Massive Site Selection Projects Announced in 2021: Will the Big-Deal Trend Continue?
by King White, on Feb 7, 2022 4:45:39 PM
There were plenty of big site-selection deals announced in 2021 as companies dealt with supply chain disruptions, demand for data storage, and the need to operate in better business climates. These multi-billion-dollar investments for manufacturing plants, software and IT, data centers, and distribution centers are transformative deals that will have huge, long-term impacts on their communities through direct and indirect job creation, tax revenues, and industry-cluster growth.
With such large capital investments and job needs on the line, these companies undertake a very complex, incredibly thorough site-selection process to find the right location. The process generally takes 6-12 months and evaluates key site-selection factors such as labor, logistics, infrastructure, business climate, economic incentives, and real estate.
Big site selection announcements in 2021 included:
- Intel, Chandler, Arizona—Intel’s $20-billion investment for two new semiconductor fabrication facilities at its existing location will result in 3,000 new jobs and 3,000 construction jobs.
- Apple, Wake County, North Carolina—this $1-billion new software and IT research and development center will create 3,000 new jobs paying an average annual wage of $187,001 and retain 1100 employees.
- Ultium Cells, Spring Hill, Tennessee—a joint venture between General Motors and LG Energy Solution, this project will invest $2.3 billion to establish a new lithium-ion battery manufacturing plant, creating 1,300 new jobs.
- Rivian, Fort Worth, Texas—Rivian, an all-electric vehicle manufacturer, is considering Fort Worth as the location for a new $5-billion manufacturing and R&D facility. Target production is about 200,000 vehicles per year.
- Oracle, Nashville, Tennessee—a regional operations center, this $1.35-billion project will create 5,989 new jobs over a five-year period, paying an average annual wage of $114,000.
- Ford Motor Company, Bristol, Tennessee—this $5.6-billion joint venture between Ford Motor Company and SK Innovation will create a new manufacturing facility and 5,800 jobs in Haywood County, Tennessee.
- Texas Instruments, Sherman, Texas—3,000 jobs will be created at this new $30-billion semiconductor manufacturing plant, which will produce 300-mm semiconductor wafers.
- JM Smucker, McCalla, Alabama—this leading food and beverage manufacturer plans to create 750 jobs with a new $1.1-billion manufacturing and distribution facility that will produce frozen sandwiches beginning in 2025.
- Toyota, Liberty, North Carolina—Toyota Motor North America will create 1,750 jobs with an average annual wage of $62,234 by building a $1.29-billion vehicle battery manufacturing plant.
- Lancium, Abilene, Texas—this software and IT solutions provider will invest about $2.4 billion over a 20-year period to establish an 800-acre data center facility, creating 57 high-paying jobs.
- U.S. Steel, Osceola, Arkansas—a supplier of steel sheets and other steel products for a variety of industries, U.S. Steel plans to invest $3 billion to establish a new manufacturing plant, resulting in 900 new jobs.
So far, the “big announcement” trend has continued into 2022.
For example, aviation company Boom Supersonic will build a manufacturing and assembly plant at the Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro, North Carolina. The $500-million, 400,000 square foot facility includes the final assembly line, test facility, and customer delivery center for the company’s Overture supersonic airliner—a net-zero carbon aircraft capable of flying on 100% sustainable aviation fuels at twice the speed of today's fastest passenger jets. The economic impact is potentially huge, possibly growing the state’s economy by at least $32.3 billion over 20 years.
Although big site selection deals are still a big deal in 2022, several factors could slow them down as the year progresses, including impacts from inflation, higher interest rates, Covid-19, and supply chain stability.