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From Site Selection magazine, July 2014

More Than Tire Swings


ecycling a tire used to mean turning it into a backyard swing, but not any longer. Genan, a German company, has opened the world's largest tire recycling facility in Houston, Texas. The company is a leader in the extraction and production of crumb rubber, rubber powder and steel from scrap tires. Recycled rubber is used in road construction and in playground tiles and artificial turf. The Houston facility will employ 60 workers and can recycle approximately 10 million passenger car tires per year. This is the first of five plants Genan will build in the US.

Circling for a Landing in Vacaville


CON Aircraft, manufacturer of consumer sport planes, is relocating, but it’s not leaving California. After an extensive nationwide search, the southern California company plans to begin operating in Vacaville, about 50 miles (80 km.) northeast of San Francisco, by the beginning of 2015. The company will consolidate its manufacturing, sales, training, service and corporate headquarters into a 140,000-sq.-ft. (13,006-sq.-m.) facility adjacent to the Vacaville airport. The move will create hundreds of advanced manufacturing jobs which are expected to grow into the thousands, with a regional economic impact estimated to surpass $350 million.

ICON Aircraft will soon land in Vacaville, Calif.

Partners North and South of the Border


anadian-based BRP, Inc., maker of Sea-Doo personal watercraft and off-road vehicles, and Vesta, an industrial developer in Mexico, plan to build a 500,000-sq.-ft. (46,451-sq.-m.) manufacturing facility in Ciudad Juarez. The total cost of the $83-million plant will be shared, $50 million from BRP and $33 million from Vesta. The plant will support an expansion of BRP’s Can-Am off-road vehicles and will create 900 full-time jobs. The new plant will be BRP’s third manufacturing facility in Mexico.

Proximity Matters:
Encouraging Places of Innovation

The 44th St. Parklet in Philadelphia’s University City District.

hat are innovation districts, and why do they matter? They are “geographic areas where anchor institutions and companies cluster and connect with small firms, startups, business incubators and accelerators,” according to “The Rise of Innovation Districts,” a new Brookings Institution report. They’re “areas that are physically compact, transit accessible, technically wired and offer a mix of housing, office and retail.”

Innovation requires proximity, the report maintains. “Innovation is moving from the late 20th century model of isolated corporate campuses to entrepreneurial and collaborative areas in the downtowns and midtowns of cities. Big market and demographic forces are revaluing what cities offer — proximity, density and connectivity.”

The report covers three models of innovation districts and seven case studies:

  • The anchor plus model built around such anchor institutions as hospitals and universities (Cambridge, Mass.; Philadelphia, Pa.; St. Louis, Mo.; Detroit, Mich.);
  • The re-imagined urban area, built around places such as warehouse districts that are undergoing a physical transformation (Seattle, Wash.; Boston, Mass.); and
  • The urbanized science park, where sprawling but isolated complexes or research centers increase density and add mixed-use features to the geography (Raleigh/Durham, N.C.).

The Ultimate Hat Trick

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley with Enki Tan, Executive Chairman of Giti Tire.

ew states have the opportunity to do what South Carolina did on June 16. Governor Nikki Haley was on hand as three companies announced significant expansion projects in South Carolina on the same day. The governor called the triple news conferences the "ultimate hat trick." Korea's Giti Tire will build a $560-million facility in Chester County and is expected to generate 1,700 new jobs over the next 10 years. The Lash Group, a patient support services company, announced its plans to create a new national headquarters campus in Fort Mill, S.C., employing 1,200 initially and doubling the workforce over the next several years. The company will begin construction of a 250,000-sq.-ft. Class A office building this summer. LPL Financial is also making the move to Fort Mill, part of the Greater Charlotte metro area. The nation's largest independent broker, LPL plans to invest $150 million over the next eight years at an office complex that will eventually house 3,000 employees.

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