Site Selection

Wichita, Kansas Retains Cargill Protein Group Headquarters

Cargill Protein Group announced that its headquarters will remain in Wichita, and will relocate from its current location to a new office building that will be constructed at an as yet to be determined site in the city.


Cargill (photo –

The decision, which is subject to the approval of a City of Wichita economic development agreement with the company, was made after a thorough site selection process that considered numerous options, including several cities in states other than Kansas.

Brian Sikes, Cargill corporate vice president for the company’s protein group, said in a statement that “After an exhaustive review of our options, a collaborative atmosphere evolved whereby Cargill, the City of Wichita and State of Kansas worked together toward creating the type of business environment that will enable the company to meet its customers’ long-term needs by enhancing our ability to attract, retain and develop top talent.”

The company also cited the quality of life, and the minimization of disruption to the business resulting from the relocation, as criteria addressed as Cargill explored its options.

Governor Sam Brownback said in the release that they are pleased that Cargill will continue to call Wichita, Kansas, home for the foreseeable future. “This is an investment in our state, a recognition of the quality of the Wichita workforce and the quality of life that can be found in Kansas,” said Gov. Brownback.

Mayor Jeff Longwell added that “Right from the start, the City of Wichita stepped up to demonstrate its commitment to Cargill and its ongoing success.”

Retaining the Cargill Protein Group headquarters was a critical economic development project for Wichita and Kansas. Wichita-based Cargill Protein Group, which produces meat, poultry and egg products and by-products, generates more than $20 billion in revenue for Minnetonka, MN-based Cargill, Inc., which has 149,000 employees in 70 countries.

For its part, Cargill Protein Group employs approximately 27,000 people and operates approximately 30 processing facilities that produce protein products. This includes more than 800 employees in Wichita and over 4,000 employees in Kansas who work in a variety of the company’s businesses across the state.

The Wichita Metro Chamber, which hosted the Cargill site selection news conference, said in a posting on its website that “The ripple effect of this decision is far reaching and we commend all those leading our economic development efforts at the local and state level for working together to produce the best possible result for Wichita.”

Ballast Point Brewing and Spirits Selects Botetourt County, Virginia For East Coast Operations

Building on its recent recruitment of the Deschutes Brewery’s east coast operations, the Roanoke Regional Partnership announced yet another brewery project by a California-based craft brewer. This time, it is Ballast Point Brewing and Spirits that has announced the selection of a site in Botetourt County, VA for establishing its east coast operations.

Ballast Point Brewing and Spirits

Ballast Point Brewing and Spirits (photo – walknboston/flickr)

The company will invest $47.8 million to establish manufacturing and retail operations at 259,040-square-foot Lawrence Companies building located on International Parkway in Botetourt Center at Greenfield.

Ballast Point expects to create 178 direct jobs at this facility, adding to the more than 500 people it already employs at four facilities in the San Diego, CA area. IMPLAN modeling done by the Roanoke Regional Partnership estimates that this project will have an overall annual economic impact of $376,442,866 and spur creation of more than 540 secondary jobs in the region.

San Diego-based Ballast Point Brewing and Spirits was founded by Jack White in 1996, and is now among the top 20 largest craft brewers in the United States, selling beer in more than 30 states. The company was acquired in 2015 by Constellation Brands (NYSE: STZ and STZ.B).

Ballast Point founder Jack White said in a statement that “In our quest to provide the best quality, freshest beer to all of our customers, an East Coast brewery started to make a lot of sense to us.”

Botetourt County secured this project through a concerted effort by state, local and regional officials including Botetourt County, the Roanoke Regional Partnership and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership.

Beth Doughty, executive director of the Roanoke Regional Partnership, said in a statement that the organization called on the company more than a year ago as part of a campaign to attract craft brewers to the region. “The company was able to move quickly because we matched them with an available building and all the infrastructure,” said Doughty.

Botetourt County Board of Supervisors Chair Jack Leffel highlighted decisions made, such as the move by the county to join the Western Virginia Water Authority, that paved the way for this project. “Without that partnership, we would not have been able to provide the quantity and quality of water demanded by this project,” said Leffel.

Governor Terry McAuliffe approved a $2,400,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund to assist Botetourt County with the project. The Governor also met in person with company officials at their headquarters in San Diego during a West Coast marketing mission last year.

“Winning this significant project was a top priority, and we are proud that Botetourt County will be home to the company’s East Coast brewing operation,” said Gov. McAuliffe in a statement announcing the win for Virginia.

The company will also be eligible to receive a $250,000 grant from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund (AFID). Funding and services to support the company’s employee training activities will be provided through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program.

For its part, the county will provide permit fee waivers, along with $1,402,177 in tax incentives and an anticipated $650,000 in performance grants.

Joyce Kessinger, Chair of the Botetourt County Economic Development Authority, noted that “Attracting Ballast Point is a fantastic way of adding employment opportunities in Botetourt County with an industry leader creating a destination location.”

Sarasota County to Consider Project Mulligan Headquarters Relocation Incentives

In an economy where any company that wants to grow or relocate and create jobs is a blessing, it’s hard to find a solid economic development project that you are not sure you want. One such project is Project Mulligan, a proposed headquarters relocation that could bring one of America’s largest roofing companies to Sarasota County, FL.

Sarasota econdev Project Mulligan

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Later today, the Sarasota County Commission will take up a request by the Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County to approve a financial incentive grant of up to $504,000 to assist in expenses to relocate Project Mulligan’s business to Sarasota County.

The as yet unnamed company is described as a national roofing company, and their site selection decision has been narrowed down to North Carolina, Georgia and the Sarasota site in Florida.

If Project Mulligan selects Sarasota, it could bring yet another national headquarters to Florida, along with a capital investment of $450,000 and 180 jobs over five years. The company will locate in a high quality multi-story office location consistent with a headquarters location, and the committed average salary is at least $58,757, which is 150 percent of the MSA average wage.

In order to secure this project for Florida, total incentives that would be offered add up to $1,584,000. This includes $720,000 in Sarasota economic development incentives, comprised of a $216,000 local match for a Qualified Target Industry (QTI) Tax Refund incentive, and another $504,000 as an Economic Development Incentive Grant.

The only issue about this project is that the local roofing industry in the region is not happy about a national roofing company being paid incentives to muscle in on their market, and then having to compete with Project Mulligan for the local roofing workforce.

A memo from the Sarasota County EDC to the County Commission addresses these concerns. Specifically, it states that “Project Mulligan’s national/ regional corporate account business model does not appear to conflict with the business models of those in our local industry. As a national company, the majority of Project Mulligan’s revenues come from national accounts…”

The memo further adds that because Project Mulligan’s proposed national headquarters does not include a roofing installation operation, they will not compete for employees in the local installation roofing workforce market. The new jobs the company would create in Sarasota are all c-level and typical headquarter support functions for the roofing industry (accounting/ HR/ IT, real estate, training, administration, etc.).

Currently, a full 98 percent of the company’s sales are generated outside of Sarasota County. The memo adds that “Nothing about the proposed headquarters and related jobs being incentivized is intended to enhance the companies roofing capabilities in our region beyond those that presently exist.”

Greater Fremont Economic Development Group Announces Progress in Costco Project

The Greater Fremont Development Council announced that Costco has filed a petition seeking rezoning and annexation of land it needs for a chicken processing facility in Nebraska.


Costco (photo – opengridscheduler/flickr)

The project, better known as Project Rawhide, has been in the news because the Village Board of Nickerson, NE had refused to approve the same project on grounds of pollution and overcrowding.

This despite the fact that the economic development benefits from this facility included the creation of 1,100 new jobs, along with an investment of $180 million for the region.

The project will offer opportunities for workers to gain entry into the job market and further enhance their skill sets in our state’s top industry – agriculture.

Costco Wholesale Corporation is the company that would get the final chicken product from this proposed facility that would be operated by Lincoln Premium Poultry, which is connected to Crider Foods in Georgia.

Since being rejected by the Village Board of Nickerson, the Greater Fremont Development Council and other partners associated with the project have been trying hard to ensure that the project stays in the Greater Fremont/Dodge County region, ensuring an additional tax base of $63 million. The established farmer network with 75 to 100 growers would bring an additional $136 million in capital investment to the rural economy.

Area corn and soybean growers also would benefit from a new buyer of their product. The company plans to purchase the 300,000 bushels of corn and 3,000 tons of soybean meal required per week from local providers.

Costco chose Dodge County based on a number of factors, including the quality of the workforce, the cost of doing business, available land, a supportive farm community willing to grow chickens, proximity to customers and suppliers, the local availability of corn and soy meal for feeding the poultry and the overall quality of life.

The Greater Fremont Development Council worked on this project in collaboration with the Greater Omaha Economic Development Partnership, Nebraska Department of Economic Development, Nebraska Department of Agriculture, Dodge County Government, Fremont Department of Utilities, and City of Fremont, among others.

Fremont Mayor Scott Getzschman said in a statement that “We are thrilled that we were able to help Costco find an appropriate location in the Greater Fremont area.” Mayor Getzschman added that “It speaks to all the regional assets we have that will make this project successful and we are grateful for Costco’s commitment to the relationships they have developed throughout this process.”

Unlike the Nickerson Village Board, local authorities in Fremont seem more eager to approve this project. Fremont City Council president Larry Johnson noted that the location at Hills Farm with its infrastructure and industrial character is a great fit for the project. “We look forward to playing our role in the approval process,” added Johnson.

ORDA, ESD Help Lake Placid, New York Retain USA Luge Headquarters

Jim Leahy, CEO of USA Luge, announced over the weekend that the association’s Board of Directors has unanimously voted to approve a proposal to keep their headquarters in Lake Placid, NY for the next five years.

Olympic Center in Lake Placid, NY

Olympic Center in Lake Placid, NY (photo – WEBN-TV/flickr)

As part of the site selection process, USA Luge had issued an RFP (request for proposals) about a year ago to determine the location of the association’s headquarters. They received competing bids from Lake Placid and Park City, UT.

Lake Placid, site of the 1932 and 1980 Olympic Winter Games, has been home to USA Luge since its inception in 1979. Furthermore, Leahy cited key existing factors like the Olympic Training Center, indoor refrigerated start facility and access to the USOC Sport Medicine facilities as factors that weighed heavily in favor of Lake Placid.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo said in a statement that this vote ensures that “USA Luge will continue to drive significant economic growth, create well-paying jobs and inspire the next generation of Olympians in New York State.”

Since 2011, the state has dedicated over $43 million in upgrades and improvements to Lake Placid’s Olympic facilities. State agencies Empire State Development (ESD) and the Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) are now doubling down on the state’s investment in Lake Placid economic development through significant new commitments to USA Luge.

For its part, ESD will invest $1 million in the marketing and promotion of USA Luge, including $200,000 per year over five years to support the association’s televised events. Another $‎5 million in state funds through ORDA will support the creation of a new start ramp facility.

Howard Zemsky, President, CEO and Commissioner of chief New York economic development agency Empire State Development, noted that “The state understands how vital this organization is and strongly believes that it should remain in the region for years to come.”

Ted Blazer, President and CEO of ORDA likewise added that “All of us at the Olympic Authority are pleased that USA Luge will remain in Lake Placid.”

Apart from the Governor and officials at ESD and ORDA, Jim Leahy also thanked Jim McKenna, CEO of the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism. ROOST is an accredited Upstate New York Destination Marketing Organization that serves Lake Placid and Essex County, Franklin County and Hamilton County.

The USA Luge headquarters announcement comes on the heels of the American Dance Institute’s (ADI) groundbreaking of their $3.75 million headquarters project in Catskill, NY. ADI is relocating its headquarters from Maryland to the new Upstate New York location.

Overland Park Spec Building in Toledo, Ohio Attracts $70M Dana Axle Manufacturing Plant

Dana Holding Corporation (NYSE: DAN) has announced plans to open a new high-tech axle manufacturing facility at the Overland Industrial Park in Toledo, OH.

Dana axle plant in Overland Industrial Park, Toledo, OH

Dana axle plant in Overland Industrial Park, Toledo, OH (photo – Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority)

Supported by the State of Ohio, JobsOhio, the Regional Growth Partnership, the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, Lucas County, and City of Toledo economic development incentives, the company is investing $70 million and plans to employ more than 300 associates by 2020.

This makes Dana the first tenant on the iconic site, previously home to Willys-Overland Motors, which developed the original Jeep. The location, adjacent to Interstate 75, is less than three miles from FCA US LLC’s Toledo Assembly Complex and is optimally located to support automakers throughout the geographic region.

James Kamsickas, Dana president and CEO, said in a statement that “The investment in this new manufacturing facility is another substantial example of Dana’s commitment to the city and our community.”

Kamsickas added that it is an honor for Dana to return manufacturing to the same historic site where Toledo’s automotive industry began more than 100 years ago. Dana plans to lease and expand a recently constructed 100,000-square-foot spec building on the property to nearly 300,000 square feet.

The Port Authority and NAI Harmon Group began construction on the 100,000-square-foot class A spec industrial building in June 2014, and held a ribbon cutting ceremony for the facility last October. The building was designed for warehouse/distribution or light manufacturing/assembly operations.

Without this existing spec building already constructed on the site, Dana would not have selected Overland Industrial Park for its new high-tech axle manufacturing facility.

Paul Toth, president and CEO of the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, noted in a Port Authority release that “We knew it was a risk to construct the first building on the site without a tenant, but our vision for the site has clearly paid off. More than 300 new jobs are coming to northwest Ohio, and Overland Industrial Park will once again become a symbol of hope and promise for our community.”

Since acquiring the former Jeep Property in 2010, the Port Authority has invested approximately $14 million to redevelop the site. Upgrades done include remediation, site grading, installation of lighting and the completion of a new roadway to serve as the main entrance to the site while the I-75 interchange project is being completed. The property is served by Class I rail, and offers easy access to the interstate system.

James Tuschman, chairman of the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority Board of Directors, added that “Dana has played a major role in Toledo’s manufacturing economy over the years, so it’s exciting that they will kick-off the renaissance at the former iconic Jeep site.”

Toledo Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson likewise noted in a statement that “This project illustrates the importance of having job ready sites available in Toledo.”

Apart from the massive local, state and federal investment in the Overland site redevelopment and spec building, additional Toledo economic development incentives for the project include a six-year Toledo Expansion Incentive equivalent to 30 percent of the Toledo income tax withheld from employees at the site. This incentive is estimated to be valued at $76,000 per year.

A property tax abatement for the project, offered through the City of Toledo Community Reinvestment Area, is estimated to be $1.6 million. The City is also providing engineering and planning support for water and sewer taps and the site plan, expedited permitting and approvals, and assistance in processing and finalizing agreements.

Biotech Ecosystem Attracts Cerebain Headquarters Relocation to Costa Mesa, California

Cerebain Biotech (OTCQB: CBBT) has announced that it is relocating its corporate headquarters to a new location in Costa Mesa, CA.

Cerebain Biotech

Cerebain Biotech (photo –

The California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) said in a statement that GO-Biz reached out to Cerebain to welcome them to California and offer its services as they complete the transition of their headquarters.

“Cerebain is relocating to California in order to tap into the world’s most innovative biotech ecosystem featuring highly skilled workers, a great environment for business and a broad array of partners at the local and state level,” said GO-Biz Director Panorea Avdis.

Eric Clemons, president and chief executive officer of Cerebain, likewise said in the company’s own release that “This move allows us to take advantage of Southern California’s strong talent pool and cost-effective environment to continue to build our novel, high-value medical device.”

The company’s decision to relocate from its existing corporate headquarters in Dallas, TX was driven by its plan to seek FDA approval for its medical device for the treatment of Alzheimer’s and Dementia. Cerebain Biotech is a development-stage medical device company focused on the creation and clinical development of a minimally invasive implantable device and a synthetic drug solution.

The Company has engaged the services of Hamilton Advisors of Great Falls, VA, to support business development goals that will help the company accelerate its research programs, with an emphasis on receiving FDA approval.

As for the location for their new headquarters, the company began its formal site selection review process in July last year, starting with a list of a number of potential locations. Costa Mesa was selected after a careful evaluation of its location in Southern California, the business ecosystem, talent, long-term costs, quality of life for employees, connections with the world and proximity to other important company assets.

Also in Costa Mesa’s favor was the fact that prior to assuming leadership of Cerebain, Eric Clemons served as president and chief operating officer for GTC Telecom Corp, a publicly traded Nevada Corporation that operated out of Costa Mesa.

California is home to 2,848 biotech companies – more than any other state in the U.S. These companies directly employ 281,000 people and generate $130 billion in revenue. Costa Mesa is furthermore the home of the GO-Biz sponsored Innovation Hub OCTANe which helps companies expand in the region, with a specific focus on growing biotech firms.

Italian SATA Group to Locate $114M Machine Plant in Brownsville, Texas

SATA USA, a subsidiary of Italy-based high-tech components manufacturer SATA Group, has announced the selection of Brownsville, TX as the location for a new machine plant.

Brownsville Economic Development Council

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Supported by a Texas Enterprise Fund (TEF) offer of $1.8 million, SATA Group is expected to create 300 new jobs and generate $114 million in capital investment.

The announcement was made at the Brownsville Economic Development Council, where company executives were joined by state, local and federal officials.

Governor Abbott said in a statement that “I am proud that SATA Group has chosen to expand in the Rio Grande Valley, bringing high-quality jobs to a region that is vital to the growth of our state.”

Pietro Cinotto, Vice President of SATA USA, explained that growing demand for their machined products and services grew to the point where it made sense for them to enter the North American market, and that’s when Brownsville, TX came into their site selection process. “The overwhelming support helped us make the decision to settle in Brownsville,” added Cinotto.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker likewise issued a statement noting that “At the Department of Commerce, we are proud to lead the SelectUSA program, a coordinated federal effort to attract foreign direct investment. This deal shows the value of cooperation across the local, state, and federal levels to bring new job-creating investments to our communities.”

Housed within the Department of Commerce, SelectUSA is the first U.S. government-wide program to promote and facilitate job-creating investment into the United States.

Working together with Brownsville, SelectUSA coordinated efforts by Secretary Pritzker, U.S. Ambassador to Italy John Phillips, SelectUSA Executive Director Vinai Thummalapally, and others to encourage SATA USA to locate this investment in the United States.

Jason Hilts, President and CEO of the Brownsville Economic Development Council, highlighted the project’s regional impact in South Texas. “In the long term, the SATA development will be the anchor for the North Brownsville Heavy Manufacturing Campus, which will become a major economic pillar for South Texas,” said Hilts.

The North Brownsville Heavy Manufacturing Campus is a 350-acre development on newly designated Interstate 169 that has potential to create 4,000 jobs over a 10-year period. It will house a vertically-integrated machining-foundry-forging operation by 2020, and will integrate private enterprise, the public sector, the university system, community college and technical training facilities, all within the campus.

Texas, NC Win Site Selection Prosperity Cup For Most Competitive State Level Economic Development Dept

In its latest issue, Site Selection magazine has introduced the Prosperity Cup, awarded this year jointly to the Economic Development & Tourism Division of the Governor’s Office in Texas and the North Carolina Department of Commerce, recognizing them as the most competitive state-level department of commerce or economic development.

NC Commerce wins Site Selection Prosperity Cup

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The rankings are based on an index of 10 criteria, including the total number of new and expanded facilities in the state, capital investment and total number of new jobs created, that measure corporate project activity and business climate attractiveness.

Governor Pat McCrory said in a statement that this ranking confirms once again that North Carolina is an outstanding place to do business. “Our state offers companies the competitive factors they need to be successful, which is why North Carolina enjoys the fastest growing economy in the nation,” added Gov. McCrory.

Site Selection magazine noted in its publication the breadth, depth and diversity of the economic development portfolios of Texas and North Carolina, and also pointed out that both states’ official agencies have in common strong ties with their non-profit partners the Texas Economic Development Council (TEDC) and the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina (EDPNC).

North Carolina Commerce Secretary John E. Skvarla, III added that “We have a superior tax and regulatory environment, highly skilled workforce and outstanding quality of life in addition to a wide variety of economic development programs to assist business with growth opportunities.”

Here’s the top 10 states listed by Site Selection in their annual Prosperity Cup (formerly the Competitiveness Award) rankings – Texas/North Carolina; Tennessee; Kentucky; Georgia; Michigan; Indiana; Ohio, South Carolina; and Iowa.

In its May issue, Site Selection has also published what is now known as the Mac Awards for Excellence in Economic Development (formerly Top Groups), so named in honor of Site Selection founding publisher Mac Conway, and awarded to the top U.S. economic development groups.

The metro and micropolitan EDOs mentioned are not ranked, but have been listed based on unique ways they are addressing critical issues in their communities, in addition to the total number of jobs created and total amount of investment, as well as per capita investment and jobs created in the region.

The top metro groups mentioned are the Austin Chamber; Charleston Regional Development Alliance; Chattanooga Area Chamber; REDI Cincinnati; Dallas-Fort Worth Regional Chamber; Detroit Economic Growth Corporation; Greater Houston Partnership; Knoxville Chamber; Louisville Forward; Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce; and Greater New Orleans Inc.

Site Selection Editor in Chief Mark Arend said in a statement that “Those appearing on these rankings have demonstrated with actual project numbers and other measures that they have the location attributes most in demand by capital investors.”

Sun Paper Selects Arkadelphia, Arkansas For Bio-Products Mill

Sun Paper, one of the top 500 Chinese enterprises and one of the world’s top pulp and paper makers, has announced the selection of a site in Arkadelphia, AR for a large new bio-products mill.

Arkansas State Capitol

Arkansas State Capitol (photo – Daniel Schwen/wikimedia)

The announcement was made by Governor Asa Hutchinson and Hongxin Li, chairman and founder of Sun Paper, in the Governor’s Conference Room at the Arkansas State Capitol in Little Rock, AR.

The company will invest more than $1 billion in the project and expects to create 250 new jobs for Arkadelphia and Clark County at an average annual salary of $52,000.

This will be their first facility in North America. Headquartered in Yanzhou in China’s Shandong Province, Sun Paper is listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange and is one of the biggest private enterprises in China. With total assets of 26 billion yuan and a worldwide workforce of more than 10,000 employees, the annual pulp and paper production capacity of Sun Paper is 4.6 million tons. It’s also among the most globally advanced transnational papermaking group and an enterprise integrating pulp and papermaking.

Back in November, Gov. Hutchinson and Chairman Hongxin Li had signed a letter of intent of investment cooperation for a $1.3 billion pulp mill project. The letter of intent was signed during an Arkansas trade mission to Asia led by Gov. Hutchinson, in the presence of Arkansas Economic Development Commission Executive Director Mike Preston, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, and U.S. Consulate General Charles Bennett.

At that time, Gov. Hutchinson said in a statement that “This is another great example of how important these trade missions are in marketing Arkansas to the rest of the world.”

The Governor’s Office and AEDC have been working closely with the company as they finalized details for the location of this project. The Arkadelphia site halfway between Little Rock and Texarkana that the company has chosen is located in the heart of Arkansas’ timber industry, with easy access to Interstate 30. Forests cover about 18.8 million acres, about half of the state, mostly in South Arkansas.

Gov. Hutchinson noted in a release announcing the company’s selection of Arkadelphia that “This is among the largest private investments in the state’s history and the impact will be felt for generations. Thanks to Sun Paper for choosing Arkansas as the location for its first North American facility.”

Sun Paper’s investment in Arkansas is comparable to Big River Steel’s investment in Mississippi County, AR. At the time that project was announced, it was the largest investment ever in Arkansas.

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