Friday October 20, 2006
More jobs and economic opportunities created for West Louisville residents
Recent business relocations and expansions are demonstrating that West Louisville is becoming a preferred location for businesses on the move, said Mayor Jerry Abramson and Joe Reagan, CEO of Greater Louisville Inc.-Metro Chamber of Commerce, at a joint press conference today at College Industrial Park.
Standing at the newly opened headquarters of Parallel Products Inc., economic development officials said that, in the past four years, 42 companies have either expanded or located in West Louisville, reflecting $190 million in investment and 1,004 new jobs. These economic gains are the result of the city’s and GLI’s initiative to promote West Louisville as a competitive and advantageous place to do business.
“In growing our inner-city economy and connecting it to the larger regional economy, we are opening up opportunities for jobs and building wealth for the residents in West Louisville,” said Abramson. “More and more companies are beginning to see the inherent advantages of doing business in West Louisville.”
The area’s key competitive advantages include a strategic location near the Ohio River, Louisville International Airport, highway systems and major rail lines; an available workforce; an inexpensive cost of doing business; and successful business clusters in the automotive, transportation & logistics, medical devices & health services, and traditional manufacturing industries.
“Together, GLI and the city are increasing West Louisville’s reputation, thereby competitiveness, as a business location,” Reagan said. “Older buildings are being brought back to life with state-of-the-art interiors, residents have more opportunities for jobs, and businesses are successful.”
Parallel Products relocates headquarters
Parallel Products recently moved its headquarters office from Franklin, Ky., to Louisville’s College Industrial Park, to be closer to the company’s production facility on Bernheim Lane. The company also completed a major expansion at the Bernheim Lane production facility in 2004.
“There is a growing awareness that doing business in West Louisville works for the companies’ employees, efficiency and bottom line,” said Gene Kiesel, president of Parallel Products. “It’s definitely working well for us.”
Parallel Products currently employs 150 people in Louisville. The company recycles a variety of sugar- and alcohol-based products that are outdated or result from faulty production runs and which can’t be sold, into ethanol, an alternative source of fuel. Aluminum, glass, plastic and cardboard also are recovered and recycled.
Parallel Products is one of the more than 40 companies assisted through the city’s and GLI’s West Louisville efforts. Other companies that have recently moved to West Louisville include ZFX Flying, Great Northern Manufacturing, and Ultimate Bowling Products. Expanding companies include Mercer Transportation, Republic Diesel and Caudill Seed. Together these companies account for 107 new jobs in the past three months.
“In 2003, we helped break ground for two new speculative buildings built at College Industrial Park, both of which are now fully occupied,” Abramson said. “People questioned if there was a market for these two buildings, and today we clearly see that there is.”
The city’s and GLI’s concentrated focus to make West Louisville more competitive is based on the findings of Harvard University’s Initiative for Competitive Inner Cities (ICIC) study assessing the area’s economic opportunities.
Louisville Metro Government funds a position at GLI for an economic-development officer to focus specifically on working with businesses in, and recruiting businesses to, West Louisville.
The city’s Industrial and Commercial Development Division, housed within the Metro Development Authority, also is a partner in West Louisville economic development. The division’s staff assists with land-assembly issues, links businesses to available local incentives and provides other resources to businesses.