Nema Etheridge for GlobalAtlanta
Nichiha Corp. of Nagoya, Japan, announced June 21 that it would build a $78 million cement siding manufacturing plant in Macon, which could be the beginning of increased Asian investment to the area, said Patrick Topping, senior vice president of the Macon Economic Development Commission.
“I think you’ll start to see a lot of [investment] activity from Japan and South Korea here,” said Mr. Topping, who went on a state-led marketing trip to the two countries last October where he met with Nichiha executives.
The Nichiha plant, which is to initially employ 65 people when it opens next summer, represents the third Japanese investment in Macon.
The plant will be the corporation’s first manufacturing site in the United States, although its U.S. sales office has been headquartered in Norcross since 1998.
“We’re very excited about this. It will definitely make an impact on our sales and our ability to service our local market,” said Darrin Haugan, marketing liaison for Nichiha USA Inc. He said the plant will supply Southeast-based architects, builders and lumber dealers, including Dixie Plywood and Lumber Co. of Savannah.
Nichiha chose the Georgia site over locations in Oklahoma, Texas and South Carolina because of its road and rail accessibility, which will help the company bring in raw materials such as sand and wood fiber that are used to make cement siding, said Mr. Topping.
State and local authorities also offered tax abatement incentives to the company, he added. Nichiha is to receive $4.2 million in property tax abatements over 10 years from Bibb County. The company will also receive income tax reductions from the state that will be based on the number of employees it hires.
Nichiha might also have been drawn to Macon because of YKK Corp., a Tokyo-based manufacturing company that has had facilities in Macon since 1974.
“Their communication with YKK was a big part of their learning about Macon,” Mr. Haugan said of Nichiha executives. YKK Corp. of America is headquartered in Marietta but has a manufacturing facility in Macon that produces hooks and loops, plastic buckles and zippers.
Japanese manufacturing company TKG International Corp., which produces rotary printing screens for the textile printing industry, also has operations in Macon.
YKK and TKG are two of approximately 265 Japanese-owned facilities that exist in Georgia, according to the Georgia Department of Economic Development.
Nichiha’s announcement is the fourth major investment to come to Macon in the past two years, Mr. Topping said.
Sara Lee Food & Beverage, a division of Sara Lee Corp. is to open a $23 million refrigerated distribution facility there in August that is to create 140 jobs. Bass Pro Shops Inc. of Springfield, Missouri, recently invested $43 million to create a distribution warehouse and retail sporting center in Macon, which would create 400 jobs, and in 2005, Kohl’s Corp. opened a $43 million distribution center there.
For more information on Nichiha, visit www.nichiha.com.
For more information on investing in Macon, contact the Mr. Topping at (478) 621-2030 or firstname.lastname@example.org.