Caterpillar plant will create 1,400 jobs in Atlanta


Caterpillar recently announced plans to build a manufacturing facility in Atlanta, Georgia.
Caterpillar recently announced plans to build a manufacturing facility in Atlanta, Georgia.

Global machinery manufacturer Caterpillar recently announced that it plans to construct a manufacturing facility in Atlanta, Georgia, which should create 1,400 jobs in that region.

The manufacturer released a statement indicating that the new 1-million-square-foot plant will be built near Athens, according to The Associated Press. Governor Nathan Deal and officials from both Oconee county and Athens-Clarke county announced the project at the State Capital, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

"This is an extraordinary day for our entire state, and a game-changer for Clarke, Oconee and surrounding counties throughout Northeast Georgia," Governor Deal said in a statement, according to OnlineAthens. "The excitement and promise of today's announcement are why we're fighting so hard to make Georgia the No. 1 place in the nation to do business. Caterpillar will find a happy home here, and our state's logistics, workforce, speed and efficiency will give the company an edge in the global marketplace."

Athens-Clarke County stated that the plant will begin production in 2013 and will employ 800 people during the initial staffing period, according to Morris News Service. The facility will reside on a 860-acre plot of land called the Orkin tract that exists between Georgia Highway 316 and U.S. Highway 78. The jobs at the plant will pay at least the median incomes existing in Oconee and Clarke counties. Some jobs will require a bachelor's degree, while some will require a high school education.

The global machinery manufacturer was provided with incentives by both the state and county governments, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. Georgia Department of Economic Development spokeswoman Alison Tyrer told the media outlet that Caterpillar is eligible for a project development grant and tax credits worth $45 million in total. Not counted in this total is the job training given as a result of the state's Quick Start program.

The local governments will buy the land needed for the facility and ownership will transfer to Caterpillar over a duration of 20 years, according to the media outlet. The industrial development authorities of the two counties have already purchased 265 acres at the Orkin tract for $10 million. The property will receive a significant tax break for the first three years, being taxed at 10 percent of its value. The tax rate will rise to 100 percent over the next 17 years. This will provide Caterpillar with $12.4 million in tax breaks.

Various states began making efforts to attract the global machinery manufacturer, when the company announced in November that it planned to open a plant in the United States that would build tractors and excavators, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The company had stated its desire to have a greater proximity to customers it has in North America and Europe, The Associated Press reports.

The local governments were happy with the global machinery manufacturer's decision, with Athens Mayor Nancy Denson announcing in a news release that "we are excited about our two counties coming together to support this project because of the opportunity it brings to enhance our local industrial base," according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

She added that "this project brings back some of the traditional manufacturing jobs we have lost over the past decades and gives a significant number of people in our community and the region new job opportunities."

Morris News Service reports that in addition to creating 1,400 jobs at the manufacturing facility, the $57 million paid to the workers will result in roughly $39 million in additional retail spending. This increased expenditure should create another 2,800 jobs in the region.