An international spotlight will focus on Des Moines during the 1st World Emerging Industries Summit 2010 in China, which Mayor Bob Sheckler will attend Aug. 31-Sept. 3.
“I just got confirmation that I will be allowed, as requested, to make a speech on behalf of the city promoting local development,” Sheckler told The Waterland Blog in an Aug. 19 interview.
“This excites me and challenges me. Opportunities like this come once in a lifetime, if ever. These are people who represent Fortune 500 companies,” Sheckler said.
“Des Moines, with a population of 30,000, has the opportunity to be promoted before all these international investors and developers in China.”
He added that “a lot of my ability to even go there is due to the city council’s support and help in paying for my trip.” The Des Moines Rotary Club also donated $500 to help with his airfare.
Referring to his successful China trip last November – which he paid for himself and which landed a multi-million-dollar hotel for Des Moines on Pacific Highway S. – Sheckler noted, “If it wasn’t for that trip I wouldn’t have been invited [to this summit].
“This trip is based on relationships I built with government officials and investors I made then. Otherwise this invitation wouldn’t have come my way.”
That invitation came from Wang Rulin, governor, Jilin Province of China, Dominique de Villepin, global chairman of the Asia-Pacific CEO Association Worldwide, and Zheng Xiongwei, global executive chairman of the association.
Sponsored by the Chinese government, the summit – “New Industrial Revolution & Green Economy” – will feature business talks on investment, cooperation and technology exchanges, and promotion of international economic cooperation in emerging industries.
International political leaders, ministers and elected representatives of federal, state, provincial and local governments, CEOs, representatives of industry and related international organizations, and top economists will attend.
“There won’t be a lot of time for one-on-one discussions, which makes my talk all the more significant,” Sheckler said.
Topping his list as he promotes the city will be the planned 89-acre Des Moines Creek Business Park just west of Pacific Highway north of S. 216th St. Des Moines will regulate land use planning and zoning since the business park is within its city limits.
The property is owned by the Port of Seattle, which supports Sheckler’s upcoming efforts in China to attract businesses to this planned development.
He will also highlight opportunities for commercial and residential development in the downtown Marina District, especially along Marine View Drive and 7th Ave. S.
“And there remain a lot of places for development along Pacific Highway in addition to the planned Waterview Crossing project and the 300-room hotel with a four- or five-star true Chinese restaurant.”
Sheckler recalled that the hotel originally was going to be built in Tacoma until he developed an international business relationship with its Chinese investor.
Earlier, he said the city’s efforts to attract international developers and investors have “to be a two-way street. We can’t just take and not give. They are looking for good opportunities for investments in Des Moines that will give them a good return for their dollar. Their interest is in profitable investments.
Chinese investors like the Des Moines area because they can’t get its views of Puget Sound anywhere else “without paying premium dollars for them,” Sheckler added. “And the marina is a huge attraction to them.”