“Eventually everything connects - people, ideas, objects. The quality of the connections is the key to quality per se."
‒ Charles Eames
Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx called the new 200-acre intermodal at Charlotte Douglas International Airport “a big deal,” and he wasn’t kidding. When it opens in 2014, the $90 million facility will link air, road, rail and sea transportation to more seamlessly and efficiently move freight from and through Charlotte. The city estimates that the transportation activity and resulting growth in light manufacturing, warehousing, distribution and other businesses around the operation will have a $9 billion economic impact over 20 years and create 5,000 jobs. Not to mention the improvement in Charlotte’s air quality by eliminating 500 daily tractor-trailer trips between the airport and the current 40-acre intermodal facility in uptown Charlotte. The new intermodal will provide a competitive advantage that will make it even easier to do business in Charlotte USA.
Although Northern Southern officially will begin construction this month, plans and preparation have been underway for more than a decade. As is always the case with airport projects, the intermodal construction is cost efficient. In 2007, when the airport needed 10 million cubic yards of dirt to strengthen the foundation for its third parallel runway, it took the dirt from between two existing ones, thus simultaneously grading the land needed for the future intermodal and giving it the necessary clearance from air traffic. This twofer saved $20 million.
Outstanding accessibility has long been one of Charlotte USA’s most significant economic development drivers, and the new intermodal puts the exclamation point on that. Just take a look at the “Locations, expansions, contractions” section near the bottom of this page. In one week, four companies have located or expanded in our region.
Not only companies, but people are moving to Charlotte USA. In U-Haul’s 2011 National Migration Trend Report, Charlotte ranked 30th. It was No. 10 on Penske Truck Rental’s list for residential relocations. This growth was borne out by the 2010 census. Between 2000 and 2010, the Charlotte, N.C.-S.C. area grew faster than any other urbanized area with populations of 1 million or more, increasing by 64.6 percent to 1.2 million residents. Overall, the population within the nation's 486 urbanized areas grew by 14.3 percent during that time.
And why not? Our region has the resources for businesses to thrive and a quality of life that is enviable. It’s life. In balance.
Making new friends
Last week, I was in Dallas for the Friends of North Carolina Site Selection Consultant Luncheon and came back highly encouraged. The Charlotte region is highly regarded among this group, and I had a number of excellent conversations that underscored the recovery is underway. Ryan McDaniels of Cabarrus Economic Development and Crystal Gettys from Lincoln Economic Development Association also made the trip and talked with consultants at the luncheon.
Renewable energy growing
For in-town driving, electric vehicles are one of the most energy- and cost-efficient options. The city of Charlotte is doing its part to help drivers reduce their carbon footprints and save money by building seven charging stations uptown and at park-and-ride lots that can accommodate 26 plug-ins. A $215,000 federal grant is paying for the installation. Additionally, several city departments will share the use ofeight electric vehicles.
Over at Packard Place, two six-foot turbines have joined electricity-generating solar panels on the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified building’s white, heat-reflecting roof. The power that the turbines and solar panels generate will be used for energy needs inside the building and could be used for tradeable renewable energy certificates that could be sold to NC GreenPower.
Here’s one that didn’t get away
Fish in Cornelius will be generating revenue this week. For the second consecutive year, the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Southern Open Tournament is being held at Blythe Landing. The April 5-7 tournament is expected to bring in about 400 people from around the country who will spend almost a half-million dollars. And that’s no fish story.
Locations, expansions, contractions
GM Nameplate will be investing up to $2 million in new equipment and hiring another 25 employees to its current Monroe facility’s workforce of 100 to make interior instructional signs for Boeing’s new Dreamliner 787. Although this is the first aerospace contract for GM Nameplate’s Monroe operation, the city has 16 aerospace manufacturers with almost 3,000 employees, the highest aerospace concentration in North Carolina. Other Monroe companies that supply parts for the Dreamliner 787 being made in Charleston are ATI Allvac (titanium alloys), Cyril Bath (fuselage ribs) and Goodrich (wheels and brakes; air data sensors; ice detectors; and thrust-reverser,fuel-management and engine control systems).
Aramark Corp. has consolidated its clinical-technology services operations into a new Charlotte-based division, Aramark Healthcare Technologies. The company, which helps health-care systems cut costs while offering higher-quality patient care, invested about $150 million in the unit.
Dezan Shira & Associates cited Charlotte’s financial services talent pool in choosing the Queen City for its first U.S. operation. The Hong Kong-based tax and advisory firm, which has 20 offices throughout Asia, has partnered with Elliott Davis, opening in the Greenville, S.C.-based accounting firm’s Charlotte office. The companies will help local clients to business in Asia and Asian clients expand here.
Bamal Fastener is moving its corporate headquarters and opening a distribution center in Charlotte to be closer to its customer base and a major airport. Four employees have relocated and 12 more will be hired locally.
Well, it’s official. Chiquita Brands International will become our neighbors when it moves into more than 130,000 square feet on six floors of the NASCAR Plaza building. The global company, which will bring about 200 people from Cincinnati and hire another 200 locally, plans to be all settled in by the end of August.
Our investors’ commitment to regionalism allows us to continue and enhance our mission-critical efforts to generate qualified projects, create awareness of the many assets our region offers businesses, and assist communities in responding to projects requests. This week we will highlight Lufthansa German Airlines. Read about them in the box below and when you see a member of the company, please thank them for their support of regionalism.
Have a great week!
Ronnie L. Bryant, CEcD, FM, HLM
President & CEO
Charlotte Regional Partnership Investor Focus
Lufthansa, one of the world’s leading airlines, offers transatlantic services from Charlotte to Munich with connections to more than 400 destinations in nearly 100 countries. Lufthansa’s flights from Charlotte offer First, Business and Economy Class service.
Activities and Events
National Plastics Exposition, April 2-5 -Orlando - Details
Area Development Consultants Forum, April 10-12 - Atlanta - Details
International Biomass Conference & Expo, April 16-19 - Denver - Details
"Passport to Export Road Show," sponsored by the N.C. Department of Commerce's International Trade Division, April 18 - CPCC's Harris Conference Center - Details
Nuclear Energy Insider 3rd Annual Nuclear Supply Chain Conference, April 18-19 - Hilton Charlotte Executive Park - Details
Advanced Lithium-Ion Battery International Symposium, April 18-20 - Charlotte - Details
Energy Inc., April 20, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. - Charlotte Convention Center - tickets starts at $115 for non-profits, $125 for others - Details
Charlotte World Parade & Festival, April 21, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. - Independence Park, Charlotte - Details
Nuclear Energy Insider 2nd Annual Small Modular Reactor Conference, April 24-25-Columbia - Details
North Carolina Smart Grid Forum, May 1-2 - UNC Charlotte EPIC Building - Details
Energy Choices Now, sponsored by The North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association, May 2, 3-5 p.m. - Wake Forest University Center City, Charlotte - Details
Civil Aviation Manufacturing Conference, May 8-9 - Renaissance Charlotte Suites - Details
ULI Spring Meeting, May 8-10 - Charlotte Convention Center - Details
Charlotte Regional Partnership Annual Awards Luncheon, May 10, 2012 - Charlotte Convention Center - Details
Charlotte Informatics 2012: Competing and Winning Through Analytics, May 15, 8:15 a.m.-5 p.m. - Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte - Details
Southeastern U.S. - Canadian Provinces Alliance (SEUS-CP) trade conference, May 20-22 - Myrtle Beach - Details
Innovation Engineering Leadership Institute: Create. Communicate. Commercialize., sponsored by NCSU Industrial Extension Service, June 4-6 - Ballantyne Hotel & Lodge, Charlotte - Details
AeroMat Conference and Exposition, June 18-20 - Charlotte Convention Center - Details
International Youth Nuclear Conference, August 5-11, 2012 - Westin Charlotte - Details