Editor’s note: Each Sunday, Talk Business & Politics provides “Made In America,” a round-up of state and global manufacturing news.
DEFENSE DEPARTMENT SETS UP 12TH MANUFACTURING HUB, MAY LEAD TO INNOVATIONS
The U.S. Defense Department announced the award of a new public-private Manufacturing USA institute to Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute (ARMI), the 12th Manufacturing USA institute established by the Obama administration and third within the past three weeks.
The highly competitive process resulted in ARMI’s selection to lead the Advanced Tissue Biofabrication (ATB) Manufacturing USA Institute, which will look to develop next-generation manufacturing techniques for repairing and replacing cells and tissues, which one day may lead to the ability to manufacture new skin for soldiers scarred from combat or the development of organ-preserving technologies to benefit Americans waiting for an organ transplant.
The award of $80 million in federal funding will be combined with over $214 million contributed by the winning consortium, made up of industry, state and local governments, universities, community colleges and nonprofits. The ATB institute will seek to organize the current fragmented domestic capabilities in tissue biofabrication technology and better position the U.S. relative to global competition, DOD officials said. To see the Obama administration’s fact sheet on the new manufacturing hub, click here.
NEWPORT WORKS TO CREATE ‘MEGA’ INDUSTRIAL SITE, HOPES TO DEVELOP SEPARATE INTERMODAL SITE
Newport has a certified 100-acre industrial development park, but it’s not large enough to attract enough job providers to Jackson County. To lure industries to the region, the commission hopes to get a 3,200-acre swath certified by the state in 2017, Newport Economic Development Commission Executive Director Jon Chadwell told Talk Business & Politics. It also hopes to develop an 800-acre intermodal site south of Newport that abuts the White River.
The 3,200-acre site would qualify as a “Mega” site in the state, meaning it could cater to virtually any industry including a major automotive manufacturer. If it’s certified, the site will have 4.9 miles of highway frontage along U.S. 67, which is begin renamed I-57. Gov. Asa Hutchinson has said more than once he’d like to locate automaker in the state. Read more at this link.
ATLANTA FAST FOOD OPERATOR EXPANDS INTO ARKANSAS WITH BURGER KING DEAL
In its largest acquisition to date, Atlanta-based GPS Hospitality announced on Wednesday (Dec. 21) that it will expand its national footprint into five new states with the acquisition of 194 Burger King restaurants from Strategic Restaurants Acquisition Corp. (SRAC). No terms of the deal were disclosed, but the acquisition will extend GPS Hospitality’s reach into Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas and Florida, company officials said, nearly doubling the company’s size and putting the burger restaurant franchiser firmly among the top three largest Burger King franchisees in the U.S. with 424 locations nationwide.
Privately-held SRAC is owned by New York City investment firm Cerberus Capital Management, which is known for buying distressed assets, fixing them up, and then selling them for a profit. Cerberus is led by former U.S. Vice President Dan Quayle and U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow.
GPS Hospitality, founded in 2012, said the deal will put it on track to meet its goal of becoming a $1 billion company in sales in just 10 years. In just five years of operations, the Atlanta restaurant operator has purchased 431 Burger King and Popeyes franchises, operating 431 restaurants in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.