Economic Development News
Business Attraction: The Ever-Changing Game
(From the ED 2015 Annual Report)
Published: Wednesday, May 4, 2016
By: Missy Bonnot, Director, Economic Development
The world of Business Attraction has always been a changing game but particularly in the last 10 years. With the help of the internet, companies can now find information on their own and the process has become more scientific and based on raw numbers, statistics and data allowing companies to move faster than ever.
2015 proved to be a very good year for Jefferson City. We worked 26 projects resulting in 4 company site visits and 2 announcements. Projects are bit like a funnel. You start out with leads, then projects, then site visits, and then hopefully a site visit will ultimately lead to the company selecting Jefferson City for their location.
It is a tough process and one that comes with a LOT of competition. For example, a Korean company searching for a potential new location in the United States recently visited Jefferson City.
They reviewed 36 communities in Missouri that had an existing building between 25,000-50,000 square feet in size. From the 36 buildings, they selected 9 communities in Missouri for site visits and Jefferson City was one of them.
The company is looking at potential sites in a 4-state area. They made 9 community visits in Missouri alone, so the company has probably looked at close to 40 buildings in the 4 state area! Talk about competition! Hopefully, they saw Jefferson City in a positive light along with the existing building. I am hoping for a 2nd site visit when they bring the CEO of the company with them in the next month. We are always striving to make the short list and NOT get eliminated. We want to stay in the game!
The first home run our community hit in Jefferson City last year was landing the Special Olympics Missouri Training for Life campus. This state of the art 44,000 square feet facility will serve current and future generations of individuals with intellectual disabilities, and will be the largest facility of this scope in the United States. The campus will be located at the intersection of Hwy 54 and Hwy 179 and will offer training opportunities for athletes, coaches and volunteers throughout the state of Missouri. We couldn’t be more proud of this project which truly took a team effort of many local leaders and businesses to present our proposal to Special Olympics Missouri.
Currently SOMO has raised 87% of their $15.8 million goal and plans to break ground later this year.
The second home run that announced in April was Continental Commercial Products. This project like all projects was very competitive. The company was looking at large buildings in St. Louis, Vandalia IL, and Fort Wayne Indiana. They first looked at the former R.R. Donnelley building in January and on April 1st announced their plans to relocate from Bridgeton, MO to Jefferson City. Many people have heard me say this was the fastest business attraction project I have ever worked and CCP hasn’t slowed down since! In the last 12 months CCP has added infrastructure, moved 23 lines and hired well over 200 people and is now fully operational. Again, it took all of our partners to come together to make this project happen. We thank the city, county, schools and the building owners for the team approach to making this project happen in our community.
As you can see from both of these projects, Economic Development is not an individual sport but it takes a team to bring all of the plays together. I would venture to say that Jefferson City has one of the best teams in the state of Missouri and I would compete against any other economic development team in the United States!