Eight businesses list NM as a finalist for expansion or relocation

21 Dec 2015

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ABQ Journal — Eight job-generating businesses have identified New Mexico as one of two state finalists for an expansion or relocation, double the number four years ago, and crunch time is coming, according to the economic development nonprofit New Mexico Partnership.

The eight prospects, which are not identified, are expected to reach their decisions in the first quarter, said partnership President and CEO Steve Vierck. Altogether, the eight are holding 1,305 jobs and there’s a probability that 758 of them could be located in the state.

“We try to be conservative. We try to factor in what we know,” he told the Journal. “We try to factor in whether we’re in the first, second or third position. Often they won’t tell us.”

While the eight top prospects have a 50-50 chance of moving to New Mexico, an additional 10 businesses have lesser 30 percent to 50 percent chance of expanding or relocating here, the partnership says in a mid-year report for fiscal year 2016.

The 10 businesses have identified New Mexico as a finalist in their site selection process, but appear to be leaning toward another state. The 10 businesses are holding a combined 2,327 jobs and the probability is that 843 could locate here.

Albuquerque-based NM Partnership serves as an umbrella group for the state’s economic development efforts. Its prospect list will have some overlap with that of Albuquerque Economic Development, lead business recruiter for the metro, but won’t include all companies interested in Albuquerque, Vierck said.

Growing the economy is a competitive game from state to state and New Mexico is gradually becoming a more active player, he said.

“It’s a combination of three factors,” he said. “One would be it’s a better (national) economy, certainly better than four years ago. We’re doing twice as much marketing as we did four years ago and that’s coming into play. Third is what I would call the state’s product improvement.”

Product improvement covers incentives like corporate and other tax treatment and financial assistance like state funds for job training and real estate costs. States compete with one another with the incentives they offer to lure businesses.

Repeating what state and local officials have said in the past, Vierck said New Mexico is frequently in the running for business recruitment but tends to fall short at “closing project deals.” With a 50-50 shot at eight prospects, mostly manufacturers and customer service centers, he said he’s optimistic the state will land a few of them.