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Why this local broker expects to see a trend of national companies choosing Louisville

Why this local broker expects to see a trend of national companies choosing Louisville

This article was written by Eleanor Tolbert and originally appeared in Louisville Business First on November 21, 2023.

Coming off some big announcements in Louisville’s industrial sector, a local broker thinks the trend will continue.

Matt Willinger, chief financial officer at Louisville real estate firm Pluris Real Estate, said his team is expecting to continue seeing national companies choose Louisville to locate operational facilities. The city’s low cost of living — along with its strategic geographic location and existing infrastructure — will be a driver for economic development.

“It’s great news that we’re attracting some of these manufacturing businesses and logistics businesses,” Willinger said. “… The more people that come, the more will follow and the more recognition that we get as a city.”

In the past few months, the Louisville area has seen activity from national corporations. The Cheesecake Factory acquired 37 acres in the River Ridge Commerce Center to build a $74 million facility. In West Louisville, Stellar Snacks announced a $137 million production facility, employing 350 people.

And River Ridge announced the largest investment in its history — a $800 million facility from Canadian Solar Inc.

Louisville’s low cost of doing business makes it a cheaper alternative to booming markets like Nashville, Tennessee, and Dallas. Willinger said with inflationary pressures, companies are looking to cut costs where they can. Willinger’s comments were echoed recently by site selector John Boyd who talked about affordability advantages for Greater Louisville as part of a look into the under-construction BlueOval SK plans in Glendale, Kentucky. (Click the link above for a video interview with Boyd as part of the article).

Proximity to UPS Worldport allows them to do that. And Louisville’s centralized location is within a day’s drive of over half the U.S. population.

In some parts of town, the Louisville area already has the infrastructure in place. Willinger said the South End of Louisville and River Ridge in Southern Indiana are attractive to companies looking to be located in a logistics hub.

The biggest challenge? Getting Louisville on people’s radar.

“One of the biggest things that holds us back is that we’re just not as well known,” Willinger said. “That’s part of it, I think that we’re not first in mind when companies think about, ‘where should I locate my business?’”

In order to effectively sell ourselves, Willinger said there needs to be collaboration across both the private and public sectors.

As for Pluris itself, it recently landed at No. 17 on our Fast 50 list ranking the fastest-growing companies in Greater Louisville by revenue.