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Tesla may build Gigafactory at home in California after all
Tesla Motors Inc. may be turning its eyes toward California for its much-hyped $5 billion Gigafactory. The Wall Street Journal reports California lawmakers are proposing certain tax breaks and regulations that have piqued the interest of the Palo Alto, California-based Tesla. Those proposals would look to lower costs and speed up construction, reports the WSJ. The Golden State initially was not on the short list of potential states under consideration for Tesla’s battery factory. But the longer the site-selection process has gone – about six months now – California has wiggled itself into consideration. Austin Business Journal
Submitted 4 days ago

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Dell continues layoffs amid global restructuring; Austin-area cuts unclear
Dell Inc. continues to lay off workers amid a global restructuring since the Round Rock company was taken private last year, though the exact numbers of employees affected in Central Texas is unclear. An unspecified number of employees at Dell Services in Plano will be affected by global layoffs, but the number of pink slips the company plans to issue in North Texas is still unclear. Part of the strategy for the $24.9 billion leveraged buyout in October 2013 was to enable Dell to focus on the more profitable services and software divisions while decreasing dependency on less-profitable personal computers. Company spokesman David Frink confirmed Wednesday layoffs to “a very small percentage of our global workforce, including a small number of team members in Texas.” However, he declined to disclose the number of affected workers. Austin Business Journal
Submitted 4 days ago

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BMW leads rivals in US car exports
In South Carolina’s Blue Ridge foothills, the Hans & Franz Biergarten serves Wiener schnitzel, German spaetzle and a concoction of sauerkraut, cream cheese, bacon and corned beef rolled in bread crumbs and fried. The Bavarian-themed eatery in Greenville, like the annual Oktoberfest in nearby Greer, are testament to the mark made by BMW in the area since the manufacturer started auto assembly there 20 years ago Friday. The impact has gone both ways. The factory in Greer, a 10-minute drive from Hans & Franz, is integral to BMW’s efforts to protect profit margins and keep ahead of German luxury-car rivals Audi and Mercedes-Benz. The only auto plant in the rural state also serves as a model for the industry. Greenville News
Submitted 4 days ago

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Chinese show confidence in La. with $1.85B investment
In what officials say is China's first major foreign direct investment project in Louisiana, Yuhuang Chemical today announced plans to build a $1.85 billion methanol manufacturing facility on the Mississippi River in St. James Parish. Yuhuang Chemical is one of 13 subsidiaries of Shandong Yuhuang Chemical Co. Ltd., which describes itself as a private, rather than state-run, enterprise. In a joint press conference this afternoon with Gov. Bobby Jindal and Yuhuang Chemical CEO Charlie Yao, the company announced its investment will create 400 new direct jobs with an average annual salary of $85,000 plus benefits. Louisiana Economic Development says in a press release the project will create another 2,365 new indirect jobs in southeast Louisiana and surrounding areas. At peak construction, the company estimates the project will employ 2,100 construction workers. Baton Rouge Business Report
Submitted 4 days ago

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PGA Championship director Brett Sterba discusses Valhalla, Tiger, final preparations
Valhalla Golf Club will close on Sunday, July 20, to allow the finishing touches to be put on the course as it prepares to host the 2014 PGA Championship from Aug. 4 through Aug. 10. Brett Sterba, 36, director of the 2014 PGA Championship for PGA of America, spoke with Business First recently about putting the final pieces together for the tournament and what makes Valhalla unique. What will be the impact of Tiger Woods playing or not playing in the tournament? (Woods, who was injured, is playing this week in the British Open Championship. There has been some question as to whether he will play at Valhalla.) Business First
Submitted 4 days ago

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E-Pellets buys Athens, Ga., mill for $13 million, to invest $150 million
E-Pellets Group LLC bought the Louisiana Pacific OSB mill in Athens, Ga., for $13 million. Waycross, Ga.-based E-Pellets said it plans to convert the mill into a wood pellet production facility, producing about 450,000 metric tons annually. The wood pellets will be exported to the European Union to be used as an alternative to coal as fuel in power plants. A company spokesman said it will cost the company about $150 million to convert the mill into a pellet producing mill. The company has a long-term port agreement with Savannah, Ga.-based Georgia Kaolin Terminal Inc., which provides E-Pellets the capacity to export up to 1.35 million metric tons per year of wood pellets through the Port of Savannah. Atlanta Business Chronicle
Submitted 4 days ago

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Analysis: Florida among 5 states that may see 80-95% health premium increase
An upcoming federal court decision may result in health insurance premium increases for almost 5 million Americans now benefiting from the Affordable Care Act. That could include an average 80-95 percent premium increase in Florida, Georgia, Missouri, Mississippi and Alaska. A new analysis from Washington, D.C.-based strategic advisory firm Avalere Health finds that without action from the federal government, nearly 5 million Americans would receive an average premium increase of 76 percent if, in the Halbig v. Burwell case, the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia rules that consumers in the federal exchange cannot receive premium subsidies. Orlando Business Journal
Submitted 4 days ago

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Space Florida pursues large Pensacola development
Space Florida is moving ahead with plans for the first commercial development in Pensacola Technology Park, issuing a request to recruit and architectural firm and citing Sept. 12 as its deadline to negotiate an agreement with one. The Melbourne-based quasi-government agency filed a “Request for Qualifications” with Florida officials that detailed its building plans for a 58,400-square-foot facility that would include areas for technological research and training. Such a facility would be about the size of a Super WalMart store. “We’re asking the architects to submit their designs for what this would like like,” said Debbie Hebert, a Space Florida spokeswoman. Space Florida’s current plans envision five tenants that would rent space in various sizes from 5,000 to 20,000 square feet each. Pensacola News-Journal
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White House: Alabama's Medicaid expansion refusal could cost state billions
A new White House study claims forgoing Medicaid expansion in Alabama will cost the state billions of dollars. According to the study, Alabama will miss out on $3.63 billion in federal funding, 15,100 jobs and $2.6 billion in increased economic activity through 2017 without an expansion. Also, an additional 235,000 Alabamians would receive health coverage if Medicaid was expanded. But Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley and other state officials have held firm against the expansion, saying the state will not be able to afford it once federal funding for the expansion phases out. Bentley has also said Alabama's Medicaid system is broken and said it doesn't make sense to expand a broken system. Other critics of the expansion have said job creation numbers have been inflated. Birmingham Business Journal
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Birmingham No. 2 in the nation in millennial homebuyer growth
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama – The Birmingham area ranks second in the nation when it comes to attracting millennial homebuyers, according to a new report. Builder magazine said the growth in homebuyers age 18-34 increased at such a rate between 2012 and 2013 to catapult the Birmingham-Hoover metro area into the No. 2 spot in the nation, just behind Honolulu. The metro area added 23.9 percent more millennial homebuyers in 2013 than the previous year, according to the report. "The 23.9 percent spike in millennial new-home sales from 2012 to 2013 occurred despite a $52,100 rise in median closing price to $224,700 in 2013," the magazine's summary of Birmingham-Hoover said. "Millennial buyers accounted for approximately 20 percent of new-homes sold in 2013." AL.com
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Features & Opinion

 Top Ten Places in the South for Relocating California Companies

In growth, companies find themselves in the dilemma of identifying capital to increase capacity and managing opportunity cost where capital may be deferred. This dilemma is amplified as capacity constraints drive a company to complete the site selection process for an expanding or new facility. 
 

 Randle Report - Business News in the South

 FEATURE  
By Dr. Glen Fenter
Desperation sometimes masks itself in acceptance. Such was the case for Takelia Carter of Marion, Ark. For Carter, the mother of six school-age children in a low paying job, desperation was normative existence. This was her life in Crittenden County, Ark., deep in the Delta where unfortunately one in four families lives well below the poverty level.
 

 Business News in the South - Randle Report

FEATURE     
By Mike Randle
There are numerous factors driving the new industrial revolution in the South. And it is a revolution, as this manufacturing surge that began in 2007 continues to break records year after year in the total number of large, capital intensive projects. One factor, of course, is that reshoring of facilities back to the U.S. continues to grow each year.
 
 Nashville Mayour Karl Dean

We try to change up the categories in our annual Ten Top 10s section, but we always include the "Ten People Who Made a Difference" category. This year though, we are honoring 12 and you will learn why by reading about this group of folks who have made a difference in the South. Here is our annual list that includes executives, economic developers and politicians who have made a difference in the South's economy.


 


 

 

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