VOL. 130 | NO. 184 | Tuesday, September 22, 2015
ECD Commissioner: Memphis Megasite is Tennessee's 'Greatest Asset'
By Madeline Faber
The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development is getting serious about the Memphis Regional Megasite with new promotional materials intended to attract a major original equipment manufacturer.
“We’re in sales mode now,” said state ECD commissioner Randy Boyd at a Tuesday, Sept. 22, meeting in Memphis.
ECD has identified 34 major OEMs across the world that would be well-suited for the 4,100-acre site, which spans parts of Haywood and Fayette counties about 25 miles northeast of Memphis.
Boyd is soon to set out on a “door-to-door salesman” tour, engaging in conversations with companies in South Korea and France, among others.
Boyd said that the focus has not changed from earlier plans to attract one major OEM. But recent analysis of the site uncovered that the sewage treatment plant in Brownsville, Tenn., and the total acreage at the Memphis Regional Megasite could support multiple OEMs.
At the presentation, he showed a rendering explaining that MRM alone could support Tennessee’s existing Nissan, Volkswagen and Hankook plants as well as a hypothetical Boeing plant based on acreage and water usage at Boeing’s South Carolina facility.
“The great news is that we can do more than one,” Boyd said. “Companies take up less water and a smaller footprint. Nobody needs that (4,000 acres for a factory) anymore.”
Clint Brewer, assistant commissioner for communications and marketing, believes that the new high-quality promotional materials will set MRM apart from its competitors in the South and the Midwest.
“We believe it is the most eligible manufacturing site in North America,” Brewer said.
Among its touted qualities are the facts that the site is state-owned, is adjacent to a CSX Class I rail line, which connects to five class I rail systems in the area, and is only a 90-minute commute for more than 861,000 workers.
“We can say that we've already done this,” Brewer said, pointing to other Tennessee megasites like the Volkswagen Chattanooga Assembly Plant and Nissan Smyrna Manufacturing and Assembly Plant.
The new materials include a revamped website – memphismegasite.com – a high-quality “leave-behind” booklet and two short videos. All of the materials fall under the slogan “Mastered in Tennessee.”
One video uses emotional appeal and snapshots of Memphis attractions with the intent of drawing the eye of CEOs and upper-level decision makers who would potentially live in the area.
“Corporate America is increasingly doing its own research,” Brewer explained.
The second video is more detail oriented and breaks down the MRM for site-selection and real estate experts, such as the fact that MRM has no flood zones and excellent topography with an average slope of 0.7 percent.
“This is a billion-dollar asset,” Boyd said. “And the greatest asset we have in the state of Tennessee.”