MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The 4,000 acre Memphis Megasite in Haywood County, Tennessee, is the focus of an intense effort in the autumn of Bill Haslam's term as Tennessee Governor.
Tennessee Commissioner of Economic and Community Development Bob Rolfe told the Memphis Rotary Club that the Governor told him, "Bobby, I would love to announce a tenant before we leave office." Haslam's second term in office ends in sixteen months. Haslam has named the site near Stanton, Tennessee, as a prime location for a planned $1.6 billion automobile manufacturing plant announced by Toyota and Mazda as a joint venture in August.
An intense competition between states is underway to land the new factory that would build the Toyota Corolla and a Mazda crossover vehicle. The new plant would create 4,000 jobs. Rolfe did not mention either Toyota or Mazda in his Rotary Club remarks but did say an automaker would be a perfect fit for the site.
"It might be for one company," Rolfe said of the state owned megasite, "with an ecosystem of supply (companies) wrapped around it."
The Memphis megasite adjoins Interstate 40 and has access to Class 1 rail and all the other attributes of Memphis, home of FedEx, International Paper, and AutoZone. Rolfe said the next step in advancing the megasite is Haslam's planned proposal to the Tennessee General Assembly of a $75 million capital gr ant to finish infrastructure on the 4,000+ acre site.
Rolfe said the key to the project is workforce development. The state chosen would provide incentives for any manufacturer who made a major investment on the megasite. The incentives would be aimed at training workers who would be making cars in highly automated, high tech setting.