The ultimate in sustainability:
repurposing a manufacturing plant.
In a Swedish factory where beer was once produced from hops and barley, now human protein is produced from plasma and human cell lines. In a Baltimore plant where bottle caps and coats were once made, careers in fashion and architecture are made. An old London factory that created vegetable oils and tea has been turned into a hub for creative industries.
Such repurposing/revitalization projects are not just fascinating; they are immeasurably important for green practices and sustainability, a win-win for both relocating and incoming entities, and most importantly, a victory for skilled workers who prefer to stay where they are, or those who would otherwise be out of work.
France and Italy in particular have embraced this concept. In those countries, a company vacating its premises must attempt to identify an entity able to take advantage of the existing facility, equipment, and workers with applicable skills.
Proposing that clients repurpose their factories is a wonderful opportunity for economic development organizations. The idea may be far more realistic than you think — and the financial savings and gains are substantial, while the benefits to a region are numerous and varied.
Further, allowing people to stay in locations where their families are rooted, while providing them with a new job that draws on their skills is a supremely moral and humane act.
The fact is, closing a large company or factory costs a fortune. Pension funds and compensation payouts are often insanely expensive for any entity with long-time workers.
Also, many companies are the life blood of smaller towns — repurposing a facility often serves to maintain the vitality and spirit of a community.
As you can imagine, such an undertaking requires a great deal of research in order to find potential entities suitable for a soon-to-be abandoned factory or building, as well as plenty of complex negotiation and management of the whole process.
PM&P has an unparalleled track record of revitalization/repurposing projects, from high tech to low tech and everything in between. We search, research, moderate, negotiate. Through this specialized work, we make employees and their families, local and not-so-local politicians, executives, boards, union folks, and whole darn towns happy.
We even oversee all publicity so that all parties involved emerge as heroes.
So to your economic development expertise, add some economic redevelopment.
Revitalization/repurposing is poised to be an important element in the burgeoning sustainability movement.