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Company lists Alachua as among top towns in US for enticing manufacturers

Thursday, July 30, 2015   (0 Comments)
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Company lists Alachua as among top towns in US for enticing manufacturers

Published: Thursday, July 30, 2015 at 6:50 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, July 30, 2015 at 6:50 p.m.

A corporate site selection company for Fortune 500 companies has identified the city of Alachua as one of the 40 top small cities to lure advanced manufacturing companies as more jobs return to the U.S. from overseas.

The Boyd Company of Princeton, New Jersey, chose Alachua because of its low cost of doing business and proximity to interstates, a CSX rail line and the Port of Jacksonville.

While in Gainesville to visit clients in Central Florida, John Boyd said Thursday that the 40 markets were chosen because clients and prospective clients had asked his company to look at those cities.

“Alachua is on the radar screen today,” he said.

The report compares costs of doing business for a year at a hypothetical 225,000-square-foot plant employing 325 workers in each city, ranging from a low of $20 million in Santa Teresa, New Mexico, to a high of $29.8 million in Mountain View, California, based on labor, real estate, electricity, taxes and other costs. Alachua costs were ranked 12th lowest at $21.9 million.

Pooler, Georgia, with costs of $21.2 million, was ranked the top small city in the East because of “superior infrastructure and logistics,” according to the Boyd report.

Manufacturing is making a comeback in the U.S. as a result of cheap and abundant energy supplies, worker productivity and demands for higher wages in developing markets, making relocating to other countries less attractive, according to the report.

The Boyd Company sees a trend in locating manufacturing in smaller, less costly cities.

John Boyd said small cities in particular have existing facilities and industrial parks, as well as cheap land for corporations that want to build from scratch.


Alachua’s inland location makes it more attractive than other parts of Florida for companies concerned about natural disasters, making it ripe for certain types of companies such as data centers and drone manufacturers, Boyd said.

The presence of the University of Florida and existing companies means the workforce can support medical technologies and drone manufacturers.

The area is also attractive for other aerospace and avionics companies, Boyd said.

“You’re competing more than people realize,” he said.

Boyd also credited Gov. Rick Scott for eliminating the sales tax on manufacturing equipment and recruitment efforts.

“Rick Scott is a tremendous asset in terms of corporate prospecting, targeting companies from costly states like Connecticut, for example,” he said. “Rick Scott has brought an enormous amount of attention to Florida.”

While Florida used to be obsessed with Texas, he said northern Nevada has emerged as the state’s major competition because of investments in infrastructure and workforce training, and the location of Tesla’s electric car and battery plant that has lured suppliers and other manufacturers.

“Tesla is going to shift the center of gravity west,” he said. “The industrial revolution began in the Northeast. It migrated south to right-to-work states. We see it now shifting west.”

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