Houston & Peach

Houston among two finalists for manufacturer

WARNER ROBINS -- Houston County is now competing with just one other community to lure an industry projected to bring 150 jobs and fill the long-vacant speculative building.

Angie Gheesling, director of the Development Authority, had said last month that the county was among six finalists for the industry. At the authority’s monthly meeting Wednesday, she said the company has now named Houston as one of just two finalists.

After the meeting, she said she does not know the name of the other community, but she does not believe it is in Georgia.

She described the company only as an international manufacturer looking to start its first operation in North America.

She believed the company would make its decision by the end of summer. The company’s search started with 120 communities under consideration.

Mark Byrd, chairman of the authority, said overall interest in the community from companies has been up.

“This has been a wildly busy month,” he said.

The spec building was constructed in Perry in 2001 and it has never had an occupant. It has been a source of criticism for the county, and filling it has long been at the top of the Development Authority’s priorities.

The authority has been close to finding a tenant before, and even once announced that it had a deal, but that fell through.

The current prospect has sent structural engineers to examine the building, and they have found it to be in good shape, Gheesling said.

There are also three other companies interested in the building, she said.

To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.