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Sunday, June 16, 2024

Site selection expert raves about Wilmington’s advantages

Wilmington came out on top when veteran site-selection consultant John Boyd studied the best East Coast corporate office locations in the “new normal” world.

Princeton, New Jersey-based The Boyd Company determined that result on a study of critical costs considered when businesses look for new locations, comparing 40 smaller, mostly suburban U.S. cities that have concentrations of administrative offices. Those factors include costs of labor, electric power, land and construction, property and sales and taxes and travel.

He concluded that Wilmington was the lowest-cost site for a new office on the East Coast, while Franklin, Tennessee, was the best central U.S. location. The Reno, Nevada, suburb of Minden was tops in the western U.S.

A representative business office with 150 workers in a 35,000-square-foot office would have annual operating costs of $14.1 million in Wilmington, versus $19.5 million in Palo Alto, California, which was the highest-cost location in the survey. He also considered Kannapolis and High Point in North Carolina.

“Companies are putting a premium on reducing costs, especially with the higher inflation rates,” Boyd says. “North Carolina is succeeding in that work because of its relatively low taxes and smart fiscal policies. Virtually every ranking shows it’s a top state to do business.”

On virtually every measure of Boyd’s research, Wilmington had lower costs than potential rivals such as Alpharetta, Georgia; Franklin, Tennessee; and Virginia Beach, Virginia. Kannapolis in Cabarrus County was very competitive with Wilmington, the study showed.

Many companies are reducing their office space footage, switching out private desks for collaborative areas and adding amenities to attract workers back to the office, Boyd says. Many are also considering leaving densely populated areas for more suburban locations or smaller cities in Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Tennessee, he adds.

Those five states ranked at the top of the U-Haul Growth Index, which measures migration trends based on data from the Phoenix-based do-it-yourself moving company. The five states at the bottom of U-Haul’s index are California, Massachusetts, Illinois, New Jersey and Michigan.

Boyd has studied North Carolina for many years, so seeing Wilmington emerge as an attractive business center was surprising to him. “Almost overnight, Wilmington has become a very attractive market for a lot of targeted industries,” he says, including technology, life sciences and finance.

Wilmington’s key employers include Corning, GE Hitachi, GE Aviation, Live Oak Bank, MegaCorp Logistics and Thermo Scientific. “A bustling downtown, beaches, top-rated year-round golf, low crime rates and good schools, including UNC Wilmington, distinguish Greater Wilmington as an attractive office location for relocating companies, talent and families,” Boyd said in a release.

David Mildenberg
David Mildenberg
David Mildenberg is editor of Business North Carolina. Reach him at dmildenberg@businessnc.com.

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