By Vidhan Rana

In a slow economy, many may wonder where all the projects are happening. Or maybe, they wonder if there are even any big ones out there – projects that create hundreds of jobs, take millions in investment dollars, or fill the large warehouse facility that has been lying idle for months. A closer look at the database compiled by Conway Data shows that there are some mega projects out there. I took the following criteria to see how many projects make the cut:

  • More than $100 million in investment and/or;
  • More than 500 new jobs created and/or;
  • More than 500,000 square feet in space

Fifty-four projects made the cut for the first 6 months of 2011. Below is a map of where these 54 projects are located across the United States.
View Mega Projects 2011 in a larger map
*The blue bubble represents new projects while the red bubble represents expansion projects. Note that clicking on the bubble reveals some additional detail about the project.

Taking a closer look at the map, it is not hard to see that there is a decent cluster of mega projects in the Southeast, especially in Georgia. In fact, Georgia with seven projects had the highest concentration of projects. Below is the list of states with the highest number of mega projects.

In terms of the distribution of these mega projects by region, the Southeast region has the highest concentration with 21 projects followed by the Midwest region with 12 projects. The Northeast region has the lowest concentration with just 4 projects.

In terms of the industries represented, it is no surprise that the manufacturing sector has the highest concentration as these are the type of companies that generally require such major investment and create a large number of jobs. In fact, 30 of the 54 projects are from the manufacturing sector. While there are names like General Motors, Caterpillar, Kruger, and Michelin Tires that you would normally find, I also found companies like Amy’s Kitchen (frozen food), Wausau Paper (paper products), Signicast (steel casting), and IM Flash Technologies (flash memory device) among the mega projects.

The information sector, with eight projects, is the second most active sector with companies like Google, Facebook, and Amazon doing some mega projects. Data centers were another active sector with five projects among the mega projects.