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Lehigh Valley takes No. 2 spot on national economic development list

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File photo of the Bimbo Bakeries facility under construction in Upper Macungie Township.
File photo of the Bimbo Bakeries facility under construction in Upper Macungie Township. - (Photo / )

We're No. 2! And that's a very good thing when it comes to economic development.

The Lehigh Valley jumped seven slots to the second position on Site Selection magazine's national list of metropolitan areas with between 200,000 and 1 million people.

The award recognizes the Lehigh Valley as being the second best performing region of its size for economic development in all of the United States.

"It's a great day for us. It really is," said Don Cunningham, president and CEO of the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corp. "I think sometimes people don't realize what's going on here and how amazing it is … but the national community is recognizing the significance."

To qualify for Site Selection's award, new corporate facilities and expansions in a region must have at least $1 million in new investment or re-investment, 20,000 or more square feet of new construction or they must create at least 50 new jobs. The projects cannot be government, educational, retail or residential construction.

A total of 46 new and expanded corporate facility projects has site selection completed in the Lehigh Valley last year, according to Cunningham.

Some of the projects that led to the honor were Wal-Mart, Bimbo Bakeries, Coca-Cola, United Fiber and Data, Kraft Foods Group and Yourway Transportation.

This is the sixth consecutive year the Lehigh Valley has made the top 10 on the list. This is the highest rank the region has ever received.

Cunningham said that the list looks at new development each year and that the Valley's placement on the list this year doesn't mean a repeat next year.

"You start all over from zero next year. That makes it more significant that we've done it for six straight years," he said.

"The important thing here is that jobs are being created so that people in the Lehigh Valley can build a good quality of life," Cunningham said.

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Stacy Wescoe

Stacy Wescoe

Writer and online editor Stacy Wescoe has her finger on the pulse of the business community in the Greater Lehigh Valley and keeps you up-to-date with technology and trends, plus what coworkers and competitors are talking about around the water cooler — and on social media. She can be reached at stacyw@lvb.com or 610-807-9619, ext. 4104. Follow her on Twitter at @morestacy and on Facebook. Circle Stacy Wescoe on .

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