The road to get Shaw Industries to invest big bucks in Andalusia started nine months ago. Mayor Earl Johnson says it began with a phone call from company leaders with a directive; we want to invest $150 million in our Andalusia plant; help us get there.
“Here is what the deal was,” the mayor said, recalling the initial phone conversation. “We’re considering a major expansion in Andalusia or two other locations.”
That $150 million soon became a $184 million deal. Construction is already underway to physically expand the massive plant that will house the new machine, a machine that will produce fibers in carpets. As expected for any investment of this size, local and state government leaders promised tax incentives.
Powersouth, which happens to be right across the street, was a driving force behind it all. Southeast Gas was also part of those negotiations with Shaw Industries.
“They worked out a five year deal with a fixed rate for Shaw,” Major Johnson said.
While the company says it’ll investment $184 million, the mayor is convinced when it’s all said and done, it will be much higher, perhaps in the neighborhood of $200 million.
“It’s just the nature of these projects. Once you start, you sometimes say ‘let’s do this’ or ‘let’s get this done,'” Johnson said.
Shaw Industries employs 1,200 making it the largest employer in Covington county. The new investment won’t necessarily mean new jobs right away but city leaders still have $184 million reasons to smile for the holidays.
Company leaders declined an interview Wednesday saying they want to wait until the construction work is finished. Shaw anticipates the new fiber-making machine to be up in running by mid-2018.
Mayor Johnson says the tax incentives package does not include an exemptions on education taxes.
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