Berea Economic Development Opportunities Report August 2023
The City of Berea is situated in southern Madison County, at the heart of Kentucky’s famed Blue Grass Region. With a population of over 17,500 people, Berea is one of the fastest growing places in the state, and is best known for its art festivals, historic restaurants, and being the home of world-renowned Berea College.
Berea is called the Folk Arts & Crafts Capital of Kentucky, and for good reason. Visit “old town” Berea and enjoy Artisan Village and experience an array of unique studios, stores, and galleries. The town offers a blend of natural beauty, Appalachian heritage, and a commitment to education and the arts, that is unmatched in this part of the country.
With a robust and growing economy looking to step into the future, you will want to come and see why businesses of all sizes are choosing to make Berea their new Kentucky home!
Welcome to Berea!
The City offers an enviable location, being just 39 miles south of Lexington, 113 miles southeast of Louisville, and 132 miles north of Knoxville, Tennessee. A competitive advantage is that Berea is within a day’s drive of over 50% of the US population. This proximity provides businesses with access to larger markets, additional customer bases, and potential business opportunities and investment. It allows you to tap into broader regional markets while enjoying the advantages of operating in a smaller community with an outstanding quality of life.
Recently recognized as the best hike in Kentucky according to Outside magazine, the Pinnacles in the Berea College Forest provides visitors with a fulfilling journey paired with beautiful views. Hiking & biking trails, scenic golf courses, and kayaking are great options for outdoor enthusiasts. Berea also hosts various festivals and events throughout the year, showcasing its culture, arts, crafts, and local traditions.
These events, such as the Berea Craft Festival and Spoonbread Festival, provide opportunities for entertainment, cultural immersion, and community engagement.
Berea College, located in the heart of the City, provides a tuition-free education, a work-study program, and dedicated time to service and social justice that sets it apart from many other educational institutions. The college’s unique model and emphasis on holistic education contribute to its reputation as a distinguished liberal arts college.
Each year colleges and universities, within a one-hour drive, produce over 12,000 graduates. With workforce training available through multiple career centers and the future home of an incoming tech school, Berea strongly emphasizes economic development with ongoing small business workshops and educational seminars. Local school systems have embraced the “Work Ready Certification” to ensure the future workforce is prepared to take advantage of the job opportunities available in a rapidly changing economic environment.
Berea boasts two (2) industrial parks and is an economic powerhouse ready to support future manufacturing growth. Indeed, major manufacturing businesses that employ over 3,500 people, are flourishing in Berea and include:
- Hitachi Astemo Electronic Motor Systems America & Hitachi Automotive Systems America, Inc.
- Novelis Recycling
- KI USA
- Middletown Metal Works
- Kentucky Steel Center
- Hyster-Yale Materials Handling, Inc.
Evidence of Berea’s prowess in manufacturing is the recent announcement of the Hitachi Astemo Americas, Inc. project to renovate 1 million square feet of space, that sits on 62 acres. The renovation is in response to the growing demand in the EV industry sector and is expected to create 167 new jobs.
The City is supported by the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development – referred to as Team Kentucky. In recent years, Kentucky has seen unprecedented growth in economic development projects.
The City is investing in its future with new utility infrastructure to support future growth. With these resources, City staff provide quality service at some of the lowest rates in the surrounding region and state. Berea’s receptiveness to new approaches can be seen in the development of the Berea Solar Farm. The farm provides residents with the opportunity to lease solar panels and gain credits on their monthly bills. The facility is the first of its kind in Kentucky and has inspired similar projects around the state and throughout the Midwest.
So, if you are looking for a location with an outstanding combination of excellence in education, economic development, infrastructure, and quality of life, you can find it in Berea. Come and see what so many others have learned: Berea is an excellent choice for your new Kentucky home.
Site opportunities include:
- 21 acres of I-2 (heavy industrial) zoned land
- 87 acres of vacant land
Public Power and AMP
Public power utilities are not-for-profit, community-owned electric systems that work to provide the highest quality, most reliable power to residents and businesses. They are a part of the communities and focus on what is best for the people and businesses they serve.
American Municipal Power, Inc. (AMP) is the nonprofit wholesale power supplier and services provider for 133 members in the states of Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia; as well as the Delaware Municipal Electric Corporation, a joint action agency in Smyrna, Delaware. On behalf of our members, AMP deploys a diverse renewable generation portfolio along with environmentally responsible programs and services as part of a corporate commitment to sustainability.