The race for jobs is no longer contained to the Southeast or even the United States. It’s a global competition featuring companies with increasingly higher standards for expansion or relocation. Tennessee is doing everything it can to stay in front and remain top of mind, both for existing industries and in attracting new capital investment.
That’s why the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (ECD) launched the Select Tennessee Certified Sites Program in June 2012, with the goal of helping Tennessee communities prepare available sites for investment and expansion.
In order to ensure this level of preparedness, ECD has partnered with world-class site selection firms Austin Consulting and The Foote Consulting Group. Through this partnership, Select Tennessee Certified Sites have all been vetted and certified to international standards.
Feedback from site consultants confirms site readiness is an increasingly important aspect of choosing a location. Decision timeframes continue to shorten and companies have become more risk-averse in their facilities strategies. Keeping this in mind, ECD’s program sets a consistent and rigorous standard upon which companies can rely in making critical location decisions.
The Select Tennessee program acknowledges that companies looking to expand or relocate their operations often eliminate less-prepared sites. To become certified, a site must have at least 20 developable acres, proper zoning in place to allow for ease of development, all utilities at the site or a formal plan to extend to the site, documented environmental conditions and geotechnical analysis, and truck-quality road access.
To date, 26 greenfield sites have been certified and the investment made by state and local governments in these sites is already producing results. For example, Hankook Tire chose to locate its first U.S. manufacturing facility in Clarksville, Tennessee on one of ECD’s certified sites, investing $800 million and creating 1,800 jobs.
Another new warehousing facility is also being located at a certified site in Benton County.
In January of this year, Beretta USA officials selected a certified site in the Gallatin Industrial Park in Gallatin, Tennessee for a new firearms manufacturing plant. The global manufacturer of high-quality sporting and military firearms is investing $45 million and creating 300 new Tennessee jobs.
Dot Foods, the nation’s largest food redistributor is investing $24 million at a certified site in Dyersburg, Tennessee in large part because much of the due diligence—environmental work, stream and wetland determinations, and geotechnical studies—had already been completed as a requirement of becoming a Select Tennessee Certified Site.
Dyersburg’s economic development team decided very quickly to enter the program. As a smaller community in West Tennessee, they wanted to do everything they could to level the playing field and position themselves favorably with corporate site selectors and consultants.
The Dyersburg/Dyer Chamber credits the Select Tennessee program with allowing Dot Foods to become comfortable with the site early in the recruitment process. The result was the company opening its first distribution center in Tennessee, creating 157 new jobs for the community.
As these examples illustrate, becoming certified as a Select Tennessee site is more than just an award for communities to hang on a wall.
It’s a designation that sets these sites apart from competitors by assuring top decision makers their project will be operational in the shortest possible timeframe, and allows ECD to market these locations to site consultants and companies around the world.
• Within a day’s drive to most major markets in the U.S.
• Ranked sixth in the nation in cargo carried by trucks
• More than 95,400 miles of roads and 1,104 miles of interstates
• Immediate access to eight interstate highways including I-24, I-26, I-40, I-55, I-59, I-65, I-75 and I-81
• Nashville is one of four U.S. cities where three major interstates converge: I-24, I-40 and I-65.
• Nashville has 140 freight carriers and 150 truck carriers.
• Chattanooga is home to more than 70 motor freight companies, four freight terminals, and two of the top 10 publicly traded trucking companies.
• Six commercial airports
• 74 general aviation airports
• 142 heliports
• Nearly 900 average daily arriving and departing flights to and from Tennessee airports
• Known as “America’s Distribution Center,” Memphis is home to the busiest freight airport in the U.S. and the second busiest in the world.
• The FedEx World Hub at the Memphis International Airport facilitates domestic and global trade, connecting customers to more than 220 countries and territories on six continents.
• Six Class 1 railroads crisscross the state, including the three largest – CSX Transportation, Norfolk Southern and Canadian National/Illinois Central.
• 25 shortline railroads serve additional communities and rural areas.
• Memphis is the third largest rail center in the country and one of only four cities served by five or more of the nation’s six long-haul Class 1 rail systems.
• Memphis railway systems offer single system shipments to all 48 contiguous states and Alaska, as well as Mexico and Canada.
• Nashville is the major interchange point between Atlanta, Chicago, New York and St. Louis with an average of 90 trains and 7,200 railcars passing through the city daily.
• Knoxville is located at the junction of major east-west and north-south rail systems.
• CSX Transportation has two major rail yards in Nashville, as well as an Intermodal terminal, TDSI automatic distribution terminal, and TRANSFLO terminal. Nashville is CSX’s division headquarters.
• Centrally located on the nation’s inland waterway system with more than 1,062 miles of navigable waterways
• Terminals on the Tennessee, Cumberland and Mississippi Rivers and their tributaries connect with river ports in 21 states and ocean ports in Houston, TX, New Orleans, LA and Mobile, AL.
• The International Port of Memphis is the fourth largest inland port in the U.S. and handles more than 12 million tons annually.
• The Cates Landing port in Northwest Tennessee features 9,000 linear feet of slack water harbor that is operable year round and is expandable to 14,000 linear feet.
• Approximately 60 million tons of cargo is barged on the Cumberland River, Tennessee River and tributaries to the Tennessee River.
• The Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway provides direct access to Gulf of Mexico harbors and international markets.
The Gateway to Everywhere.
In Tennessee, we’re not short on ways to get here. Just ask the eight states we border. Our central location means your business can connect to customers and suppliers faster. Immediate access to eight interstates and 95,400 miles of meet the second busiest cargo airport in the world and the fourth largest inland port in the U.S. Add the six Class 1 railroads, and you’ll understand why Area Development magazine ranks us the best state in the nation for overall infrastructure and global access. Additionally, Area Development ranks Tennessee the #1 state for distribution and logistics hub access.
And if you’re up for a day trip, Tennessee is conveniently accessible within a day’s drive to a majority of U.S. markets. In fact, we feel quite honored to be the center of attention—and the center of world for that matter.