Fall 2023 | Article 04/04

Industrial development anchors an impact

Big businesses have a big impact on the communities in which they operate. Establishing operations within a community brings opportunities beyond initial investments: it creates jobs, builds skills and supports future community development – helping people thrive.

The context

When an industrial business that had operated in Terre Haute for decades closed its doors, it resulted in more than just shuttered doors and a vacancy sign.

The business was the highest-paying employer in the region, so upon closure exposed a large, skilled workforce to lost income and opportunity, and leaving local families with no way to fill the gap.

The region would try and fail for years to replace what was lost, with interested companies entertaining concepts, but ultimately leaving without any firm commitments to the people of Terre Haute -- hope generated by interest instead dashed repeatedly by failed economic development strategies or plans that never seemed to fully materialize.

The loss of an institution like this, tied to that much economic success and local jobs, pulls at the very fabric of a community’s core identity. It leaves something substantial missing from the landscape. And the residents of Terre Haute would have to endure that for ten years until the right connection was made to fill the space and bring business back to the industrial park’s grounds.  


The process

Battery components manufacturer ENTEK was searching for a site for a new facility that would help meet the growing demand for battery separators in North America.

Their requirements were specific:

  • At least 300 acres
  • Superior transportation access
  • 300 MW of power
  • Rail-served
  • Skilled workforce
  • Economic incentives
  • Shovel-ready land
  • Able to meet an aggressive timetable for full-scale production
Carl Quesinberry, Senior Director of Avison Young Consulting; Larry Keith, CEO of ENTEK; Kim Medford, President of ENTEK Manufacturing; Eric Holcomb, Governor of Indiana; and Anthony Johnson, President of Clayco Industrial.

To find the perfect location for their newest site that met their unique criteria, ENTEK partnered with Avison Young’s Consulting team. Excited by this mandate, the team:

  • Provided comprehensive location strategy, labor analytics, economic incentive support, and site selection coordination.
  • Leaned on a thorough analysis of ENTEK’s supply chain and a deep understanding of the company’s operations and required labor pool to isolate target geographics of interest.
  • They assembled a comprehensive team to identify a site to meet all of ENTEK’s unique requirements, including robust utility infrastructure with reliable and affordable access to water, electricity, gas and other utilities required for ENTEK’s advanced manufacturing process.
  • Helped conduct analysis of proximity to major highways, class I and III rail lines, airports, and other forms of public transportation.
  • Considered regulatory environments of the shovel-ready property to meet strict Department of Energy guidelines and full NEPA environmental review.
  • Aligned around the need to find a community with a strong, skilled workforce familiar with advanced manufacturing work.

In the end, these requirements would lead Avison Young’s team and ENTEK to the excellent workforce, business-friendly and shovel-ready piece of vacant land located in Terre Haute.

The impact

ENTEK’s intended $1.5 billion plant build in the Vigo County Industrial Park II is the company’s largest investment in a plant to date.
The company received incentives totaling more than $30 million to begin construction, and a two-phase facility build-out plan was backed by a $200 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) as part of the recent Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

Upon completion, the plant will provide:
  • More than 600 jobs by the end of 2027 as a part of Phase 1 projects, allowing residents to consider eliminating current long commutes for meaningful work closer to home.
  • Enough separator material output to power 1.4 to 1.6 million electric vehicles by 2027, with Phase 2 concepts in place to double that number over time.

"Possibilities abound to bring real support and value to communities, a fresh vibrancy of meaningful economic impact and social awareness that these communities have been craving for far too long."

- Carl Quesinberry
Senior Director, Industrial Occupier Services

But that’s not all.

In line with ENTEK’s commitment to community, the company is already seeking further opportunities to give back to the residents of Terre Haute and its surrounding areas:
  • As part of the site selection process, ENTEK asked about the needs of each possible site’s surrounding community to be able to align a formal give-back strategy once settled.
  • In Terre Haute, conversations have already begun to provide local schools, notably low-to-middle-income high schools, with apprentice-style programming and education.
“ENTEK and Terre Haute couldn’t have been a better match,” shared Carl Quesinberry, Senior Director, Industrial Occupier services at Avison Young. “The mix of assets readily available around the site paired beautifully with ENTEK’s proposed vision and aggressive needs timetable. Possibilities abound to bring real support and value to communities, a fresh vibrancy of meaningful economic impact and social awareness that these communities having been craving for far too long.”

Article contributors

  • Senior Director, Industrial Occupier Services
  • Consulting and Advisory Strategic Consulting

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