Potential employers scout Albany facilities - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Potential employers scout Albany facilities

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By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

November 19, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Two large corporations, both promising business that could mean a thousand jobs, were in Albany this week looking at potential sites.

Both companies have expressed interest in the Bridgestone/Firestone Distribution Center and toured the center Monday and Tuesday along with state officials.

While neither company wants to reveal what type of business it might bring, economic development officials say either business would amount to a $100 million investment in the community.

Despite being vacant since June, the Bridgestone/Firestone Distribution Center saw a lot of activity this week. The 470,000 square foot space caught the attention of a manufacturer and another unnamed company both of which visited Albany this week.

"They're starting to narrow down their search and when they do that they like to do site visits and so we've hosted two different site visits at one of our facilities here this week," said EDC Special Projects Director Justin Strickland.

That puts Albany on the short list for both companies and that could mean as many as a thousand jobs. The visit also allowed both companies to pepper local and state officials with questions.

"They asked primarily questions about the community, why they should chose Albany over another community and the advantages of doing business here and the advantages of doing business in the state," said Strickland.

A recent study by the Kaufman Foundation ranked Georgia in the middle when it comes to attracting new business and criticized the state for going after call centers and manufacturers, both which employ thousands in Albany. While Albany's lost business in the last three years, empty buildings could open the doors to new business.

"It give us something to market and it does give inventory for us to put out there in front of people and it is more cost efficient for people to move into an existing business," said EDC Vice President Andrea Schrujer. 

That's why local leaders say they continue to strengthen their relationship with the state's EDC in hopes of finding the perfect fit.

"We have had a surge of interest lately in Albany and we have actively been putting ourselves in front of the state and making sure that we're building those relationships," said Schrujer. 

Relationships that will hopefully help seal the deal and allow one of the most recent prospects to make a firm commitment in Albany.

Economic development leaders say they hope to have a decision on the Bridgestone/Firestone facility by the end of December or the first of January.

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