By: Randy Thelen, Senior VP – Economic Development
“Nothing matters until you close on the real estate,” said a mentor of mine, early in my career. As I now close in on 25 years as an economic development professional, these words remain as true as ever. Whether you are selling your home or landing the region’s largest projects, all the sales and marketing, all the due diligence, all the planning, all the all hard work only pays off once the real estate transacts.
I am reminded of this economic reality every day. For the past year, our economic development team has been working tirelessly to land two of the largest projects ever to consider our market. First, the Costco chicken processing facility, that will deliver nearly 1000 new jobs and $400+ million in private investment. Costco, widely recognized as among the best of the best employers in the country, will positively impact the economy from growing the wage scale, building a new supply chain, and supporting hundreds of farmers across a wide region. Second, we have been courting for several years now a major data center project with one of the world’s fastest growing companies. This project could exceed $1 billion in new investment and would bring new jobs, new technology, new tax base and a new nameplate company to our market.
In each case, we have passed all of the standard due diligence, provided an effective incentive package and are moving rapidly toward the closing on the real estate. Though the closing dates are now set and planning for the groundbreakings have begun, I find myself losing sleep each night waiting for the real milestone!
Real estate is an essential element of our economic development strategy, which is why the Chamber is pleased to partner with our friends in the commercial real estate industry and support the annual Commercial Real Estate Summit. To learn more about the trends and happenings across the region, I encourage all of you to attend on March 24th. Register today!