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From the September Issue

Querétaro Data Center Investment Central to Digitizing Mexican Industry

A wave of North American reshoring has Mexican exports to the U.S. on the rise. Judging from the level of hyperscale data center investment in the country, its information-based economy is rising too.

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From the September Issue


Spreading the Wealth

A targeted set of 150 projects aims to transform the Northeast Corridor.

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From the September Issue


High-Tech Connection

Connecticut boosts its Innovation Corridor and the workforce to go with it.

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California Life Sciences Employment and Average Wage by Top Four MSAs, 2020
Graphic courtesy of CLS

California Life Sciences last week released its 2021 sector report, which shows that California’s life sciences sector directly employed 313,230 people, attracted $12.5 billion in venture capital and received $5 billion in funding from the NIH last year. In addition to a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion in the sector, the report, produced in partnership with KPMG, includes a heat map showing the concentration of life sciences employment across the state. The number of life sciences establishments in the state increased by 3% from 2019. Among other takeaways:

  • “The industry and its supply chain together contributed $411 billion in economic output and an estimated $42 billion in total tax revenues to the state economy.”
  • Partially due to pandemic effects on this industry like every other sector, biomedical exports decreased slightly from $26.4 billion in 2021 to $25.8 billion in 2020.
  • “As of January 2022,” says the report, “out of all 79 COVID-19 vaccine developments in the United States, more than a quarter have been sponsored by or primarily supported by organizations in California and over half of them (i.e. 43) have clinical trials taking place in California.”
  • “The largest metro-area share of the jobs supported in California was in the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim MSA, followed by the San Diego-Carlsbad MSA, the San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward MSA, then the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara MSA. For the entire state of California, the average life sciences salary in 2020 was around $159,000, increasing from about $142,000 in 2019.”

Among the nearly 100 corporate facility investments tracked by the Conway Projects Database in California this year so far are the HQ and R&D operations of Totus Medicines in Emeryville (60 jobs); a 100-job investment by ThermoGenesis Holdings in Rancho Cordova; and 41,000 sq. ft. occupied by the HQ and R&D operations of Vector Laboratories in Newark. — Adam Bruns



This project card from five years ago shows the last time Site Selection documented a major facility investment by iron and steel company Metinvest at its Azovstal steel mill, the location in Mariupol, Ukraine, where invading Russian forces as of this morning had pinned down Ukrainian personnel but were reportedly sealing them off rather than storming the four-square-mile complex. Metinvest earlier this spring put its plants in Mariupol and Avdiivka in “hot conservation mode” as the attacks continued, while a major site in Zaporizhia, which just celebrated its 88th anniversary last week, began resuming operations earlier this month and Kamet Steel in Kamianske continued using all three of its blast furnaces, the company reports. This coming weekend marks two months since the military invasion of Ukraine was launched. Updates on its operations and the war continue to be posted several times a day by Metinvest here.

Source: Conway Analytics

Under normal conditions Metinvest’s Azovstal Iron & Steel Works, originally constructed by the USSR beginning in 1930, produces 5.7 million tons of iron, 6.2 million tons of steel and 4.7 million tons of finished rolled products per year.

Photo courtesy of Metinvest


In a dispatch from a different reality, after successfully returning six astronaut tourists to terra firma on March 31, Jeff Bezos’ space exploration and development company Blue Origin is also touching down with a new office in South Denver’s Highlands Ranch. As of this morning, the company is looking to fill 223 jobs at the location, which supports program management, systems engineering, avionics, software, integration and mission design in support of the company’s launch vehicle and space systems programs. The company is working with Colorado-based Sierra Space on a “mixed-use business park” in space they call Orbital Reef. The company’s other seven U.S. locations include Huntsville, Alabama; Phoenix, Arizona; Los Angeles, California; Seattle, Washington; the Space Coast of Florida; and Washington, D.C., as well as its launch site in West Texas.

Source: Conway Analytics







Records Fall as Buildings Rise

Manufacturing facility investments totaling $10.5 billion — including major projects from GE Appliances, Ford/SK Innovation and Toyota — accounted for more than three-quarters of the 18,100 new project-related jobs that landed in Kentucky in 2021.

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From the September Issue


The Center of Success

An ideal geographic location positions the commonwealth for continued logistics growth.

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A worker gets things done at a Sundt Construction job site in Tucson, Arizona. Navigating new Buy America rules to keep such projects moving forward is another matter entirely.
Photo by Robby Brown courtesy of Sundt Construction
and the AGC’s Construction Diversity Image Library

On April 18 the federal Office of Management and Budget released new Buy America rules (and exemptions) for projects being funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The guidance applies to all iron and steel, all manufactured products (at least 55% domestic content) and all construction materials. The rules prompted an immediate response from Associated General Contractors of America CEO Stephen Sandherr:

“The Biden administration’s new Buy America mandate is the kind of red tape initiative that undermines American’s confidence in the federal government’s ability to effectively use their tax dollars,” he said. “It makes no sense to place unrealistic limitations on firms’ ability to source key materials at a time when prices for those products are skyrocketing and supplies are limited. Supply chain shortages are already prompting firms to avoid bidding on new projects, as the Army Corps of Engineers discovered on a recent project that received zero bids because of concrete scarcities in parts of the country.”

Comparing the waiver seeking process for materials not made in America to “asking the U.S. Department of Education to verify every child’s permission slip to miss a day of school,” Sandherr went on to note, “ Whatever minimal gains in domestic construction material production this new mandate might temporarily generate will be offset by the increased cost of constructing new projects, slower schedules to build those projects and the fact some key projects could be hamstrung from moving forward. Americans were right to be excited about the potential for the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to make our economy more efficient, our commutes faster, our water safer and our economy stronger. But this new mandate will leave too many taxpayers wondering where the trillion dollars went while they are still stuck in traffic, still hearing about boil water orders and still wondering why we can’t have better transit systems.”




On the Move

Among a slew of projects, Amazon’s “Project Basie” in Woodburn leads the way.

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Photo courtesy of Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site and the National Park Service of the U.S. Dept. of the Interior

The iron and steel production supporting the Ukrainian economy at plants like Metinvest’s locations noted above has a historic parallel in many countries, including the United States. As documented by the National Park Service, the Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site in Essex County, Massachusetts, north of Boston, “is a reconstruction of the first successful, integrated iron works in the New World. It produced wrought iron and cast iron products from 1646 to approximately 1670, utilizing the most advanced iron making technology in early Colonial times.” Saugus is considered the birthplace of the iron and steel industry in Colonial America, “The subsequent dispersal of former workers and their descendants to other parts of Colonial America, where they established other iron producing centers, was critical to the development of industry and technology in the emerging country,” says the NPS. “The National Register of Historic Places calls the Saugus lron Works ‘the first chapter in America's book.’ With its requirement for a large labor force, the iron works served as a conduit, fowarding the movement of technology and people from the Old World to the New. Through the experiences of Puritans, English freemen, and Scots prisoners engaged for its operation, the iron works traced the British immigrants' journey in the New World and recorded their stories of assimilation.”