2011 a good year for business in Coweta
Recession or not, 2011 was a good year for economic development in Coweta County. Coweta County Development Authority President Greg Wright said the county added nearly 1,000 jobs last year and is poised for even better days ahead.
Wright in the organization’s January publication reviewed a number of the significant economic development strides that came in 2011 and referenced the recent West Georgia Regional Outlook meeting where it was noted that Coweta was the only county in the region to add jobs during 2011. In all there were nearly 1,000 jobs added to the Coweta economy during the year, said Wright.
One of last year’s business developments was the expansion at Chromalloy in the Shenandoah Industrial Park. The company announced the creation of 125 jobs after adding a gas turbine engine service capability at the facility.
“We’re pleased and proud to be a member of the Newnan-Coweta business community. It’s a very good place for business. We’re very well supported. We have a very committed workforce and we just look forward to adding more of the same here in Newnan, to expand the lines of operation,” said facility general manager Tim Ulles.
Also in 2011, Gov. Nathan Deal announced that MBM Foodservice would locate in Coweta, investing $12.6 million and creating 108 jobs. Pattillo Industrial Real Estate CEO Larry Callahan in commenting on the move said MBM’s selection of Coweta County, “Is a strong endorsement of the leadership in Coweta County, the strategic location in the Coweta Industrial Park and the talented workforce in the region.
And it was last spring that the Yamaha Motor Manufacturing Corp. announced that production of its all-terrain sport vehicle (ATV) line currently located in Japan will be transferred to the company’s Newnan facility.
“We are pleased to have this additional ATV production transitioning to YMMC in Newnan,” Yamaha ATV & SxS Operations General Manager Mike Martinez said at the time. “We expect this transition to have a positive impact on the local economic community and provide worldwide recognition for our state-of-the-art facility and its ability to produce durable and reliable off-road vehicles.”
A part of the Coweta economy for more than 20 years, Yamaha employs more than 1,000 people at the Newnan facility which consists of three plants. Newnan manufactures four recreational product lines including golf cars, ATV's, SidexSide utility vehicles and is the only location in the world where the Yamaha Waverunner personal watercraft is built.
Yet another significant economic development accomplishment in 2011 was the opening of the first two businesses in the Fischer Crossings retail area on Ga. Highway 34 in east Coweta. The 136,000 square-foot Sam’s Club store was the first to open, followed by the 40,000 square-foot NCG Cinemas.
Further Fischer Crossings construction is expected to begin sometime this winter on the T.J.Maxx and Home Goods stores that will share a 52,000 square-foot building while an adjacent building totaling 21,000 square feet will house a Michaels store. The new businesses will be located on the northeast corner of the intersection of Hwy. 34 and Fischer Road.
In the area of education during 2011, West Georgia Technical College began construction on two buildings totaling 83,500 square feet at its new 38.5-acre campus facility near Turkey Creek Road and I-85.
Expected to begin classes in fall 2012, the degree and certification offerings in Allied Health Care will be registered nursing, medical assistant, physical therapy assistant, electronic medical records technician, certified first responder and home health aide, said WGTC Vice President for Institutional Advancement Dawn Cook. Those programs are expected to fit well with Coweta’s growing healthcare industry, Cook said.
WGTC anticipates future construction of seven additional buildings, bringing the campus to 200,000 square feet.
Calendar year 2011 also saw a different kind of accolade, one coming from Bloomberg Businessweek when the magazine named Coweta its Most Affordable Place in Georgia.
“Only one county from each of the 50 states earned this distinction,” said Wright. “Each county selected features a high quality of life at a low cost. The article notes that Coweta still has a large rural presence but offers easy access to Atlanta. Also noted is Coweta’s rapid growth rate with the population growing by 65.7 percent from 1990-2000 and by 42.7 percent from 2000-2010.”
Commenting on educational opportunities as a whole in Coweta County, Wright referenced the role of those institutions in overall economic development.
“Education has been important throughout Coweta County’s history and it continues to play a vital role in our economic success,” Wright said. “In addition to having the national model for technical and adult education through Central Educational Center, educational opportunities continue to expand through the University of West Georgia, Brewton Parker College, Mercer University and West Georgia Technical College.”
Last year also saw the groundbreaking for the Cancer Treatment Centers of America Hospital at Ashley Park. With an anticipated opening around mid-year, the hospital is expected to employ approximately 500 people and generate $500 million in economic impact during the first five years of operation, Wright said.
One of only a handful of CTCA hospitals in America, the Coweta facility will be the company’s first in the Southeast and is expected to draw more than two-thirds of its patients from out of state, said Wright.
Construction is also underway and set to be completed this year on the 136-bed Piedmont Newnan Hospital on Poplar Road. The new 8-story replacement hospital totals 362,376 square feet.
Wright said the addition of these two facilities demonstrates the point that healthcare will continue to be a major growth industry in Coweta.
Wright also noted the importance of existing industries to the county’s economic wellbeing.
“While the location of new companies is an important part of our economic strategy, support for our existing industries is just as important. Working with economic development partners like the Georgia Dept. of Economic Development, the Georgia Dept. of Labor and Georgia Tech, the Development Authority visited 37 industries in the county,” Wright said. “The purpose of these visits is to assist the companies with expansion projects and to help identify resources available to help the companies improve their operations.”
It goes without saying that the long-lasting recession will eventually play out and the metro Atlanta area, vibrant for so many decades, will once again become a major draw for both national and international businesses. Wright said that when that happens Coweta wil be poised for even better days.
“Economists agree that our national economy will continue to improve in the coming years and Coweta County is well positioned to benefit from this increased economic activity,” said Wright. “Through a cooperative approach to economic development, Coweta County has benefited in the past and we look forward to the new opportunities that await our area.”