Job Creation

Minnesota Economic Development Awards Grants For Redevelopment Projects Creating 659 Jobs

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development has awarded grants totaling $1.43 million for five redevelopment projects that are creating or retaining 659 jobs.


Minnesota jobs (photo – flickr/Aaaarrrrgggghhhh!)

The Redevelopment Grant Program funding for the cities of Austin, Duluth, Elbow Lake and St. Paul can be used for demolition, infrastructure and other project-related improvements.

The fifth grant was made under the Demolition Loan Program to the City of St. James. Funding under this program can be used to pay for the costs of demolishing blighted buildings on sites that have future development potential but no current development plans.

St. James is getting $325,000 for the abatement and demolition of a former 1.43-acre hospital site that has potential for commercial or residential use.

The City of Duluth Economic Development Authority is getting $250,000 in redevelopment funds for demolition and public infrastructure of the 2.7-acre Harbor Bay Flats site. The redevelopment plan that is expected to create 36 jobs calls for a six-story mixed-use building on the site with 148 apartments and 13,000 square feet of retail space.

The St. Paul Port Authority is getting $275,000 for demolition and stormwater infrastructure on the Midway Stadium site which is being redeveloped into a 189,000-square-foot light industrial building. This project is expected to create 63 jobs and retain 126 jobs.

The City of Austin is getting $375,000 for the Oak Park Mall redevelopment project. The 29.25-acre site is being redeveloped into an 85,000-square-foot grocery store that will create 55 jobs and retain 345 jobs. The City of Elbow Lake is getting $200,000 for demolition and public infrastructure on a 0.34-acre site that is being redeveloped into a two-story office building that will create four jobs and retain 30 jobs.

DEED Deputy Commissioner Kevin McKinnon said in a release announcing these grant awards that DEED’s latest round of redevelopment grants will encourage new jobs and economic development in five Minnesota communities. McKinnon added that this program has a proven track record, helping to create or retain nearly 25,000 jobs in the state since it was launched 17 years ago.

The Redevelopment Grant Program has awarded more than $64 million in state funding to projects that have reclaimed 1,220 acres of blighted property in Minnesota. These projects have generated a combined total of $2.1 billion in private investment, created 9,495 jobs and retained 15,205 jobs. Not to mention 1,833 units of affordable housing, 3,033 units of market-rate housing, and $35.6 million in new tax revenue.

Rutherford County Economic Development Incentives Bring Nissan Supplier Park to Smyrna, Tennessee

Nissan is planning to build a 1.5 million-square-foot integrated logistics center at its Smyrna, TN vehicle assembly plant.

Nissan Smyrna Vehicle Assembly Plant

Nissan Smyrna Vehicle Assembly Plant (photo – Nissan)

Rutherford County and Smyrna economic development support is enabling the company to invest $160 million to build the supplier park on its Smyrna campus and create more than 1,000 new supplier jobs.

These will be newly created jobs with an average annual wage of $38,000, and the project will support the creation of more than 1,670 indirect jobs in the region.

The Nissan Smyrna Plant, which began operations in 1983, already has more than 8,400 employees and represents a $2.5 billion investment. The plant produced 648,000 vehicles last year, making it North America’s most prolific automotive assembly facility.

Apart from the investment and job creation impact, the project also provides more space for suppliers and Nissan to grow, furthering the company’s strategy of bringing back production to the United States. A full 85 percent of Nissan vehicles sold in the U.S. will be built in North America by the end of this year.

Jose Munoz, executive vice president of Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. and chairman of the management committee of Nissan North America, Inc., said that this announcement marks an exciting new chapter in their more than 31-year partnership with the State of Tennessee as the company continues its localization and investment efforts in the United States.

Governor Bill Haslam said in the release that the success of Tennessee’s automotive industry brings with it growth in supplier networks, and added that they want to thank Nissan for this new investment in Smyrna and the state.

Tennessee Economic and Community Development Commissioner Randy Boyd added that not only is Nissan investing in Tennessee by expanding its physical footprint in Smyrna, they are also investing in developing a strong workforce through their manufacturing training center. This, said Commissioner Boyd, is a big step toward sustaining future automotive demands.

The Nissan supplier park project, known previously under the codename of Project Cedar, is being supported by a package of Rutherford County economic development incentives. The Rutherford County IDB has already approved a PILOT agreement that reduces the real property taxes for the project by two-thirds.

Rutherford County Mayor Ernest Burgess said in the release that Nissan has had a huge positive presence within Rutherford County’s business landscape and added that they are excited to see the company continue to prosper.

Smyrna Mayor Mary Esther Reed likewise said that Nissan’s decision to add to their Smyrna campus is another example of the positive business environment in Smyrna.

Yokohama, Japan-based Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. is Japan’s second-largest automotive company with more than 244,500 employees globally.

Nissan has three automotive production plants in the United States. This includes vehicle assembly plants in Smyrna, TN and Canton, MS. Nissan also has a powertrain assembly plant in Decherd, TN that makes all the engines for all Nissan and Infiniti vehicles produced in the U.S. Furthermore, Nissan North America Inc.’s corporate headquarters is located in Franklin, TN.

Kansas Transportation Economic Development Funding Enables Historic Acme Foundry’s Expansion

The 110-year old Acme Foundry in Coffeyville, KS is expanding its operations to add a new shipping and receiving facility.

Coffeyville, KS

Coffeyville, KS (photo – Steven Pick/wikipedia)

The 30,000-square-foot expansion is creating 50 new jobs at the facility. The expansion and job creation was made possible with support from a Kansas economic development program administered by the state department of transportation.

Specifically, the City of Coffeyville is getting up to $1 million from the KDOT Economic Development program for improvements in the streets near the Acme Foundry.

Acme Chief Financial Officer Bob Shepard said in a City of Coffeyville release that closing down part of Spruce Street and tearing down the Robinson Packer building allows them to construct the facility in such a way as to keep the trucks on Acme property.

KDOT funding enables the streets to be reconstructed, along with a number of intersections. These transportation improvements were vital for the project because the existing street serving the foundry and other industrial traffic have to be moved in order to make way for the Acme expansion. Without the road project funded by KDOT, the expansion would not have been possible.

Governor Sam Brownback said in a release announcing the funding that one of the functions of state government is to provide the support companies need to expand or locate in Kansas.

The Governor added that KDOT’s Economic Development program is a perfect example of how public-private partnerships can broaden the state’s economic base, and that means jobs for Kansans.

Kansas Transportation Secretary Mike King likewise noted that one of the best ways to encourage economic growth is through strategic investment in transportation infrastructure, and that is exactly what they have done in Coffeyville.

The Acme Foundry is a world-wide leader in the production of grey iron castings. It is one of the largest of the 3,000 odd foundries that are still operational in the United States.

The Acme Foundry’s history goes back to 1905, when it originally opened as the Coffeyville Foundry Company. The original plant with one foundry building and a machine shop had 40 employees. By the 1960s, the plant had grown to more than 110,000 square feet and had more than 160 employees, and grew further to more than 300 employees after the millennium. Now the Acme Foundry has more than 212,000 square feet, with plans to add another 30,000 square feet and 50 employees.

Utah Approves Economic Development Tax Incentives for Prosper Marketplace Sales HQ

Prosper Marketplace, Inc., the company behind the leading peer-to-peer lending marketplace, has decided to locate its sales division headquarters in Utah.


Prosper (photo – CarbonNYC [in SF!]/flickr)

Supported through Utah Economic Development Tax Increment Finance (EDTIF) incentives, the company expects to make a capital investment of $10 million for this project and create more than 500 jobs over the next five years.

The total wages for these jobs, including medical benefits, are in aggregate expected to exceed 125 percent of the prevailing average wage in the county. The total new state wages generated by the project during the 5-year agreement period are projected to be approximately $118 million.

Additional state tax revenues generated by the project during the same period are estimated to be around $4.6 million.

In order to secure this project, the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development Board of Directors has approved a post-performance EDTIF tax credit of up to $925,753. This amount represents 20 percent of the estimated new state taxes that the Prosper Marketplace sales headquarters project will generate during the five year agreement period.

GOED Executive Director Val Hale said in a release announcing the project that Prosper Marketplace is a leading marketplace lending company in the cutting-edge FinTech industry, which fuses two of Utah’s strongest economic clusters.

Hale added that both the IT and financial services industries in Utah will benefit from the presence of such an innovative company.

Economic Development Corporation of Utah President and CEO Jeff Edwards said that Prosper’s decision demonstrates that Utah is clearly the best place to expand sales operations.

Apart from sales and marketing position, the new jobs being created by Prosper also include roles for software engineers, business analysts, loan underwriting, and finance and administrative roles.

Prosper Marketplace, through its San Francisco, CA-based subsidiary Prosper Funding LLC, operates the Prosper platform that has funded more than $2.5 billion in personal loans. The platform allows borrowers to list loan requests between $2,000 and $35,000. Individual investors can then invest as little as $25 in each loan listing. Prosper will then handle the servicing of the loan on behalf of the matched borrowers and investors.

Prosper Marketplace CEO Aaron Vermut said in the GOED release that they’re looking forward to expanding their presence in the state of Utah and bringing jobs to the state in the exciting FinTech sector.

Wayne County Economic Development Corp, IEDC Bring More Jobs to Osborn Facility in Richmond, Indiana

The Osborn International facility in the Midwest Industrial Park in Richmond, IN is expanding again, but this particular expansion is rather more significant because it involves a relocation of the brand’s parent company’s North American administrative offices.

Richmond, IN

Richmond, IN (photo – y Richard Masoner/Cyclelicious/flickr)

Osborn is the flagship brand of the Jason Finishing Group, a unit of Milwaukee, WI-based headquartered Jason Industries, Inc.

Supported by the City of Richmond, Wayne County, EDC of Wayne County and the Indiana economic development Corporation, Jason Finishing Group is relocating its North American administrative offices from Cleveland, OH to Richmond, IN.

To this end, the company will be constructing and equipping a 7,400-square-foot addition to the existing 180,000-square-foot Osborn International facility in Richmond. They plan to relocate up to 34 jobs to Richmond within this year.

Jason Finishing Group President Dr. Florestan von Boxberg said in a release that Jason Finishing Group has had great success in Richmond, which has led to it becoming the hub of their North American manufacturing presence. Dr. Boxberg added that they are excited to continue growing in the state of Indiana.

In order to secure the project and support the company’s expansion plans, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation has offered Jason Finishing Group up to $475,000 in post-performance tax credits tied to the company’s job creation.

Wayne County has likewise approved additional local incentives requested by the Economic Development Corporation of Wayne County.

This is the third major expansion of the Osborn International facility in Richmond since 2009. Osborn, which was founded in 1887, opened the Richmond plant in 2005 and announced subsequent expansions in 2009 and 2011. The facility manufactures wire, polishing buffs and maintenance brushes.

The previous expansion in 2011 was also a relocation, with a product line and the company’s IT Department being consolidated into the Richmond facility. That $4.6 million expansion brought 23 new jobs and was supported through a Wayne County Economic Development Income Tax (EDIT) grant of $83,000.

Richmond Mayor Sally Hutton said in the release that they are happy to have Osborn International in the community and even happier that they are again looking to expand and bring additional jobs and investment to their operation in Richmond.

Jason Finishing Group manufactures more than 10,000 standard products and 100,000 custom solutions. The company’s global headquarters is in Burgwald, Germany, and they operate in 14 countries with a global workforce of more than 1,500 employees, including 360 in the U.S., of which 200 are in Indiana.

Palm Beach County, Florida Offers Economic Development Incentives for Regional HQ Project

The Board of County Commissioners of Palm Beach County, FL have approved a large package of economic development incentives for a regional headquarters project.


Otis (photo – sun dazed/flickr)

The company, identified only as Project Diamond, would make a capital investment of $115 million and create 450 new jobs with an average annual wage of $85,000.

According to the impact analysis, the project will have a five-year local economic impact of $662.4 million.

That’s a big project by any standards, and the county staff memo urging approval of incentives for it says that other states under consideration for the project include Georgia and North Carolina.

Project Diamond is mentioned as being a subsidiary and regional managing office project. According to the Palm Beach Post, this company is United Technologies and the subsidiary considering relocating its regional headquarters to Palm Beach County is their Otis Elevators division.

In order to secure the project, a package of State of Florida and Palm Beach economic development incentives has been put together. This includes $2.66 million under the Qualified Target Industry (QTI) Tax Refund program with a high-impact sector bonus, and another $4.9 Million from the Quick Action Closing Fund (QACF).

Palm Beach County, for its part, is required to provide part of these amounts as matching funds. To be specific, the County Commissioners voted to adopt a resolution approving $532,000 as the QTI local match and $2,468,000 for the QACF, adding up to $3 million in local incentives.

The Palm Beach County Commissioners have conceptually approved this $3 million in economic development incentives for Project Diamond in the form of an ad valorem tax exemption over ten years.

The company will be required to enter into a formal agreement with the county in order to receive these incentives, and will have to maintain the 450 new jobs in Palm Beach County for at least five years.

The Otis Elevator Company was founded in Yonkers, NY by Elisha Graves Otis, who literally invented and founded the modern elevator industry by himself when he came up with the idea of safety brakes and sold the first safe elevators in 1853. Today, the company is the world’s leading manufacturer and installer of elevators, escalators and moving walkways.

The Farmington, CT-based Otis Elevator Company now has around 61,000 employees serving customers in almost every country on the planet.

Howard County Economic Development, Maryland DBED Secure Astrum Solar Expansion

Astrum Solar, Inc., a leading full-service residential solar provider in the Eastern United States, announced plans to expand its headquarters in Howard County, MD.

Solar jobs

Solar jobs (photo – codepinkphoenix/flickr)

Supported by the Howard County Economic Development Authority (HCEDA) and the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED), Astrum Solar plans to triple its footprint in the county.

The company is currently housed in a 14,400-square-foot facility in Annapolis Junction, and plans to add another 28,000 square feet. Astrum Solar also expects to create 240 new jobs as part of the expansion. This will take the total number of employees at the facility to 315 over the next two years.

The company plans to make an investment of approximately $750,000 on the project for upgrades, including leasehold improvements and equipment.

In order to secure the expansion and support the company’s job creation plans, DBED has offered Astrum Solar a $500,000 conditional loan through the Maryland Economic Development Assistance Authority and Fund. HCEDA is separately providing the company local incentives including a $50,000 workforce training grant.

DBED Secretary Mike Gill said in a release announcing the expansion project that Astrum Solar is one of the fastest-growing companies in the country, and added that they are thrilled the company is expanding and adding jobs in Maryland.

HCEDA CEO Lawrence F. Twele said in the release that diversifying their jobs base is a priority at the Howard County Economic Development Authority, and this expansion by Astrum Solar is a great example of the opportunities the energy sector holds.

Twele added that by working closely with their partners at the state level, they can help grow businesses that are environmentally friendly and generate well-paying jobs.

Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman likewise noted that the expansion of Astrum Solar in Annapolis Junction is a perfect example of the type of economic development they strive for in Howard County.

Astrum Solar Vice President Cory Byzewski said that the company was born and raised in Maryland, and they have been committed since the beginning to helping the state by creating jobs and helping Maryland residents benefit from the environmental and financial benefits of solar power.

Astrum Solar, a part of the Direct Energy family of brands, has been ranked second on Inc. magazine’s annual listing of fastest growing private U.S. companies. Maryland’s solar industry, which employed nearly 3,000 workers last year, is likewise expected to grow fast this year by more than 25 percent.

Amazon Adding 500 Jobs at Lexington County, SC Fulfillment Center

Amazon is adding more jobs to its Lexington County fulfillment center in West Columbia, SC.

Amazon fulfillment

Amazon fulfillment (photo – BCRP/flickr)

Since opening in 2012, the fulfillment center has already brought more than 1,500 jobs to West Columbia and Lexington County.

The 500 new jobs that Amazon is now adding to the facility are for meeting growing customer demand. The employees will pick, pack and ship customer orders.

Governor Nikki Haley said in a release announcing the project that the 500 new jobs this expansion will create is terrific news for the Midlands community, and added that they look forward to watching Amazon continue to grow in South Carolina for many years to come.

Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt noted that having such a recognized company make repeat expansions in the state is a credit to South Carolina’s positive business climate and workforce.

These 500 new Amazon jobs are the ongoing rewards of a long process undertaken to recruit Amazon to Lexington County that goes back to 2010. Amazon first announced in Dec 2010 that it would establish a $100 million fulfillment center in Lexington County, with plans to create 1,249 new permanent jobs at the facility.

They chose the Saxe Gotha Industrial Park in Lexington County for the one million-square-foot distribution and fulfillment center. The location not only provides easy interstate access, but also proximity to the UPS ground hub located near Columbia Metropolitan Airport.

At that time, the SC Commerce code name for the project during the site selection process was Project ASAP, so named because of the paramount need to meet the company’s needs in a timely fashion. The SC Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) and Lexington County staff got all the required permitting for the project done on a fast track to meet the company’s tight schedule.

Lexington County Council Chairman Johnny Jeffcoat said in the release that in December 2010, they were thrilled to welcome to Lexington County and to have this caliber of company locate in the county. Jeffcoat added that this new announcement of 500 additional jobs at the facility absolutely affirms the quality of their workforce.

Apart from this Lexington County fulfillment center, Amazon also has another South Carolina fulfillment center in Spartanburg County. This $50 million project was announced in 2012 as a one million-square-foot facility that has also created hundreds of jobs.

Coca Cola Considering Anderson County, SC For Regional HQ Project

The Coca-Cola Company is considering a site in Anderson County, SC as the location for a new regional corporate headquarters.


Coca-Cola (photo – MykReeve/wikipedia)

If Coca Cola does select this site, they plan on investing $13.5 million into the project and expect to create 147 jobs at the facility.

These will be jobs with an average salary of $19.72 an hour, adding up to a new payroll of $5.7 million.

Apart from serving as Coca-Cola’s regional headquarters, the site would also be used as a marketing and distribution facility.

If Coca Cola decides to go ahead with it, the project is likely to receive local and state economic development incentives. At a meeting last week, Anderson economic development officials received approval from the county council to continue putting together key local incentives required for the project to go ahead.

This includes the expansion of the boundaries of the joint county industrial and business park jointly developed with Greenville County, SC. The expansion puts the Coca Cola project, referred to in county documents as ‘Project Upstate,’ into the industrial park. This makes it eligible for state incentives.

The county also approved the execution and delivery of an infrastructure credit agreement that provides a six percent assessment ratio for 30 years, plus credits for the project meant to help offset the cost of sewer and other infrastructure construction.

The property the company is considering currently generates $117 in property taxes. After the project is completed in 2016, it will generate $175,000 in annual property taxes (or $6.4 million over the 30-year agreement period) for the county even after excluding the special source revenue credit. The project’s economic impact on the county is pegged at $12.7 million annually, and at $148 million over a 20-year period.

The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO) has its global headquarters in Atlanta, GA. The company and its network of over 250 bottlers have more than 700,000 associates worldwide. This includes a Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated plant for warehousing and distribution that opened a few years ago in Horry County, SC. Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated is the second largest Coca-Cola bottler in the United States.

The Coca-Cola Company is the world’s leading beverage brand with a portfolio of more than 3,500 beverages sold in more than 200 countries. The company now has 20 brands that each generate more than $1 billion in annual retail sales.

Yelp Adding More Jobs in Chicago, Plans to Hire Underemployed Job Seekers

Yelp is expanding again in Chicago, and announced plans to add 100 more jobs over the next 12 to 18 months.

Yelp SCF partnership in Chicago

Yelp-SCF partnership in Chicago (photo –

The announcement was made by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman at the official opening of the company’s new Chicago office.

Yelp had announced last year in August that it was opening an office in Chicago, with plans to hire up to 300 people. They signed a lease for 50,000 square feet of space on the fourth floor of the Merchandise Mart.

The location’s proximity to the L makes it ideal for commuters, and provides easy access to lots of local businesses and restaurants. It also puts Yelp in the middle of a flourishing digital technology community at the Merchandise Mart that includes companies like Razorfish and technology and entrepreneurship hubs like 1871 and MATTER.

Now Yelp is adding another 10,000 square feet of space at this office, and plans to hire 100 more people, adding up to a total of 400 jobs in Chicago.

Stoppelman said in a release that they are excited to be a part of the Chicago tech community and help create hundreds of new jobs in the city.

Yelp’s latest expansion is a win not only for Chicago economic development and the vibrant tech and entrepreneurship hub the Merchandise Mart is turning into, but also for community and workforce development in the Chicago area. That’s because Yelp has partnered with Skills for Chicagoland’s Future (SCF) to recruit qualified, underemployed job seekers for positions at the Yelp Chicago office.

SCF is a public-private partnership funded by the City of Chicago, Cook County, the State of Illinois, and private and corporate foundations. Their mission is to close the workforce skills gap and assist unemployed job-seekers in re-entering the workforce. SCF works with local employers to help them identify and recruit qualified, underemployed job seekers in Chicago and Cook County.

Mayor Emanuel said in the release that by partnering with Skills for Chicagoland’s Future, Yelp will get the talented workers it wants, and residents in neighborhoods all throughout Chicago will get the job opportunities they need. It is a win-win.

Skills for Chicagoland’s Future President and CEO Marie Trzupek Lynch said that Yelp has demonstrated a commitment to make an impact on the Chicago-area community, and added that they look forward to working with Yelp and supporting their employment needs as they grow their presence in Chicago.

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