TVA announced today that two sites, located in Hopkinsville, Ky., and Columbus, Miss., have been certified by McCallum Sweeney Consulting of Greenville, S.C., as “megasites,” or large industrial properties suitable for major automotive manufacturing plants.
Chattanooga's Enterprise South industrial park was not among those chosen. But Chamber of Commerce officials said it may be certified at a later time.
Working in partnership, TVA’s economic development staff, distributors of TVA power and economic development partners will market the sites to automotive manufacturers seeking to locate facilities in the Southeast, officials said.
“Having certified megasites ready for development gives the Tennessee Valley an advantage in the highly competitive site selection process for new automotive manufacturing facilities,” said TVA Chairman Glenn McCullough Jr. “Economic development is part of TVA’s core mission, and we are committed to delivering leadership for a Valley economy that provides career opportunities for the people we serve.”
TVA launched the megasites certification program in March in response to a growing need for large industrial properties appropriate for automotive manufacturing facilities, it was stated. TVA has learned that several major manufacturers may locate additional automotive plants in the Southeast during the next decade, officials said.
Based on its expertise as a site selection consultant for the automotive industry, MSC was commissioned by TVA as an independent source to evaluate the submitted sites. MSC established certification criteria and a process to evaluate potential properties. All site applications were reviewed and site visits were conducted by the consultant in June and July.
“One of the fastest growing trends that we are seeing in the site location business is the demand for certified industrial sites because companies want sites that are ready-to-go and relatively risk free,” said MSC Senior Principal Ed McCallum. “Companies, especially in the automotive industry, are under tremendous market pressures to make siting decisions and start-up facilities fairly quickly. With the megasites certification program, TVA has made it possible for sites with the necessary attributes in place and the due diligence completed to receive advanced certification.”
The Interstate 24 Megasite in Hopkinsville and the Lowndes County-Golden Triangle Megasite in Columbus meet all criteria required for certification, including size of at least 700 to 1,000 contiguous and developable acres, land availability, transportation access and labor capacity. The sites also possess unique features, such as ideal topography, a well-defined infrastructure development plan and direct access to major airports, rail and roadways.
“Receiving this certification signifies not only that the land is an ideal industrial site, but also that the community has what it takes to be a great home for industry,” said TVA Director Skila Harris.
More than 25 county, city and regional economic development organizations within TVA’s service territory submitted potential industrial sites for consideration.
“Local communities that participated in the megasites program have truly benefited from this process,” said TVA Director Bill Baxter. “Communities that were not certified as ‘megasites’ have received valuable information that will help them determine what needs to be done to achieve certification in the future or what other very good options they have in developing their properties.”
For more information about economic development in the Tennessee Valley, visit www.TVAed.com.
In fiscal year 2003, TVA worked in partnership with various economic development organizations and partners to help attract or retain 47,000 jobs and leverage $1.58 billion in capital investment, it was stated. TVA also provided more than $20.6 million in economic development loans.
TVA is the nation’s largest public power provider and is completely self-financed. TVA provides power to large industries and 158 power distributors that serve approximately 8.5 million consumers in seven southeastern states.