From the September Issue


An Outlier Makes Waves in the Midwest

How Grand Rapids plans to become a major tech hub in the central U.S.

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From the September Issue


Life Sciences: New York City Is Poised to Take the Lead

Several factors have combined to foster a thriving center of life sciences innovation, “all in a New York minute.”

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Chart courtesy of JLL

While the raw data are not available, JLL’s new Innovation Geographies report contains some valuable insights when it comes to conclusions about corporate occupancy costs in certain metro areas where costs have not yet reached the sky. Locations such as Paris, Tokyo, San Francisco, Barcelona, Paris, Beijing, London and Seoul still rank as “global leaders,” says JLL. But “as people look for more affordable cities that offer a better quality of life, markets that combine these factors with a strong innovation ecosystem — like Denver, Stockholm and Melbourne — are drawing in new companies and capital.”

JLL’s chart above shows the top 25 metro areas in the two categories of innovation and talent concentration. “Diving deeper into the data, some locations still appear to be relatively affordable given their attributes; for example, Raleigh-Durham, Melbourne and Helsinki,” says the report. “These small-to-mid sized ‘talent rich’ cities offer an appealing quality of life to entice employees and lower costs to support businesses opening new functions.”

It's a worthwhile exercise to compare results with those found in the 2019 edition of the report (which JLL chooses not do because of methodology adjustments). Among notable changes by category:


  • San Jose shot up from No. 6 to No. 1.
  • Singapore dropped from No. 3 to No. 12.
  • Beijing and London climbed from No. 8 and 9, respectively, to No. 4 and 5, respectively.
  • New arrivals in the top 20 include San Diego (16), Tel Aviv (17) and Austin (19), while expanding from 20 to 25 spots in the rankings allowed the inclusion of (in order from 21 to 25) Munich, Osaka, Chicago, Helsinki and Raleigh-Durham.

Talent Concentration

  • San Jose rose to No. 1 here too (from No. 4), while Boston goes from No. 6 to No. 2 and Austin pops up from No. 12 to No. 8.
  • Asian hotspots get hotter, as Tokyo shoots from No. 19 to No. 5, and Beijing slingshots from out of the running to No. 6.
  • New arrivals in the top 20 include Copenhagen (13), Brussels (14), Dublin (16), Toronto (18) and Raleigh-Durham (20).

See how these metros compare to the those ranked by sector in Site Selection’s past editions of the “World’s Most Competitive Cities” report, as well as in our annual Top Metros rankings in the U.S., the next edition of which will be published in March. — Adam Bruns






Big Tech Schools Us

Skills training from tech giants like Amazon is much more than mere window dressing. It’s a door to everyone’s future.

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From the September Issue


Digital Talent Comes of Age in Puerto Rico

A look at three growing institutions tells you why.

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Singapore may have declared a moratorium on data center expansions, but that doesn’t mean Singapore-based firms can’t continue expanding elsewhere. Data center developer SpaceDC says it is working with JLL to build a 72-MW, 43,000-sq.-m. (462,863-sq.-ft.) data center campus called MNL1 in Cainta, part of Greater Manila. “The green data center will be fully powered with renewable energy — wind, geothermal — and is slated to open in 2022,” the company announced earlier this month, calling the three-building development the largest hyperscale data center campus in the Philippines. “The Philippines ranks second in terms of data center growth in Southeast Asia,” said SpaceDC CEO Darren Hawkin. “With only 47MW of available capacity in the country it is a dramatically underserved market. We are excited to be a first mover in a new market where we see our customers are investing heavily.”

Source: Conway Analytics


XNRGY, one of the largest custom air-handling manufacturers in North America, plans to build a new advanced manufacturing facility and headquarters in the Greater Phoenix area that will pour $300 million into 1 million sq. ft. and employ 900. According to the Arizona Commerce Authority, the investment comes at the same time the company is expanding to 250,000 sq. ft. in Montréal, and expands the company’s overall manufacturing footprint by a factor of eight as demand increases for the company’s climate technologies. Among other sectors, the company is aiming to serve the growing cooling and sustainability needs of growing data centers — a hot sector in Greater Phoenix, among other places, as Arizona claims the fifth-largest data center inventory in the nation. “XNRGY wants to be part of the solution to cool hyper-scale data centers without millions of gallons of water a day,” said the Commerce Authority.

Source: Conway Analytics





The Numbers Add Up in Kansas

In key state rankings and cost of living, the Sunflower State shines brightest.

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From the September Issue


Kansas’ Record-Breaking Year

Governor Laura Kelly announced the state’s second record-breaking year in a row, as companies invested in $3.7 billion worth of projects in 2021.

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Graphic courtesy of U.S. Census Bureau

The U.S. Census Bureau is not averse to having a little fun, especially in the lead-up to the “big game” this Sunday in Los Angeles. This week it decided to offer us some insights into snack foods, NFL-affiliated metro areas and where all the players on both the Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Rams were born. Among the findings:

  • According to 2019 County Business Patterns (CBP) data, the state with the greatest number of snack food manufacturing establishments was California with 141, followed by Texas (59) and Pennsylvania (56). According to the 2020-2019 Annual Survey of Manufactures (ASM), snack food manufacturing establishments had sales of $40.4 billion in 2020 and $39.6 billion in sales in 2019.
  • California (No. 3) and Texas (No. 2) are also in the top three when it comes to producing players in the game, with 12 and 14 players respectively. But the overall leader is Florida with 16.
  • Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, California, is the nation’s second-largest metro area with a population of 13,200,998. The Cincinnati, Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana, metro area is No. 30 with 2,256,884. The smallest of the 32 NFL metros? You guessed right if you picked Green Bay, No. 158 in the country with a population of 328,268.


Photo courtesy of the Georgia Ports Authority

The Port of Savannah handled a record 479,700 TEUs of cargo in January, the 18th straight month the port’s Garden City Terminal (pictured) has set a monthly record. “The steps we have taken to add capacity have broken the logjam in global logistics for our customers and created jobs throughout the supply chain” said Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) Executive Director Griff Lynch in a GPA release yesterday. Some of that cargo is temporarily flowing to five pop-up container yards the GPA has arranged for around the Southeast, including the newest one at the CCX Yard in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, owned and operated by CSX. Four other flexible pop-up facilities are located near manufacturing and distribution centers in Savannah, Atlanta, Statesboro and the the GPA’s Appalachian Regional Port in Murray County in northwest Georgia.

According to the GPA, over the past year and a half, the Port of Savannah has grown its container volumes by 1.2 million TEUs. In March, GPA will add 500,000 TEUs of annual capacity, growing to a total of 1.6 million TEUs of new capacity by June — a 25% increase from Savannah’s previous container capacity. The most recent economic impact study by the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business finds that port activity supports one job for every 10 TEUs moved each year. GPA alone grew by 145 employees last year.