrial real estate, was able to do it because of their long history of developments and projects favoring Tracy, including the announcement last year that they would build a massive fulfillment center for Amazon in the Prologis Park Tracy Phase II development.

Amazon’s decision to locate the 1.2 million-square-foot fulfillment center in Tracy brought more than 1,000 jobs and a flood of interest from other businesses expressing interest in Tracy.

Now Prologis is moving ahead with the International Park of Commerce as a logistics hub for the region. The company managed to get the City of Tracy to annex 1,780 acres fronting I-205 for the project (including the Cordes Ranch), and create entitlements for 30 million square feet of development.

Prologis has been granted a 25-year development agreement for 1,200 acres out of the total land annexed. The company agreed to pay the City $5 million within three years of annexation for funding community benefit projects of the City Council’s choice.

Tracy City Manager Troy Brown said in a statement that the Prologis International Park of Commerce puts Tracy economic development and job creation in an unprecedented position. Brown added that they anticipate 36,000 new jobs at the park as it reaches build-out.

Tracy Mayor Brent Ives likewise noted that the desirable location of the park will allow Bay Area companies to leverage San Joaquin County’s resources, and it will allow many residents to improve their quality of life by ending daily commutes and securing a job in Tracy itself.

The first building in the Prologis International Park of Commerce will be built to LEED specifications, and designed to be one of the advanced of its kind in the United States.

Evansville, Indiana Economic Development Teams Secure Fisher Dynamics Project

The City of Evansville and its state and local economic development partners announced that auto industry supplier Fisher Dynamics has selected Evansville as the location for a new manufacturing facility.


GAGE (photo –

Fisher, a global manufacturer and supplier of automotive seating mechanisms and components, will invest $11 million into the project to renovate and equip a leased 113,000-square-foot warehouse in Evansville.

Fisher expects to create 169 new jobs in Evansville and Vanderburgh County over the next two years. These are jobs with an average wage of $19.61 per hour.

The St. Clair Shores, MI-based Fisher Dynamics already has 660 full-time employees in the U.S. at locations in Michigan and Brownsville, Texas, and a total of 1,700 around the globe. Their overseas locations are in Mexico, Germany, Poland, China and India.

Fisher Dynamics considered several other locations before selecting Evansville for the multi-million dollar investment for growing the company. Their two existing U.S. locations and facilities in Matamoros, Mexico and Shanghai, China together provide more than 30 million assembled seat mechanisms to dozens of automobile manufacturing plants around the world.

John Hrit, Fisher Dynamics Vice President of Global Operations, said in a statement that the location allows them to service central U.S. customers. Hrit added that they look forward to working with the Evansville community, and thanked the City for their great support in the search for the company’s new location.

Evansville economic development organization GAGE recommended that the City approve an incentive package for the project with a $60,000 training grant and an eight-year tax phase-in on personal property.

Deborah Dewey, president of the Growth Alliance for Greater Evansville, said they are fortunate to have a collaborative approach to economic development in the community, and efforts to attract and welcome companies such as Fisher Dynamics have public and private support.

Dewey added that they also have a history of being home to successful privately-owned companies and look forward to adding Fisher Dynamics to the list.

Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke said the jobs Fisher Dynamics is creating are good paying jobs offering good benefits that will boost the economy and help the Tri-State region thrive. The project is expected to generate an annual economic impact of $21.9 million, for ten years.

The company also stands to get up $100,000 in training grants from the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, along with $1.25 million in performance-based tax credits tied to their job creation plans.

Lindenburg Industry Selects Appomattox, Virginia Site For First US Manufacturing Plant

Lindenburg Industry, LLC, a subsidiary of a Chinese investment holdings company, is planning to establish a manufacturing facility in the Town of Appomattox, VA.

Appomattox, VA

Appomattox, VA

The company will be investing $113 million to establish the facility in a vacant property that was formerly the Thomasville Furniture Industries plant. The project will create 349 direct new jobs in Appomattox County.

The facility will produce industrial emissions control components used in clean air emissions. The company plans to export the manufactured components to China.

This is the first new industrial project announcement in Appomattox in the last 15 years, and the largest one since Thomasville began construction on the facility in 1972. The furniture company was once one of the major employers in the county, but the plant was shut down in 2011.

The Town and Appomattox County worked together with the Virginia Economic Development Partnership to help recruit this project.  Dominion Virginia Power and the VA Tobacco Commission also helped support the effort to bring Lindenburg Industry to Appomattox.

Governor Terry McAuliffe met with company officials twice during two separate visits to China this year. The announcement of the selection of the Virginia site comes right after the Governor’s latest Asia marketing trip last month, during which he met with company officials in Beijing.

Gov. McAuliffe also approved $1.4 million to help Appomattox with the project. This funding is in the form of a Governor’s Opportunity Fund grant.

The VA Tobacco Commission chipped in with another $1.17 million. Lindenburg will also receive additional state support through the Port of Virginia Economic and Infrastructure Development Grant Program, and job training support and funding from the Virginia Jobs Investment Program.

The Appomattox County Economic Development Authority and County Supervisors have approved a $1.4 million in local incentives that will be provided to Lindenburg from the tax revenues the project generates.

Appomattox Mayor Paul Harvey said in a statement that this has truly been a team effort by all parties involved, from the Governor’s office to the local level.

Lindenburg is a subsidiary of Hong Kong-based Eagle Ride Investment Holdings Ltd (HKG:0901), a member of the Empirial Energy Group. The company began exploring the possibility of establish a manufacturing plant in the United States quite some time back.

The extensive site selection process they undertook with the help of site location consultants Development Advisors, LLC included sites across the country. It was narrowed down to a choice between the Thomasville facility on the 85-acre site in Appomattox and another site in North Carolina.

Stella Li, CEO of Lindenburg Industry, LLC and CTO of EagleRide Investment Holdings Ltd., said that the Appomattox location provides them with an excellent business environment and the workforce talent they need to be successful.

Orlando Approves Local Match For StarterCorps US Economic Development Administration Grant

The Orlando City Council has approved support for the creation of StarterCorps, a proposed seed fund and second-stage business accelerator to help technology startups grow into sustainable companies.


StarterCorps (photo – Starter Studio)

StarterCorps, established as a non-profit partnership involving the University of Central Florida, Starter Studio and Canvs, has been trying to raise the local match required for a federal grant they are applying to.

The Orlando City Council’s approval of $100,000 in matching funds for a $250,000 grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration provides a huge boost to the effort.

Starter Studio is Orlando’s first technical accelerator and runs classes on how to build and scale successful businesses, and informs participants about funding sources that are available to them.

But the problem is that startups in Orlando don’t have access to that many funding sources, as compared to opportunities available in more established startup hubs around the country. Florida is ranked 18th in terms of state rankings for seed capital invested in startups.

StarterCorps is supposed to fill this seed funding gap that has hindered the region’s innovation-based economic growth. The funded companies will also have access to a 3-month intensive mentoring program from Starter Studio, and will be provided co-working space at Canvs at the Church Street Exchange in downtown Orlando.

The Exchange has been revitalized as a center for technology in the heart of Orlando’s entertainment district. It is already home to the Orlando Tech Association and dozens of technology startups and related businesses.

The startups receiving seed funding from StarterCorps will therefore get co-working space and be able to tap into the entrepreneurial ecosystem to help them grow.

It could be a big help for Orlando economic development if they can launch the StarterCorps evergreen seed fund and provide startups with all these other support services. But it only happens if and after the StarterCorps project secures enough launch funding commitments.

The U.S. EDA recently announced a $250,000 grant funding opportunity that is specifically meant to help the launch of community-based seed funds in regions that lack seed-funding capital for financing tech startups with high growth potential.

The EDA grant will be used to incorporate the fund and launch it, and raise at least $1 million in the first year and $3 million in five years. But in order to be eligible for the EDA funds, StarterCorps needs to come up with a 1:1 local funding match in the form of written commitments for $250,000 from public and private community partners.

A crowdfunding campaign they launched to raise $15,000 has secured just over $6,900 in 20 days. The City’s $100,000 commitment through its Community Redevelopment Agency not only fills a big part of the requirement, but will also generate more interest in the project, making it easier to raise the rest of the local match.

University of Southern California Opens Blackstone LaunchPad to Support Student Entrepreneurs

The University of Southern California held a grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony for Blackstone LaunchPad, USC’s first cross-campus entrepreneurship program.

Blackstone LaunchPad USC

Blackstone LaunchPad USC (photo –

The official opening of LaunchPad marks a new opportunity for all USC students to pursue entrepreneurship as a viable career option.

The program has been operational at USC since early this year, and has already supported around 70 startup teams and has more than 200 registered students.

The organization, based at USC’s Annenberg Innovation Lab, provides individualized coaching and support for venture creation, helping students develop entrepreneurial skills and mindsets. USC has put together a recurring workshop curriculum for the program, and made seven trained coaches available for venture consulting.

The Blackstone LaunchPad program is modeled based on a 2008 program at the University of Miami, which has drawn more than 3,600 participants, generated over 1,700 business proposals and created around 600 jobs.

The LaunchPad model pioneered at the University of Miami was subsequently developed and expanded to other educational institutions by the Blackstone Charitable Foundation. It is currently available to more than 350,000 undergraduate and graduate students, alumni and faculty at 15 universities and colleges around the nation.

Blackstone brought the program to Southern California in Feb 2014, with Los Angeles economic development organization LAEDC as the regional partner. The partnership currently includes USC, UCLA and UC-Irvine.  The Blackstone Foundation helped establish the program by providing a $3.5 million, three-year grant to make LaunchPad available to over 110,000 university students in Southern California.

UC-Irvine’s program is already underway, and LaunchPad at UCLA is about to start in a few days. Based on the program’s physical presence in each university campus and the resources being allocated, it is estimated that Blackstone LaunchPad has the potential to generate some 1,400 new ventures in California over the next five years.

It also creates an interconnected innovation ecosystem in Southern California, and connects to universities in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida and Montana that are already sharing resources and enabling students to meet each other across universities and regions.

In fact, four USC student venture teams supported by LaunchPad were in New York City on Oct 28 to pitch their ventures on Blackstone Demo Day, along with 16 other teams from LaunchPads across the country.

The four USC student ventures that were picked to participate in the national pitch competition are as follows:-

Bread & Butter – This venture aims to connect underserved communities to food retailers with a daily food surplus;

Desert Farms – Billed as the first retail camel’s milk company in America;

Piggy – This tech startup aims to help users save money by depositing loose change from cash transactions back into their bank accounts; and

Q-Cigarettes – An affordable low-tech tool to help quitting smokers by improving the delivery of nicotine polacrilex gum.

Visit Blackstone for more information about the LaunchPad program.

NYC Economic Development Corp Hosts Development Finance Conference

The NYC Economic Development Corporation is hosting the 2014 NYC Development Finance Conference at Four World Trade Center on Nov 5, 2014.

NYC Development Finance Conference

NYC Development Finance Conference (photo –

The annual conference brings together not-for-profits, lenders, developers and other industry experts to discuss innovative tools for economic development in New York City.

NYC Economic Development Corp President Kyle Kimball will open the event with a welcome address and an introduction.

Kimball said in a statement that over the years, the NYC Development Finance Conference has become a highly influential event, providing an opportunity for a diverse cross-section of the City’s leaders and thinkers “to come together and discuss the tools with which we can build the future of New York City.”

The welcome address will be followed by the morning keynote by New York City Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen, who will speak about the de Blasio Administration’s economic development priorities.

More than 20 speakers and panelists from top public and private sector institutions in the development industry will be sharing best practices and strategies for implementing development finance to help businesses and non-profits create quality jobs and combat economic inequality in all five boroughs.

The Center for an Urban Future’s Jonathan Bowles will make a presentation on economic trends impacting New York City. A panel of leading investors and lenders will share their perspectives on how to attract and leverage private sector financing for making projects possible.

Another panel will present case studies of innovative tax credit projects in NYC involving complex financing. Separate workshops will provide primers on tax credit finance (historic rehabilitation tax credits and NMTC) and housing finance (low-income housing tax credits).

The afternoon keynote by NYC Department of Housing, Preservation, and Development Commissioner Vicki Been will be about the current and future state of housing in New York City.

A panel of real estate leaders will explore the intersection between affordable housing and development. NYCEDC’s Jeffrey Lee and Empire State Development’s Steve Cohen will then provide an overview of City and State incentives available for development in New York City.

An industrial development panel will discuss strategies for shoring up and expanding the City’s industrial base. Another panel will shed light on the challenges and opportunities in infrastructure development.

What: NYC Development Finance Conference (NYCEDC)

When: 8:00am – 6:00pm, Nov 5, 2014

Where: Four World Trade Center, 150 Greenwich St., New York, NY

Code42 Expansion Supported by Minneapolis and Minnesota Economic Development Incentives

Code42, developer of the popular CrashPlan endpoint data backup and SharePlan enterprise file sync and share solution, is planning a major expansion of its software development operations in Minneapolis.


Code42 (photo –

The company is requesting $3 million in incentives from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development for a two-phase $70 million expansion plan.

In the first phase, the company plans to make additional investments at its existing headquarters in Minneapolis to accommodate plans for adding new jobs.

Code42 already has 350 employees at its current headquarters, and is planning to create another 150 jobs in the first phase. The company also has offices in Sydney, Australia and London, UK.

They are also negotiating a lease for another property in the MoZaic East office-retail complex planned for development in Minneapolis’ Uptown neighborhood.

Out of the $3 million it has asked for in Minnesota economic development incentive funding, Code42 will receive $1 million for the first phase. This will be a $1 million forgivable loan provided through the Minnesota Investment Fund.

The company is required to invest matching funds, and the loan is forgivable only after the company meets its commitment to create the required number of jobs at wage levels.

If the company goes ahead with its second phase expansion plans to relocate to a new headquarters location in Minneapolis, it will be eligible for another $2 million in incentives as a forgivable loan, this time through the Minnesota Job Creation Fund. Again, the company has to complete its investment and hiring plans in order for the loan to be forgivable.

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton said in a statement that these expansions will create hundreds of good-paying and highly-skilled jobs. The Governor added that they are thrilled that these new jobs are being created in Minnesota, and congratulated Code42 on their tremendous success.

Furthermore, Code42 is also likely to get a package of Minneapolis economic development incentives. After a committee cleared the proposal, the Minneapolis City Council is now likely to approve support for the $70 million expansion project at a meeting scheduled for Nov 14.

Minneapolis City Council Member Jacob Frey, who represents the district where Code42’s current headquarters is located, said that Code42 is the total package – innovative homegrown entrepreneurs who are really hitting the big time.

Frey added that this is precisely the kind of business the city should embrace and support, and noted that they are honored that Code42 plans to stay in Minneapolis.

Michael Langley, CEO of the 13-county Minneapolis-Saint Paul metro area economic development organization Greater MSP, said Code42’s expansion in the Greater MSP region is huge.

Langley explained that as a cutting-edge technology leader in software development, Code42 is the foundation of a growing industry cluster in the Greater MSP region. They could have expanded elsewhere, but Code42’s commitment to Greater MSP will help the region’s entire industry to prosper.

Augusta Economic Development Authority Secures Unisys Project For Georgia

Global information technology company Unisys Corporation (NYSE:UIS) has selected Augusta, GA as the location for a new service center.

Unisys HQ

Unisys (photo

The company is in the process of finalizing a facility in Augusta for the center, and is negotiating a lease for 60,000 square feet at Fort Discovery Plaza, a vacant space that was formerly a children’s museum in downtown Augusta.

Blue Bell, PA-based Unisys is being assisted in this project by the Augusta Economic Development Authority, Georgia Power and the Georgia Department of Economic Development.

Unisys expects to create 700 new jobs over the next five years, including 250 new jobs within the first year. Many of the IT professionals hired are expected to be Georgia veterans.

The company will use the new center to provide service for the U.S. Army, having been recently selected by the Army to provide help desk and other end-user IT support services under the Army Enterprise Service Desk program.

They also plan to use the center to provide service to other commercial clients. Unisys, which has more than 23,000 employees serving clients around the world, will be working with the Fort Gordon Cyber Center of Excellence for recruiting staff for the new center.

Unisys Enterprise Services President Ron Frankenfield said in a statement that a smart and motivated workforce and a vibrant local community make Augusta an ideal location for their new service center.

State and local officials pitched the Unisys recruitment as a mutually beneficial project for Unisys and for Augusta and Georgia.

Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver said in a release that Unisys and Augusta will be good for each other, and added that they are excited to assist the company with the hiring process.

Mayor Copenhaver added that Unisys is a quality company and its new location in downtown Augusta overlooking the beautiful Savannah River will be unique and functional.

Governor Nathan Deal likewise noted that Georgia will be able to provide Unisys with the support it needs to remain competitive in the marketplace, and the company will in turn provide high-quality, good-paying jobs.

Augusta Economic Development Authority Chairman Henry Ingram said the announcement that Unisys will bring 700 jobs to downtown Augusta is a testament to Augusta’s superior workforce, and added that Unisys will thrive in Augusta and they are thrilled to have this outstanding company as part of the corporate community.

Georgia Department of Economic Development Commissioner Chris Carr said that Georgia has become a hub for technology companies and added that the decision by Unisys to locate in the state highlights the vitality of this industry and the strength of Georgia’s workforce to support the company’s growth.

Georgia Tops Site Selection State Business Climate Rankings, Louisiana Takes Second Place

The latest issue of Site Selection magazine includes their annual state business climate rankings, topped once again this year by Georgia.


Georgia (photo – MPD01605/Flickr)

Georgia has maintained its first place ranking now for two successive years, and has consistently been in the top five over the last five years.

Governor Nathan Deal said in a statement that this time last year, when Site Selection named Georgia as the No.1 state, he vowed to work to keep the state in the top spot, and that, said the Governor, “is exactly what we have done.”

“Receiving this ranking for the second year in a row confirms that what we’re doing here in our state is in fact working,” said Gov. Deal.

Site Selection Editor-in-Chief Mark Arend said in the statement that their readers regularly point to Georgia’s Quick Start workforce training program, logistics assets such as the Port of Savannah and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and the state’s pro-business leadership and economic development infrastructure statewide as the main reasons they choose Georgia locations.

But the surprise mover on the business climate rankings this year is Louisiana, which rose from sixth place last year to second place in the 2014 rankings.

Louisiana was ranked 25th in the Site Selection state business climate rankings just five years ago. Since then, the state has steadily climbed up into the top ten states, but this year’s second place is its best-ever showing.

North Carolina was ranked third, with Texas and Ohio bringing up the top five. These rankings are based partly (50 percent) on a survey of corporate real estate executives, and partly on seven other criteria related to competitiveness, new plant openings and state tax burdens.

In the executive survey, Texas got the most first-place listings from site selectors asked to rank states based on their experience of business climates. Georgia followed in second place, with South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia rounding out the top five states. Louisiana came in sixth in the executive survey business climate rankings.

Governor Bobby Jindal said in a statement that for too long, Louisiana languished on the side-lines of site selection competitions. The governor added that the extensive business climate reforms enacted since 2008 in partnership with the Legislature and other regional and local partners have dramatically changed the playing field.

Since 2008, Louisiana economic development wins have resulted in 83,000 new jobs being created, along with $54 billion in new capital investment and hundreds of millions in new sales for the state’s small businesses.

“We’re encouraged by this Site Selection recognition, and we will continue to work hard and demonstrate why Louisiana is the best place in the world to live, work and raise a family,” said Gov. Jindal.

See the full state business climate rankings for each criteria on  

Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina’s First-Month Scorecard

In its first month of operations after the official opening on Oct 6, the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina chalked up a total of eight announced projects that together represent a combined total of $439 million in capital investment and 1,560 jobs being created.

EDPNC announced projects in Oct 2014

EDPNC announced projects in Oct 2014 (data from

The continued flow of announced projects marks the successful and smooth transition of North Carolina economic development functions from the NC Dept of Commerce to the new public-private partnership.

Under a contract with the state, the EDPNC is overseeing not just North Carolina’s efforts in economic development and international trade, but also tourism, film and sports business development.

Apart from the eight announced projects, the Partnership’s NC Film Office also managed to secure the third season of “Under the Dome.” The CBS television series production is expected to match or exceed last season’s in-state spending worth more than $33 million and employment of 1,500 people.

The EDPNC also arranged for several companies in the state to showcase their products and services at the Green Expo in Mexico City.

The Partnership also managed to secure another $440,000 in October through private sector contributions from five companies. According to information published by the EDPNC, this includes $200,000 from Duke Energy and another $100,000 from Red Hat Inc. The other three contributors were Piedmont Natural Gas, Lenovo Group Ltd and the Charlotte Pipe and Foundry Company.

Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst is the EDPNC vice chair. Thomas Looney, vice president and general manager of Lenovo North America, is one of the other members of the five-member interim EDPNC board.

EDPNC Chair John Lassiter, who is president of Carolina Legal Staffing, said in a release that they’re delighted with the confidence companies have shown in joining them, and with the quality of new and expanding business prospects.

EDPNC interim CEO Richard Lindenmuth noted in the release that in less than a month, the Partnership has gone from start-up to successful business operations in an open and accountable manner.

In this spirit of openness and accountability, the EDPNC published the salaries of its 20 management level employees. Overall, the Partnership now has interim CEO Lindenmuth leading a team of 38 employees. Many of them were already working in economic development at the North Carolina Department of Commerce, and have taken on new and expanded roles at the EDPNC.

Lindenmuth added that they have a duty to the people of North Carolina to quickly show a positive return on efforts in economic development, international trade, film, tourism and sports development.

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