As huge blocks of concrete are lifted by cranes to create the walls of the new Tractor Supply Co. distribution center in south Bibb County, the mammoth size of the facility becomes more visible.
The $50 million facility under construction in the I-75 Business Park off Hartley Bridge Road and Interstate 75 is about three times the size of the Hillshire Brands Co. distribution center (formerly called Sara Lee) in the same park.
This will be, square-footage wise, the largest project in the Middle Georgia area, said Pat Topping, senior vice president of the Macon Economic Development Commission. Their initial project is 690,000 square feet with the ability to expand it to 960,000 square feet. That is huge.
Construction of the facility, which sits on 16 acres, is on schedule, and the company has begun hiring key people, Topping said.
They will probably start hiring people (for the distribution center) in March to May, he said. I think it was in late summer they want to start receiving merchandise.
Tractor Supply officials announced the project in June, saying the company had an urgent need for a distribution center to replace its leased, 500,000-square-foot center in the north Georgia town of Braselton that it has outgrown.
The company needed a building closer to the port of Savannah and closer to interstates, President and COO Gregory Sandfort said in June.
Topping said the process of choosing Macon for the facility began when a consultant contacted him in December 2011.
After a series of requests that meant Macon was still making the cut, Tractor Supply officials first visited the midstate in early 2012.
Then we knew it was between us and a site in South Carolina in the second quarter of 2012, Topping said. Their search went from Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina.
The company will get a 15-year tax abatement, but its not a full 100 percent abatement. Its a phased-in abatement over 15 years, he said. Tractor Supply also is eligible for job tax credits on net new jobs created, over and above what they had in Braselton.
They expect a majority of the jobs to be local, Topping said.
The number of employees transferring from Braselton is not available yet, Rob Hoskins with DVL Public Relations & Advertising representing Tractor Supply said in an e-mail.
Because hiring for the Macon facility will take place throughout 2013, we have given our current team members ample time to make a decision regarding transferring, Hoskins said.
Anyone interested in applying for distribution center jobs may apply at www.tractorsupply.jobs or at the Macon-Bibb County Office of Workforce Development.
Topping said he is encouraged by the increase of project activity recently.
The last six months, our project activity saw an increase, and weve got two or three projects we have made the first and second cuts on, he said. Nobody is ready to announce yet, but activity has picked up.
Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report. To contact writer Linda S. Morris, call 744-4223.