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ONLINE INSIDER

From Paris to Palatka: Why a Global Giant Picked a Small Town in Florida

A French conglomerate is investing $235 million to double gypsum capacity in Putnam County.

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FROM SITE SELECTION MAGAZINE, JULY 2023 ISSUE

ASIA

The ASEAN-6: A Vibrant Tech Playground

More than $43 billion in startup equity and debt funding occurred in Southeast Asia between 2021 and 2022, reports Tractus, much of it in the region’s six largest economies.

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INVESTMENT PROFILE: MARYLAND

Maryland Leaps Ahead with Quantum

State support and legacy institutions spark a vibrant crop of startups and corporate partnerships.

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MICHIGAN – PURE OPPORTUNITY



SITE SELECTION RECOMMENDS

Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo in June visited Nike’s 29-year-old European Logistics Campus in Laakdal, where 7,000 Nike employees ship more than 1 million items to 39 countries using, among other technologies, the world’s first hydrogen-powered inland container barge that sails back and forth to Rotterdam.

Photo courtesy of Nike

Tomorrow, July 21, is Belgium National Day. This year the holiday coincides with the 10th anniversary of the reign of King Philippe. Activities get underway this evening with a national ball and a classical music concert to be attended by the king and queen. Tomorrow includes a Te Deum at St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral and an all-day party in the park in Brussels.

Coverage of the country and its people has run the gamut in Site Selection, including Adam Bruns’ 2013 report from a trip to Liege, “Crossroads,” on Wallonia as a hub for life sciences and logistics. As reported in a recent Site Selection Snapshot, Belgium was one of the biggest upward movers in the 2023 IMD World Competitiveness Ranking, moving up eight spots to No. 12 in the world. The country was also called the most improved in Western Europe and third-biggest upward mover globally (behind Thailand and Vietnam) in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s recently published business environment rankings.

ST Engineering iDirect announced last year it would manufacture space flight components at its Manufacturing Competence Center (MCC) in Erpe-Mere, Belgium. Other recent projects tracked in Belgium by the Conway Projects Database include a $4 billion investment from Ineos Olefins in Antwerp; a $19 million manufacturing investment from Oleon in Oelegem, Flanders; a $42.5 million manufacturing investment from Avesta Battery & Energy Engineering in Seneffe, Wallonia; and a 70-job, $15 million manufacturing and R&D investment from Telix Pharmaceuticals also in Seneffe.

In May the country launched a new international branding campaign titled “Embracing Openness” that will run through April 2026 to “strengthen Belgium’s openness for innovation, as supported by partnerships and diversity.” The 20th anniversary of the legalization of same-sex marriage in Belgium in June was one of the campaign’s first milestones. The campaign will initially concentrate on Europe, “preparing for Belgium's upcoming presidency of the Council of the European Union, starting in 2024,” the government said. “Whether it is the production of COVID vaccines, pioneering biotech and semiconductor research, or our leading role in offshore energy, Belgium has consistently shown that openness for innovation is vital for a successful society,” said Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo. “While others might choose to isolate themselves, Belgium radically chooses for openness as the way forward.”



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SITE OF THE WEEK

Mann Valley Corporate Park, River Falls, Wisconsin





Just minutes from I-94 and 30 miles from the Twin Cities, Mann Valley Corporate Park, located in River Falls, Wisconsin, includes 200+ acres for office and light industrial/manufacturing use. The largest lot, at 155 acres, is one of the largest tracts of land available for industrial development in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. Utility services are provided locally by River Falls Municipal Utilities, recipient of the American Public Power Association 2022 Certificate of Excellence in Reliability.

Mann Valley Corporate Park offers a prime location in a thriving community of thinkers and innovators. The City of River Falls is nationally lauded for its sustainability efforts; in 2020, it became the first city in Wisconsin to power its buildings with 100% renewable energy. In 2023, the U.S. Department of Energy ranked River Falls Municipal Utilities No. 2 in the nation for the percentage of utility customers opting into the City’s green energy programs. River Falls is home to Chippewa Valley Technical College (CVTC) and the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, which will open its brand-new Science and Technology Innovation Center in January 2026. Businesses locating in River Falls thrive thanks to partnership opportunities with UW-River Falls and CVTC, offering a robust talent pool and access to numerous campus resources.

Learn more about Mann Valley Corporate Park.

PHOTO OF THE DAY

Employees celebrated on July 7 as the last rocket was destroyed at the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant near Richmond, Kentucky.

Photo courtesy of Bechtel

Bechtel announced early this month that the final munition in the United States stockpile of chemical weapons had been safely destroyed at the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant (BGCAPP, pictured) located near Richmond, Kentucky. “The end of destruction at Blue Grass,” Bechtel stated, “completes the United States’ commitment to destroy its stockpile of chemical weapons before September 30, 2023 as a party to the Chemical Weapons Convention treaty ratified in 1997.”

Twenty years ago, Bechtel and Parsons were awarded the contract to design, build and operate the incineration facility. Construction was completed in 2015. “The chemical weapons stockpile at the depot originally consisted of 523 U.S. tons of chemical agent configured in 155mm projectiles containing mustard and VX nerve agent, 8-inch projectiles containing GB nerve agent, and M55 rockets containing GB and VX nerve agent,” Bechtel said. “Beginning in 2019, destruction took place around the clock at BGCAPP and continued without interruption during the 2020-2023 global health emergency of COVID-19.”

To learn more about Bechtel's work at the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant, visit the project page. For more information on the history of mustard gas and Lewisite production and use (including the testing of such agents on 60,000 human subjects), see this report from the NIH’s National Center for Biotechnology Information housed within the National Library of Medicine.