A company that provides site selection for Fortune 500 companies put the city of Alachua in the top 40 small cities to lure advanced manufacturing companies. Alachua is a natural pick because of its low costs for business, proximity to interstates, a CSX rail line, and the Port of Jacksonville. A report put together by the site selection company, The Boyd Company, compares costs of business ranging from a low of $20 million to a high of $29.8 million. Alachua ranks as the twelfth lowest at $21.9 million. A number of factors, including cheaper energy and worker productivity are said to be a reason for manufacturing’s comeback. The rationale of locating to smaller cities has to do with existing industrial space and cheap land, cutting costs of building from scratch.
Alachua has a central inland location, making it favorable compared to other locations more susceptible to natural disasters. Companies also like the close by presence of The University of Florida and believe the necessary workforce is present. Boyd also gave credit to Governor Rick Scott, saying his elimination of sales tax on manufacturing and recruitment efforts have had an immense impact. Alachua’s main competition are some of the western states where manufacturing is already prominent, such as Nevada, where big manufacturers like Tesla have plants and infrastructure already set up.