HUNTSVILLE – A huge 1,252-acre property outside Huntsville is the newest “mega site” for the Tennessee Valley Authority and is ready to welcome new business to the state, officials from the City of Huntsville and Limestone County announced today.
The new mega site certification will help Huntsville compete internationally to bring large-scale industrial and manufacturing projects to the region. Status as a certified mega site makes the property significantly more appealing to companies because it shows that the area has already been properly studied, providing for a faster development period.
“The certification is our international calling card telling global manufacturers we are open for business and a prime place for industry and jobs,” said Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle. “This site should attract a high tech, high end company for worldwide customers.”
Governor Bentley also praised the new development for expanding Alabama’s economy.
“With this certification in hand, the Huntsville Mega Site is well positioned for a wide range of large-scale projects from major companies based around the world,” he said in a press release. “The Huntsville area has been a main driver of growth for the state, and this will make it even more attractive for new investment and well-paying jobs.”
To become a TVA-certified mega site, an area must have at least 1,000 acres, Interstate access, potential railroad access, and sufficient utility services. The site must also pass a number of due diligence studies to prove that any operations on the land would not damage the environmental, historical, or cultural nature of the area.
Huntsville is the eighth mega site for the TVA. Five of the seven existing sites have already landed major industrial projects with investments of over $5 billion. The mega site program was first established 12 years ago and has already helped create over 30,000 jobs throughout the region.
Mayor Battle expects that trend to continue with the new Huntsville mega site.
“You can move an industry in here, you can start working and you can expect 2,000 to 4,000 jobs. Each one of those jobs has a job multiplier and has 2.5 more jobs attached to it, so it’s a great thing for economic success of the area,” he said.
Huntsville leaders started the process of certifying the land in 2011 after the city lost the first U.S.-based Volkswagen plant to Chattanooga, TN. Volkswagen passed on the Huntsville land because it had not been tested for soil contamination or a number of other potential issues. But now companies will have all the facts up front, thanks to the TVA certification.
While the new site will have the biggest impact on Huntsville, Bill Johnson, president and CEO of the Tennessee Valley Authority, believes the rest of the Tennessee Valley will benefit as well.
“The entire economy of the Tennessee Valley is a seamless web of communities that support and strengthen each other, so the creation of the Huntsville Mega Site is a victory for the entire Valley.”