WARNER ROBINS -- Two Houston County companies are committed to big expansions that would add more than 200 jobs, while the county also is a finalist to become the American headquarters for another manufacturer.
Angie Gheesling, executive director of the Houston County Development Authority, told The Telegraph on Wednesday that the first two committed projects will bring “combined, probably 225 jobs and a combined investment of $86 million.”
Details are still being finalized, but she said full announcements of both projects should happen before Thanksgiving. One company, a manufacturer, already is training its existing staff. Gheesling would not identify the companies.
One of the expansions will bring a tremendous number of jobs but not much investment, while the other expansion is investment-heavy with few jobs, she said.
The development authority could issue as much as $84 million in bonds to help pay for those projects. Discussions began a year and a half ago about an $8 million investment, Gheesling said.
“It’s been worth waiting for,” she said.
Houston County also was one of four Georgia semifinalist communities to make presentations to try to land a factory and U.S. headquarters for a company that has not been publicly identified. Gheesling said Houston County is the only Georgia community remaining in contention, and she suspects it’s being put up against several communities in other states. That effort, dubbed Project Black Horse, would come with a $22 million investment and 130 jobs.
Company representatives could visit Houston County by the end of the month, and that will only work in Houston’s favor, Gheesling told development authority board members Wednesday.
“That always works well for us,” as companies see the land available and the area’s proximity to interstate highways, Gheesling said.
“Guys, that’s a big deal,” Authority Chairman Mark Byrd said to his board members. “That was a competitive environment. There were four Georgia communities vying” to land the company.
In addition to the two new commitments for expansions and the move to a finalist stage for a factory, the Houston County Development Authority is chasing other leads. Among them, the authority is pursuing, along with the Macon Economic Development Commission, an aerospace company that could bring 250 jobs, Gheesling said.
To contact writer Mike Stucka, call 744-4251.