Economic Development & Awards
Our 49 vibrant Participant communities regularly attract new business and industry, and garner both economic and quality-of-life recognition. Below is a sampling of recent Participant news.
Creative Flooring Solutions announced plans for a $151 million expansion to its Calhoun campus. The company plans to increase its footprint to more than 1.4 million square feet and employ about 500 people within the next five years.
Covington received a Visionary Cities Award from the Georgia Municipal Association (GMA) and Georgia Trend for projects that “create positive change through effective civic engagement and teamwork.” GMA lauded city leaders for creating a strategic plan to expand community engagement, resulting in an 81 percent year-over-year growth in the number of municipal-hosted events.
Marriott is constructing a new Fairfield by Marriott hotel in downtown Sandersville to be completed in 2024. The company is investing $20 million in the development, which will offer 80 guest rooms with the potential for future expansion on the site. The facility will add much needed hotel space in the downtown area.
The Fire Maker Brewing Company announced its 2nd taproom, to be located in downtown Griffin. This project involves renovating a 114-year-old building and is targeted to open in the summer of 2024. The City of Griffin is excited to have #2 Voted Best New Brewery by USA Today.
The Commerce Civic Center top floor will become the central location for City Hall, Planning & Zoning, HR and Downtown Development. The main floor will be the location for City Court and City Council. Mayor Clark Hill says $12 million will be invested in the municipal building. Completion is targeted for 2025.
Hyundai Industrial will invest more than $24 million in a new manufacturing facility in Coweta County. Hyundai Industrial has purchased an existing building in Coweta County. The building will be retrofitted to produce arm and head rests for OEMs, including Hyundai Motor Group Metaplant America.
Hanwha Advanced Materials Georgia Inc., a supplier of solar panel giant Qcells, will invest $147 million in a new Cartersville manufacturing facility, creating 160 jobs. The factory will support Qcells’ planned 3.3-gigawatt plant in Cartersville, the first in the U.S. to build silicon solar panels from raw materials.
Norway-based Freyr, a developer of clean, next-generation battery cell production capacity, has announced it will invest nearly $2.6 billion in its planned Giga America battery plant in Newnan, creating over 700 jobs.
Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital broke ground in January 2023 on a Trauma & Critical Care Tower and Living & Learning Community building with a $250 million investment.
Idea Nuova, Inc., through its subsidiary American Home Manufacturing, will invest more than $19 million in a new manufacturing and distribution facility in Sylvania, creating an estimated 80 new jobs.
Q Cells Co. Ltd. will construct a plant in Cartersville to build solar panels. That factory is set to create around 2,000 jobs and manufacture 3.3 gigawatts of solar. The plan is to break ground in the first quarter of 2023. Combined with another plant in Dalton, Q Cells’ investment will top $2.5 billion and bring a total of 2,500 jobs.
The Department of Energy announced that it is awarding an $80 million grant to AVAPCO LLC, a biofuel, biochemical and biomaterials company that currently operates a refinery in Thomaston that turns wood chips into jet fuel. The new federal money will be used to fund construction of a larger plant capable of producing 1.2 million gallons of jet fuel annually, plus sustainable material for the rubber industry.
Hyundai Motor Group (HMG) and SK On have selected a site in Cartersville for a new electric vehicle (EV) battery manufacturing facility that will supply Hyundai Motor Group’s plants in the U.S. Stakeholders estimate it will create more than 3,500 new jobs through approximately $4-5 billion of investment in Bartow County.
Green Georgia LLC, a sustainable building materials manufacturing company, will create over 170 jobs at the company’s new headquarters in Thomaston and invest $59 million in the facility. Green Georgia LLC will design and manufacture low-carbon materials used to create prefabricated buildings for a variety of structures, including sustainable factories.
Walton County YMCA broke ground on a 36,000-square-foot facility with an 8-lane indoor pool, warm water therapy pool, wellness center, aerobics room, afterschool/summer camp rooms, nursery, meeting room/chapel, and outdoor soccer fields and archery range.
Troy Acoustics Corporation (TAC) will invest almost $40 million in a new manufacturing facility in Thomas County, adding 88 new jobs while retaining the 17 positions it currently supports. TAC engineers sound-wall systems used in numerous industries.
PepsiCo Beverages North America, a division of PepsiCo, will invest $8.5 million in a new 172,000-square-foot warehouse and distribution facility, creating 50 new jobs for the region.
Mimecri, USA, LLC will invest $6 million, create 30 jobs and establish its new U.S. headquarters in Thomasville. Their Spanish parent company is Ecrimesa Group. They develop and manufacture efficient steel and aluminum parts with investment casting, MIM and machining.
Northside Gwinnett is expanding in Lawrenceville, including a new 10-story, 162-bed inpatient tower and medical office building that will house outpatient imaging, ambulatory surgery and various physician practices.
80 Acres Farms, an industry-leading vertical farming company, will create 150 new jobs in Covington. The $120 million investment will help the company meet growing consumer demand for local, fresh produce.
BIOLYTE, maker of “the first recovery drink to contain the same amount of electrolytes as an IV bag,” announced that it will relocate to a new warehouse in Marietta, investing $60,000 in the new facility while adding 13 new jobs to its existing 25-person workforce.
Okabashi Brands, Inc., a Buford-based shoe company, will create approximately 340 new jobs as they reinvest in their existing facility making comfort footwear that is 100 percent recyclable and contains on average 25 percent of recycled content.
Procter & Gamble Distributing, LLC, an American multinational consumer goods corporation, is planning to invest $205 million in a new distribution facility in Jackson. This new location for the company will create 350 new jobs in Butts County.
Houston-based Renewable Biomass Group will construct a $95-million wood pellet facility in Adel, initially creating 60 new jobs.
Outdoor Network (ODN), a dealer for marine and power sports equipment for Honda, Mercury, Evinrude, OXE Marine Diesel Outboards and other globally recognized companies, will invest nearly $22 million and add 92 jobs.
Catalyst Nutraceuticals, a dietary supplement manufacturer, announced it will relocate its headquarters from Alpharetta to Buford.
Anheuser-Busch will invest $85 million to expand an existing building, which will allow the brewery to boost its brewing capacity and operations, adding 12 new jobs.
Three Ring Studios in Covington announced an expansion that will include eight new stages and an additional 72,800 square feet of flexible space, upon its completion in 2023. The 90-acre, $144 million facility will be one of the largest film studios in the country when complete.
Battery Resourcers will invest $43 million to build the largest battery recycling plant in North America. The lithium-ion battery recycling and engineered materials startup announced they will open their first commercial-scale battery recycling plant in the Covington area and create 150 jobs.
SKC, a subsidiary of SK Group and a major polyester films producer in North America, announced it will invest more than $473 million in Newton County to manufacture glass-based substrates for semiconductor chips and create over 400 new jobs in Newton County.
Mynd Match Development Group of Atlanta, LLC, and the East Point City Council voted to enter into a development agreement to revitalize the Downtown Commons. The
$111 million development will sit on approximately 9 acres and include commercial, retail, residential, greenspace and public art, and is projected to create over 1,500 jobs.
Microsoft Corp. will develop the East Point Data Center, a 250,000-square-foot facility situated on a 125-acre site located within Southmeadow Business Park. The value of the project is an estimated $420 million.
Ecopol, an Italian company that manufactures water-soluble and biodegradable film used to wrap everyday products such as detergents, agrochemicals, cosmetics, and other consumer goods, will invest more than $38 million and create 130 new jobs at the company’s first North American facility in Griffin.
Roper Corporation, a subsidiary of GE Appliances and Walker County’s largest employer, will invest $118 million in expanding its manufacturing operations, creating an additional 600 jobs in LaFayette.
Remington Firearms is moving its global headquarters along with a new advanced manufacturing operation and research & development center. RemArms will invest $100 million and create 865 jobs in Troup County over a 5-year period.
HelloFresh, the largest meal kit provider in the U.S., will establish its first distribution center in Newnan in a 208,930-square-foot facility. The move could bring more than 750 jobs. The German company will offer jobs working with meal distribution, assembly lines, and associate, lead, supervisor, and management opportunities.
Gwinnett County and the city of Norcross are collaborating to build a new Norcross branch of the Gwinnett County Public Library at Buford Highway (U.S. 23) and Britt Avenue. The new 22,000-square-foot facility will be about double the size of the current library branch in Norcross.
Awards & Recognition
Cartersville Earns Georgia’s Exceptional Main Street Designation
Cartersville has earned Georgia’s Exceptional Main Street (GEMS) designation.
Georgia Main Street program’s Main Street Approach to help spur downtown revitalization revolves around four points: promotion, economic vitality, organization and design.
The GEMS cities “have gone above and beyond expectations by making a strong and positive impact in their communities while utilizing the Main Street Approach,” said Office of Downtown Development Director Jessica Reynolds in a news release, adding that downtown Cartersville’s “commitment to excellence and stable leadership” resulted in the designation.
In all, nearly 20 cities hold the GEMS recognition, including four other MEAG Power Participant communities: Acworth, Moultrie, Newnan, and Thomasville.
Adel, Thomasville Honored for Successful Planning
Adel and Thomasville were among 10 Georgia communities recognized by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs’ (DCA’s) PlanFirst program for comprehensive planning that is helping to create more vibrant communities.
PlanFirst identifies state leaders in quality planning and plan implementation. Currently 34 communities are in the program. Its goal is to encourage communities to be successful by recognizing and rewarding those that demonstrate a pattern of implementing their local comprehensive plans.
Both Adel and Thomasville have been named previously. Adel was re-designated for developing a rural community healthcare model with the New Southwell Medical Center. Thomasville was re-designated for developing a celebrated streetscape for West Jackson Street in “The Bottom.”
Visionary City Award Winners
Covington was one of nine cities recognized in February 2024 by the Georgia Municipal Association (GMA) and Georgia Trend in the fifth annual Visionary Cities Awards for projects that create positive change through collaboration and civic engagement. The GMA noted that Covington city leaders have prioritized engagement of everyone in their community, as evidenced by an 81% year-over-year increase in community events.
“These cities exemplify what it means to be forward-thinking for their residents and generations to come and also serve as inspiring examples of civility, collaboration and creating communities of positive change across Georgia,” said GMA Executive Director Larry Hanson.
Previous Participant Visionary City winners include Camilla, LaGrange and Norcross in 2023, Acworth, Covington, Lawrenceville and Moultrie in 2022, Douglas and Griffin in 2021, and Adel, Hogansville, Marietta and Thomasville in 2020.
State of Georgia Again No. 1
Georgia has ranked #1 for 10 consecutive years in the Top States for Doing Business rankings by Area Development. No other U.S. state has matched this achievement. Georgia placed in the top 10 in 14 categories, earning the No. 1 spot in seven classifications including Energy Availability and Costs, Overall Cost of Doing Business, Competitive Labor Market, Workforce Development Programs, Business Incentive Programs, Logistics and Infrastructure, and Cooperative and Responsive State Government.