MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A trip by Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee to South Korea scored a massive economic win for the Bluff City in a soon-to-be vacant manufacturing facility on the river.
City and county officials, along with those from the Greater Memphis Chamber said Friday this is the best-case scenario for one employer leaving town and another coming in bigger and better.
“Without this purchase, we were heading to a closed plant and everyone out of a job, and this is sort of the Phoenix rising from the ashes,” said Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland.
Last month, we learned Mitsubishi Electric planned to close up shop, selling a factory on Riverport Road and laying off roughly 160 employees. On Friday, Lee came to Memphis to announce a new company was coming, and it’s one he personally traveled internationally to recruit to West Tennessee.
"When we went to Korea and talked with this company, we talked to them specifically about locating here. We had a good facility that they could move into," Lee said.
Hyosung Heavy Industries Corporation (HICO) said it will locate in the Mitsubishi factory and make state of the art transformers. The company intends to create 410 jobs in Memphis over the next 7 years, with plans to hire back employees Mitsubishi will let go.
Lee said the average wage is $23 an hour. The company plans to make a $87 million capital investment.
“It is absolutely the best scenario for us, because we are able to make sure there is an occupier of that business,” said Beverly Robertson, CEO, Greater Memphis Chamber.
Lee said Hyosung locating operations in Memphis opens the door for suppliers to court the area. Lee from the start of his term has made it clear a priority of his administration is marketing Memphis as ripe for business development.
“This city and county and region are a major component to the economy of Tennessee. So, if Tennessee is going to lead the country in many ways, then we have to have an accelerated transformation of Shelby County and of Memphis and of West Tennessee,” Lee said.
Hyosung will receive incentives to locate in Memphis. The state-level incentive package has not yet been released.
But late Friday afternoon, we learned EDGE is prepared to offer a $10.3 million tax abatement over 11 years based on 131 jobs. The PILOT could be rescored as the job number increases. The application goes before the EDGE board Wednesday.