Mercedes-Benz investing $1 billion in electric SUV expansion in Tuscaloosa

Mercedes-Benz is spending $1 billion at its Tuscaloosa manufacturing plant, making SUVs for the company’s EQ electric brand. The company is expected to hire another 600 people as part of a sweeping number of moves situated in west Alabama. The projects were announced at a news conference at the plant, which is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its opening today. The project will also entail building a new one million square foot battery plant near the vehicle factory, making it the company’s fifth battery plant globally. Construction on it is expected to start next year, with production to begin around 2020.

Why Amazon Needs Some Cities More Than They Need Amazon

When Inc. announced this month it was searching for a home for a second headquarters, it made it clear the winning city should expect to dole out big incentives. Mayors should think twice before writing a big check because the playing field between cities and companies has changed. As the U.S. economy has shifted from manufacturing to knowledge-intensive products, that has also altered where companies decide to locate. The Wall Street Journal

Transport consultant praises TN business environment, talks Amazon HQ

The Amazon HQ guessing game continues. John Haber, founder and CEO of Spend Management Experts — a transportation spend management consulting company — said when it comes to the question of where Amazon might put headquarters No. 2, Tennessee has a lot to offer. “Nashville and Memphis, they meet the criteria that Amazon is looking for,” Haber said. “The criteria is metropolitan areas with more than a million people; stable and business friendly environment — certainly business friendly environment with Tennessee from a tax standpoint with no state income taxes, no payroll taxes. They are looking for urban or suburban locations with the potential to attract people with strong technical capabilities in communities that sort of think big and creatively when considering locations and real estate options. I think that both Nashville and Memphis fit that criteria. I think they are in the running and certainly under consideration.” Memphis Business Journal

A dog park and food trailer in the sky: Inside Google’s multimillion-dollar Austin offices

Google Inc. has offices all over the world, but it wants visitors and employees at its new downtown Austin regional hub to know exactly where they’re standing: hundreds of feet off the ground in the Texas capital. There are rooms named after South by Southwest and other local festivals, as well as an entire floor dedicated to famous Austinites. Then there is the “greenbelt staircase,” which connects all five floors and is punctuated with cascading waterfalls that use recycled condensation from the HVAC system. And there are the soaring, 360-degree views of Central Austin and beyond from nearly every corner of the space. Austin Business Journal

It’s done: NTT Data takes down big space at former J.C. Penney campus in Plano, Texas

In what could be the biggest lease of the year, global IT giant Plano-based NTT Data Services (OTC: NTDTY) has signed a lease for 232,000 square feet in The Campus at Legacy West — bringing its Plano Parkway team closer towards its North American headquarters in Legacy West. The deal will relocate up to 1,000 NTT Data employees from its Plano Parkway campus to The Campus at Legacy West, which is also occupied by J.C. Penney Company Inc. (NYSE: JCP). The move is expected to occur in phases through April 2018. Dallas Business Journal

Forbes: Atlanta legends are among world’s greatest living business minds (Video)

The brains behind The Home Depot Inc. and Turner Broadcasting still remain among the most respected in the world. As part of its 100th year anniversary, Forbes Magazine created a special issue that lists the world’s 100 greatest living business minds, with essays, lessons and pearls of wisdom from each. Home Depot co-founders Arthur Blank and Bernard Marcus made the cut, and so did cable TV pioneer Ted Turner. Atlanta Business Chronicle

Sentury Tire hires JLL for LaGrange, Ga. plant

Sentury Tire has hired real estate services firm JLL to help it find a developer for its planned a $530 million plant in LaGrange, Ga., The Wall Street Journal reports. The company, one of China’s largest tire manufacturers, wants to build a 1.5 million-square-foot building on a 430-acre site, which would be its first North American plant. The factory would employ up to 1,000 workers and use state-of-the art technology such as fully automatic tire-building machines and retrieval and storage systems. Atlanta Business Chronicle

After United, Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines also says goodbye to its Boeing 747s (Photos)

Delta Air Lines is preparing to say goodbye to its own fleet of iconic Boeing 747s later this year. Delta West Coast spokeswoman Liz Savadelis said no final date has been set for Delta’s final international 747 flight, but it’s coming soon, sometime later this year. Delta’s plans emerged a day after rival United Airlines (NYSE: UAL) said it was planning a final international 747 flight from Seoul to San Francisco on Oct. 29, followed by a final 747 domestic flight from San Francisco to Honolulu on Nov. 7. Atlanta Business Chronicle

American Cities Are Embarrassingly Thirsty for Amazon’s Next Headquarters

Earlier this month, Amazon announced that it might build a second, sprawling “campus” (tech for “office park”) for thousands of employees … somewhere. Where would the campus go? Which city would receive thousands of new jobs and a global corporate presence? Where would Jeff Bezos next be showing off his new, jacked-up biceps? The answers were not forthcoming: All the company announced was that it would be walking around the country and kicking the tires on several different cities. And almost immediately, every city in America began bending over backwards to woo Amazon to their great state.

Florida must invest in infrastructure

As the mayor of a coastal city, I have seen what good government can do to identify and invest in innovative solutions to address environmental and infrastructural deficiencies. Through strategic and decisive action, Miami Beach is implementing a plan to make the city more resilient against sea-level rise. However, let’s be clear — most cities cannot afford to do it on their own, nor should they. To better safeguard our environment, real estate market, and tourism-based economy, state leaders must do their part, and:

▪ Create a resiliency commission, to be chaired by a chief resiliency officer, appointed by the governor. Made up of leaders and experts from across the state, this commission could coordinate with existing regional planning councils, providing expertise and a tailored blueprint — city by city, town by town — on how to make our local communities more resilient against environmental threats, whether they are hurricanes, sea-level rise, diminshed water quality, infectious diseases, agricultural pests, or any other natural disaster.

Miami Herald