New Orleans Mayor’s Office of Economic Development Touts Sales Tax Revenue Growth

The New Orleans Business Alliance and Mayor’s Office of Economic Development announced that the City’s sales tax revenue grew by 9.6 percent last year.

New  Orleans sales tax growth

New Orleans sales tax growth (photo –

The key driver for the increased revenue was the attraction of nationally recognized retailers and developers, along with positive trends in population growth and visitor attraction efforts.

“Our keen focus in attracting retail and development has allowed our residents to keep their tax dollars at home,” said Mayor Mitch Landrieu.

Over the last four years, more than 7,800 new jobs have been created in New Orleans, with a large number of these jobs attributed to the various retail and development projects secured and facilitated by the City.

The 108,763-square-foot Mid-City Market food shopping center which opened in July 2013 brought $40 million in investment and 500 new jobs. Costco’s first warehouse in Louisiana opened in Sept 2013, creating 200 new jobs and a $21 million direct fiscal impact for the City over a 10-year period.

Both H&M and Tiffany & Co. opened their first Louisiana stores in Nov 2013, creating 70 and 21 new jobs respectively at the new stores in the French Quarter and the Shops at Canal Place. CVS and Big Lots stores in New Orleans East that opened last year are creating 50 new jobs, in addition to a $20 million renovation which has added 100,000 square feet of retail space at Algiers Plaza.

New Orleans economic development officials and the New Orleans Business Alliance have been working together to attract these and other retail and development projects. Last year, the U.S. Economic Development Administration gave them a $1 million grant to assist in the development and implementation of a five-year strategic plan called ProsperityNOLA to boost business and job growth.

Rodrick Miller, president and CEO of the New Orleans Business Alliance, said their efforts to attract retail over the last four years are yielding real benefits to the people of New Orleans.

Miller added that they have demonstrated that New Orleans is a viable market for retail growth as tax revenues increase and the people of New Orleans now have more options in quality shopping amenities.

The New Orleans Business Alliance and the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development made this announcement as City officials join Howard Hughes Corporation executives for the grand opening of The Outlet Collection at Riverwalk.

This $70 million redevelopment project is expected to create more than 1,600 permanent jobs, in addition to being America’s first outlet center in a downtown setting.

Starwood Hotels HQ Expansion in Connecticut to Create and Retain 1300 Jobs

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is expanding its global headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut.

CT tax incentives for Starwood Hotels

CT tax incentives for Starwood Hotels

The $30 million Starwood headquarters expansion will create 340 new full-time jobs, and also helps retain the company’s existing 980 employees.

In order to facilitate the project, the Connecticut Economic Development Department has approved a forgivable $5 million loan under the Manufacturing Assistance Act for Starwood. This is a ten-year loan at a three percent interest rate, with the principal deferred for the first three years.

During this three year period, the company can fulfill its commitment to bring its total Connecticut-employment to 1,320 in order to get 100 percent principal forgiveness on the loan.

Starwood will also be getting up to $20,000,000 in Urban and Industrial Sites Reinvestment (URA) Tax Credits over a ten-year period.

This URA tax credit incentive program allows for a dollar-to-dollar tax credit for the entire amount of an eligible project’s capital investment. The tax credits offered under this program are transferable, and can be sold or carried forward for up to five consecutive years.

Governor Dannel P. Malloy was joined for the announcement by Starwood executives, Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Catherine Smith, and other state and local officials.

“Since Starwood came to Stamford a number of years ago, the company has demonstrated their commitment to Connecticut by growing jobs, spurring economic development and, essentially, letting other large corporations know that this is a great place to work, invest and call home,” said Governor Malloy.

Starwood relocated to the new 290,000-square-foot Harbor Point headquarters in Stamford in 2012. Their two-tower office complex is just minutes from downtown Stamford.

The relocation with a $75 million investment and more than 800 jobs was secured with $75 million in URA tax credits and a $9.5 million loan at a one percent interest rate, of which $7 million was forgivable if the company fulfilled its commitment to create and retain 813 jobs in the state.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts President and CEO Frits van Paasschen said the design-driven headquarters is now in the final stages of LEED certification, and a great showcase for Starwood and their lifestyle brands.

Van Paasschen added that they are excited to be expanding their presence and thrilled that the company’s growth is bringing more than 300 jobs to Stamford’s historic waterfront.

DECD Commissioner Catherine Smith said that the more than 300 good paying jobs being created by Starwood will support many more as the effects of this expansion ripple out into the community.

Vermont Economic Development Authority Gets $4.4M in SSBCI Funding

The Vermont Economic Development Authority has received another $4.4 million from the U.S. Treasury Department to help the state enhance lending to small businesses in Vermont.


SSBCI (photo –

The $4.4 million in federal funding was provided to VEDA by the Treasury under the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI).

This is the third and final installment of SSBCI funding being awarded to Vermont, which had been allocated a total of $13.2 million under the program in May 2011.

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin said this is great news for the state’s small business owners and their employees. Gov. Shumlin said VEDA is receiving the third installment after having successfully lent the prior $8.7 million it has previously received in SSBCI funding.

The Governor noted that to-date, this federal funding under SSBCCI has allowed Vermont businesses to generate an additional $116.7 million in private sector financing.

The State Small Business Credit Initiative was created the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, funded with funded with $1.5 billion that would be allocated to state economic development agencies in support of state lending programs to small businesses and small manufacturers.

Participating states are expected to use the federal funding for enhancing programs that leverage private lending for small businesses and manufacturers who want to expand and create jobs, but are not able to get the loans and investment they need from traditional funding sources.

VEDA CEO Jo Bradley said the allocation increases the availability of low-interest financing for small businesses in Vermont.

Bradley added that the Vermont Economic Development Authority is pleased to be able to continue the program, and added that with the help of the state’s financial institutions, they should be able to leverage private capital and continue moving Vermont’s economy forward.

The SSBCI funding helps leverage $10 in private capital for every federal dollar allocated, and is expected to spur a total of up to $15 billion in lending to small businesses by the program’s end.

According to the latest quarterly report, the U.S. Treasury has already allocated more than $1 billion out of the total $1.5 billion in SSBCI funding, and participating states have in turn expended, obligated, transferred, or recycled $750 million.


The Right Place Unveils West Michigan Economic Development Projects With 171 Jobs

The Right Place, Inc., a regional economic development organization serving West Michigan, announced projects that will bring $6.8 million in investment and 171 new jobs to the region.

The Right Place

The Right Place

The largest of the three West Michigan economic development projects being announced is an expansion by AvaSure LLC to establish a new facility in Plainfield Township, MI.

Avasure develops and sells educational tools and technology that support the nursing profession in improving their practice environment. The company now wants to be less reliant on outsourced production and wants to establish its own manufacturing capabilities, which it plans to do in the new Plainfield Township facility, which will be its second one in Michigan.

Avasure is investing $1.9 million into the project, and plans to create 110 new jobs at the facility over the next three years.

In order to help secure the project and facilitate Avasure’s plans, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation approved $570,000 in performance-based grants. The company is additionally getting local incentives from Plainfield Township in the form of industrial property tax abatements (PA 198).

The Right Place, Inc. President and CEO Birgit Klohs said West Michigan hosts the largest concentration of medical device manufacturers in the state, and Avasure’s decision further strengthens that position.

Klohs added that this announcement affirms their strategic commitment to continue building a world-class medical device industry in the region.

The second project announced is Steel 21, a new business being established in a new 30,000-square-foot facility in Algoma Township, MI. The company is investing $4.5 million on the project and is hiring 31 employees to begin with, and will be adding another 30 over the next three years.

Last week, Algoma Township approved tax abatements on the facility and equipment for the Steel 21 project.

The third project is a $405,000 expansion by Belding Tool & Machine in the City of Belding, MI. The 75-year old company with 15 workers supplies tools to automotive suppliers. It was purchased last year by Jason Markham, who is now trying to modernize and diversify the company so that they can also serve other sectors.

Markham is making this new investment for machinery upgrades to help the company grow and diversify. The Ionia County Economic Alliance has been working with the company during this transition, connecting them to local and regional resources that can aid their growth plans. The City of Belding is likewise providing support for the project through a PA 198 tax abatement.

Alliance Rubber Co Stretches Headquarters in Hot Springs, Arkansas

America’s largest rubber band manufacturer Alliance Rubber Company is expanding its headquarters in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

Alliance Rubber Co - Made in USA

Alliance Rubber Co – Made in USA (photo –

The expansion project, which includes purchase of a new digital printer, requires the company to invest $600,000. Alliance will create 15 new jobs, taking total employment at the facility to 166.

The Alliance Rubber Company was founded in Alliance, OH in 1923 by William H. Spencer. The company established a presence in Hot Springs in 1944 after Spencer visited the city for it’s hot baths.

By 1991, the company had relocated and consolidated all its operations in Hot Springs. They now make 2,200 products which are distributed in 34 countries.

Alliance Rubber Company President Bonnie Swayze, who is William Spencer’s daughter, said their team is constantly innovating, and this has allowed the company to grow.

Swayze added that new U.S.-based manufacturing jobs are rare, and noted that they are committed to making and packaging their products in the U.S., and specifically in Arkansas, to keep these jobs at home in the U.S.

Alliance is actually running a “Band Together. Buy American” contest till the end of this month to encourage Americans to buy Made in the USA products. The contest is being held to encourage people to spend $1 per day on American-made goods.

Those who take this pledge or submit a picture of an American-made product they have purchased will be entered into a contest and stand a chance to win an all-expenses paid trip to a U.S. National Park.

The pledges are supposed to help create an additional one million jobs in the United States.

Last year, Alliance Rubber Company was named as one of the two “Top American Manufacturer” companies by the Made in the USA Foundation and Made Movement. Also in 2013, the company was one of the four recipients of the Arkansas Governor’s Award for Excellence in Global Trade.

Governor Mike Beebe said that Alliance Rubber Company continues to be a great Arkansas ambassador through its global success, and their expansion ensures a long-term presence in Hot Springs while setting an example of innovative thinking for other small businesses.

Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce CEO Jim Fram said that they are always happy when businesses in Hot Springs expand and grow. Fram congratulated Alliance Rubber on its continued success and contribution to Hot Springs economic development.

US Commerce Dept Announces SelectUSA Investment Summit 2015

The U.S. Department of Commerce announced that the next SelectUSA Investment Summit will be held March 23-24, 2015 in National Harbor, MD, near Washington, D.C.

SelectUSA Investment Summit 2015

SelectUSA Investment Summit 2015

This is the second-ever SelectUSA Investment Summit, following the rousing success of the first one in Oct-Nov 2013 in Washington, D.C. which brought together more than 1,300 participants.

More than 200 representatives of U.S. economic development organizations (EDOs) from 48 states, D.C., and four territories were able to meet with 654 participants from 60 different markets, including representatives of 456 foreign or multinational firms.

Also at hand at the summit were 70 federal government officials and staff from 16 different agencies, answering questions and smoothing the way for both EDOs and investors.

Hundreds of meetings were scheduled online beforehand, and hundreds more took place on the tradeshow floor. More than 7,200 visitors from 109 countries watched the summit online.

Along with the announcement of the second SelectUSA Investment Summit, the White House and U.S. Commerce Department also released a new report (pdf) with data on FDI investments and international company projects secured by U.S. destinations with assistance and services provided by the SelectUSA program launched in 2011.

The report says that in just over two years after being launched, the SelectUSA program has facilitated more than $18 billion in new investment for the United States. SelectUSA will provide services to nearly 1,000 economic development organizations and potential investors this year, helping them navigate the process and explaining the advantages of investing in the United States.

“We’re proud of the progress we made since the Summit,” said U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker. “But more importantly, we are looking forward to the next SelectUSA Investment Summit in National Harbor, MD in March 2015.”

Sec. Pritzker added that they are inviting economic development officials and companies from across the world to join them for another great opportunity to build on the momentum and continue showing that America is open for business, investment and job creation.

What: SelectUSA Investment Summit (

When: March 23-24, 2015

Where: Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, National Harbor, Maryland

Detroit Economic Development Gets $100M Boost From JP Morgan Chase

JP Morgan Chase is expanding their commitment to Detroit with a new $100 million investment over the next five years to help speed up the economic recovery and community revitalization that is already underway.

JP Morgan Chase investment in Detroit

JP Morgan Chase investment in Detroit

The announcement is scheduled to be made jointly by JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and Michigan Governor Rick Snyder.

The $100 million will be invested in highly specific areas that will aid existing and planned Detroit economic development efforts and programs.

Here’s the breakup:-

Community Development ($50 million) – JP Morgan Chase will provide $50 million in the form of grants and long-term investments to two Community Development Financial Institutions. With the help of these two CDFIs, JP Morgan Chase will create two new funds that will in turn provide financing for critical projects that lack access to traditional funding sources.

Blight ($25 million) – JP Morgan Chase will team up with organizations such as the Detroit Blight Removal Task Force and the Detroit Land Bank Authority, helping them expand their reach and accelerate efforts to end blight, and stabilize and revitalize neighborhoods across the city.

Workforce Readiness ($12.5 million) РThis new $12.5 million investment will support workforce rediness efforts in Detroit under JP Morgan Chase’s $250 million global five-year New Skills at Work initiative.

Growing Small Businesses ($7 million) – This $7 million will be used to support innovative programs and organizations such as Detroit Eastern Market and startup accelerator Bizdom that are helping small business owners and entrepreneurs in Detroit launch and grow their business.

Seeding Future Economic Growth ($5.5 million) – A part of this investment will go to the M-1 Rail streetcar project which holds potential for economic development and urban renewal in downtown Detroit. Apart from a $1.5 million philanthropic grant to the non-profit M-1 RAIL, JP Morgan Chase is also providing another $1 million to Midtown Detroit Inc. to assist with a program to mitigate the temporary impact of the M-1 Rail construction on local businesses.

They will also bring the Global Cities Initiative (GCI) to Detroit. This is a joint initiative established by JP Morgan Chase and the Brookings Institution, which helps bring together policymakers with business leaders and other interested stakeholders in participating cities to collaborate on strategies for improving the city’s global competitiveness.

JP Morgan Chase will also provide experienced skills to Detroit’s non-profits by sending volunteers through the JPMorgan Chase Detroit Service Corps to help these non-profits solve challenging problems being faced by communities.

Read more about JP Morgan’s Detroit economic development investment plans in each of these categories here.

McLane to Open Distribution Center With 425 Jobs in Findlay, Ohio

McLane Company, Inc., one of the nation’s leading wholesale suppliers to restaurants and grocery retailers, announced plans to build an automated grocery distribution center in Findlay, Ohio.

McLane Co

McLane Co (photo –

The company will invest $119 million into the project, and has committed to create 425 new jobs with average annual wages of $57,000.

The announcement was made by John Minor, president and chief investment officer of JobsOhio, the non-profit tasked with promoting job creation and Ohio economic development projects and programs.

The Ohio Tax credit Authority (TCA) is meeting today to discuss approving state incentives for the McLane distribution center project.

Minor said that the McLane Co decision to invest in Findlay is great news for Northwest Ohio and the more than 425 skilled workers who will be on the job at this cutting-edge facility.

Mike Youngblood, president of McLane Grocery, said they’re thrilled that Findlay will be home to the twenty-second grocery distribution center in their national network.

McLane expects the new 337,000-square-foot distribution center, which will be operational by March 2016, to greatly enhance their efficiency in servicing customers throughout the Great Lakes region.

The Temple, TX-based company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK). In addition to the 22 grocery distribution centers, they also have another 18 foodservice distribution centers. Not to mention the enhanced network that came with their acquisition of Meadowbrook Meat Company.

All put together, the $44 billion supply chain services company now has more than 20,000 employees.

Youngblood added that the invaluable assistance provided by state and local officials was one of the primary reasons the company chose Ohio for the new distribution center project. He said their focus on promoting a business-friendly environment was a critical part of the site selection process.

Gary Thompson, director of the JobsOhio Northwest Region, said this project was another example of how Northwest Ohio was one of the top locations in the world for transportation, logistics and distribution.

John Minor also mentioned the Regional Growth Partnership and City of Findlay, adding that together, they are looking forward to continuing to work with McLane for many years to come.

Findlay Mayor Lydia Mihalik said they are pleased that McLane chose Findlay’s new industrial park as the location of their new state-of-the-art distribution center, and added that the company’s decision underscores the area’s strengths such as logistical and workforce advantages.

Iowa Councils of Governments Get U.S. Economic Development Administration Funding

The U.S. Economic Development Administration has awarded three Iowa Councils of Governments a total of $183,000.

Region XII Council of Governments in Carroll, IA

Region XII Council of Governments in Carroll, IA (photo –

The three recipients getting $61,000 each from the EDA are the Region XII Council of Governments, Area 15 Regional Planning Commission, and the North Iowa Area Council of Governments.

These Councils of Governments will use the EDA funding to create economic development strategies for their regions.

Each project will bring together the public and private sector in the region to help create an economic development roadmap that diversifies and strengthens the region’s economy.

It is expected that the EDA funding will ultimately lead to the development of a process and strategy that supports increased private capital investment and job creation.

The announcement was made by U.S. Senator for Iowa Tom Harkin, who said that establishing a sound economic development strategy that unites the public and private sectors is the key to promoting regional growth and creating job opportunities.

Sen. Harkin added that the EDA’s investment will assist these communities in charting long-term strategies for creating jobs and becoming more prosperous.

The Region XII Council of Governments located in Carroll, IA was formed in 1973 to assist local governments in western Iowa, and covers Audubon, Carroll, Crawford, Greene, Guthrie and Sac Counties. The COG was originally formed to assist with grant writing and planning, but its functions have grown to include multi-community collaboration and development focusing on areas such as local assistance, workforce development and transit.

The Area 15 Regional Planning Commission located in Ottumwa, IA began operations in 1974, and serves a six-county area is southern Iowa including Davis, Jefferson, Keokuk, Mahaska, Van Buren, and Wapello counties. Services provided by the Area 15 RPC to local governments cover broad categories such as economic development, community development and transportation planning.

The North Iowa Area Council of Governments located in Mason City, IA serves local governments in an eight-county area that includes Cerro Gordo, Floyd, Franklin, Hancock, Kossuth, Mitchell, Winnebago, and Worth counties.

NIACOG’s services in fields such as economic and community development, housing and transportation are divided into programs it administers, and those that are run by state and federal agencies including the U.S. EDA, U.S. Small Business Administration and the Iowa Department of Economic Development.

Southwest Michigan Talent Pool Brought Newell Rubbermaid Design Center to Kalamazoo

Newell Rubbermaid (NYSE: NWL) has dedicated its new Design Center in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Newell Rubbermaid Design Center opening in  Kalamazoo, MI

Newell Rubbermaid Design Center opening in Kalamazoo, MI (photo –

Gov. Rick Snyder and Newell Rubbermaid President and CEO Michael Polk were among those attending the grand opening of the Design Center.

The 40,000-square-foot facility located in the Business Technology and Research Park at Western Michigan University has been carefully designed and planned to foster creativity while maximizing collaboration and sharing of technologies and ideas between the company’s brands.

Newell Rubbermaid invested $2.3 million into the project, which is creating around 100 new jobs in Kalamazoo.

The company had announced the choice of WMU’s BTR Park in Kalamazoo as the location for the Design Center in March 2013 after a site selection process that considered several other locations in the U.S. including Chicago and the company‚Äôs headquarters in Atlanta.

Polk said that Kalamazoo is the ideal location to “plant the seeds for bigger, better innovations that will build our brands for the long term.”

The location of the Design Center is right in the middle of a cluster of Southwestern Michigan’s design-led companies such as Whirlpool, Steelcase, Stryker, Wolverine and Herman Miller. Not to mention the proximity to educational institutions including WMU, the Cranbrook Academy of Art and the College for Creative Studies.

Polk cited the talented workforce in the region, and thanked Governor Rick Snyder and the State of Michigan, along with the City of Kalamazoo, Western Michigan University and Southwest Michigan First for helping make the Design Center a reality.

“Having a world-class company such as Newell Rubbermaid choose to locate in Michigan is a great win for us and a testament to our talented work force and the competitiveness of Michigan as a research and development hotbed,” said Gov. Snyder.

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation helped secure the project by offering Newell Rubbermaid a performance-based Michigan Business Development grant of $2 million. The city of Kalamazoo additionally offered local incentives in the form of tax abatements worth around $164,000.

Southwest Michigan First, a privately funded organization of economic development advisors that works to create jobs in the seven-county Southwest Michigan region, was one of the key partners in the state’s effort to secure the Newell Rubbermaid Design Center project.

Southwest Michigan First CEO Ron Kitchens thanked the company for selecting Southwest Michigan and embracing the region’s product design community.

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