FRANKFORT, Ky. (Nov. 23, 2021) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear and Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman congratulated local officials in Richmond and Madison County, as they cut the ribbon on the community’s first Build-Ready-certified site, positioning the location to attract new business to the region.
The Madison County tract, located in Richmond Industrial Park South III, builds on the growing list of sites certified by the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development (KCED) and available statewide for companies looking to quickly begin construction and start operation as soon as possible.
“We are building on our historic economic momentum, and with that we continue to build our foundation for even more growth in the years ahead,” Gov. Beshear said. “Build-Ready sites ensure companies can start construction quickly and begin operation without costly delays so often associated with new-location projects. It’s yet another important piece toward creating quality jobs for Kentuckians.”
Lt. Gov. Coleman attended today’s ribbon-cutting and said the event highlights a statewide effort to keep Kentucky competitive well into the future.
“Kentucky is home to businesses from so many different sectors, ranging in size from Fortune 500 companies to startups. One thing these companies all have in common is a need to move quickly when it comes time to grow their business,” Lt. Gov. Coleman said. “Across the commonwealth we are seeing development of sites and buildings to solidify and strengthen our position as a great place to do business, and proving companies have the support needed for long-term success.”
The Richmond tract includes a 174,500-square-foot building pad on 21.5 acres, zoned for industrial use, and includes access to water, sewer, natural gas, electric and high-speed internet. The site is located less than three miles from Interstate Highway 75 and provides easy access to Interstate Highway 64 and Lexington’s Blue Grass Airport.
In 2019, the Madison County site was selected for funding through the Product Development Initiative (PDI). PDI was created through a partnership between KCED and the Kentucky Association for Economic Development (KAED) to provide competitive grants to Kentucky economic development organizations and local governments to supplement site and building improvement projects. PDI aims to create jobs and corporate investment by enhancing the quality and quantity of Kentucky’s available sites and buildings. It also encourages collaboration among Kentucky economic developers and stakeholders with an emphasis on speed-to-market to help new and expanding businesses quickly find suitable locations in Kentucky.
Matt Tackett, president and CEO of KAED, lauded community leaders for taking the site a step further beyond its approval through the PDI program.
“As we build on a strong year of economic growth in Kentucky, communities have more opportunity than ever to attract quality employers to their region,” Tackett said. “PDI is a tremendous resource to continue that growth, as it provides strategic investments, which allow us to offer companies quick, risk-free site selection experiences. KAED congratulates Richmond and Madison County for winning a PDI grant and rolling that momentum forward with this Build-Ready announcement.”
To be Build-Ready certified, a site must include a pad ready to accommodate a building of 50,000 square feet with the ability to expand to 100,000 square feet or more – and utilities extending to the site’s edge. Applicants – usually a city, county or economic development group – must have previously filed the necessary permits, including water, environmental and geotechnical, as well as preliminary building plans, cost estimates and schedule projections. Applicants also are asked to provide a rendering of a potential building for the site.
In addition to the new site in Richmond, the commonwealth is home to 17 other Build-Ready sites. Multiple other locations across the state are currently working toward certification.
To date, six former Build-Ready-certified sites, including tracts located in Graves, Laurel and Washington counties and three sites in Warren County, have been selected by companies for new location projects, allowing companies to bring their operations online in a quick, cost-efficient manner.
Madison County Judge/Executive Reagan Taylor pointed to the collaboration needed to prepare the community for future growth.
“I couldn’t be more excited that we now have a Build-Ready site in the Richmond Industrial Park,” Judge/Executive Taylor said. “It makes us even more marketable to industry looking for a home. This is just another opportunity for us to work alongside the City of Richmond to attract new business, create jobs and build a better Madison County, especially as we prepare for a post-CSEPP community.”
Richmond Mayor Robert Blythe said the site will help bring a quality employer to the area.
“We are proud of the many industrial plant operations and related jobs that are already located in the Richmond area,” Mayor Blythe said. “The construction of this Build-Ready site in the Richmond Industrial Park will further increase our competitive edge as we continue to recruit new business opportunities for our thriving community.”
Rob Minerich, Richmond city manager, noted the impact of PDI funding on the site’s development.
“The partnership efforts with the PDI program are much appreciated here in the local community,” Minerich said. “The funding from the PDI program along with local matching funds provided by the City of Richmond has allowed an important project to become a reality.”
John McPhearson, president of the Richmond Industrial Development Corp. (RIDC), said the site meets growing demand within the site selection process.
“In our efforts to recruit new and expanding industries, we have learned that prospects desire sites that are readied for immediate development,” McPhearson said. “This Build-Ready site will help us attract prospects requiring land that can be built upon within shorter than average timelines.”
David Stipes, executive director of RIDC, said the project furthers local efforts to upgrade the industrial park.
“This certified Build-Ready Site is just one of several key infrastructure projects that have been completed in the Richmond Industrial Park South III,” Stipes said.
Development of Kentucky’s sites and buildings furthers recent economic momentum in the commonwealth, as the state builds back stronger following the effects of the pandemic.
This year, the commonwealth has shattered every economic development record in the books for yearly investment totals. Year-to-date, private-sector new-location and expansion announcements include over $10 billion in total planned investment and commitments to create 15,200-plus full-time jobs across the coming years. Through September, Kentucky’s average incentivized hourly wage is $24.15 before benefits, a 10% increase over the previous year.
In September, Gov. Beshear, Ford Motor Co. Executive Chair Bill Ford, CEO Jim Farley and Dong-Seob Jee, president of SK Innovation’s battery business, announcedthe single largest economic development project in the history of the commonwealth, celebrating a transformative $5.8 billion investment that will create 5,000 jobs and places Kentucky at the forefront of the automotive industry’s future.
In July, thanks to strong fiscal management by the Beshear administration, the state budget office reported the commonwealth ended the 2021 fiscal year with a general fund surplus of over $1.1 billion – the highest ever in the commonwealth – and a 10.9% increase in general fund receipts to $12.8 billion.
In May, Moody’s Analytics published a positive economic outlook for Kentucky, noting mass vaccination as the driving force behind a sustained recovery in consumer services. The state’s recovery, Moody’s said, benefited from earlier reopening efforts and increased demand for manufactured goods over services. The report also found Kentucky’s manufacturing industry outperformed the nation’s since the national downturn last year.
Fitch Ratings in May improved the state’s financial outlook to stable, reflecting the commonwealth’s solid economic recovery. The state’s April sales tax receipts set an all-time monthly record at $486.5 million, as did vehicle usage tax receipts at over $64 million.
In March, Site Selection magazine’s annual Governor’s Cup rankings for 2020 positioned Kentucky atop the South Central region, and third nationally, for qualifying projects per capita. The commonwealth also placed seventh overall in total projects, the highest of any state with a population under 5 million. Site Selection also recently placed Kentucky in a tie for fifth in its 2021 Prosperity Cup rankings, positioning the state among the national leaders for business climate.
More information on the Richmond site is available here. Learn more about Build-Ready sites in Kentucky here.
Information on Kentucky’s economic development efforts and programs is available at CED.ky.gov. Fans of the Cabinet for Economic Development can also join the discussion at facebook.com/CEDkygov, on Twitter @CEDkygov, Instagram @CEDkygov and LinkedIn.