Success Story: NEXCAP - Manufacturing’s Matchmakers
October 2014 Newsletter
If you build it, they will come. But what if it’s built and no one knows it? In the United States, there are hundreds of millions of square feet of nonproductive commercial, industrial, and manufacturing space. This space provides an opportunity for domestic companies to find manufacturing spaces as well as foreign companies looking to locate operations in the United States. However, information about this space can be incomplete and scattered. That’s where NEXCAP comes in.
With funding from EDA, the National Excess Manufacturing Capacity Catalog (NEXCAP) is uniquely and comprehensively cataloging these vacant manufacturing facilities, their assets, and those of the surrounding community. The searchable catalog offers companies seeking manufacturing production sites/facilities in the U.S. a complete and detailed overview of potential manufacturing sites. NEXCAP's site inventory and portal is populated with detailed profiles of the facilities and their host communities. It provides companies seeking locations with a toolkit of information to guide their business location and/or expansion decisions. This benefits the communities with properties by attracting investment and new, job creating industries.
The NEXCAP portal is designed for users to create an account, save their searches, and be notified when new property listings are available. NEXCAP’s catalogue also includes an input process and tool that will match facilities with companies looking for space. So far, NEXCAP has developed a comprehensive inventory database of closed plants and sites in the eastern half of the United States, based on a consistent method and template. As the second year of the program begins, NEXCAP will expand its inventory to include closed plants and sites in the western part of the country, covering the entire United States.
To-date, there have been more than 3,000 visits to the website from more than 1,000 unique users in 70 countries across the globe. Countries with the most visitors included the United States, Brazil, Chile, India, France, Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany, Mexico and Argentina.
Several companies have already found new homes in these previously empty facilities. Since February, 2013, WCR, Inc., which manufactures heat exchanges in locations across the globe, has set up shop in 60,000 sq. ft. of the former GM Assembly Plant in Moraine, Ohio. In Lorain, Ohio, a former 300,000 sq. ft. Ford assembly plant has been transformed into the home of Trademark Global, a mass market internet retailer.
"NEXCAP is a tool and a resource to attract foreign direct investment into the manufacturing sector to create jobs and to bring back to productive use closed manufacturing facilities nationwide, said Lawrence Molnar, Associate Director University of Michigan Institute for Research on Labor, Employment, and the Economy. “Given the volume and breadth of the traffic from around the world it is obviously an effective resource."
An empty building can’t create jobs or grow a community’s economy. But, letting businesses at home and abroad know that there is existing space to meet their needs has transformative potential. If it’s already been built, and you tell them it’s available, they will come, bringing jobs and new opportunities with them.