National site selector sees potential of Toledo, NW Ohio regionWritten by Duane Ramsey | | email@example.com
Tim Feemster, a national site selector, said Toledo and Northwest Ohio have many positive factors for attracting new business to the region.
Feemster, managing principal of Foremost Quality Logistics based in Dallas, was the keynote speaker at the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority’s second annual update to the community, held Oct. 10 at The Pinnacle in Maumee.
“You have a very good situation in Northwest Ohio,” he said.
Feemster talked about the importance of teamwork in the region and said it’s one of the things site selectors look for when reviewing potential locations for clients. They consider financial, strategic, operational and intangible factors when reviewing potential sites, he said during his presentation.
“We’ve never had more alignment with the economic development agencies in the region during the 25 years I have worked for the Port Authority. We spend more time working on solutions than talking about problems,” said Paul Toth, president and CEO of the local Port Authority.
Transportation is the largest cost (63 percent) of doing business for supply chain operators, Feemster reported. He said this region is very fortunate to have all four major forms of transportation that includes air, sea, rails and roads.
The Port Authority controls two of those transportation modes, operating both local airports and the Port of Toledo on the Maumee River.
“We’re actually site eliminators for our clients,” said Feemster, whose firm works with supply chain clients throughout the site selection process.
Site selectors for warehouse facilities are concerned about availability and costs for transportation and labor, as well as logistics infrastructure. Modern distribution facilities are needed to meet the growing demand for goods in emerging global markets, Feemster said.
For example, Amazon will need 90 distribution centers across the country to achieve its goal of 24-hour delivery, Feemster said. He pointed out the number of significant distribution centers in Northwest Ohio with nearly 5,000 employees, including facilities operated by FedEx, UPS and Walgreens.
“The Port Authority is dedicated to moving the community forward,” Toth said.
Toth talked about what the Port Authority will be focusing on in 2014.
The development of the former Jeep property, now called Overland Industrial Park, is a key priority in 2014 with construction of the AirGas facility and a $5.3 million 100,000 square-foot spec building by the Port Authority and Harmon Family Development.
Feemster said 100,000-square-feet is a good number in this market for supply chains that may be looking for secondary or tertiary distribution facilities, especially with its close proximity to the nearby Jeep manufacturing complex.
The roadway for the development was completed by the first week in October. Plans are in place to break ground for the AirGas facility and the spec building before the end of 2013, Toth reported.
Toth said another priority is establishing an EB-5 international investment vehicle and expanding use of the Foreign Trade Zone that includes five counties in the region.
Toth said the Port Authority wants to add $350,000 to the Community Economic Development Initiative in Northwest Ohio, which has already provided $2.1 million in grants and low-interest loans. They will continue to pursue New Market Tax Credits to support community development projects, such as the Ironville site.
The Port Authority and Midwest Terminals have invested $118 million of public and private funds in the development of the water side of the 180-acre Ironville Terminal. In 2014, they plan to invest another $15 million in the development of the 110 acres on the dry side at Ironville.
Toth said the Port wants to build on the 2013 success at Toledo Express Airport that included six straight months of passenger increases and two new cargo operators there. It invested $11 million to resurface the longest runway while making upgrades to the airport terminal and parking lots.
In 2013, the Port Authority purchased One Maritime Plaza, where its offices are located, and upgraded the building. It also purchased the former City of Toledo parking garages, investing $2.5 million in improvements to those facilities.
The Port Authority wants to expand the Better Buildings in Northwest Ohio program to $40 million after generating $20 million in improvements to 66 buildings in 2013. The Diversified Contractors Accelerator Program started in 2010 continued to help minority contractors bid on and win contracts for local projects.
“We’ve been good stewards of the public money and other funds we have used. We are for creating jobs, economic development, transportation and community outreach,” William Carroll, chairman of the board of directors, said about the goals of the Port Authority.
The Port Authority is seeking a renewal of the property tax levy that expires next year with Issue 1 on the November ballot. The 0.4 mill renewal, collected at 1994 property values, would cost the owner of a $100,000 home $6.60 per year and generate approximately $2.1 million annually.
Levy funds are used primarily to leverage state and federal funds to support job creation, according to the Port Authority. It reports that for every $1 of levy funds, it brings $8 in outside money into Lucas County.
Tags: Community Economic Development Initiative, Foremost Quality Logistics, Harmon Family Development, Ironville, Ironville Terminal, Midwest Terminals, Overland Industrial Park, Paul Toth, Tim Feemster, Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, William Carroll