Georgia Power and state officials checked out potential sites for Volkswagen suppliers Tuesday and Wednesday in Northwest Georgia as they seek to reap benefits from the planned Chattanooga plant.
“They were becoming more familiar in what’s available in our area,” said Stephanie Watkins of the Northwest Georgia Joint Development Authority.
The agency works in Chattooga, Dade and Walker counties, but the group of economic development officials checked out Catoosa and Whitfield counties too, she said.
Georgia Power spokeswoman Konswello Monroe said the electricity company’s economic development staff tour the state’s different regions regularly and there’s no specific project related to VW yet.
“They meet with local community leaders and officials to become familiar with available land and facilities such as buildings,” she said.
Volkswagen plans to build a 1.9 million-square-foot plant at Enterprise South industrial park. It is slated to produce 150,000 cars annually and start operations by early 2011.
While VW likely will have some suppliers at Enterprise South, possibly as many as 10, economic developers in the three-state region are looking to benefit as well.
Ms. Watkins said Northwest Georgia officials are eyeing a trip to Europe within a couple of months to woo suppliers.
“A date has not been set yet,” she said.
Ms. Monroe said Georgia Power works side by side with state and local economic development officials.
“Georgia Power is the oldest statewide economic developer in Georgia,” she said. “We’ve been doing this since 1927.”
Matt Kisber, Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development commissioner, said that while the plant is to create 2,000 jobs, it’s expected to spin off another 9,500.
He acknowledged some suppliers will locate in Georgia and Alabama.
“This is an economic anchor for a three-state region,” Mr. Kisber said. “As North Georgia prospers, so does Chattanooga.”
He added that a jobs tax credit for companies doing business in Tennessee gives it an advantage.
Mike Pare, the deputy Business editor at the Chattanooga Times Free Press, has worked at the paper for 27 years. In addition to editing, Mike also writes Business stories and covers Volkswagen, economic development and manufacturing in Chattanooga and the surrounding area. In the past he also has covered higher education. Mike, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., received a bachelor’s degree in communications from Florida Atlantic University. he worked at the Rome News-Tribune before ...