As rural communities across the state secure investment deals from foreign-based companies, representatives of Monroe County, Ga., have decided to market a 430,000-square-foot manufacturing facility located 70 miles south of Atlanta to foreign manufacturers.
Mike Bilderback, one of Monroe County’s commissioners, told GlobalAtlanta that he was surprised to see rural areas across the state attract foreign-based manufacturing companies and hoped that Monroe County could do the same.
“We’ve seen lots of jobs generated in other parts of Georgia when foreign companies set up manufacturing plants there,” Mr. Bilderback said. He cited Floyd County’s success in attracting Italy-based Pirelli Tire LLC and Japan-based Suzuki Manufacturing of America Corp. to Rome, Ga., in 2002.
Located off of Interstate 75, 60 miles south of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and about 190 miles west of the port of Savannah, Monroe County has been a key logistics location for many companies. As a result, it has become a “hotbed” for distribution centers and warehouses, according to Pamela Christopher, president of the Monroe County Chamber of Commerce and Development Authority.
While many of these warehouses have been domestically owned, they have not provided a large number of jobs to the county, Mr. Bilderback said. Manufacturing facilities, on the other hand, provide more job opportunities to an area, he said.
“Manufacturing facilities offer more jobs per square foot, and that’s what we need,” he said, adding that he would like to see foreign-based investment similar to Rome’s locate in Monroe County.
The Monroe County facility is situated on 190 acres in Juliette, Ga., about 10 miles east of 75. During its peak years of operation, the plant employed up to 450 Georgians. It was originally constructed in the late 1960s as a textile mill, but Mr. Bilderback believes that its later-model design and recent improvements would enable the mill to be converted into any sort of manufacturing facility.
The facility, which was last owned by Dan River Mill Inc., has four loading docks at its basement level, 16 bays at its first floor level and is equipped with manufacturing and office space. A water treatment plant that sits behind the facility would be accessible to its new owner, and it is capable of withdrawing 5.7 million gallons per day, Mr. Bilderback said. He noted that additional land was available if a new owner wanted to expand the operation.
“It really just depends on the user and his needs,” he said. “We really welcome any type of interest in it, and we would just love to have people come down and investigate,” Mr. Bilderback said.
Monroe County has not yet attracted any foreign direct investment, but Ms. Christopher believes the county is ready to start. Its location between Atlanta and the ports of Brunswick and Savannah and its 25-mile proximity to a Quick Start program in Macon, which offers specialized training to the prospective employees of a newly located manufacturing facility, give the area a lot of potential for international growth, she said.
“We’re going to continue to see a global economy, and Atlanta and Macon are growing together,” Ms. Christopher said. “We’re going to do everything we can to try to facilitate global investment here.”
To learn more about the facility and Monroe County, contact Ms. Christopher at (478) 994-9239 or at email@example.com.