Representatives of AGCOR, the Cullman County Commission, Cullman city government, ADECA, and Cullman city and county economic development agencies prepare to throw the first shovels of dirt on a rainy Wednesday morning. (W.C. Mann for The Cullman Tribune)
GOOD HOPE – On Wednesday morning, AGCOR Steel broke ground on its new facility to be located on 22 acres along Industrial Park Road in Good Hope. The company, formerly located in Vinemont, will be Good Hope’s first manufacturer. AGCOR’s move is the result of a joint effort between the City of Good Hope, City of Cullman and Cullman County. The company is spending $400,000 for the land, with the three local governments each providing $133,333 in tax incentives.
In addition to the cost of the land, AGCOR will make an overall capital investment of $6.3 million in the new 128,000 square foot facility. The new building will allow the addition of a steel truss production line and a near doubling of AGCOR’s workforce, adding up to 25 new jobs to the existing 28-member staff; it is expected to generate annual tax revenues for the County and two municipalities of more than $500,000.
AGCOR, a manufacturer of metal building components, was heavily recruited by the city of Gadsden before this deal was put into place. According to Cullman Economic Development Agency Director Dale Greer, the company reported having been offered a sales tax rebate for the cost of the land elsewhere. Greer told the crowd that such an incentive had never previously been offered here, but city and county leaders found the idea to be a reasonable move to promote local industry and keep an existing business in the area.
Good Hope Mayor Jerry Bartlett had been initially unsure that his city could pull off the project, saying of his initial meeting with AGCOR owner Zac Smith, “All we did was throw up negatives: you know, little Good Hope, you know. We didn’t have the means. We threw up negatives, but you can’t get Zac to understand negatives. You can’t get Zac to understand it can’t be done.
“So, from that meeting, we got all of us involved here. And the more Zac would talk to Dale Greer, you know, the more he was making it make sense.”
Bartlett said that he, Cullman County Economic Development Director Cherrie Haney, Cullman County Commission Chairman Kenneth Walker, Rep. Corey Harbison, R-Good Hope, Cullman Mayor Woody Jacobs, and Smith all came together in Good Hope to work out the deal.
During his remarks at the ceremony, Kenneth Boswell, director of the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA), told the crowd, “You have a delegation here in Cullman County that pulls together, and y’all work together as a team and as one. And to see what is transpiring is very refreshing, from the standpoint of the state, because when we move in, we want to see people that are pulling in the same direction. We don’t want to get in fusses and things of that nature. So it’s very easy to do business with y’all.”
Said Bartlett, “This is a good example of how, working together, we can make great things happen here in Cullman County. Dale and Zac had the foresight to put this package together and keep AGCOR here instead of going to another county. Mayor Jacobs and his city council saw the benefits of this project, even when AGCOR wasn’t bringing their plant to their city limits, and that’s just unheard of, and we thank y’all for that. The County Commission–Chairman Kenneth Walker, along with his Commissioners Garry Marchman and Kerry Watson–saw the benefits of pulling together, and they jumped on board. The Good Hope City Council saw the benefits as well, and I thank all of them.”
After the groundbreaking, Smith told The Tribune, “We definitely thank all the local delegation, municipalities that put their hard work, time and effort into making this a success. We appreciate Gov. (Kay) Ivey and ADECA for all that they’ve done. If it wasn’t for the local community working together, we wouldn’t have achieved what we have in this project; so for that we’re very thankful.”
AGCOR expects construction to be completed and the new facility to be open for business by February 2019.
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