* In early 1940s, federal government acquires 7,000 acres in Hamilton County for TNT production. Employment hits 3,500 workers.
* In 1978, push begun by local officials to free portions of site for an industrial park. In 2000, city and Hamilton County pays $7.5 million for first 940 acres.
* In 2002, industrial park renamed Enterprise South and later more acreage added.
* In 2008, city lands Volkswagen plant.
Archer Daniels Midland, the newest company to buy land at Enterprise South industrial park, is clearing its tract for a new facility, leaving just 65 acres available for sale at the 7,000-acre former TNT site.
The foods processor broke ground on its 18-acre Chattanooga parcel over a week ago to build a warehouse and terminal. ADM will transfer foods sweeteners from rail cars to trucks and deliver the goods to its customers, said company spokesman Roman Blahoski.
“It expands our warehousing capacity and more efficiently meets our customers’ needs,” he said.
The ADM deal along with other projects such as Volks-wagen and Amazon at Enterprise South leaves just the 65 acres uncommitted and for sale, according to Paul Parker, Hamilton County’s real property manager.
VW has 1,340 acres on which it used part of the parcel to build its new 1.2 million-square-foot factory. The German automaker also has an option for about 1,200 more acres, Parker said.
Internet giant Amazon took 80 acres at Enterprise South for its 1 million-square-foot distribution center, which is now going up and slated to open before Christmas.
Also, the city opened a 2,800-acre nature park on land deemed too hilly for industrial development and which acts as a buffer between the VW plant and Interstate 75.
Erlanger is raising a new facility adjacent to Amazon, and Orlandi Laboratories has constructed a location to develop and produce fragrance samplers. Other companies also do business in the industrial park, and the Hamilton County Board of Education has offices on the former U.S. Army property.
Enterprise South was redeveloped from a portion of Volunteer Army Ammunition Plant, which was built during World War II but quit making TNT after the Vietnam War ended in the 1970s.
After decades of land negotiations with the city and Hamilton County, cleanup and site work, a portion of the former Army plant was certified in 2005 by TVA as an industrial “megasite” ready to do battle in the hunt for new industry.
Local economic developers tried to woo a Kia auto assembly plant that went to Georgia and later Toyota, which decided on Mississippi. In mid-2008, Chattanooga landed Volkswagen, which began production of cars this spring.
J.Ed. Marston, the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce’s vice president for marketing, said the development of the old VAAP site occurred rapidly once it reached the point where it was a marketable megasite.
“Within a few years, we had the first major user,” he said about VW, which started work on its plant shortly after announcing it was coming to Chattanooga three years ago.
Parker said some of VW’s option parcel is undergoing environmental remediation.
“Most of the work on site is completed,” he said, adding it is the last part of the former TNT plant to be cleaned up.
ADM, meanwhile, is replacing and combining several Chattanooga area facilities to the new location and maintaining about 25 jobs.
Hamilton County Commissioner Larry Henry said earlier the project is a $24 million to $27 million investment. He said ADM offered $623,700 for the tract that sits along Hickory Valley Road.
Blahoski said the 50,000-square-foot complex should be finished in 12 to 15 months.
Marston said that while the new ADM facility doesn’t create any new jobs now, there is a possibility in the future.
In addition, the parcel ADM purchased was a long and narrow one that was perfect for ADM’s needs but difficult to market to other companies, he said.
Also, ADM’s operation on Jersey Pike, which is being shifted, was located over CSX’s main rail line into Enterprise South, Marston said. It needed to be relocated so the rail carrier could serve Volkswagen and other companies, he said.
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 ...
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