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$40 million in investment, Chilis announced
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One hundred thirty five jobs and around $42,750,000 in investment were announced by Covington-Newton County Chamber of Commerce President Ralph Staffins to the Covington City Council and the Newton County Board of Commissioners (BOC) this week.

A Chili’s restaurant, a door manufacturer and a General Mills’ expansion will soon be part of Newton County’s commercial landscape.

Project Galvin is the code name for a Canadian door manufacturer’s relocation of one of its plants from upstate New York and a warehouse in Decatur to Newton County, according to Staffins.

“They’re buying a privately-held piece of land, and they do not need any tax incentives to move into our community,” Staffins told the BOC Tuesday. “They will bring 35 jobs initially with a goal to grow to 100 jobs in year three. The average wages of those jobs will be $42,000 a year.

Chili’s, which will be located by the Hampton Inn on Highway 142 near I-20, is projected to bring in 75 jobs with an investment of $2,750,000. The restaurant chain is currently in the permitting stage. Staffins also announced that the Holiday Inn Express and Suites, currently under construction in the same location, is taking reservations for the 2017 Masters weekend, April 6-9.

An expansion of General Mills, set to produce Bugles snacks, is expected to bring in 25 jobs and a $30 million investment, according to Staffins.

Along with the announcement of new projects, Staffins also updated the city council and county commission on previously announced projects, such as a film, TV, video game and music production studio, code-named project Three Ring.

“This is moving at light speed,” Staffins said of the project. “It is now a $110 million investment and the projected goal is to break ground in the next quarter, with 1,600 jobs in phase 1 that will have a salary average of $80,000.

“Also, I think it will impact our community in a much greater sense than Baxter [now Shire] did, so far as in ancillary businesses.”

In total, Staffins reported Newton County’s economic development department was working on 19 retail projects, 26 industrial projects and 49 total active projects that would bring in a combined 10,199 jobs and $2,247,800,000 in total investment.