February 1, 1996

Don’t believe everything you hear.

Fort Collins’ business circles have been buzzing in recent weeks with rumors that Hyundai was having trouble getting its planned Eugene, Ore.,

facility under way. The implication was that cities that had lost out in the contest for Hyundai’s favor might get a second chance.

Those hopes were eliminated Dec. 22. That’s when employees of Eugene Sand & Gravel began bulldozing the site of the $1.3 billion plant, according to The Register-Guard newspaper in Eugene. While numbering only a handful now, construction workers toiling on the Hyundai project eventuallycould number 1,600. That’s a lot of paychecks, and a lot of spending. I’ll admit that I, like a lot of other Northern Colorado residents, have grown weary of hearing about Hyundai. I suspect that many people seeing
Hyundai in a headline immediately dart to the next article. (Still, the extent of coverage is nothing compared to what the Denver media heaped on the
ill-fated efforts to land United Airlines’ maintenance facility and Ziff-Davis Publishing Co.) If nothing else, word of the beginning of Hyundai’s construction in Oregon illustrates Fort Collins’ missed opportunity when city officials essentially
bailed out of the race for Hyundai by refusing to modify the city’s sales and use tax for the manufacturer. To coin a couple of clich*s, the genie was out of the bottle. Now, looking at Eugene, local business leaders have a right to cry over spilt milk. Picture
this: ¥ Subcontractors from throughout the western United States, including Colorado, will soon flock to Eugene, possibly pushing construction
employment there to record levels. Around Portland, workers are building eight semiconductor or silicon wafer factories, adding to a shortage in
construction workers, according to The Register-Guard. ¥ The Hyundai facility is expected to generate $6.7 million in sales every day it’s open. ¥ Workers on the 12 to 18-month project will help fill apartment complexes, hotels, restaurants and stores. They’ll be paid top wages. Some money
will be taken out of the state as workers finish and return to their homes, but the impact on the local economy will be enormous nonetheless. ¥ Eugene is poised for future economic-development successes, especially in the semiconductor industry, assuming that anti-growth sentiments don’t
halt such initiatives. ¥ Hyundai would have injected a welcome boost into the Colorado construction economy, which has completed the state’s major projects, including
Denver International Airport, Coors Field, Elitch Gardens, the new Denver Library and various highway improvements. As we related last month, the Fort Collins city council is considering a measure that would ease the sales and use tax burden on businesses, a tax that
helped push Hyundai to Eugene. Such a change might prompt editors at business publications across the nation to write columns such as this,
lamenting the loss of jobs to Fort Collins. Let’s hope so. It’s time to put the genie back in the milk bottle. ¥¥¥ Plug of the month: Get ready for the Northern Colorado R&D/Manufacturers Directory, the most comprehensive compilation of the area’s
manufacturing and research firms ever published. The directory, researched by Shannon Quinn, will be published this spring by The Northern
Colorado Business Report Inc. and will include detailed information on companies’ addresses, phone numbers, SIC codes, Internet addresses, key
contacts and more. If you have not yet been contacted by Quinn, please feel free to call her at (970) 221-5400 or (970) 356-1683. The annual directory will be distributed to manufacturers and through area chambers of commerce and national business groups. Check out the flyer in
this month’s issue for more information. Christopher Wood can be reached at (970) 221-5400, 356-1683 or via e-mail at [email protected].

Fort Collins’ business circles have been buzzing in recent weeks with rumors that Hyundai was having trouble getting its planned Eugene, Ore.,

facility under way. The implication was that cities that had lost out in the contest for Hyundai’s favor might get a second chance.

Those hopes were eliminated Dec. 22. That’s when employees of Eugene Sand & Gravel began bulldozing the site of the $1.3 billion plant, according to The Register-Guard newspaper in Eugene. While numbering only a handful now, construction workers toiling on the Hyundai project eventuallycould number 1,600. That’s a lot of paychecks, and a lot of spending.…

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