KINGSPORT — Over the past three weeks, Kingsport officials have been meeting with representatives from an automobile parts company that is considering locating a new manufacturing plant in the Model City that could create up to 240 jobs.
Mayor Dennis Phillips, who met with the representatives on Thursday, called the prospect the most impressive situation he has seen since being elected mayor of Kingsport.
Phillips made some brief comments about the situation to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen during a called budget work session Thursday and then expanded on the prospect to the Times-News following the meeting.
A high-ranking Domtar official in Kingsport recently learned about the company and its expansion plans and contacted them on behalf of the city. Phillips said about three weeks ago company officials came to town and met with Kingsport officials. Since then, two more meetings have taken place in Kingsport.
City Manager John Campbell said the company originally looked at the old General Shale property off Industry Drive, but the site did not work for them.
Phillips said the General Shale property was not big enough for their needs, plus company officials were concerned about putting an industrial site that close to a subdivision and the downtown area. Kingsport officials have also shown the company property at BAE Systems, and Phillips noted the company is looking for a site up to 200 acres in size.
Phillips said soon after contact was made between Kingsport and the company, NETWORKS — Sullivan Partnership was brought in to do some of the legwork and statistical work involved in landing the company. NETWORKS is a joint economic development and recruitment organization representing and funded by Sullivan County, Kingsport, Bristol and Bluff City.
“(NETWORKS Director) Richard (Venable) is working toward something else,” Phillips said in regard to other locations for a manufacturing site.
Phillips did not mention the name of the company to the BMA on Thursday, nor did he mention the state or even the country where the company is located.
“It seems to be a very good fit. So far, it’s really good,” he said. “They have not said what time frame they’re going to make a decision, but they hope to start within the next 12 months.”
Phillips said the company has not asked for an incentive, nor has the issue been discussed.
If Kingsport were to land the company, this would be the second major automotive related industry to come to the region within the past year.
Last fall, C&F Group of Galway, Ireland, opened its first U.S. manufacturing plant in the former Magneti Marelli building in the Northeast Tennessee Business Park on the Airport Parkway. The company aims to make a $12.5 million investment at the site and create 450 jobs over the next four years. The company manufactures decorative and functional trim for the automotive industry, racking for the data management industry, and small wind turbines. The C&F Group operates locations in Ireland, Germany, the Czech Republic, the Philippines, China and now the United States.comments powered by Disqus