published Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

Wacker Polysilicon to expand Charleston, TN, operations again

The current construction of the new Wacker plant near Charleston, TN.
The current construction of the new Wacker plant near Charleston, TN.
Photo by Doug Strickland /Chattanooga Times Free Press.
  • photo
    Gary Farlow, CEO of the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce, is seen in this file photo.
    Photo by Jeff Guenther

CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- Wacker Polysilicon officials are expected to announce an additional $300 million investment in their northern Bradley County operations after receiving a one-time $1 million property tax abatement for 2014.

On Monday night, the Bradley County Commission voted 14-0 to approve the tax abatement request made by Wacker and Chamber of Commerce officials.

"That $1 million would be to cover additional infrastructure costs and other additional costs linked to an investment that Wacker is considering right now," said Gary Farlow, CEO of the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce.

Wacker, originally having made a $1 billion commitment to its Charleston facility, ultimately will increase its investment to $1.8 billion, said Farlow. He noted that the company already had made an additional $500 million investment without asking for further concessions from the county.

In addition to the property taxes that Wacker will provide the county, it will pump an estimated $65 million into the community through salaries and wages for its projected staff of 600 employees, said Farlow.

"I think this is further proof that Wacker is committed to this community," said Farlow, stating that company is approaching a third phase of investment at the Charleston facility.

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"The support from the local community and the local society and from the state was instrumental to get this huge investment to Bradley County," said Dr. Konrad Bachhuber, site manager for Wacker's Charleston facility. "We never stop thinking about how to improve our strong position."

"This is great news," said Bradley County Commission Chairman Louie Alford.

"I'm very happy to see the additional investment in Bradley County," said Commissioner Ed Elkins. "It's a very small amount of money considering the returns that Bradley County will receive over the future stream of tax revenues."

"It's not every day that you get to announce a project of this magnitude," said Farlow, who advised the Wacker commitment was probably the equivalent of five or 10 "normal" industrial projects that come to Bradley County.

Paul Leach lives in Cleveland. Contact him at paulrleach3@gmail.com.

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