EDP funnel report: 2017 busiest year for business inquiries

Published 9:27 am Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Businesses showed more interest in Boyle County in 2017 than in any other year since the the Danville-Boyle County Economic Development Partnership began keeping track. That’s according to numbers from the final “project funnel” report for the year, released by the EDP this month.

EDP President Jody Lassiter said the EDP tracked 95 prospective business projects during 2017 — “our highest number ever.” Around 77 percent of those inquires made it to the next level of the “funnel,” as the EDP terms it, and were classified as “qualified.” That means Boyle County had the property or resources necessary to make it a viable option for the prospective business.

About 47 percent of the original 95 prospects made it to the third level, “due diligence,” and 18 percent of them have been announced publicly or completed, according to the funnel report. Eleven projects have been announced and are in progress; six have been completed.

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The six completed projects on the funnel report are:

• the opening of an office for Mindsight Behavioral Health Specialty Group in February;

• the opening of Cattleman’s Roadhouse in September;

• an expansion of TransNav Technologies completed in July;

• a commercial property that the owner successfully leased a portion of;

• the relocation and opening of Bluegrass and Buttercream announced in July; and

• the opening of Flowers by EJ.

“We deal in announcements,” Lassiter said at last week’s EDP board meeting. “… Announcements in 2017 are going to have investment and job creation in 2018, 2019.”

A total of 43 projects in the report have been marked lost to attrition, meaning those projects are no longer expected to happen.

There are 17 projects listed in the “due diligence phase” that are still in the works and have not been lost to attrition. Those 17 are in theory the closest ones in the report to being announced. They are:

• Codenamed projects Queen, Nelson, Louis, Delaware, Boston, Spirit, Lighthouse and 68, for which no details have been released nor are any provided on the funnel report;

• two projects identified only as “industry expansion,” two identified only as “investor inquiry” and one identified only as “industry land acquisition;”

• a project identified as “bed & breakfast” that would create one to nine jobs with a less-than-$100,000 investment;

• a project identified as “downtown hotel” with the note that it “will be combined with a specific investor project” listed elsewhere in the report;

• Project Angel, which Planning and Zoning documents and meetings have revealed to be a prospective distillery from EJW Whiskey that could create one to nine jobs; and

• a project from the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development that could bring more than 100 jobs and a $50 million investment to Boyle County.

Not all of the 95 prospective projects that were tracked originated in 2017 — some are ongoing since as far back as 2013. But 70 of the 95 did begin with inquiries in 2017, according to the report.

February 2017 was the month when the most inquiries were made, according to the report: a total of 11 prospective businesses contacted the EDP, including TransNav and Adkev Inc., which is planning to locate a factory in the former Caterpillar facility and create 70 jobs.

January and December tied for the least inquiries with two apiece, and there were three inquiries in March. The rest of the year, there were between five and eight inquiries every month, according to the report.

Lassiter said the EDP is carrying forward 50 of the projects it tracked in 2017 to its 2018 tracking list. And there have been “about three to four” inquiries made in January already, he said.

The EDP began releasing its “project funnel” reports quarterly in the summer of 2017; this most recent report is the third ever released and serves as the wrap-up report for 2017.