FRANKFORT, Ky. (March 30, 2023) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear highlighted site and building development projects in Greenup, Laurel and Madison counties as the first to move through the approval stage in the initial round of the Kentucky Product Development Initiative (KPDI). The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) approved three projects today for over $2.7 million in state funding.
The KPDI program, established in 2022, builds on the state’s growing effort to develop land and buildings in local communities to support new, good-paying jobs and economic growth across Kentucky.
“Staying proactive at the front end of the site selection process is a critical element to setting Kentucky up for future economic success,” said Gov. Beshear. “The KPDI program gives the commonwealth a competitive advantage by ensuring availability of quality sites and buildings to help attract growing companies and great jobs throughout the state. I am excited to announce these initial projects moving forward in the first round of this initiative and am excited to welcome the quality companies that will locate in these communities in the near future.”
The Northeast Kentucky Regional Industrial Authority Inc. and Greenup County Fiscal Court submitted a regional project in partnership with Boyd, Carter, Elliott and Lawrence counties for the site acquisition of over 240 acres in the EastPark Industrial Park. The project was identified by an independent site selection consultant as having the potential for future investment/location of an economic development project and will see $1.5 million in land acquisition including $750,000 in state support. In 2022, the Beshear administration and Commonwealth Seed Capital worked with leaders from Unity Aluminum to recoup a $15 million investment made by the prior administration in an aluminum mill that never materialized at the site.
The Laurel County Fiscal Court in partnership with the London-Laurel County Economic Development Authority (LLCEDA) will build a 105,000-square-foot spec building to attract new business to the London community. The $3.8 million project was approved by KEDFA for just over $1.5 million in state funds through the KPDI program.
The Madison County project will consist of nearly 47 acres owned by the Richmond Industrial Development Corporation (RIDC) and located in the Richmond Industrial Park South III on Bill Robertson Way. The industrial park property was purchased in 2006 and 2008 by the RIDC. The intended scope of the project is to develop and implement a land grading plan to better prepare the topography for industrial site development. The site will see $1 million in upgrades with state support of $500,000 toward the project.
We are excited to see the return on these investments in communities across the commonwealth,” said Haley McCoy, president and CEO of the Kentucky Association for Economic Development. “Kentucky is leveraging this momentum and continues to capitalize on the opportunities KPDI is affording us statewide.”
Gov. Beshear recently announced 54 site and building development projects requesting nearly $34 million in state funds moved forward to the due diligence stage in the initial round of KPDI. The Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development continues to review each project for a recommendation of approval by KEDFA in the coming months.
KPDI was established last year after Gov. Beshear and the General Assembly approved $100 million in funding for KPDI during its regular 2022 session. Applications are first evaluated by an independent consultant based upon all facets a prospective company would consider, from workforce availability, access to all infrastructure and detailed information on costs associated with development. In turn, these projects will generate increased economic development opportunities and job creation for Kentucky residents. KPDI furthers the efforts of the pilot PDI program, which was established in 2019 and provided nearly $7 million in state funding for 20 site and building development projects statewide.
Investment in site development throughout Kentucky furthers recent economic momentum in the commonwealth, as the state builds back stronger from the effects of the pandemic.
Since the beginning of his administration, Gov. Beshear has announced the creation of 44,500 full-time jobs and more than 840 private-sector new-location and expansion projects totaling $25.6 billion in announced investments.
The Governor has now secured the best two-year period in state history for economic growth.
In 2021, the commonwealth shattered every economic development record in the books. Private-sector new-location and expansion announcements included a record $11.2 billion in total planned investment and commitments to create a record 18,000-plus full-time jobs across the coming years.
That momentum continued strongly into 2022 with 248 new-location and expansion announcements totaling 16,000 full-time jobs behind nearly $10.5 billion in new investment.
The robust job creation has been accompanied by rising wages across the commonwealth. The average incentivized hourly wage in 2022 was $26.78 before benefits, the second-highest mark since 2010 and an 11.5% increase over the previous year.
Gov. Beshear also announced the two largest economic development projects in state history. In September 2021, Gov. Beshear and leaders from Ford Motor Co. and SK Innovation celebrated a transformative $5.8 billion investment that will create 5,000 jobs in Hardin County. And in April 2022, the Governor was joined by leadership at Envision AESC to announce a $2 billion investment that will create 2,000 jobs in Warren County. These announcements solidify Kentucky as the EV battery production capital of the United States.
Kentucky’s success has been noted by both S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings, which have upgraded the state’s financial outlook to positive in recognition of the commonwealth’s surging economy.
Site Selection magazine placed Kentucky second nationwide and first in the South Central region for its annual Governor’s Cup ranking for 2022, which recognizes state-level economic success based on capital investments.
Gov. Beshear’s administration is projected to post the four highest years of budget surpluses in Kentucky history, and the state’s rainy-day fund has a record balance of $2.7 billion.
Gov. Beshear recently announced a new “Supply Kentucky” initiative with the goal of boosting job growth, reducing costs and providing more security in the supply chains of our Kentucky companies.
The Governor also recently announced that Kentucky set the lowest annual unemployment rate in state history for 2022 at 3.9%. This is the lowest rate seen since the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics began reporting state unemployment rates in 1976.
For more information on KPDI, visit kpdi.ky.gov.
A detailed community profile for Greenup County can be viewed here.
More info on Laurel County is available here.
Learn more about Madison County 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.