More jobs coming to state

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 13, 2007

ThyssenKrupp to build $4.2 billion facility in Mobile County

By Tammy Leytham

The Selma Times-Journal

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The announcement that ThyssenKrupp will build its $4.2 billion steel and stainless steel processing facility in north Mobile County was welcome news throughout the state.

The project calls for 2,700 permanent workers and nearly 30,000 construction workers to build the plant, according to the city of Mobile. The permanent jobs could pay between $50,000 and $65,000 annually once the plant is operational in 2010.

While the initial effect will be in southwest Alabama, it &8220;will start trickling up our way,&8221; he said.

Vardaman said there is the possibility of first or second tier suppliers being needed. In addition, the facility &8220;will have to create some push for interstates. It’s going to get awfully crowded on I-65.&8221;

Wilcox County may be the first in our region to benefit, officials said.

Alford added that he would like to see the area get some industry related to the ThyssenKrupp operation.

That’s a possibility, said Bob Robicheaux, PhD, professor and executive director of marketing and industrial distributing at the University of Alabama Birmingham School of Business.

In addition, &8220;first and second tier suppliers will have to establish distribution centers in some reasonable proximity,’ he said. &8220;Many of those will be looking for communities that have industrial sites available.&8221;

Even before the plant is operational, there will be a need to supply materials for the construction and those suppliers will also be looking to set up distribution centers, he said.

The plant, set to open in 2010 and employ as many as 2,700 workers when fully operational, will be near Mount Vernon in the Calvert community on the Tombigbee River, a site about 25 miles north of Mobile that offers a river route to the Gulf of Mexico and is near rails and interstates, according to the Associated Press.

The company was lured by several tax breaks and a $400 million incentives package approved by the Legislature.

The process of locating the plant began in February 2006 with 67 potential sites in 20 states, according to a press release from ThyssenKrupp.

From the initial sites, ThyssenKrupp confined its search to locations in three states: Alabama, Arkansas and Louisiana. In February of this year, the company announced that it narrowed its search to two states, Alabama and Louisiana.

The announcement was made Friday morning that the company chose Alabama.

Robicheaux said if you &8220;think back to what impact the development of the steel industry had in Birmingham at the turn of the century,&8221; that’s a fair estimate of what effect this facility will have in the communities for about 60 miles in every direction from Mount Vernon. &8220;It will have a tremendous impact,&8221; he said.