The McMinn County Economic Development Authority (MCEDA) and automotive acoustic systems and trim part manufacturer HP Pelzer Automotive Systems, Inc., announced Monday the company’s plans to site a 185,000-square-foot manufacturing facility at the Mt. Verd Industrial Park in Athens, Tn., set for completion in August 2013.
Investment in the project is anticipated to total $28 million.
With competitive wages and benefits, HP Pelzer plans to employ 200 at the facility in management and production positions.
The Athens location will supply interior products to numerous auto assembly plants, including several in the Southeast. With site prep now underway, the company is targeting facility completion for Sept. 15, 2013.
Headquartered in Witten, Germany, the HP Pelzer Group operates 37 manufacturing sites and five technical centers employing more than 5,000 people in 18 countries. In the U.S., the McMinn County site will join other HP Pelzer facilities in Michigan, Georgia and Kansas.
With North American headquarters in Troy, Mich., the company’s North American growth has been rapid, starting with sales of $3 million in 1995 to approximately $280 million in 2012.
MCEDA is selling Partners Development 23 acres for the facility site, and Partners has contracted with Blaine Construction to build the facility. Both Partners and Blaine are based in Knoxville.
Partners Development will own the building and lease to HP Pelzer.
Owned by MCEDA, Mt. Verd Industrial Park encompasses a total of 223 acres. The development of Mt. Verd Industrial Park is a cooperative effort between McMinn County, the City of Athens, Athens Utilities Board (AUB), and the McMinn County Economic Development Authority.
“Our team looks forward to opening this facility in Athens, Tennessee,” said HP Pelzer Chief Operating Officer Steve Paladino. “In McMinn County, we have found a geographic area and a team of local leaders that are ideal for HP Pelzer’s manufacturing needs and growth. We look forward to being part of the regional business community.”
Sidney Breaux, president of MCEDA, commended community leaders for their vision to develop the industrial park.
“This announcement affirms the results of progressive community leaders,” Breaux said. “We appreciate HP Pelzer’s commitment to bring much-needed jobs and capital investment to McMinn County. Their international presence helps to further introduce the rest of the world to our wonderful community.”
The Southeast Industrial Development Association (SEIDA), led by Kathy Johnson, program director, was instrumental in bringing the project to McMinn County.
“The Southeast Industrial Development Association team is pleased to have led HP Pelzer in their site selection process over the past seven months,” said Ms. Johnson. “We are delighted that HP Pelzer will be the anchor tenant in the Mt. Verd Industrial Park.”
SEIDA provides a coordinated approach to the delivery of a range of services to assist businesses with locations, expansions, and identification of financing opportunities, infrastructure development, and marketing and demographic research on behalf of the power distributors of TVA power.
In addition, the State of Tennessee Economic and Community Development, Tennessee Valley Authority and AUB assisted with the project and provided the needed resources to help HP Pelzer make the location decision.
Governor Bill Haslam and Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty welcomed HP Pelzer’s announcement as a jobs win for East Tennessee and the state.
“I want to thank HP Pelzer for its investment in Tennessee and the new jobs created in McMinn County,” Governor Haslam said. “Our Jobs4TN strategy recognizes the auto sector as a key industry cluster where Tennessee has a distinct advantage with more than 900 auto suppliers and manufacturers, and today’s announcement helps us toward our goal of becoming the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs.”
“Tennessee offers the automotive industry unparalleled logistical advantages and a strong manufacturing base with a quality workforce,” Commissioner Hagerty said. “I appreciate HP Pelzer recognizing our state’s inherent strengths in the auto sector and the competitive edge that Tennessee’s business friendly environment provides.”
“TVA congratulates HP Pelzer on their decision to locate a facility in Athens,” said TVA Senior Vice President of Economic Development John Bradley. “TVA and Athens Utilities Board are privileged to partner with the State of Tennessee, the McMinn County Economic Development Authority, the Southeast Industrial Development Association and other community leaders to facilitate HP Pelzer’s location and growth in McMinn County.”
Local McMinn County officials pointed to strong cooperation and responsiveness within the community’s economic and community development organizations to help secure this opportunity for the region.
“HP Pelzer’s decision to locate its new facility in Athens is a testament to McMinn County’s fertile environment for economic growth,” said McMinn County Mayor John Gentry. “The McMinn County Commission and the City of Athens worked tirelessly with SEIDA, AUB and MCEDA to make this great day a reality. The investment, planning and forethought of these bodies resulted in a state-of-the-art industrial park at Mt. Verd that helped attract HP Pelzer to our county.”
“Like our county’s workforce, HP Pelzer values quality, hard work and integrity,” Mr. Gentry said. “I am thrilled to have HP Pelzer as a corporate citizen in McMinn County and thank them for the immense trust they have placed in our community.”
Athens City Mayor Hal Buttram said, "We are delighted to have HP Pelzer join our community. This will bring much-needed jobs to our citizens."
“I am extremely pleased that HP Pelzer will locate its newest manufacturing facility at the Mt. Verd Industrial Park,” said Athens Utility Board (AUB) Manager Eric Newberry. “These things do not happen overnight. Many people and organizations have been working on this for a long time. Three years ago, the Athens City Council and the McMinn County Commission took a bold step investing public dollars to provide matching funds so that AUB could receive an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant needed to take sewer to the industrial park. Without that resolve, planning, and leadership, our opportunity to welcome HP Pelzer to Athens and McMinn County may not have been possible.”
Located mid-way between Knoxville and Chattanooga along the Interstate 75 corridor, McMinn County offers an outstanding transportation-access location and a work force eager to tackle the demands of new jobs, as well as reasonable taxes, available land, existing buildings, a high quality of life and excellent support services.
The McMinn County Economic Development Authority is a centralized agency devoted to recruiting new industry and providing service to assist existing industries with expansions. Information on available buildings, industrial property, training and other available programs can be obtained by calling Kathy Knight, executive vice president, 423 745-1506 or visiting www.mcminncoeda.org