The Latest in Economic Development

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This week’s Latest in Economic Development focuses on craft beer, Cincinnati’s pursuit of water technology, what’s next for Las Vegas, Super Bowl driven interstate competition, and Chinese Foreign Direct Investment. Have things to add? Comment below or email me at

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Cincinnati strives to become the American hub for water technology. They’re not alone – St. Louis and Minneapolis are also pursuing the market, which is valued at $500 billion to $1 trillion a year. Despite the competition, locals feel that they have the necessary pieces to put them ahead of the game including a history of water research, public and private sector expertise, and of course, plenty of water.(

Craft beer has been good for economic development in North Carolina. Nation-wide, the industry experienced a 15 percent growth last year, and North Carolina has had its share of craft brewing successes. The state has over sixty breweries and landed the highly sought after east-coast expansions of craft brewery superstars New Belgium, Oskar Blues, and Sierra Nevada (related – check out this excellent article on Roanoke, VA’s bid for Sierra Nevada). UNC School of Government’s blog profiles how a number of state legislative changes, regulations, and incentives support the craft beer industry and “acted as drivers of economic development.”

Las Vegas has epitomized the economic woes of the Great Recession and is looking to diversify and move forward. Las Vegas became a boomtown over 1990-2000 on the back of its heavily service-focused economy and a thriving construction industry that nose-dived during the recession. As the city tries to come back, it faces some barriers including a lack of a major research institution and lack of  “innovation outside the casino industry.” Yet, Las Vegas also has a powerful and passionate champion in Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh. Hsieh is moving Zappos’s headquarters to the city’s struggling downtown.  He also created the “Downtown Project and gave it $350 million in seed money to start tech startups and community minded small businesses.” (The Atlantic)

With professional football still a month away, New Jersey and New York vie for 2014 Super Bowl business. While both states cooperated in the bidding process to land the Super Bowl, which will take place at New Jersey’ MetLife Stadium, interstate competition is intensifying as each state hopes to get a hefty share of hotel guests, side events, and even gambling revenues. (Wall Street Journal)

Over the past couple of years, Chinese Foreign Direct Investment has been an increasingly popular economic development strategy for cities and states. While there are signs of successes, it’s also not a simple, silver bullet. Both the Financial Times via Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the Huffington Post provide commentary and context on Chinese Foreign Direct Investment in the U.S.

For more information on NLC’s Economic Development work, visit our webpage.