VOL. 133 | NO. 167 | Thursday, August 23, 2018
Economic Development Experts Set Sights On Memphis
Special to The Daily News
Site selectors from across the country spent time in Memphis this week as local economic development teams touted the area’s available land, industrial and office space for potential companies.
Between the cocktail hours and sightseeing at Graceland, Stax and FedEx, Memphis hopes to land its next Nike or International Paper.
The Greater Memphis Chamber hosted the site consultants during its annual Blue Carpet Tour, which ran Sunday through Tuesday. The goal was to coax companies represented by the site selectors to choose the local metro area for relocation or expansion.
During a workforce discussion at the University of Memphis on Tuesday morning, Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland touted two prominent Downtown office projects — One Beale and the proposed renovation of 100 N. Main with an accompanying convention center hotel by Loews Hotels.
“You can own a piece of the Memphis skyline,” Strickland said.
Following Strickland, County Mayor Mark Luttrell said the two mayors have focused on the basics of economic development -- a trained workforce, education, jobs and a livable community.
“Economic development is not only recruiting jobs, but building a workforce to support those jobs,” Luttrell said.
A Monday breakfast at The Peabody hotel included other local dignitaries, such as county Mayor-elect Lee Harris. He encouraged the site selectors to not overlook the benefits of the area.
“This is the right place,” Harris told the group. “Shelby County is one of the most diverse, largest and best counties in our state. This is the right time. We are poised for transformative change. We have the right people. Folks in Memphis and Shelby County are friendly, open and brutally honest whether you want them to or not.”
During the breakfast, site specialists were introduced to each stakeholder who participates in the Chamber’s One Stop Shop Program, a model meant to maximize site selectors’ time.
“We want to make it as seamless as possible,” said Susan Hadley Maynor, vice president of economic development at the Greater Memphis Chamber. “If you want to talk incentives, we’ll pull the incentive team. If you want to be wined and dined with the mayors, we’ll call them. If you just want to look at site, we’ll do that. We’re the herders of the cats.”
Monday night, consultants witnessed the nightly activity of FedEx Corp.’s World Hub at Memphis International Airport. Monday afternoon, consultants toured Memphis assets including Crosstown Concourse and ServiceMaster’s Innovation Center. A tour of Stax Museum of American Soul Music closed out the recruitment event.
“When you leave, you’re going to be asking yourself, ‘Why aren’t we sending more deals to Memphis?’ and I know you will in the future,” Reid Dulberger, president and CEO of the Economic Development Growth Engine (EDGE) for Memphis and Shelby County, said during the Monday breakfast.