More than Harley-Davidson

August 20, 2009
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Milwaukee-based Harley-Davidson isn't the only company scouting for places to plunk new operations, a long-time economic development expert says.

Linda Williamson, who spearheaded development in Bloomington for a number of years and now has her own consulting firm, says companies have cut costs about as much as possible. Now theyâ??re easing into what looks to be a new investment cycle.

â??Itâ??s heating up again,â?? Williamson says. â??You will see nice expansion announcements in variety of locations.â??

The Business Journal of Milwaukee reported yesterday that company officials visited Shelby County to gather information for a possible location of a new assembly plant. The plant would replace a smattering of aging facilities in Pennsylvania.

Harley-Davidson also is considering sites in Murfreesboro, Tenn.; Shelbyville, Ky.; and a fourth, undisclosed location. Pennsylvania isnâ??t about to let the jobs go without a fight, pledging $15 million toward upgrading the York location.

Even if Harley-Davidson bypasses Indiana, the state can expect new projects and expansions in green energy and other industries affected by federal stimulus dollars, Williamson says.

Near Indianapolis, hot spots are near the airport west of the city and near the Medco warehouse and pharmacy operation in Boone County, she says.

As was the case at the end of prior recessions, companies are starting to lock in space in warehouses in anticipation of more traffic as the economy improves, she says.

â??Weâ??re seeing a whole lot of traffic through the good industrial buildings that are available,â?? Williamson says. â??Itâ??s not just tire-kickers.â??

What do you think? Is Williamsonâ??s perspective on target?
  • Is the 800lb. Gorialla in the room slowly materializing?
    Will Indiana be a less likely place to build a new manufacturing business due to the perception Indiana business' are going to get nailed by high energy costs (at least until the green dollars start rolling in)? The up coming cap & trade legislation doesn't seem to bode well for Indiana's energy dependence on coal.

    Build a few wind farms in Shelby Co. and they may have a shot.
  • I see Boone, Shelby, and Morgan counties as hotspots as we, hopefully, emerge from this recession. Do not be surprised to see the area within 5-7 miles of the Airport continue to ascend to one of the Midwest's largest distribution centers.

    @Tim: I fail to see how building extremely expensive sources of energy to replace non-capitalized energy production facilities is going to help with high energy prices or Indiana's competitiveness. The federal subsidies for wind and solar will have to end at some point, and the states who work the hardest at investing in cleaning up more cost-efficient energy technologies will be the ones to come out on top.

    Honestly, how does noone in this state even posit looking into Micro- and Nano-sized nuclear facilities, such as those being built by Toshiba, that effectively run themselves and have virtually zero chance of meltdown(they can power 150-200 homes for 30 years at .05-.08 a kWh)? They provide constant power, produce no greenhouse gasses, take up no real estate as they are buried deep underground, require no maintenance, and can provide profitable sources of energy with no federal dollars needed. There is also no need for extensive overhauls of the power grid to accommodate an unreliable source of energy. If state officials convince federal regulators to allow them, Toshiba might even be obliged to build a manufacturing facility for them right here in Central Indiana.
  • There are development opportunities in the Rt 31-N corridor. A very large new building just east of 31 on SR 28, built by Chrysler before its current problem waits for its 1st occupant. That entire area - Tipton, Elwood, Frankfort, Kokomo and beyond to Muncie and Anderson needs some economic/business development. There are the unemployed blue-collar people waiting to again be productive, pay taxes, send children into Indiana higher education, and buy more products from Indiana business.
    We need nuclear power produced in Indiana to improve the overall environment and attract more business to Indiana. Nuclear generated electricity will also help expand electric car development . An interesting concept might be moving Indiana and its manufacturing history and label from â??rust beltâ?? into â??green beltâ?? and into competition with places like Colorado. In the current energy production environment, nuclear seems to be the best option since Indiana is in neither a wind tunnel or a sun belt.

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  1. So much for Eric Holder's conversation about race. If white people have got something to say, they get sued over it. Bottom line: white people have un-freer speech than others as a consequence of the misnamed "Civil rights laws."

  2. I agree, having seen three shows, that I was less than wowed. Disappointing!!

  3. Start drilling, start fracking, and start using our own energy. Other states have enriched their citizens and nearly elminated unemployment by using these resources that are on private land. If you are against the 'low prices' of discount stores, the best way to allow shoppers more choice is to empower them with better earnings. NOT through manipulated gov mandated min wage hikes, but better jobs and higher competitive pay. This would be direct result of using our own energy resources, yet Obama knows that Americans who arent dependent of gov welfare are much less likely to vote Dem, so he looks for ways to ensure America's decline and keep its citizens dependent of gov.

  4. Say It Loud, I'm Black and Ashamed: It's too bad that with certain "black" entertainment events, it seems violence and thuggery follows and the collateral damage that it leaves behinds continues to be a strain on the city in terms of people getting hurt, killed or becoming victims of crimes and/or stretching city resources. I remember shopping in the Meadows area years ago until violence and crime ended make most of the business pack you and leave as did with Lafayette Square and Washington Square. Over the past 10 to 12 years, I remember going to the Indiana Black Expo Soul Picnic in Washington Park. Violence, gang fights and homicides ended that. My great grandmother still bears the scares on her leg from when she was trampled by a group of thugs running from gun fire from a rival gang. With hundreds of police offices downtown still multiple shootings, people getting shot downtown during Black Expo. A number of people getting shots or murdered at black clubs around the city like Club Six on the west side, The Industry downtown, Jamal Tinsley's shot out in front of the Conrad, multiple fights and shootings at the skating rinks, shootings at Circle Center Mall and shooting and robberies and car jackings at Lafayette Mall. Shootings and gang violence and the State Fair. I can go on and on and on. Now Broad Ripple. (Shaking head side to side) Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Ashamed.

  5. Ballard Administration. Too funny. This is the least fiscally responsive administration I have ever seen. One thing this article failed to mention, is that the Hoosier State line delivers rail cars to the Amtrak Beech Grove maintenance facility for refurbishment. That's an economic development issue. And the jobs there are high-paying. That alone is worth the City's investment.