The company plans to make a $62 million investment and hire an estimated 220 people for the plant, which could be in operation by July 2013,
according to James Jarrett, chairman of the Bartow-Cartersville Joint Development Authority.
Formal groundbreaking ceremonies are expected to take place in six to eight weeks.
“This could turn out to be one of the biggest things to happen in Bartow County,” said County Commissioner Clarence Brown.
He said officials with voestalpine explained to him on Monday of this week, after their board of directors approved the memorandum of understanding, that two other companies had already expressed serious interest in locating plants in close proximity to voestalpine.
The Austrian company, whose metal forming division is headquartered in Germany, is one of the leading partners in the European automotive industry. Voestalpine is a supplier to both Mercedes and BMW, which have plants in Alabama and South Carolina, respectively.
Brown said the state of Alabama put a lot of pressure on voestalpine to locate closer to the Mercedes plant near Tuscaloosa, but the company chose the Bartow site because it was more centrally located to both BMW and Mercedes, as well as the new Volkswagen in Chattanooga.
The Highland 75 Industrial Park, a 707-acre site, is located on Cassville-White Road about a mile east of I-75, not far from the Budweiser plant.
“The big investment we made (in developing infrastructure at the new industrial park) was kind of scary when the economy went downhill,” Brown said.
When the county acquired the property for the Highland 75 Park, they went ahead and built an access road and made sure utilities, including water and sewer, were extended to the site in advance of landing their first industry.
Floyd County did just the opposite at the new North Floyd Industrial Park where the Lowe’s Home Improvement Regional Distribution facility is being constructed.
Floyd waited to land its first industry before undertaking an access road and utilities.
The Bartow County-Cartersville Joint Development Authority started acquiring land for the park in 2004. The company has agreed to acquire 15 acres with a three-year option for another 17 acres.
“The first 15 acres is being incentivized by the community,” said Melinda Lemmon, economic development director at the chamber.
Attorney Keith Lovell clarified that by saying the company is essentially being given the first 15 acres at no cost.
There are fallback provisions in the MOU which indicate that if the company does not make the full $62 million investment and hire 220 employees, it would be required to make undisclosed payments to the community.
Lemmon also said the value of the land that is generating revenue for the schools will continue to be paid to the schools.
The company is being given a 15-year ad valorem tax abatement for the real property and a 10-year tax abatement for personal property, the value of the manufacturing equipment that will be brought into the plant.
Lovell explained that an application is being filed for a $275,000 Regional Economic Assistance grant to finance infrastructure improvements to the new plant and help with the acquisition of the additional 17 acres in the future.