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MS takes top honors in Economic Development Deal of the Year competition

TINTON FALLS, NJ The Mississippi Development Authority has taken top honors in Business Facilities’ 2016 Economic Development Deal of the Year competition, winning our Gold Award for Continental Tire’s manufacturing plant in Clinton, MS.

Governor Phil Bryant learned of the honor at Thursday’s Mississippi Economic Council Capitol Day.

“This is great news, and further cements Mississippi’s position as a leader in advanced manufacturing,” said Governor Bryant.

The Continental Tire facility is a $1.45 billion investment that will directly create 2,500 new jobs over the next decade. The project also will create 2,740 indirect and 1,013 induced jobs during the same period, generating more than $1.3 billion in overall economic impact for the Greater Jackson region.

Officials at BFE have recognized what this means for the state.

“Mississippi executed an impressive double play early in 2016 by winning the highly coveted Continental plant and simultaneously landing the new TopShip shipbuilding complex in Gulfport,” BFEditor in Chief Jack Rogers said. “The Magnolia State had a banner year — and we fully expect that its dynamic and well-executed growth strategy will produce even greater success in 2017.”

Continental’s commercial vehicle tire manufacturing plant will occupy a new multi-million-square-foot facility now under construction off I-20 West in Hind County.

MDA’s team, which included Hinds County Economic Development Authority, Greater Jackson Partnernship/Alliance, the City of Clinton and utilities Atmos Energy and Entergy, had to overcome a series of challenges during the two-year negotiation to seal the deal on what it called “Project Potter.” These included the discovery of an abandoned graveyard on the proposed site; wetlands mitigation; the execution of a plan to transfer education trust land to the company (in exchange for land donated to the school system by Continental); and the approval by the Mississippi State Legislature of a $265-million incentives package for the project.

Approximately 270 marked and unmarked burial plots were relocated to nearby Bolton Cemetery, a process that included a full archeological survey and the excavation of artifacts as well as remains. To expedite permitting for the project, Gov. Phil Bryant personally filed the necessary wetlands mitigation permits. Continental also was given access to the region’s community college system, which worked with the company to develop a customized workforce-training program for the project.

Mississippi is counting on the Continental plant to replicate the success story in nearby Canton, MS, where Nissan North America opened a vehicle assembly facility in 2003, which now employs more than 6,400 workers and has indirectly created nearly 25,000 jobs.

“Nissan’s commitment to Mississippi helped draw a number of prime players to the area, including Toyota, Yokohama, PACCAR and Airbus Helicopters,” Rogers noted. “With industry giants like Continental lining up behind the state’s already impressive vehicle assembly facilities, Mississippi is accelerating into the top tier of U.S. auto industry manufacturing hubs.”

Business Facilities, a national publication that is the leading location source for corporate site selectors and economic development professionals, will be celebrating its 50th anniversary with the publication of our upcoming January/February 2017 issue.

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