The Clarksville location of Bridgestone Metalpha U.S.A. Inc. announced Wednesday that it is planning a $75 million expansion to its site in the Clarksville-Montgomery County Corporate Business Park.
This location serves as the U.S. corporate headquarters for steel cord production.
“Existing Tennessee businesses, like Bridgestone Metalpha in Clarksville, are the foundation on which our economic development success stories are built, and I congratulate the company on its expansion,” said Bill Hagerty, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development. “Through a coordinated and collaborative effort amongst state and local governments and existing industry, we can achieve Gov. Bill Haslam’s goal of making Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs.”
BMU has been an integral part of the community since 1994 and currently has 418 employees, plus 46 contractors on site. Over the years, BMU has expanded several times and, to date, has invested a total of $246 million into its Clarksville facility. The upcoming expansion will mean a total of 45 jobs for the community and the ability to increase its production capabilities. BMU has an average wage that exceeds the state of Tennessee’s per capita income by 40 percent.
“Bridgestone Metalpha has a long and successful history with Clarksville-Montgomery County, and we are proud to be one of the community’s top employers. Because of the relationships we have built with the team at the Economic Development Council, we were able to move forward quickly on this project and set the Clarksville location up to be a front-runner in this expansion decision,” said Donna Bright, Clarksville plant manager for Bridgestone Metalpha.
James Chavez, president and CEO of the Clarksville-Montgomery County Economic Development Council said Wednesday’s announcement is “an example of how important it is to take care of our existing industries. We need to be competitive, prepared for growth and have the incentive packages ready to bring to the table. Fortunately, we have business and government leaders in this community who understand and support the work of the EDC.”
In early 2011, the parent company, Bridgestone Japan, began looking to increase itd product capacity at one of its international facilities. But, in order to be globally competitive, the BMU property in Clarksville needed to relocate utilities infrastructure.
This issue was brought to the attention of the Aspire Foundation board during its April meeting.
Aspire board chairman Terry Strange said, “The Aspire Foundation was designed as an instrument to encourage and help the community develop economically. Earlier this year, the board voted to provide funds to aid a local company to expand and create more jobs. By providing the funds to study the feasibility and engineering costs to move infrastructure, Aspire helped this project move forward without issue.”
This study was a critical first step to help make the community competitive. Through the Aspire funded initiative, it was concluded that moving the current infrastructure was not only a viable option but also a way to incent the parent company. The team from the EDC, Clarksville Mayor Kim McMillan, Montgomery County Mayor Carolyn Bowers, representatives from the Tennessee Valley Authority and the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development were able to come to the table and work on a competitive recruiting package.
Through these meetings, the local Montgomery County government committed to provide an infrastructure relocation credit that will offset some of the impending costs. The Tennessee ECD brought grant monies to the table to assist in the relocation of the infrastructure. TVA and Cumberland Electric Membership Corp. also provided project assistance to facilitate this expansion.
“TVA and CEMC are excited to be partners on the economic development team to assist Bridgestone Metalpha as they continue to invest and add jobs in Clarksville,” said John Bradley, TVA senior vice president of economic development.
These grants, along with an aggressive PILOT agreement, will help to countervail the initial costs and will maximize the ability to develop the BMU property. This is part of the long-term commitment that the Industrial Development Board has made with facilitating BMU’s continued growth.
“We were able to offer an aggressive incentive package to Bridgestone Metalpha because they are an existing industry,” said Mike Evans, executive director of the Clarksville-Montgomery County Industrial Development Board. “This announcement means the retention of jobs as well as the creation of good paying jobs for the people of Clarksville-Montgomery County. This will have an ongoing positive effect on the economic landscape of this community.”
“The City of Clarksville is extremely pleased that Bridgestone Metalpha will be expanding its operations in our city and providing much needed employment opportunities for our citizens. The impact on the community is immeasurable and we will continue to do everything we can to encourage corporate growth in our area,” said Ms. McMillan.
Ms. Bowers said, “Bridgestone Metalpha has been a tremendous asset to the Clarksville-Montgomery County business community. They are intimately involved in local community service projects, both through Partners In Education as well as community organizations. Montgomery County government is proud to reach out and assist in Bridgestone Metalpha’s expansion and success in our community.”
Published in The Messenger 9.22.11