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2017 Gold & Silver Shovel Awards: Investment Projects of the Year

Q2 2017

Billion-Dollar Projects of the Year There’s an undeniable prestige that comes from landing a project with a 10-figure investment. Billion-dollar deals don’t come along very often, they generate big headlines and well-deserved respect, they grow the tax base and they create jobs, typically quite a few jobs.

What does a billion-dollar deal look like? There are always exceptions to any rule, but as the dozen megadeals announced in 2016 indicate, there are some pretty common characteristics. First of all, that price tag is as much an indicator of complexity as it is of size. Most billion-dollar deals involve some sort of manufacturing operation that is technologically complicated. Automotive assembly fits that bill, as do petrochemical operations.

The biggest project on the list from a dollar perspective involves Tellurian Investments, which wants to develop a liquefied natural gas terminal along the Calcasieu River in Louisiana. That deal carries a jaw-dropping price of nearly $12 billion. The only other projects that even come close are also petrochemical in nature. Venture Global is also developing LNG capacity in Louisiana and has investment plans in Plaquemines Parish that surpass $8 billion. In Pennsylvania, Royal Dutch Shell announced $6 billion plans for an ethane cracker facility. ExxonMobil is another example in Beaumont, Texas.

Pricey automotive investments often aren’t new facilities. It’s not difficult to spend a billion or more dollars retooling an existing plant to prepare for production of a different vehicle, or a new generation of components. Michigan provides a couple of examples, including a $1.5 billion Fiat Chrysler Automobiles investment planned in Sterling Heights and a $1.4 billion transmission project from Ford in Livonia. General Motors offers a similar example in Tennessee, as does Continental Tire in Mississippi.

Healthcare is an incredibly complex business, too, which is how ALSAC St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital in Memphis ended up on the billion-dollar list. The same can be said for semiconductors and aerospace - Texas offers examples from Samsung and Lockheed Martin. The other major investment on this list is in Arkansas, where Shandong Sun Paper of China is planning a major paper mill.

Large Job-Creating Projects of the Year It has long been said that money isn’t everything. In the case of economic development projects, many would argue that job creation is the most relevant measure, and sometimes the biggest job-creating projects aren’t the ones with the biggest price tags.

For example, various kinds of financial or professional services operations, as well as contact centers, can often create a wealth of job opportunities. In many cases this kind of growth can happen with a comparatively small investment because these projects can go into existing facilities and be outfitted mostly with desks, phones, and computers. More than 2,800 jobs in Phoenix are planned by CIOX Health, manager of health information. Anthem is planning 1,800 jobs at an Atlanta technology hub. ADP wants to hire 1,800 in Virginia, 1,600 in Florida, and 1,500 in Arizona. JP Morgan Chase has plans for more than 2,100 jobs in New Jersey.

While many warehouses are increasingly automated, it can still take a lot of people to handle fulfillment operations. Our focus on e-commerce expansions spotlights multiple Amazon projects, for example, that collectively are adding more than 17,000 jobs. In Georgia, nearly 2,500 jobs related to logistics and distribution are being created by UPS and Home Chef. And Under Armour needs a thousand people in Maryland to help distribute its products.

Of course, major manufacturing operations can be big job-creators, too. The accompanying list offers numerous examples of major automotive operations in multiple places, from tire production to engines to high-tech electric vehicles. And there are thousands of aerospace jobs on tap as well.

E-Commerce Projects of the Year Scan through the list of projects spotlighted in this year’s Shovel Awards, from one state to another state, and you’re likely to experience a bit of déjà vu - an Amazon fulfillment center here, another one there, yet another, and another.

There are Amazon distribution projects on the list in a dozen states. Some states have more than one. Altogether, more than 17,000 new jobs are on the list. It’s an astonishing ongoing rollout and expansion of a logistics strategy that’s being felt practically everywhere, it seems. As 2016 began, in-dustry observers reported that the company already had more than 100 U.S. warehouses, and practically every month more were announced. Just in Illinois, the company in about two years went from having virtually no significant distribution operations to plans for multiple sites and thousands of employees.

Indeed, early in 2016 one supply chain analyst who follows Amazon closely predicted that the company would open more than seven million square feet of fulfillment space across the U.S. over a two-year span. That’s ambitious, for sure, but it takes more and more sites, in ever-more ubiquitous locations, to keep up with the company’s increasingly ambitious delivery promises. Two days seemed pretty amazing, once upon a time, but these days the company is working to deliver purchases nearly as quickly as Domino’s delivers fresh pizzas.

Where is it all leading? That’s the big question industry analysts are pondering, but it’s increasingly clear that the company is working to eliminate middlemen, even freight companies themselves. As that future unfolds, expect to see Amazon projects on these lists on a regular basis.

2017 Gold Shovel Awards: The Winning States

  • Illinois
  • Georgia
  • Arizona
  • Kentucky
  • Mississippi
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2017 Gold & Silver Shovel Awards: Billion Dollar(s) Projects Of The Year (2016)

Project Location Jobs Investment
Shandong Sun Paper Arkadelphia, AR 250 $1B
Tellurian Investments Calcasieu Parish, LA 551 $11.8Bb
Venture Global LNG Plaquemines Parish 250 $8.5B
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles LLC Sterling Heights, MI 700 $1.5B
Ford Motor Co. Expansion Livonia, MI 500 $1.4B
Continental Tire Hinds County, MS 2,500 $1.5B
Royal Dutch Shell Potter, PA 600 $6B
General Motors Spring Hill, TN 1,431 $1B
St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital
Memphis, TN 1,800 $1B
Lockheed Martin Fort Worth, TX 1,000 $1.2B
ExxonMobil Beaumont, TX 40 $1.2B
Samsung Austin, TX 250 $1B
Read More

2017 Gold & Silver Shovel Awards: Large Job-Creating Projects Of The Year (2016)*

Project Location Jobs Investment
Cognizant Technology Solutions Des Moines, IA 1,014 $9M
Under Armour Sparrows, MD 1,000 $174M
Continental Tire Hinds County, MS 2,500 $1.5M
Topship LLC Gulfport, MS 1,000 $68M
JPMorgan Chase Jersey City, NJ 2,150 $68.3M
St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital
Memphis, TN 1,800 $1B
General Motors Spring Hill, TN 1,431 $1B
GM Financial Arlington, TX 1,300 $35M
Lockheed Martin Fort Worth, TX 1,000 $1.2B
McKesson Corp. Irving, TX 1,000 $157M
ADP Norfolk, VA 1,800 $32.3M
CIOX Health Phoenix, AZ 2,820 $15M
Lucid Motors Casa Grande, AZ 2,213 $735M
Raytheon Missile Systems Tucson, AZ 1,975 $352.3M
ADP Tempe, AZ 1,500 $33.8M
Oscar Tempe, AZ 1,250 $5M
Wells Fargo Chandler, AZ 1,200 $25M
Farmers Insurance Phoenix, AZ 1,188 $41.3M
Snapchat Venice Beach, CA 1,194 $32M
Google, Inc. Boulder, CO 1,000 $150M
ADP, LLC Maitland, FL 1,600 $28.4M
NCR Atlanta, GA 1,800 $145M
Anthem Atlanta, GA 1,800 $20M
UPS Atlanta, GA 1,250 $400M
Home Chef Dekalb, GA 1,200 $3.4M
Sentury Tire Troup, GA 1,000 $150M
Rivian Automotive Normal, IL 1,000 $175M
* See e-Commerce Projects of the Year chart for other
large job-creating projects.
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2017 Gold & Silver Shovel Awards: E-Commerce* Projects Of The Year (2016)

Project Location Jobs Investment
Amazon Aurora, CO 250 $27M
Amazon Jacksonville, FL 1,500 $198M
Amazon Jackson County, GA 500 N/A**
Amazon Edwardsville,
Joliet, IL
4,500 $355M
Amazon Edgerton & Kansas City 2,000 $292.6M
Amazon Livonia, MI 1,000 $90M
Amazon Shakopee, MN 1,000 $250M
Amazon North Las Vegas, NV 1,000 $18M
Amazon Carteret & Florence, NJ 2,000 N/A**
Amazon Charlotte, NC 1,500 $50M
Amazon Palmer & Pittston, PA 850 N/A**
Amazon Houston, TX 1,000 $136M
* Projects represent Amazon fulfillment centers
**Investment confidential
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MethodologyArea Development’s annual Gold and Silver Shovel Awards recognize states for their achievements in attracting high-value investment projects that will create a significant number of new jobs in their communities. We collected information from all 50 states about their top-10 job-creation and investment projects initiated in 2016 (only those projects that actually had monies invested, “broke ground,” began an expansion, started new hiring, etc. were considered). Based on a combination of weighted factors - including the number of new jobs to be created in relation to the state’s population, the combined dollar amount of the investments, the number of new facilities, the diversity of industry represented — five states achieving the highest weighted overall scores were awarded Area Development’s 2017 Gold Shovels in five population categories: 12+ million, 8+ to 12 million, 5+ to 8 million, 3+ to 5 million, and fewer than 3 million. Runners-up in each of these population categories were awarded 2017 Silver Shovels.

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