Loudon County Commission and Loudon City Council passed separate resolutions Monday authorizing the sale of 30 acres in Sugarlimb Industrial Park to an unnamed company that is promising to bring 175 jobs and guaranteed tax revenues for 10 years.
"They have a presence in three facilities in Europe, and this will be their first U.S. operation," Pat Phillips, economic development agency executive director, told commissioners and city council members.
The company agreed to purchase 30 acres in the park for $15,000 per acre, with plans to construct a 320,000-square-foot manufacturing facility and invest about $70 million in real and personal property over a five-year period.
The county has offered a payment in lieu of taxes deal that would allow the company to get a 50 percent tax abatement for 10 years, which would amount to a tax bill of $168,574 per year. Tax revenues from the company would be used to pay down debt associated with site grading and infrastructure.
"It is a definite revenue stream for a period of 10 years," Phillips said. "Once the payment in lieu of tax stops, then the property will go on the current valuations on both real and personal property."
As part of the resolution, the city and county also agreed to construct and extend necessary infrastructure to the property boundaries and provide a "pad-ready" site for the company. The project would also include adding an access road for $1.1 million in partnership with the Tennessee Department of Transportation.
The plan includes obtaining a $750,000 FastTrack Infrastructure Development Program grant from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development to defray site costs. The city of Loudon will act as the fiscal agent in the deal.
The company hopes to open production by the end of 2013. County or city officials have not indicated what type of materials the company will produce.
Loudon County resident Joe Malloy asked during the meeting whether the new plant would create noise or air pollution.
"We don't expect any significant odors," Phillips said. "I can't tell you there's not going to be any, but I've been around similar facilities. I've never detected any strong odors. This is a remote site. ... I don't think we'll see any significant emission issues or noise issues resulting from this operation. This is based on analysis that we have received so far. It is a minor source of emissions."
Representing the company was Bob Price, with Atlanta-based Herron Consulting, who addressed a question on whether the company planned to hire locally. He said only a "handful" of current employees would move with the plant to Loudon.
"Anyone else would be hired from Tennessee or locally," Price said. "As Pat said, they'll be looking for the best applicants, so if the community can host a job fair, that sort of thing, get the word out (and) make sure the applicants know we're here, that would certainly benefit you."
Phillips said the company intended to hire local employees when possible, estimating that 70 percent of the workforce would be production staff, while the remainder would be management or office employees.
"Understand that 50 percent of county residents go outside to work, so we are a regional labor force here," Phillips said. "So, certainly there's no way that we can guarantee that they will hire any particular person from any particular area, but (we're) assuming that most will probably be employed from Loudon County."