Customizing Site Selection Begins With America's Top Sites | Trade and Industry Development

Customizing Site Selection Begins With America's Top Sites

Jan 02, 2024 | By: Tracey Schelmetic

Business development success rests on a perfect combination of factors. It starts with land or a preexisting building, but it continues with people, processes and proximity to markets. Land-rich sites with few public services or sparse workforces wonít allow companies to thrive. Likewise, workforce-rich areas may lack the kind of green spaces and adaptable existing sites that make sense for manufacturing and trade. The ideal location has it all: adequate sites, trouble-free permitting and regulations, natural resources, utilities and a properly educated workforce that can enjoy a good quality of life.

For this feature, Trade & Industry Development has compiled a list of locations from all across the country that include critical business infrastructure such as transportation, workforce, storage, land, utilities and regulatory and permitting issues and incentives as well as quality of life features.


AZAdvanced manufacturing is booming in the Grand Canyon State.It’s easy to see why. Arizona offers a low-cost business environment, close proximity to major world markets, modern transportation infrastructure and more.

The state’s skilled labor force is also one of the nation’s most highly ranked. Arizona added nearly 100,000 residents last year, one of the fastest growth rates in the U.S. Labor market analyst Lightcast ranked Maricopa County, which encompasses Phoenix, number one for attracting and retaining talent for the fifth time in the last six years.

State leaders have plans to bolster Arizona’s deep talent pool through a number of collaborations with industry and academic partners. One of these is the Future48 Workforce Accelerators. Launched in June, the Future48 Workforce Accelerators represent innovative collaborations with local community colleges to provide customized, industry-led training in fast-growing advanced manufacturing sectors. Up to six Future48 Workforce Accelerators are being established across the state in sectors such as semiconductors, aerospace and defense, battery, automotive assembly and more.

Arizona’s manufacturing growth is supported by its robust construction industry. Between 2017 and 2022, Arizona saw the second-fastest construction employment growth in the country, with over 50,000 construction jobs added. Recognizing the importance of the trades, Governor Katie Hobbs has sought to grow this workforce. She announced in August the BuilditAZ Apprenticeship, a statewide initiative to double the number of construction and trades registered apprentices by 2026. With workers and opportunity in abundance, Arizona should stand at the top of any site selector’s list.

Dodge City, Kansas                                                                               

DODGE CITYDodge City and Ford County Kansas have a long history of supplying the needs of industry, from the early cattle drives to today’s agriculture, energy and manufacturing markets. Ford County is currently home to two of the world’s largest beef processing facilities, Cargill Meat Solutions and National Beef. Hilmar Cheese Company is also in the process of adding a facility that will further enhance the region’s food processing industries. Five major wind farms also call Ford County home and add to the power infrastructure of the community.

Dodge City is known worldwide for its history and tourism. The area’s focus on enhancing its primary strengths of agriculture, tourism, energy and small manufacturing has made it a great choice for a business location. Dodge City and Ford County offer two industrial parks, a hardworking labor force, a high quality of life and a lower cost of living. Dodge City has been ranked in the top 10 of “Least Economically Stressed” micropolitan communities in the United States, and it continues to work to ensure this success for existing and new businesses.

The region invites businesses to “Get the Heck into Dodge” and discover the secret to its success. For more information, contact the Dodge City/Ford County Development Corporation at, or 800-381-2690.

Edinburg, Texas                                                                       

TXEdinburg stands out as an optimal location for economic development projects. Edinburg’s proximity to I-69 ensures seamless logistics and supply chain optimization, as does its proximity to South Texas International Airport, Brownsville Seaport, McAllen-Miller International Airport and Valley International Airport. This makes the region optimal for U.S.-Mexico trade.

Edinburg offers attractive tax incentives, fostering a favorable financial landscape for potential investors. The local government collaborates with businesses, providing training assistance for a skilled workforce aligned with industry needs. Edinburg boasts an educated and adaptable talent pool, with ongoing education and vocational training programs aligned with industry demands.

Edinburg serves as a gateway for businesses eyeing international expansion and cross-border trade. Collaboration across industries creates a stable foundation for sustainable growth, mitigating risks associated with over-reliance on a single sector.

The pleasant climate and diverse economy enhance the overall quality of life, offering an attractive setting for both work and recreation.

Edinburg’s strategic location, financial perks, skilled workforce and international business opportunities make it a practical choice for sustainable economic development.

Gilbert, Arizona                                                                        

AZSituated in the southeast valley of the Phoenix metropolitan area, Gilbert, Arizona is on the fast track to becoming the city of the future with in-demand assets that attract talent, visitors and investors from across the globe. Gilbert boasts a robust, diverse economy driven by a wide array of industry clusters including information and communications technology (ICT), life sciences, clean tech, photonics and more. Gilbert provides a fertile environment for growth and expansion, offering a vibrant business climate with a highly qualified workforce.

Gilbert is also home to an assortment of higher education institutions and workforce development partners such as Park University, the University of Arizona College of Nursing, Arizona State University’s (ASU’s) Polytechnic Campus and Chandler-Gilbert Community College. Gilbert’s Office of Economic Development is actively engaged in developing the community’s workforce with resident career training in high-demand fields while also offering scholarships for professional development and upskilling certifications. Additional resources fostering a business-friendly climate include the award-winning technical assistance portal for business owners, employees and residents alike. Through the pipeline of emerging technologies from educational institutions, strength in STEM occupations and a strong focus on innovation and tech industries, Gilbert has the foundation necessary for long-term economic growth and success. Learn more at


LALouisiana Economic Development’s Certified Sites program boasts a strong commitment to shovel-ready business investment and a rigorous pre-qualification process. With confidence in a site’s readiness for development, potential investors are made comfortable knowing that much of the startup work has already been taken care of. Several major national and international companies have benefited from LED Certified Sites:

● Amazon: Facility investments in Louisiana by the world’s largest online retailer spread across three certified sites in Baton Rouge, Lafayette and Shreveport.

● First Solar: The largest solar energy manufacturer in the Western Hemisphere selected Louisiana as the site of its fifth American manufacturing facility and will invest up to $1.1 billion to produce high-performance photovoltaic (PV) solar modules.

● Grön Fuels: This planned $9.2 billion renewable diesel fuel production facility on a 141-acre certified site at the Port of Greater Baton Rouge will stand as one of the largest renewable fuel complexes in the world.

Companies also benefit from a diversified economic base, abundant natural resources and a nationally recognized workforce program, which is provided at no cost to qualifying businesses. In addition, Louisiana is strategically located as the gateway to the Gulf of Mexico and global markets. It connects 38 interior states through the Mississippi River and hosts six interstate highways, six Class 1 railroads, six deepwater ports, a network of pipelines and seven primary airports. For more information, visit

Magnolia, Arkansas                                                                  

ARKHarvey Couch Business Park - Southeast Certified Entergy Arkansas Select Site is a prime location that warrants serious consideration for economic development projects. This 104-acre property, situated in Magnolia, Arkansas along U.S. Highway 82, offers a multitude of practical advantages.

First, its strategic location is ideal for light industrial operations, with rail frontage and essential utilities in close proximity. Detailed cost and timing estimates for utility extensions are readily available, ensuring transparency in project planning. In addition, the site boasts a strong network of neighbors, including Southern Arkansas University, Southwest Planning and Development District offices, Arkansas Department of Workforce Adult Education, and the Magnolia Police Department, fostering collaboration and support.

In terms of incentives, Magnolia Economic Development collaborates closely with the Arkansas Economic Development Commission to tailor tax incentive packages that align with an industry’s specific needs. Additionally, training assistance is readily accessible through Southern Arkansas University Tech and SouthArk College, with costs offset by both MED and AEDC. For more information, visit

Magnolia, enriched by its sustainable natural resources, offers a diverse economic landscape spanning oil, gas, bromine and timber. Beyond its business advantages, the city is renowned for its southern hospitality, historic charm, scenic landscapes, recreational opportunities and vibrant festivals, making it an enticing place to establish an enterprise and call home. With over 80 academic programs at Southern Arkansas University, Magnolia offers a skilled and diverse workforce to support any project’s success.

McClellan - The City of Anniston, Alabama                                     

ALMcClellan is a historic, mixed-use community in the city of Anniston, Calhoun County, Alabama with strategic development zones for residential, medical, commercial and industrial ventures. Conveniently positioned near the I-20 corridor, midway between Atlanta and Birmingham, the McClellan area offers unparalleled connectivity to multiple markets and easy access to highways in all cardinal directions, facilitating seamless product distribution.

Business developers and employees enjoy a low cost of living in Calhoun County with one of the nation’s most affordable Metropolitan Statistical Areas, coupled with a business-friendly tax environment with county and state taxes that rank among the lowest nationwide. Energy costs in Alabama remain low, alongside minimal gasoline and diesel taxes.

McClellan offers a diverse array of development options, with parcels spanning one to 100 acres, from shovel-ready flat land to gravel floor warehouses to landscaped office buildings. Join the ranks of industrial and commercial powerhouses International Automotive Components and Creedmoor Sports and work alongside government giants FEMA Center for Domestic Preparedness and Alabama Army National Guard. Regardless of the project, the McClellan Development Authority, Calhoun County Economic Development Council, and City of Anniston will guide it to success.

Beyond work, McClellan offers an exceptional quality of life with an array of recreational hubs, including the McClellan Multi-Use Trails, Cane Creek Golf Course, Camp McClellan Horse Trails and Lake Yahou Park. For more information, visit


NVNevada is a business-friendly state that offers low startup and operations costs, including regulatory, licensing and annual fees, taxes and tax structure and competitive utility rates for commercial operations. In fact, Nevada ranks as the seventh-best state in the Tax Foundations 2023 State Business Climate, an independent ranking of states in five areas of taxation: corporate taxes; individual income taxes; sales taxes; unemployment insurance taxes; and taxes on property, including residential and commercial property.

The combination of transportation infrastructure and the geographic location – with proximity to West Coast/California markets and businesses – as well as reduced shipping and storage costs, are important reasons for businesses to stage their operations in Nevada. Locations in Nevada are located less than one day’s drive to 60 million customers and five major U.S. ports serving the Pacific Rim.

For companies seeking to relocate or expand their manufacturing operations, Nevada has been able to provide industrial-scale real estate, with major industrial parks already developed, and prime land available and zoned for industrial use. Companies are able to find an existing facility or work with one of Nevada’s many industrial developers to construct a build-to-suit facility that fits their unique needs. For businesses in key industries willing to make multi-year commitments to jobs and capital investments, the State of Nevada offers several packages of incentives and programs to assist businesses. For more information, visit

Princeton, Texas                                                                      

TXThe City of Princeton is located in the northern part of the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area. It is a prime location that offers easy access to major transportation infrastructure, including Highways 380 and 75, and airports such as DFW, McKinney Airport and Love Field.

The City of Princeton has experienced a significant increase in population, which in turn has provided the city with a larger pool of skillfully diverse and talented workers. Through a partnership with Collin College Farmersville, Princeton has also been actively working to develop a skilled labor force through educational initiatives, ensuring a pipeline of qualified workers for companies in various areas.

Boasting small town charm with local events and community engagement opportunities, Princeton offers a range of quality-of-life amenities, including parks, recreational facilities and Lake Lavon.

Upholding its reputation as a business-friendly city, Princeton offers various incentives such as tax abatements, grants and a developer-friendly streamlined permitting process. The city’s zoning and planning strategies also facilitate infrastructure development, making it an ideal location for greenfield projects or companies looking to expand their operations.

For more information, visit or contact DeShawyna Walker, Economic and Community Development Coordinator for the City of Princeton at

Twiggs County, Georgia                                                         

GATwiggs County, Georgia is swiftly emerging as a prime location for industrial ventures seeking proximity to the Hyundai OEM, the Ports of Savannah and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Positioned at the state’s geographic center, Twiggs County’s industrial properties at the crossroads of I-16 and State Route 96 will soon benefit from a forthcoming four-lane connector to I-75. With Savannah 150 miles to the east and Atlanta 100 miles to the north, the county enjoys strategic access to major economic hubs. Nearby amenities include Robins Air Force Base, the VA Hospital in Dublin, Mercer University and Georgia College and State University, along with a range of retail and service options catering to families relocating to the area.

Featuring a substantial labor force of 500,000 within a one-hour commute, Twiggs County provides industries with a competitive talent pool. A Tier 2 County, the area’s industrial properties in a Less Developed Census Tract qualify for a $3,500 state job tax credit. Boasting some of the market’s lowest land prices, the Hillandale tract, spanning over 260 acres and situated just a mile from the interstate, offers county water and sewer infrastructure, complemented by redundant three-phase power service. Private tracts adjacent to the park further expand the possibilities for potential investors. With a commendably low crime rate and a statewide high graduation rate, Twiggs County invites businesses to experience the charm of a rural community within a 25-mile radius of three major cities. For more information, visit  T&ID


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