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Firms still believe Utah's `the place'

Although the number of inquiries to the Economic Development Corporation of Utah about business opportunities dropped slight-ly in the last six months of 1997, Utah continues to be a popular place to look for expansion or relocations.

That word is from Michael Lawson, EDCU president, who outlined his agency's activities for the last six months of 1997 during an update meeting in the Doubletree Hotel.Lawson said EDCU received 730 inquiries in the six-month period compared with 810 in the same period a year ago. He said 1997 was a record-breaking year for EDCU in many areas.

Of the 730 business opportunity inquiries, 379 came from Utah companies, 144 from California, 36 from Arizona, 29 from Colorado, 26 from Nevada and 24 from Texas.

He said Utah is on the final lists of five companies wanting to relocate or expand. The five companies EDCU is working with represent 9,140 jobs, will take 300,000 square feet, and the capital investment will be $591 million. Two of the projects are manufacturing facilities, one is a research and development firm, one is in steel processing and the fifth is a financial services company.

In the last six months of 1997, EDCU assisted Medical Group Insurance Services, Gateway 2000, Wright Express Corp. and Wirsbo Co. to relocate or expand to Utah, Lawson said. They represent 1,450 jobs and resulted in 305,000 square feet of office space and $24 million in capital investment.