Plethora of Services, Amenities Key to Attracting Park TenantsFri, 09/01/2017 - 10:58
Q: What is WTC-SLP’s occupancy percentage and which industries dominate the company’s facilities in San Luis Potosi?
A: WTC-SLP comprises two industrial parks: WTC1 and WTC2. In the former we are at 93 percent occupancy and are closing negotiations to reach full occupancy in 2017. We have already started signing contracts with companies that want to operate in WTC2. A commercial zone, an office building and a hotel are among the in-park amenities that attracted clients to our first park and we want to replicate those amenities in the second. We are also exploring outside of San Luis Potosi and we built an industrial unit for an important client in San Jose Iturbide, Guanajuato.
About 70 percent of our clients belong to the automotive industry. WTC-SLP works closely with San Luis Potosi’s automotive cluster and ProMéxico’s offices. Our company supports the automotive industry and vice versa, so the more automotive companies there are in an area, the more attractive the area becomes because suppliers are so close. Still, although the automotive industry is very important for the company, we cannot depend on it. Therefore, we are also trying to attract businesses from a variety of sectors, mainly chemical, electrical appliances and fuel-related companies. The size of WTC2 enables us to divide the park by sector.
Q: What are the advantages of operating in WTC-SLP?
A: We are interested in FDI coming to Mexico, specifically to WTC-SLP, so we promote our parks’ provision of services such as natural gas, water and electricity. The state has a young population, which means the area offers a wellprepared, competitive workforce that never goes on strike. We also benefit from having a strategic fiscal precinct that aims to reduce operational costs. The park has the largest intermodal logistics terminal in Mexico, in-house customs services and amenities that include our commercial zone.
Queretaro is a competing region but one of its weaknesses is air connectivity. San Luis Potosi’s airport is more practical, with several daily flights to Houston, Dallas, Cancun and Mexico City. The metropolitan area in which we operate is peaceful. A study published by the Mexican Institute for Competitiveness (IMCO) in 2016 also ranked San Luis Potosi as one of the safest cities in Mexico.
Q: What are the challenges of operating in WTC-SLP and how is the state government supporting the automotive industry?
A: The current road infrastructure struggles to cope with the consequences of exponential regional growth but local authorities are addressing that. We may participate in a tender to build an alternative road to Highway 57 that would lead to the industrial zone and alleviate traffic. A deficient public transportation system can harm employee mobility so companies need to invest in transportation for workers from residential areas who often depend on public transportation to commute to WTC-SLP.
Q: What is WTC-SLP doing to attract OEMs and what are your growth expectations for 2017?
A: 2015 and 2016 were years of spectacular growth after Ford announced a new plant in San Luis Potosi in 2015. This accelerated all our projects. We started 2017 with a promising outlook, but on Jan. 5, Ford canceled its plans. That was a shocking moment for WTC-SLP. Many of our clients put their expansion plans on hold and some canceled outright. This negatively impacted WTC-SLP initially but ultimately had a positive effect because the worldwide media attention was the equivalent of free global advertising for us. There are OEMs that are now interested in the location Ford relinquished. If anyone decides to settle in Ford’s vacated space it will occur at the beginning of 2018. I think growth will return to previous levels by 2018 as well. We will spend 2017 consolidating our growth and commercializing our parks, although not at the same rate as previous years. Our original plan was to commercialize WTC1 until 2020 and start with WTC2 in 2022 but Ford’s initial investment accelerated our projects. We will start commercializing WTC2 this year and complete the first park by the end of 2017.