Last week was a busy week for Team Agracel. Not only did we do a ground breaking in SC, which I wrote about yesterday, but we also broke ground on a new manufacturing plant in Alabama. I was on my way to a talk in WI, so I couldn’t join in the festivities in Scottsboro, AL (population 14,762).
Scottsboro had a vacant spec building which they built in the spring of 2006. This spec building lured KTNA, a joint Japanese/French auto parts supplier, to make Scottsboro a finalist for the company’s first U.S. manufacturing facility. Agracel was brought in on the project in the summer of 2006 to assess the feasibility of purchasing the facility, up-fitting the spec building, and then leasing it to KTNA. After assessment, KTNA, Agracel and Jackson County Economic Development Authority determined that it was more cost effective for KTNA to do a new build-to-suit project and then lease the facility back from Agracel. Agracel purchased 7.6 acres in the Jackson County Industrial Park to develop the new manufacturing facility.
The new 36,000 sf facility will house the manufacturing of floor carpet, underlay acoustic parts, dash insulators and floor mats for Nissan Motor Company. The target date for moving machinery & equipment into the facility is October of 2007. Operations will commence with 25 employees with plans to expand, over the next three years, to 72,000 sf and 70 employees.
We have been very pleased with the activity we are seeing in the expansion of manufacturing companies. It is a good time to be doing industrial development with a focus upon the manufacturing sector. It also is a good time for communities to look at spec buildings, using them as a lure to bring in new firms.