TOP DEALS OF 2005
North American Honorable Mention
Columbus, Ga. $100 millionA $10- million incentives package helped woo this 2,000-job expansion in the company's hometown, which won out over competing locations at AFLAC sites in Nebraska and New York.
Richmond, Va. $300 millionAltria/Philip Morris is creating 500 jobs at this site, which beat out Research Triangle Park in North Carolina with a package that includes a 10- year abatement on property taxes, plus an estimated $12 million in aid from the Commonwealth of Virginia. In addition, $3 million in road improvement funds for work around the park has been penciled into the federal transportation bill. The project will be constructed in downtown Richmond, on land donated by the city to the Virginia BioTechnology Research Park.
Fenton, Mo. $1 billionOne of the original Big Three is not suffering as much as the other Two, as evidenced by multiple projects across North America and globally. This project is seeing a $32- million package from the state of Missouri, half of it in training funds, as well as 46 million in tax abatements from Fenton and St. Louis Co. over 15 years.
Covington, Ky. $120 millionA $10-million incentive package involving job creation tax credits and sales tax rebates helped Northern Kentucky hang on to 2,900 jobs and welcome the possibility of 1,500 more. But one of the keys to Covington winning out over Salt Lake City for this project (the company's fourth expansion here) was a nine-year planning process among the city, Kenton County, the Commonwealth of Kentucky and Northern Kentucky Tri-ED that finally resulted in a new $17.5-million access road to the Fidelity campus.
Oshawa, Ingersoll and St. Catharines, Ontario $2.1 billion"Multifaceted" only begins to describe this sequence of investments, which includes new vehicle and engine technology investments at GM Canada's home base in Oshawa, rated the most productive plant in North America in 2005 by the Harbour Report. The company's St. Catharines powertrain plant will also see investment, as will its joint venture with CAMI in Ingersoll. Perhaps just as striking are the multiple R&D, education and training investments such as the University of Ontario Institute of Technology's Automotive Center of Excellence, part of a Canadian Automotive Innovation Network including eight of the nation's leading higher education institutions. Topping off the plans, the company reached a tentative three-year agreement with the Canadian Auto Workers union in September 2005.
Irving Oil/Repsol Canaport LNG
Saint John, New Brunswick $750 millionOn June 7, Spain-based Repsol YPF and Canada's Irving Oil signed agreements to develop a US$750- million LNG import and regasification terminal in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada, the first complex of its kind on Canada's East Coast. Key to the decision was a strongly opposed measure by the city's common council that froze property taxes at CA$500,000 (US$406,000) annually for 25 years.
Morrisville, N.C. $80 millionThe addition of 400 jobs with an average salary of $70,000 pales in comparison to the retention of 1,800, as Chinese concern Lenovo makes its entree onto the U.S. corporate stage. Partners included the North Carolina Dept. of Commerce, the Morrisville Chamber and Progress Energy. The project will see a JDIG grant as well as $750,000 from One North Carolina fund, and is symbolic of a national trend that is seeing more projects and queries from Chinese companies.
Virginia Beach, Va. $78.4 millionThe largest manufacturing investment in Virginia Beach history will mean 300 new jobs at the Stihl complex that originally opened with 50 employees in 1974. The region's touted work force quality and quality of life overcame significant advantages of competing international locations in Sao Leopoldo, Brazil; Wil, Switzerland; and Waiblingen, Germany.
Steelscape/Grupo IMSA Acero
Shreveport, La. $200 millionAfter evaluating more than 20 sites in the south-central U.S., Steelscape chose a site in Shreveport, a community it was introduced to by supplier McElroy Metal.
Maryville, Tenn. $185 millionThe 500 new jobs associated with this automotive electronics expansion project build on the 140 jobs created by its $68- million expansion in 2002, and match the job total of DENSO's other new project, a $35- million plant in Osceola, Ark. The Maryville complex was established in 1988 by DENSO predecessor Nippodenso, after the community narrowly missed landing the Toyota manufacturing plant that went to Georgetown, Ky. The new project will lift its area payroll to 3,000.
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