Local industry Hillphoenix, which had been looking to consolidate some of its U.S. locations in either Covington or Conyers, has chosen Conyers, but will not be closing its Covington plant.
Roger Harrison, senior vice president for economic development in Newton County, confirmed late Tuesday that the company has chosen Conyers for its consolidation but said the Covington facility will not only be kept but will see a slight expansion.
Covington Mayor Ronnie Johnston said he had heard that the Covington location, which is located on 8166 Industrial Boulevard, will get around $2 million in upgrades and investment.
According to its website, Hillphoenix has 11 locations in the U.S.; Rockdale County officials said previously that the consolidation would bring together three or four locations. Since the company has two locations in Conyers, including its headquarters, and one in Covington, it's unclear at this point how wide ranging the consolidation was.
Hillphoenix works in retail refrigeration, including products like refrigerated display units and walk-in coolers and freezers; the Covington location is in Hillphoenix's power systems division, according to the website.
Despite not being selected for the consolidation, which could have brought an $18 to $20 million investment and 600 jobs to Newton County residents over the next 10 years, Johnston said he thought the city did well.
"I think the city of Covington reacted quickly and did the right things (in efforts to attract the industry), which I think reflects on the decision to stay in the Covington site," Johnston said. "Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. I didn't think we lost because didn't do the right thing."
Johnston said the company was pleased with the city's quick turnaround in addressing issues, such as zoning changes, and preparing a tax abatement proposal and stormwater and electricity discounts.
"They were very impressed with all of that. I think being proactive helped us," Johnston said.
The city of Conyers had offered $4.1 million in abatement of ad valorem taxes over 10 years and waived permitting and inspection fees for the expansion/consolidation, which could represent about $120,000 in savings.