Nevada GOED to Consider Economic Development Incentives for Reno, Las Vegas Projects

The agenda for the next meeting of the Board of the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development includes applications seeking incentives for several key projects in Reno, the Las Vegas Valley and Lyon County, among others.


Reno (photo – Ken Lund/flickr)

The only Catalyst Fund grant request on the agenda is an application by the City of Reno economic development agency for an expansion of healthcare technology company Grand Rounds, Inc.’s operations in Reno.

San Francisco, CA-based Grand Rounds is opening a services and technology center in Reno as its second location. The company has already hired around 30 employees in Reno, and they plan to increase the number of jobs created in Reno to 200 over the next five years. These are jobs with an average hourly wage of $30.

Grand Rounds is seeking $150,000 in state incentives in the form of a Catalyst Fund grant. The agreement requires the company to create at last 70 jobs over the next two years. This application is supported by the City of Reno and the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada (EDAWN).

Grand Rounds CEO Owen Tripp said in a release announcing the project that expanding into Reno is a major milestone for Grand Rounds, and the Northern Nevada community has met them with open arms.

EDAWN CEO Mike Kazmierski said in the release that companies like Grand Rounds will accelerate the transition of this region as a technology center that is attractive to the healthcare sector and other technology companies in the years ahead.

The GOED Board will also consider several applications for tax abatements. One key project is the proposed relocation of the corporate headquarters of Fidelity National Financial Ventures, LLC to the Las Vegas Valley.

FNFV is currently headquartered in Jacksonville, FL, and plans to invest more than $3.7 million for the relocation project that is expected to bring eight high-level executives and 12 support staff, adding up to 20 new jobs with an average hourly wage of $305.88 for Nevada.

Other projects whose tax abatement applications may be considered by the GOED Board include:

Greeley Development Corporation – Seeking $485,000 in tax abatements for a manufacturing facility project in Storey County;

GreeNu Commodities, LLC – Seeking $3,636,400 in tax abatements for a waste-to-energy conversion facility in Lyon County that will reuse waste tires to generate diesel grade liquid fuel, carbon black, and scrap steel.

Just Refiners (USA) Inc. – Seeking $709,700 in tax abatements for a carbon treatment and development facility in Lyon County.

Angie’s Artisan Treats – Seeking $107,200 in tax abatements for a manufacturing and distribution facility in Washoe County.

Tolsa West Coast Corp. – Seeking $197,400 in tax abatements for expansion of manufacturing and distribution operations in Pershing County.

Tolsa is a part of Madrid, Spain-based Tolsa Group. The company is separately considering relocating its U.S. corporate headquarters to Reno. That project is not a part of their application for tax abatements, which are only for the Pershing County expansion in Lovelock, NV.

Utah Launches Economic Development Map as Site Selection Tool

The Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development and the Economic Development Corporation of Utah announced the launch of an interactive economic development map to help businesses find the location-specific data they need to make informed site selection decisions.

Utah Economic Development Map

Utah Economic Development Map (photo –

The Utah economic development map project and website was funded by the state and developed by GOED’s Broadband Outreach Center.

Typing an address or clicking a location on the map generates a report that includes broadband availability at that specific address, with a full listing of fiber providers and other fixed broadband providers.

The report summary also includes other data useful for site selectors such as utilities, transportation, workforce, and lifestyle and recreation. The transportation data includes local, regional and international airports serving the location, along with a listing of major roads, freeways, state routes and interstates within a mile.

Workforce data includes a full listing of schools, colleges and universities in the area, along with the top 10 county industries, and demographics of county residents. The lifestyle and recreation data included in the report is a listing of nearby state parks and ski resorts, and national parks within easy reach.

Users can evaluate locations and print customized reports that include in-depth summaries of the infrastructure available for their chosen locations.

GOED Executive Director Val Hale said in a release announcing the launch of this tool that it is yet another way they are assisting businesses who are interested in relocating to Utah. Hale added that their team is continually developing strategies to simplify the site selection process as they invite new businesses into the state.

The Broadband Outreach Center is a program involving the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, Public Service Commission, and the Automated Geographic Reference Center (AGRC) that is a part of the Utah Department of Technology Services.

The economic development map at was developed by the Broadband Outreach Center as part of its mission to promote broadband availability and adoption statewide.

The new map will complement EDCUtah’’s existing website that allows users to explore the state’s inventory of listed commercial real estate.

EDCUtah President and CEO Jeff Edwards said in the release that Utah continues to lead the nation as a premier business destination as companies continue to set up shop in the state, and this new tool highlights all the services and amenities these companies can enjoy.

Lake Charles, Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Get More Grace Jobs Through Chevron ART JV

Advanced Refining Technologies, a joint venture between subsidiaries of W. R. Grace & Co. (NYSE: GRA) and Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX), will invest $135 million to establish a residue hydroprocessing catalyst production plant in Lake Charles, La.


Grace (photo –

ART expects to create 30 new jobs, leading to a new annual payroll of $2.4 million plus benefits.

This project is to be located at the existing 120-acre Grace manufacturing facility across the Calcasieu River from Lake Charles. So in addition to the new jobs that ART will create, the project also supports the retention of 295 Grace jobs.

According to estimates provided by Louisiana Economic Development, the project will support the creation of another 88 indirect jobs, and 190 construction jobs while the project is being built.

Apart from state incentives, other factors that led to this site being selected for the project include the large presence of the existing Grace facility and the availability of a loyal workforce with capable workers.

This ART expansion follows investments totaling $100 million by Grace for facility upgrades over the last six years. Grace has been a major engine for economic development and jobs in Southwest Louisiana ever since they opened the facility in 1953. The Lake Charles facility is now one of the largest refining catalysts plants in the world, and fulfills a large part of the company’s global catalyst production capacity.

For this latest expansion, the company began working with LED and Lake Charles economic development partners such as the Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance in March last year.

State incentives offered to secure the project include a $2.4 million Modernization Tax Credit. The project will additionally be eligible for incentives through the Louisiana Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption programs. ART will also be able to avail of LED FastStart’s workforce development solutions to help with their hiring and training needs.

Governor Bobby Jindal said in a release announcing the project that “Louisiana’s top-ranked business climate and state workforce development programs continue to make our state a place where businesses want to expand, further propelling our economic momentum.”

W.R. Grace & Co. Chairman and CEO Fred Festa said that through their long-standing joint venture with Chevron, they are proud to partner with the State of Louisiana to help grow the economy and their business in the state, and added that they are grateful for the support.

Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance President and CEO George Swift said that in working with W.R. Grace during the last year, it was clear that the company had options to build this facility in other parts of the world.

Swift added that the company’s choice selecting Southwest Louisiana for this project is a testament to their great relationship with the community. He also credited the team at the existing Grace facility, who Swift said have worked hard to establish a solid presence and build a loyal workforce.

Columbia, MD-based W. R. Grace & Co., which last year generated net sales of $3.2 billion, employs approximately 6,500 people across facilities and operations in more than 40 countries.

Brevard County, Florida Considers $8M Economic Development Incentives for Aerospace Project

At their next meeting, the Board of County Commissioners of Brevard County, FL will consider a proposal to offer as much as $8 million in economic development incentives to secure a high-tech aerospace facility involving a large investment and hundreds of high-wage jobs.

Blue Origin's Shepard spacecraft test flight

Blue Origin’s Shepard spacecraft test flight (photo – genphyslab/flickr)

The grant award resolution, sought by the North Brevard Economic Development Zone (NBEDZ), is for an aerospace company identified in county documents only as “Project Panther.”

Project Panther is planning to make approximately in between $205 million to $220 million in new capital investments to establish a new 155,000-square-foot aerospace facility. They expect to create 330 new jobs with an average annual wage of approximately $89,000.

The Florida site under consideration for the project is located in Exploration Park. The company is seeking $8 million from the NBEDZ for infrastructure improvements vital for making the site suitable for a high-tech aerospace design and manufacturing facility.

The $8 million from Brevard County, to be paid over a 10-year period by NBEDZ, is a small part of the overall investment being made into the project by other Florida and Space Coast economic development partners and the company itself.

Moreover, the Brevard County grants will be tied to the company’s job creation plans, with clawbacks in place if the company is unable to meet the stated employment goals.

The NBEDZ memo to Brevard County Commissioners notes that offsetting development costs is critical to this project. Project Panther is also considering sites in other states for this facility.

The memo also notes that Project Panther was established in 2000 and is funded predominantly by private investment. It’s possible that Project Panther is Blue Origin (founded in 2000 and privately funded by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos). The company has recently been awarded a contract to build space rocket engines for the United Launch Alliance.

If Blue Origin is Project Panther, this project would establish a space rocket manufacturing facility in Exploration Park, which is a 299-acre business and industrial park located just outside the gates of Kennedy Space Center. It’s touted as the only place in the world with a quadramodal transportation hub via land, sea, air and space.

Exploration Park is ideal for light manufacturing, R&D, and office projects, and is being built as a sustainable business and industrial park with a focus on green projects and practices like wetlands preservation, LED streetlights, and all facilities built to LEED Silver or equivalent standards.

Wisconsin Economic Development Corp Reform Focus on Performance-Based Incentives

Governor Scott Walker is calling on the Wisconsin Legislature to enact reform that will shift the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation’s focus from loans to tax incentives.

WEDC audit report

WEDC audit report (photo –

The Governor is asking state lawmakers to refocus WEDC’s efforts on performance-based economic development tools that will limit the state’s risk.

Specifically, the WEDC reform will phase out the agency’s loan programs, and shift the funding for loan programs into performance-based tax incentives. Furthermore, WEDC will prioritize funding dollars into investments in education and worker training.

The Governor’s Office said in a statement that over the last week, they have had an opportunity to discuss the future of WEDC and the proper role of economic development at the state level with legislators and stakeholders. The statement notes that while the organization has faced its share of challenges, it has also achieved great success in developing Wisconsin’s first strategic approach to economic development.

The call for reforming the WEDC follows an audit report published last week by the Wisconsin State Legislature’s Legislative Audit Bureau (LAB). The audit report was critical of the agency, citing several problems with the way WEDC is managing loan and grant awards and oversight.

That LAB report resulted in the Governor asking state lawmakers to withdraw comprehensive economic development legislation that would have merged WEDC with the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority to create the Forward Wisconsin Development Authority.

Apart from this new entity, the Governor’s Budget proposal included several major changes such as the Regional Revolving Loan Fund that would have created a state-regional partnership framework for financing economic development projects. These proposals have now been set aside. The only thing that is happening is WEDC reform.

The statement from the Governor’s Office adds that “After reviewing the LAB’s recent audit over the last week, we feel it is vital to move forward with meaningful WEDC reforms to help maintain the focus of the organization on the most impactful economic development tools.”

As part of the changes to focus on priorities and maximize the effectiveness of the agency, Wisconsin will be transitioning away from providing direct loans to businesses, and will focus more on tax incentives with clear deliverables and expected outcomes. Companies will need to earn the tax incentives by meeting defined performance metrics.

Also, the $55 million that was set aside in the Governor’s Budget proposal for a Regional Revolving Loan Fund will be utilized instead for education and worker training programs and initiatives.

Austin Recycling Economic Development Program Study – $720M Impact, 2675 Jobs

A new study shows that the recycling and reuse industries are significant contributors to the Austin economy, accounting for $720 million in economic activity and 2,675 permanent jobs.

Austin Recycling and Reuse Impact Study

Austin Recycling and Reuse Impact Study (photo –

This according to a study commissioned by the Austin Recycling Economic Development Program and prepared by TXP, Inc.

Last year, the City of Austin was awarded a $1 million grant by the U.S. Economic Development Administration for making infrastructure improvements to Austin’s first eco-industrial park [re]Manufacturing Hub that is being positioned to attract green companies in the recycling, reuse, and repair industries.

One of the goals for the Hub is to assist in the creation of an economy of scale in the transformation of recyclables into new products. The study undertaken by TXP, Inc. was commissioned as a part of this effort, to measure the current and future economic impact of the region’s recycling and reuse sectors.

The good news is not just about the $720 million present impact (pg 23 in the report), but also the forecast that the recycling sector is likely to become much bigger, with the potential to grow above $1 billion and 4,200 jobs.

The fast growth isn’t happening on its own either. In 2011, the City of Austin adopted a Resource Recovery Master Plan. This plan called for the creation of economic development initiatives in support of a stated zero waste goal of 90 percent landfill diversion by 2040.

As a result, the City of Austin Economic Development Department teamed up with Austin Resource Recovery to come up with programs and initiatives for zero waste business growth. This lead to the creation of the Recycling Economic Development Program, the Austin Materials Marketplace, and the Shop Zero Waste initiative.

It also led to the FM 812 landfill being converted into the Austin [re]Manufacturing Hub eco-industrial park. The TXP report shows that all this effort has significantly grown Austin’s recycling industry, with the potential to grow a lot more on the fast-track.

In a release announcing the study results, Austin Resource Recovery Director Bob Gedert said that despite Austin’s green reputation, they are lagging behind the national average in recycling-related manufacturing and need to take action to correct that.

Austin Economic Development Department Director Kevin Johns added that supporting the recycling and reuse industries will enable Austin to support the creation of hundreds of jobs for those who are struggling economically, and for those who face employment barriers or lack a post-secondary degree.

Johns added that this report offers guidance on how they can move this industry forward, and it establishes a baseline for measuring future success.

Nashville Economic Development Incentives and Antioch Revitalization Draw CHS Expansion

Community Health Systems Inc. announced the selection of a site in the south Nashville neighborhood of Antioch for an expansion of its operations in Tennessee, including construction of a new Shared Services center.


Tennessee (photo – jbcurioflickr)

Supported by Metro Nashville economic development tax incentives and state incentives yet to be finalized in discussions with TNECD, CHS will invest $66 million to build the six-story, 240,000-square-foot Shared Services Center.

The new center will consolidate and house back-office functions currently being performed at the 199 hospitals that CHS affiliates own, operate or lease in 29 states. The project will create 1,500 new jobs for Metro Nashville and Davidson County over the next five years.

Franklin, TN-based Community Health Systems Inc. (NYSE:CYH) already has 16,000 employees in Tennessee across its corporate headquarters and 19 affiliated hospitals.

CHS looked at sites in several states as part of its site selection process for the expansion. Earlier this year, the company had already settled on a site in Cool Springs, TN a couple of miles from its Franklin County headquarters. They pulled out of the deal soon after, allegedly over disagreements regarding the Insure Tennessee proposal opposed by Franklin County lawmakers.

CHS then restarted the site selection process and ended up in Davidson County, selecting Oldacre McDonald LLC’s 300-acre Antioch development near Cane Ridge Road at the Hickory Hollow Parkway interchange off Interstate 24.

CHS Chairman and CEO Wayne T. Smith said in a release announcing the project that they looked at many states and sites for this expansion, and ultimately determined that Middle Tennessee offers the business environment, skilled workforce and quality of life to support the company’s growth.

Governor Bill Haslam said in the release that “We want to thank Community Health Systems for this investment in Middle Tennessee and the new jobs they are creating in Davidson County.”

Nashville Mayor Karl Dean added that these jobs will be a wonderful addition to the Antioch area and Southeast Davidson County, which the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County has been trying to revitalize with public investments such as a community center, park and new library.

Mayor Dean noted that CHS’ plans are further proof that public investment leads to private investment, and added that he sees the potential for much more.

Metro Nashville is supporting the CHS expansion through economic development tax incentives valued at around $8 million. The company also received support for its expansion plans from the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce and the Tennessee Valley Authority.

TVA Senior Vice President of Economic Development John Bradley congratulated CHS on its decision to expand and build a new facility in the Antioch area.

Grapevine, Dallas Economic Development Groups Secure Kubota HQ Relocation to Texas

Kubota Tractor Corporation and Kubota Credit Corporation, both U.S. subsidiaries of Osaka, Japan-based Kubota Corporation, announced plans to relocate their corporate headquarters to Grapevine, TX.


Kubota (photo –

Kubota’s relocation is supported by TEF incentives from the State of Texas, along with local support for the project from the City of Grapevine. Dallas economic development professionals representing the Dallas Regional Chamber provided site location assistance.

The relocation of the entire corporate headquarters for the Kubota tractor and credit subsidiaries from their current location in Torrance, CA to Grapevine, TX is expected to generate an investment of at least $51 million for Texas and bring at least 344 new jobs to the state.

The new environment-friendly headquarters building that will be constructed in Grapevine will be big enough to accommodate 400 employees, with additional space for future expansions. The relocation to this new headquarters is expected to affect some 180 employees, who the company said will be offered the option and assistance to relocate.

In their release announcing the move, the company cited the need for Kubota’s leadership and professional staff to be closer to their major markets and manufacturing and distribution facilities in Georgia and Kansas.

Kubota Manufacturing of America (KMA), which manufactures half of all Kubota branded equipment sold in the U.S., is located in Gainesville, GA. The Kubota Industrial Equipment plant is likewise located in Jefferson, GA. The Kubota Engine of America headquarters is located in Lincolnshire, IL.

Kubota Credit Corporation has a facility in Fort Worth, TX, where the company has some 100 existing employees who will also be relocated to the new headquarters.

Kubota Tractor Corporation President and CEO Masato Yoshikawa said in a release that their decision to relocate to a more central part of the U.S. was a major part of their future business strategy, but their choice of state was not. Yoshikawa added that Texas ultimately helped make that decision easier.

Governor Greg Abbott announced a $3.8 million Texas Enterprise Fund (TEF) grant for Kubota Tractor Corp. The Office of the Governor worked to secure this project in partnership with the City of Grapevine and the Dallas Regional Chamber.

Grapevine Mayor William D. Tate said in the release that the City is proud to partner with Kubota Tractor Corp. and the State of Texas by welcoming the company’s new corporate headquarters to Grapevine.

The Dallas Regional Chamber’s economic development team worked with Kubota officials for several months to assist them with the site selection process.

Mike Rosa, senior vice president of Economic Development for the Dallas Regional Chamber, said in a release that their economic development partners painted a clear picture of how great it is to do business in the region and the benefits of operating a corporate headquarters in the area.

GM Announces $1B Investment in Warren Technical Center Campus

General Motors announced plans to invest $1 billion for a multi-year construction, expansion and modernization project at its Warren Technical Center campus in Warren, MI.

GM Warren Tech Center

GM Warren Tech Center (press photo – ©General Motors)

The project, which includes new construction on the campus, along with renovations of existing buildings and expansions of some operations, will create 2,600 new salaried GM jobs at the Warren Technical Center.

The GM Tech Center in Warren, a National Historic Landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is already home to more than 19,000 employees.

It opened in 1956 as the culmination of one of the most outstanding architectural and business consolidation projects of its era, enabling the company to bring its vehicle engineering operations at 14 locations in Southeast Michigan into a single campus.

GM now plans to add new design studios, rebuild and renovate R&D facilities, add a new multi-story IT building next to its recently opened IT Innovation Center, and add new testing areas at the Advanced Energy Center. The project, which will continue through to 2018, will also include construction of new parking decks and extensive office upgrades in most of its operations in the Warren Tech Center.

Mark Reuss, GM executive vice president, Global Product Development and Purchasing and Supply Chain, said in a release announcing the investment that they plan to transform the campus into a collaborative workplace of choice for their current team and future talent.

This $1 billion expansion plan is in addition to the $139.5 million investment that GM announced a couple of week ago for body shop and stamping facility upgrades of its Warren pre-production operations.

State and local officials touted GM’s huge investment plans in Warren as great news which has already led to other Warren economic development projects.

Governor Rick Snyder said in the release that this is great news for Warren, the region and the state. The Governor said it soundly demonstrates GM’s commitment to Michigan and the state’s talented workforce, providing key jobs and career opportunities for today and tomorrow.

Warren Mayor Jim Fouts said he is very excited about GM’s investment in the Tech Center, which he said has already resulted in proposals for new investments in Warren’s downtown, which is located directly across the street from the Tech Center.

The Warren City Council is authorizing economic development incentives for the proposed GM expansion in the form of a 50 percent real and personal property tax abatement for 12 years, and two additional years for the construction.

New Jersey EDA to Consider $125M Economic Development Incentives for 10 Projects

The agenda for the next meeting of the Board of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority includes applications for Grow NJ incentives from ten projects seeking a total of nearly $125 million in tax benefits. in Newark, NJ in Newark, NJ (photo – Hudconja/wikipedia)

The largest amount sought is for an expansion project by Audible, Inc. The audio book producer and seller is currently located in the One Washington Park tower in Newark, NJ.

Their expansion plan qualifies as a mega-project, with eligibility for additional bonus tax credits available under the Grow NJ economic development program for transit-oriented projects located in a deep poverty pocket.

Not to mention that Audible falls under a targeted industry (technology) and is creating or retaining a large number of jobs with salaries in excess of the prevailing average wage in Essex County. As such, the NJEDA will consider approving an annual Grow NJ award of $3,937,500 for this project for a 10-year term, adding up to $39.37 million in tax incentives over this period.

Audible, founded in 1995 by Donald Katz, was acquired by Amazon in 2008 in a $300 million deal, and is currently an Amazon subsidiary and the world’s largest producer of audiobooks.

An investment by the company in Newark underlines their commitment to the community and their intention to continue making use of the city’s tech talent. Last month, Audible Founder and CEO Donald Katz said in a speech that they have been working with the City to make an investment in Newark. Specifically, the company intends to establish a venture fund and startup accelerator.

Contemporary Graphics and Bindery, Inc. is the other big applicant in the lot. The EDA will consider approving an estimated annual award of $3,390,000 for a 10-year term to encourage the company to make an investment and locate in Camden, NJ. The company is currently located in Pennsauken Township, NJ, which is located just outside the City of Camden.

Another applicant, Boston, MA-based Fidelity Global Brokerage Group, Inc., is seeking an estimated $1,650,000 in annual Grow NJ tax benefits for a 10-year term as incentives to select Jersey City, NJ for a capital investment project that involves high-paying finance sector jobs.

The other projects listed on the EDA’s agenda for approval of Grow NJ incentives are as follows:-

CareKinesis, Inc. – $969,000 annual award for a 10-year term for a project in Moorestown Township, NJ;

Groupe SEB USA – $193,125 annual award for a 10-year term for a project in Parsippany-Troy Hills Township, NJ;

Impax Laboratories Inc. – $275,000 annual award for a 10-year term for a project in Middlesex Borough, NJ;

Jackson Hewitt, Inc. – $267,375 annual award for a 10-year term for a project in Jersey City, NJ;

Medidata Solutions, Inc. – $750,000 annual award for a 10-year term for a project in Woodbridge Township, NJ;

Northeast Precast LLC – $812,663 annual award for a 10-year term for a project in Millville City, NJ; and

Rubbercycle, LLC – $247,500 annual award for a 10-year term for a project in Lakewood Township, NJ;

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