Thursday, October 31, 2019

MoCo misses out on Mitsubishi HQ, relocation expert cites importance of airport access

Montgomery County hasn't attracted a single major corporate headquarters in over twenty years, and Mitsubishi North America won't break that humiliating streak of failure. The Japanese industrial giant's U.S. headquarters has been in sunny California since 1988. After a nationwide search, they've chosen Franklin, Tennessee.

"I’m proud Mitsubishi Motors will call Franklin its U.S. home, and bring 200 high-quality jobs to Middle Tennessee," Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said in a press release announcing the victory. The press release notes that corporate headquarters jobs have grown by 37% in Tennessee since 2013. "Mitsubishi Motors’ decision to relocate its U.S. headquarters from California to Franklin underscores Tennessee’s growing profile as a hub for U.S. and international companies," Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development Chair Bob Rolfe said. "Tennessee will continue to actively recruit quality headquarters jobs from higher-cost coastal states, and we are honored Mitsubishi will make this significant investment in Williamson County.”

This is just the latest major corporate HQ contest the Montgomery County Council and economic development officials have either lost, or simply dozed through without even making a bid. One ongoing disadvantage Montgomery has, besides its national reputation as a business-unfriendly jurisdiction with high taxes, is its lack of direct access to Dulles International Airport.

We could have had direct access by now, had our elected officials not canceled the long-planned Potomac River crossing to the Dulles area. John Boyd of corporate relocation firm The Boyd Company reaffirmed the importance of such access in recent comments about Sherwin Williams dissatisfaction with their current Cleveland HQ location, that has spurred them to begin a relocation search.

Boyd's analysis was reported by Cleveland's Fox 8 as follows:

He said air transit is a key factor in site selection. As Cleveland vies to keep the company that employs more than 33,000 people worldwide, Boyd said the region's lack of non-stop flights to markets around the globe is its biggest hurdle.

Cleveland Hopkins International Airport was ranked second-worst among 16 similar-sized airports in the J.D. Power 2019 North America Airport Satisfaction Study. The airport has commissioned a firm to create a new master plan for upgrades.

"Every time there's a major trophy headquarters project, you always think about the usual suspects: Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Houston. Cities with major gateway airports," Boyd said.

Dulles is unmatched in our region for the frequency of flights and variety of international business destinations. It would be so simple to eliminate this major obstacle to economic growth by merely greenlighting the new bridge to Dulles. The Council's stubborn refusal to do so speaks volumes about their radical, fringe ideology, and total lack of competence.

38 comments:

Anna said...

They announced this in June. Want to be closer to Nissan, one of their alliance partners, work together, save $$.

We were never in the mix for this. Puzzling you should bring it up.

Anonymous said...

Why would Mitsubishi even be looking at Montgomery County? No Japanese auto manufacturer would locate their US headquarters east of the Mississippi River, just like no European manufacturer would leave the east coast.

Tennessee has successfully turned into an auto hub attracting VW, Bridgestone, Nissan, Mitsubishi, but Montgomery will never be competitive in that industry. Maryland, and every other northeastern state, is not right-to-work, which these days automatically puts it out of the running for any auto manufacturer headquarters.

The county would be better served continuing to attract high-wage life sciences, tech, and contractor jobs.

Anonymous said...

I like how 200 jobs moving to Tennessee means they got a "major corporation" yet the dozen companies with MORE JOBS announcing moves to Bethesda either aren't reported by you or aren't considered "major." You can't stand that Bethesda is thriving.

zaphod said...

wrt Dyer's rant about "He said air transit is a key factor in site selection," Silver Spring is as close to BWI as Franklin TN is to BNA (which is a little over half the size of BWI) so the absence of Transurban Lexus Lanes from Dulles to Darnestown was probably not a factor

Anonymous said...

There are a lot more government agencies that would play a part in developing a second Potomac River than just the Montgomery County council. What is your criticism of them? You've always made it sound like building a new bridge is solely the responsibility of the County council.

Anonymous said...

Mitsubishi?

They are a shadow of what they were at their peak 20-30 years ago. Sales peaked at 360,149 in 2002 but had fallen to 57,790 in 2012, a drop of 84% in just a decade.

And as Anna notes, they aren't even an independent brand anymore, they have been part of the Nissan-Renault partnership since 2016, and Nissan USA's headquarters is in Franklin.

When was the last time you actually saw a Mitsubishi here in Bethesda?

Bethesda is closer to Dulles and BWI than Franklin is to BNA. Building the "Second Crossing" would bring Gaithersburg and Germantown closer to Dulles, but change absolutely nothing for Bethesda, Chevy Chase, Rockville, Silver Spring or any of the affluent and growing downcounty areas.

And it looks like the NoVa Cartel also lost out on this.

"I love driving in Northern Virginia," said absolutely no one, ever.

Robert Dyer said...

3:12: Whoa, you better check your facts - BWI is in no way comparable to Dulles in terms of international business destinations, non-stop international flights, and frequency of flights.

10:41: Montgomery hasn't done well attracting those jobs, either. We're rock bottom in the region by every relevant statistical benchmark.

8:15: Wrong. Hogan is clueless on the importance of Dulles (which is why he's failed to turn the state's moribund economy around and attracted no new Fortune 500s during his term). We can move forward without him or the next governor, should he or she be as clueless about the need for a new crossing.

Virginia is waiting for us and will eagerly cooperate. They've been preparing Route 28 to connect to our new bridge for years.

8:35: I see Mitsubishis every day in Bethesda. New major corporate hqs, not so much.

zaphod said...

Dyer, you argue that Mitsubishi didn't select MoCo because of its desire for access to an airport with direct flights to markets around the globe. Yet the location they DID select is a half-hour drive from an airport that offers year-round non-stop service to exactly 2 international destinations, Panama City and Toronto. Your hypothesis about the Mitsubishi HQ decision criteria, and your conclusion that another bridge to Dulles would have brought Mitsubishi here are both evidently wrong.

Anonymous said...

Whoa, you better check your facts - BNA is in no way comparable to Dulles or BWI in terms of international business destinations, non-stop international flights, and frequency of flights.

And Bethesda is closer to both Dulles and BWI, than Franklin is to BNA.

Cinco de Mayo said...

Perhaps the moribund economy can be saved with an airport in Bethesda or Rockville.

Anonymous said...

"Montgomery hasn't done well attracting those jobs, either. We're rock bottom in the region by every relevant statistical benchmark.

"Hogan [has] failed to turn the state's moribund economy around and attracted no new Fortune 500s during his term)."

I prefer to get my economic development advice from people who have actually had gainful employment in their lifetime.

"We can move forward without him or the next governor, should he or she be as clueless about the need for a new crossing. Virginia is waiting for us and will eagerly cooperate. They've been preparing Route 28 to connect to our new bridge for years."

You're clueless. It's not "our" bridge and "we" (the Montgomery County government) cannot build it without the involvement of the rest of the state, Virginia, or the federal government.

Robert Dyer said...

5:32: What evidence do you have that I've not "had gainful employment," moron?

I'm not giving "advice" on economic development, just facts backed up by federal government statistics.

Wrong! Virginia wants the bridge, and it can be built by a private firm as a toll facility with no money from the feds or state. It's certainly our bridge; Maryland owns everything to the shoreline in Virginia.

Robert Dyer said...

5:18: Wrong! I covered two different issues on the same general topic - I reported Montgomery County dropping the ball on Mitsubishi, and then I reported on new remarks from an expert on relocation regarding our poor airport access. Reading skills are a must.

5:19: BNA is not in the DC region, we're talking about Dulles vs. BWI vs. National only here. Dulles is the clear choice of international businesspeople.

Robert Dyer said...

5:51: [dodge] - and, again, what evidence do you have that I did not have a job over that period?

Anonymous said...

"Dulles is the clear choice of international businesspeople."

So again...why didn't Mitsubishi choose Northern Virginia? Why is this a "loss" for Montgomery County, but not Northern Virginia?

Anna said...

Interesting discussion.

5:54AM - What evidence do you have that you did have a job over that period?

Anna said...

How did they "drop the ball" when they were never in the game?

Robert Dyer said...

6:06: Because Northern Virginia has already won so many victories - Northrop, Gerber, CEB, Volkswagen, Audi, Lidl, Intelsat, Hilton Hotels, Amazon HQ2, etc.

Montgomery County hasn't attracted a major corporate HQ in over twenty years.

6:09: If they were not in the game, that would be a total waste of taxpayer money spent on the economic development corporation. They're not actively pursuing major HQs like Mitsubishi? Scandalous!

Anonymous said...

Teleconferencing will not replace us

Anonymous said...

Last time I checked, Tennessee was east of the Mississippi. Nonetheless, Dyer's argument(s) on this one are absolutely ludicrous.

Anonymous said...

"It's certainly our bridge; Maryland owns everything to the shoreline in Virginia."

Except the bridge won't end at the shoreline. If you look at both the American Legion and the Point of Rocks bridges, you will see that the structure of both bridges extends approximately 400 feet inland of the Virginia shore.

If "we" built the Second Crossing just up the the Virginia shoreline, the bridge would end in mid-air and drivers would be furious.

Anonymous said...

I LoL’d

Anna said...

So, what are you saying?

You think that once a week they should call every company doing business in this country to try and get them to move to MoCo?
You realize that's crazy talk, right?

7:18 AM 11/1/19

Anonymous said...

5:49 AM: Yeah, but you didn't drive directly from MOCO into Loudon Co without first going through either Frederick Co. or Fairfax Co., despite the fact that Loudon and MoCo share a common border, which is his point.

Anonymous said...

Why would anyone coming from Montgomery County, go through Frederick County to go to Dulles? That's really DUMB.

Coming from the Dulles Access Road, the Dulles Airport terminal is just 2 miles west of the Fairfax/Loudoun County line. To suggest that Montgomery County is not "directly connected" to Dulles Airport because an additional county line must be crossed, in spite of the shorter distance via the Beltway and the American Legion Bridge, is FUCKING RETARDED.

Anonymous said...

There are several exceedingly dumb points in your article, but I believe your comparing Montgomery County to the Cleveland metro area is the dumbest.

Anonymous said...

"John Boyd of corporate relocation firm The Boyd Company...said air transit is a key factor in site selection. As Cleveland vies to keep [the Sherwin-Williams headquarters, which] employs more than 33,000 people worldwide, Boyd said the region's lack of non-stop flights to markets around the globe is its biggest hurdle."

Cleveland Hopkins serves the EXACT SAME international destinations as BNA - Toronto Pearson plus several resorts in Latin America. Also, unlike BNA, Cleveland Hopkins is connected to downtown Cleveland by heavy rail (RTA Rapid Transit Red Line), and the Sherwin-Williams headquarters is adjacent to the downtown station (Tower City).

Franklin, TN, is 25 miles from BNA, by road only. It is only 13 miles by rail or freeway from the Sherwin-Williams headquarters to Cleveland Hopkins.

Whatever advantages BNA may have over Cleveland Hopkins, international destinations and ground transportation aren't among them.

Anonymous said...

You know what BNA has in common with another DC-area airport? They are both hubs for Southwest. Southwest serves 40+ destinations from BNA... and Southwest serves 40+ destinations from.. BWI.

Seems like if air connections were the big issue, then MD would fare better than VA.

Robert Dyer said...

9:58: Southwest is a tourist airline. You can't go to the international business destinations Dulles provides on Southwest from BWI.

7:56: I assume it's intentional, but you are again confusing the two separate issues covered in this article: latest ball drop by MoCo on Mitsubishi, and a report on recent expert comments regarding MoCo's key weakness in airport connections for international business.

8:16: That long, congested, roundabout route to Dulles you are suggesting has been rejected by every CEO looking at Montgomery County, and then choosing Virginia for direct Dulles access. Have you tried driving across the Legion bridge during rush hour?

Anonymous said...

"Southwest is a tourist airline. You can't go to the international business destinations Dulles provides on Southwest from BWI."

So again - why are you citing BNA as such a great airport?

"That long, roundabout route to Dulles you are suggesting"

The current route to Dulles via the American Legion Bridge is several miles shorter than via the nonexistent "Second Crossing" for drivers from Bethesda, Potomac, Rockville, Silver Spring, and the areas of our County containing the majority of its population.

"Have you tried driving across the Legion bridge during rush hour?"

It's certainly congested, which is why our heroic Governor Hogan and our County Council are working to widen the bridge and the approach from the Beltway. That will happen within several years, unlike your fantasy bridge to nowhere.

And have you driven anywhere in Northern Virginia during rush hour? The entire region is a nightmare. Are you even awake during rush hour, Mr. Comment at 1:58 AM?

Robert Dyer said...

4:57: Saul, you just keep repeating the same baloney - They are 2 separate stories, 2 separate updates on the same topic of corporate HQ relocation, moron.

Only you and the County Council think the current route to Dulles is viable. Meanwhile, 6 and 7-figure-earning CEOs of international Fortune 500s have told us otherwise. Who is more credible again?

Sorry your mom makes you go to bed at 8 PM big boy. Punch yourself.

Anonymous said...

Robbie, did you know that Crystal City is farther from Dulles Airport, than Bethesda is?

Anonymous said...

5:42:SHUT THE FUCK UP, SOY BOY

Robert Dyer said...

12:25: Totally false - Your carpetbaggerness is showing again. That would only be true if we built the very bridge I'm advocating for. You need a new map, Magellan. Punch yourself.

Anonymous said...

From Google Maps:

From Bethesda to IAD via the Cabin John Bridge - 25 miles

From Crystal City to IAD - 27 miles.

If the "Second Crossing" were open, using that to drive from Bethesda to IAD would add 5 miles to the trip.

Prove me wrong.

"Carpetbaggerness"

No such word in the English language.

Robert Dyer said...

4:17: There is a word in the English language to describe your false claim: Bull****. Not to mention the trip from Crystal City to Dulles would be faster than the Legion Bridge route from Bethesda.

Anonymous said...

So, Dyer...what are the distances from Bethesda, and Crystal City, to Dulles, in your universe?

Robert Dyer said...

5:06: You can't measure distance as the crow flies, as you like to do. Crystal City is not only a faster trip to Dulles, but is right at National Airport. That's two airports for Crystal City, and zero airports for Montgomery County. Damn, son, you just got destroyed.

Jeff Bezos and his CIA handlers agree: Crystal City beats Montgomery County hands down.