Northwest Tennessee has 100 existing properties with buildings suitable for manufacturing and warehousing. There are 35 greenfield sites within the region, and other sites exist that are capable of being improved to match product needs. There are 16 Certified Deal Ready Sites sized from 20 to 550 acres.
There are nine 9 speculative buildings in the region ranging from 20,000 to 100,000 square feet each. There are industrial recruitment prospects active and in-play at many of these sites. The proximity of the megasite in Haywood County is a strategic advantage for clustered manufacturing opportunities as the site is developed.
The various sites located across the Northwest region are differentiated by availability of resources that would lead to targeted marketing of specific industries. For example, the availability of ball clay and silica in Henry, Carroll and Weakley counties creates opportunities in the porcelain fixtures, paint, glass and ceramic tile markets, while the food industry may find areas within the region with abundant water supply from underground aquifers and fertile land attractive. All sites would be suitable for 2nd and 3rd tier automotive manufacturing. Clustered industry opportunities need to be explored to determine if it would be possible to develop support industries in specific sectors. Some counties have significant opportunities in the recreation and tourism industry as well as unique assets for creating retirement communities.
Based on this, the following strategies are recommended:
Identify Target Sectors and Regional Assets: Using resources available through TVA to identify existing industry clusters within the region and surrounding areas, ECD staff and regional partners will develop a list of target industries that may be a good match for leveraging the natural resources of the region. In addition, inventory lists of existing assets including available sites within the region will be created.
Brand and Market the Region: At this time, regional and local stakeholders have begun to meet and discuss promotion of the region. While a complete marketing plan has yet to be formalized, the plan will include developing a website that provides information for use by site selection consultants, ECD project managers and TVA target market specialists. The region will develop its own website to reinforce its brand and create a clear image of the advantages of Northwest Tennessee. In addition, a consortium of the Northwest Tennessee Development District, county chamber executives, economic development professionals and ECD’s regional staff will work with economic development partners to identify opportunities for trade shows and events (i.e., consultant events and receptions) supported by the Tennessee Economic Partnership. Finally, the Northwest Tennessee Development District will work with the regional partners to develop printed and digital marketing materials highlighting the region’s strengths.
Host a Familiarization Tour for State Officials: Local county mayors, the Northwest Tennessee Development District and ECD’s regional staff will organize a Familiarization Tour for state legislative members, ECD’s project managers and TVA’s target market specialists that would increase the visibility and awareness of opportunities in the region.
Develop Site Consultant Relationships: Regional and local economic development professionals will work to identify site selection consultants specializing in the region’s targeted industries and develop relationships with those consultants that would lead to familiarizing them with assets residing within the Northwest Tennessee region.
Leverage Large Projects: ECD staff and regional partners will develop long-term strategies for leveraging the completion of several large projects including the Port of Cates Landing, I-69, the Haywood County megasite and the certification of foreign trade zones in the region.
Regional partners involved in these efforts will include USDA Rural Development’s REDLG spec building financing program. TVA will assist with loan programs, identifying industry clusters and technical assistance. ECD’s regional staff will implement rural ECD incentives and change the tier status of counties recently impacted by plant closings. TDOT will work to streamline the Industrial Access Program and to complete I-69, as well as to plan and complete Highway 641 to Kentucky. The Northwest Tennessee Development District will continue to seek funding and grants for targeted industries. ECD’s regional staff and the development district will work to develop both digital and printed marketing materials to facilitate domestic and international marketing efforts. Local banks will also be encouraged to partner in creative financing efforts to secure financing relocation and expansion projects.