Austin Gets athenahealth R&D Center With 607 New Jobs

Watertown, MA-based athenahealth, Inc. (NASDAQ:ATHN), which provides cloud-based IT services for the health care sector, is planning to establish an R&D center in Austin, Texas.

Austin, TX

Austin, TX (photo –

The company will invest $7.75 million into the $13 million project, with the State of Texas chipping in another $5 million through the Texas Enterprise Fund (TEF).

athenahealth will take up 115,000 square feet of office space and invest $5.25 million in leasehold improvements, along with $7.75 million in business personal property.

The company is expected to create 607 new jobs with average annual wages of $132,085 over the next ten years. They already have 2,850 employees across five locations in the U.S. and one more overseas, including 36 existing employees in Austin.

athenahealth chairman and CEO Jonathan Bush said athenahealth was growing all across the country as they work to fulfill the vision of becoming a national information backbone that makes health care work as it should.

Bush said Austin has a strong talent pool that would aid in athenahealth’s important work advancing connectivity in health care.

The R&D center will be located in the Seaholm Power Plant Development District, where redevelopment projects are being actively assisted by the City’s Economic Development Department.

Kevin Johns, director of Austin’s Economic Development Department, said they were pleased that athenahealth is considering an expansion in the Seaholm District. He said they would serve as a great return on investment to this multi-modal, mixed-use hub.

During the 10-year agreement period between the City of Austin and athenahealth, the City will provide $679,500 in local incentives based on the company’s performance with regards to job creation and capital investment.

Apart from the jobs being created, Austin will get an estimated $1.67 million in net benefits through new revenues, in addition to $199,826 in new property tax revenues that will go to the Seaholm TIF.

The Austin City Council is expected to sign off on the local incentives by the end of the month after a comment period and public hearing. The $5 million in state incentives is contingent upon approval of local incentives for the athenahealth project.

Texas Governor Rick Perry said the state’s model of low taxes, smart regulations and fair courts continues to attract world-class companies such as athenahealth looking to expand their operations.

Gov. Perry added that this TEF investment will create hundreds of high-paying tech jobs in Austin, building on the city’s thriving technology sector and strengthening the local and state economies.

Comcast to Build $1.2B Innovation & Technology Center in Philadelphia

Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ: CMCSA, CMCSK) and Liberty Property Trust (NYSE: LRY) announced a joint project to build the “Comcast Innovation and Technology Center” tower in Center City, Philadelphia.

Comcast Innovation & Technology Center in Center City, Philadelphia

Comcast Innovation & Technology Center in Center City, Philadelphia (rendering –

The $1.2 billion project is a 1,121-foot tall 59-story tower adjacent to Comcast’s global headquarters at Comcast Center.

It will create 20,000 temporary jobs during the construction phase, and nearly 4,000 new permanent jobs in Pennsylvania, including 2,800 permanent jobs in Philadelphia alone.

The 4,000 permanent new jobs include 1,500 new Comcast positions that will be located in the tower.

The project is expected to generate $2.75 billion in economic activity in Pennsylvania, with additional annual tax revenues worth $30.7 million for the Commonwealth, and $21.5 million in local tax revenue for the City.

The tower will become a media industry hub as the new home of broadcast television stations NBC 10/WCAU and Telemundo 62/WWSI, in addition to offering space for technology startups.

The tower, designed by famed architect Lord Norman Foster, will incorporate green building practices and seek LEED platinum certification.

The tower will have 1.517 million rentable square feet of space, including a block-long lobby with a glass encased plaza, restaurant and a new concourse to connect the building directly with SEPTA’s Suburban Station.

It will also house a new Four Seasons Hotel with more than 200 rooms, meeting facilities, event space and a spa. Not to mention a rooftop restaurant with 360-degree city views.

Brian L. Roberts, chairman and CEO, Comcast Corporation, said they continue to be proud to call Philadelphia their home, and are thrilled to build a media, technology and innovation center in the heart of the city, creating thousands of jobs and further driving economic activity in the region.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett said the entertainment and innovation complex elevates Philadelphia’s strong reputation as a world-class destination for culture and connection.

Gov. Corbett added that this project was not just about building a new tower on Philadelphia’s skyline or creating new and beautiful spaces in Center City. The Governor said the project shows that Philadelphia is taking a bite out of the ‘Big Apple’ and is ready to compete with anyone in the world to bring jobs to Pennsylvania.

Liberty Property Trust Chairman and CEO William P. Hankowsky said they were thrilled at the opportunity to develop a transformative project for the City of Philadelphia, a project which he said would contribute significantly to the continuing renaissance of Center City as a forward-looking yet uniquely livable urban environment.

NC State University Gets $140M Manufacturing Innovation Institute

President Obama will announce today that a North Carolina consortium led by NC State University has been awarded a $140 million manufacturing innovation institute (MII) for next generation power electronics.

NC State Manufacturing Innovation Institute

NC State Manufacturing Innovation Institute

The Next Generation Power Electronics Innovation Institute is the second institute the federal government is establishing as part of a national network of manufacturing innovation institutes.

It is also the first of three MIIs that are being set up after a successful pilot project established the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (NAMII) in Youngstown, Ohio.

The federal government is committing $200 million for these three MIIs through five federal agencies including Commerce, Defense, Energy, NASA and the National Science Foundation.

The U.S. Dept. of Energy will provide $70 million for the new power electronics MII, with the State of North Carolina and the members of the consortium providing a matching $70 million.

The institute will be located on NC State’s Centennial Campus in Raleigh, NC. It will also host shared R&D facilities and testing equipment, and will also provide education and workforce development programs.

The competitive selection process for the remaining two institutes that will be led by the Department of Defense is still in progress, and is expected to be announced over the next few weeks.

The mission of the new institute in North Carolina is to develop advanced manufacturing processes for enabling large- scale wide bandgap (WBG) semiconductor production. This will in turn make electronic smaller and faster, and more efficient than the existing semiconductors that are made from silicon.

If this happens, it will make a huge difference in energy economy by reducing the size and cost and increasing the efficiency of anything that uses semiconductors. This means everything from household appliances to industrial motors, power grids, computers, electric vehicles and satellites.

For example, use of WBG semiconductors will reduce the size of laptop adapters by 80 percent. One-fourth of the power used by a laptop is lost as waste heat, and up to 90 percent of these power conversion losses can be reduced using WBG semiconductors. The size of an 8,000 lbs. power substation can be brought down to 100 lbs. and the size of a suitcase.

The winning team led by NC State that will work on this research and development is a consortium that includes the State of North Carolina, seven universities and labs, and 18 businesses including the world’s leading WBG semiconductor manufacturers and critical end-users like Delphi and John Deere.

Find out more about the NC State MII at

Magic Johnson Brings EquiTrust Life Insurance Co to Illinois

West Des Moines, IA-based EquiTrust Life Insurance Co. is coming to Illinois, and will be opening their first office in Chicago.

Magic Johnson EquiTrust announcement in Chicago

Magic Johnson EquiTrust announcement in Chicago (photo –

The company will create around 200 new jobs in the Chicago office over the next year, and may expand further after that, creating hundreds more jobs in the years to come.

EquiTrust also announced that Earvin Johnson, the chairman and CEO of Magic Johnson Enterprises, will become a controlling shareholder in EquiTrust, which was acquired by Guggenheim Partners, LLC from the FBL Financial Group, Inc., for $471 million in 2011.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said he welcomes EquiTrust to Chicago. He said Chicago is a thriving center for the insurance industry and EquiTrust will only add to this leadership in future.

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn said they are thrilled that EquiTrust has chosen to create jobs in Illinois, and excited to have former NBA star and entrepreneur Johnson become a corporate citizen of the state.

Gov. Quinn added that Earvin Johnson’s work in redeveloping urban communities has been widely recognized across the country, and this is a win-win for Illinois.

The North/South Lawndale Magic Johnson Bridgescape Academy offers one of the only two blended-learning programs in Chicago. They provide a free and flexible path to a high school diploma for students who have dropped out or are at risk of dropping out of school.

The Magic Johnson Bridgescape Academies spread across six states have a combined enrollment of 1,675 students.

Johnson also recently launched the “Friends of Magic” organization in a joint announcement with Gov. Quinn at the Magic Johnson Bridgescape Academy in Chicago in Sept 2013. Friends of Magic aims to provide at-risk students with the tools required to graduate from high school and aim for a successful future.

Johnson said that EquiTrust’s decision to come to Illinois was based on the state’s large and dynamic economy, and its pool of talented workers.

EquiTrust CEO Jeff Lange likewise noted that the city and state contain a vibrant business community with an outstanding work force pool. He said the Governor and Illinois Department of Insurance had been extraordinarily welcoming and helpful in assisting the company with their efforts.

Illinois Department of Insurance Director Andrew Boron said EquiTrust is a welcome addition to the life insurance and annuities market in the state.

Business Facilities Names Tennessee as “State of the Year”

Business Facilities magazine has named Tennessee as its “2013 State of the Year” based on an evaluation of the top projects for jobs created and amount of capital invested in each state.

TN. Gov Bill Haslam at Hankook Tire Co announcement

TN. Gov Bill Haslam at Hankook Tire Co announcement (photo –

Tennessee ranked first by virtue of its top projects creating 6,900 jobs. Following Tennessee on the list were Utah, Texas, Louisiana, Georgia and Pennsylvania.

The biggest projects Tennessee landed in 2013 were a $1.6 billion investment by the Eastman Chemical Company, and South Korean tire manufacturer Hankook’s $800 million plant in Clarksville that will create 1,800 jobs in Montgomery County over the next five years.

Here’s Tennessee’s list of top five projects for both jobs created and capital invested:-

Top five projects for jobs:- Hankook Tire Co., Ltd – 1,800 jobs; ARAMARK – 1,500 jobs; Nissan North America, Inc. – 1,400 jobs; Calsonic Kansei North America, Inc. – 1,200 jobs; and UBS – 1,000 jobs

Top five projects for capital investment:- Eastman Chemical Company – $1.6 billion; Hankook Tire Co., Ltd – $800 million; International Paper Company – $321 million; Nike, Inc. – $276 million; and Alcoa, Inc. – $275 million

Gov. Bill Haslam said that a lot of hard work goes into keeping Tennessee competitive, and he wanted to thank Business Facilities for recognizing the efforts of so many people across the state.

Tennessee is now the only state other than Texas to be named more than once as the “State of the Year” by Business Facilities magazine since they began this tradition in 2007. Tennessee ranked first in 2009 and 2013, while Texas topped the charts in 2007 and 2012.

Business Facilities Editor in Chief Jack Rogers said Tennessee continues to impress with its aggressive execution of a diversified growth strategy. Rogers said the state has put in place a solid foundation for robust job creation for years to come.

TN Dept of Economic and Community Development (ECD) Commissioner Bill Hagerty said that over the past year, Tennessee has experienced unprecedented amounts of momentum.

Commissioner Hagerty said the global companies that invested capital in the state and the number of jobs created demonstrate to the world that Tennessee not only provides a top-notch business environment, but also the ongoing support needed for success.

Minnesota Launches Job Creation Fund To Help Create 5000 Jobs

Minnesota has launched a $24 million Job Creation Fund as a pay-for-performance business development initiative.

Minnesota Job Creation Fund

Minnesota Job Creation Fund (photo –

The fund will be administered by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).

It is estimated that it will help create 5,000 jobs across the state. Funding provided to projects under this initiative will help them attract $450 million in additional private investment.

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton said the strength of the economy and the security of middle class Minnesota families depend on the investments made today for accelerating job growth and getting every Minnesotan back to work.

Gov. Dayton added that every job matters, and that is why initiatives such as the Minnesota Job Creation Fund are so important.

The Job Creation Fund (JCF) approved by the Minnesota Legislature last year will replace the JOBZ program which is due to expire in 2015.

The new fund will provide up to $1 million to projects that fulfill the eligibility criteria, one of which is that the project wouldn’t take place at all without assistance from the Job Creation fund.

Businesses that get a JCF designation must sign a business subsidy agreement under which they agree to meet job creation and retention requirements at specific wage levels, in addition to fulfilling the capital investment requirement.

Designated businesses must maintain existing employment levels and also create at least 10 new full-time jobs within two years of being designated. The business must also agree to invest at least $500,000 in real property improvements within a year of being designated as a JCF business.

DEED Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben said the Job Creation Fund will not only provide access to capital for businesses that need assistance for expanding or moving operations to Minnesota, but will also add high-quality jobs to the state’s economy.

DEED is now accepting applications from businesses in the manufacturing, technology, distribution and warehousing sectors that are seeking JCF funds to expand or locate in Minnesota.

DEED requires the local government unit where the project is located to approve of it. Applicants should therefore contact their local government to seek their approval and assistance in submitting the JCF application form and supporting documents.

Carnival Cruise Lines Sails Back Into Norfolk, Virginia

On his first full day in office, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe announced during his Address to the Joint Assembly that Carnival Cruise Lines is coming back to Norfolk in 2015, with cruises set to recommence in the spring and fall.

Half Moone Cruise and Celebration Center in Norfolk, VA

Half Moone Cruise and Celebration Center in Norfolk, VA (photo –

Gov. McAuliffe said Carnival’s transition back to Virginia shows the strength of the region’s assets, from the infrastructure the port provides to the nearby passenger amenities.

The Governor added that this was a major step forward in encouraging more ship calls and regular homeport service to the Commonwealth.

The announcement of Carnival’s return to Virginia comes a mere six months after they announced in June 2013 that the Carnival Glory would move its base from Norfolk to Florida.

Carnival came to Norfolk six years ago after the city spent $37.4 million to build a cruise terminal, assisted by $5 million in funding from the Virginia Port Authority. The Half Moone Cruise and Celebration Center opened in 2007, and quickly turned into a huge engine for growth.

The terminal welcomed 381,000 passengers and 46,000 crew members from its opening in 2007 through to July 2013, according to an op-ed written by Norfolk Mayor Paul D. Fraim in July 2013 after Carnival decided to pull out.

During this period, the facilities generated $8.5 million in direct revenue, and the passengers and crew spent an estimated $48.7 million. Another $4.3 million came from spending by the cruise ships on everything from dockage fees to fresh water. Facility rentals and parking at the terminal accounted for another $3 million.

On top of the cruise industry’s impact on Norfolk and the region, the facility has also turned into a popular event venue that has hosted hundreds of events, drawing thousands of visitors and generating more spending and revenue.

Carnival’s return to Norfolk next year means all this spending and growth will not be dependent on stop-overs by cruise ships passing by the coast. Mayor Fraim said Norfolk is thrilled to welcome the world’s largest cruise line back in 2015, and added that Carnival’s decision confirms that Norfolk serves an important role in the competitive cruise industry.

According to a study conducted last year by the Virginia Tourism Corporation, around 8.1 million adults within a five-hour drive of Norfolk are likely to take a cruise over the next three years, which makes Norfolk a prime location for bringing in more cruise activity.

Israeli Biotech Startup BioHarvest Moving to University at Albany, NY

Israeli biotechnology company BioHarvest Ltd. will be moving its R&D start-up operations from Tel Aviv, Israel to the University at Albany in Albany, New York.

Vinia - BioHarvest’s red grape cell powder

Vinia РBioHarvest’s red grape cell powder (photo Р

The relocation project will create 60 new jobs at the company’s new location in the University at Albany’s East Campus.

The announcement was made by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, who said that companies in growing fields from around the globe are coming to New York and creating new economic opportunity in all parts of the state.

Gov. Cuomo said the partnership with BioHarvest will create new jobs and establish the Capital Region as a leader in the research and development field.

BioHarvest is a woman co-owned business founded in 2007 as Fruitura BioScience Ltd. The company has developed a patented system for growing and bio-harvesting fruit cell cultures using 3D bioreactors.

The result is the capability to produce, on an industrial scale, super-foods rich in phytonutrients for the wellness, supplements and nutrition markets.

Last year, BioHarvest’s first large-scale commercial product called red grape cell powder (RGC) was authorized by Israeli regulatory agencies. It‚Äôs now known as Vinia, and studies have demonstrated that it has beneficial effects for metabolic conditions, Type II Diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

BioHarvest’s collaboration with University at Albany will unfold in three stages. To start with, four to five staff members are expected to be hired for clinical and scientific collaborations with the University’s Cancer Research Center (CRC) for research related to health and intervention strategies.

The second phase will create 50 jobs as the company sets up four bio-reactors and their production and sales facilities in a building within the campus by the end of this year.

In the third stage that is expected to create around 10 jobs, they will establish a Center for Innovative Functional Foods Research.

University at Albany President Robert J. Jones said that with innovative science and technologies of CRC complemented with New York State resources through Empire State Development, the BioHarvest collaboration is a model public-private partnership that illustrates how the innovation, discovery and entrepreneurship equation creates jobs and positive economic outcomes for the community.

BioHarvest’s relocation and collaborative projects with the University at Albany will be assisted by a $1.2 million ESD award that will be made through the Capital Region Economic Development Council (CREDC).

Louisville Rewards Creative Redevelopment Ideas With Property and Cash

For the last couple of years, the Louisville Metro Government in Kentucky has been grappling with the redevelopment of more than 6,000 vacant properties that were identified in code enforcement actions in 2011.

VAPStat - Lousiville, KY

VAPStat – Lousiville, KY (photo –

Updates on the redevelopment efforts are available on the metro government’s VAPStat (Vacant and Abandoned Property Statistics) website.

But what they’ve mostly been focusing on until now is razing the abandoned properties with blighted structures, and foreclosing on the rest.

However, since hundreds out of the thousands of vacant lots are government-owned and available for redevelopment, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer has now offered citizens a chance to win $38,000 in prize money if they can come up with creative ideas for redeveloping around 250 of the government-owned vacant lots.

Of course, the money isn’t just for the idea – the winners will get ownership or lease of the land and must use the prize money as seed funding for carrying out their vision for the property.

The Lots of Possibility competition aims to engage the community and solicit innovative and affordable ideas that can be replicated to put the hundreds of vacant government-owned lots to productive use.

The competition is divided into two parts – permanent use projects and temporary or interim use projects.

The permanent use category involves use of the property for residential, commercial, institutional or civic projects where the prize winner will be taking ownership of the lot. The two winners in this category will each be given ownership of a vacant lot and $15,000 in seed funding to get the project started.

The temporary category project ideas do not allow for construction of a physical structure on the lot, and no ownership will be provided. Instead, the purpose of the ideas submitted under this category must be to preserve the land for potential development in the future.

As such, the two winners in this category will be given the land on a one-year lease (extendable for another year) and $4,000 each as project funding.

The competition is a partnership effort between the Louisville Metro Department of Community Services and Revitalization (CSR), Vision Louisville, and the Mayor’s Innovation Delivery Team, which is partly funded by a Bloomberg Philanthropies grant award.

You can see the eligible lots on this interactive map. The mapping tool is provided by OpportunitySpace, a platform that helps communities deploy data and tech tools to find the best use for public lands.

PNAA Aerospace Conference and Suppliers Fair

The Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance (PNAA) will be hosting the 13th Annual Aerospace Conference and Suppliers Fair in Lynnwood, Washington from Feb 4-6, 2014.

PNAA Aerospace Conference

PNAA Aerospace Conference (photo –

This is the sector’s largest West Coast conference which drew more than 425 attendees last year from 300 companies spread across the Americas, Europe and Asia.

This year’s conference under the theme of “What’s Driving Change in the Aerospace Industry?” features forecasts and analysis from aerospace analysts including Richard Aboulafia, vice president, Analysis, The Teal Group; and Scott Hamilton, managing director of Leeham Co.

Aboulafia will be providing commercial and defense industry forecasts. Hamilton will be providing an overview of the state of the global aerospace industry.

One of the key presentations on Feb 6 will be an analysts panel that will look at the Boeing 777X site selection impacts. Panelists Aboulafia and Hamilton, together with Michel Merluzeau, managing partner at G2 Solutions, will be discussing 777X production approaches and the future of aerospace manufacturing in Washington State, among other things.

Attendees will learn how the Boeing Machinists’ vote and Boeing’s subsequent decision to locate the 777X project in Puget Sound will impact manufacturers, state economies and the supply chain. The panel will also focus on the industry’s future “looking beyond Boeing.”

Hamilton says that they will have to go through the whole thing again when Boeing proceeds with a new design to replace the 757 at the end of the decade, and then the 737 MAX in the next decade. He said the state and region must become more aggressive to look ‘Beyond Boeing’ in order to insulate themselves from economic and labor blackmail every time Boeing wants to build an airplane.

PNAA has also confirmed that Washington Governor Jay Inslee will be a keynote dinner speaker at the PNAA Conference on Feb 5.

PNAA Executive Director Melanie Jordan said that in his appearance at the PNAA conference last year, the Governor laid out his vision for Washington’s Aerospace Industry, and this year will be an excellent opportunity for him to address the changes and opportunities in the aerospace industry.

Product and program updates will be provided by top-level executives at Boeing, Airbus, Bombardier and Embraer, and by the other top OEMs including GE, Rolls Royce and Pratt & Whitney. The Suppliers Fair will be held on the final day of the conference.

What: PNAA 2014 Aerospace Conference and Suppliers Fair

When: February 4-6, 2014

Where: Lynnwood Convention Center, Lynnwood, Washington

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