Rockdale County adds incentives for industry expansion bid (Nov. 4, 2012)
Conyers, Covington compete for $20M industry (Oct. 23, 2012)
The unnamed industry that was looking to consolidate to either Conyers or Covington has decided on Conyers. The industry was revealed as Hillphoenix, which has its headquarters in Rockdale on Sigman Road.
Roger Harrison, senior vice president for economic development in Newton County, confirmed late Tuesday that the company has chosen Conyers-Rockdale for its consolidation.
Mike Sullivan, Chairman of the Rockdale Development Authority, said Wednesday, “This is really a great success story. The city, county and everyone involved had the same goal — keep Hillphoenix in Rockdale County.”
He said this signaled that Rockdale County is a significant entity in the economic development world. “This is great news for Rockdale County — to know that we can actually play in this game and win.”
Officials previously said the consolidation, nicknamed “Project Dove,” would represent an addition of about 100 to 150 more jobs to Rockdale, which already has about 800-plus Hillphoenix employees. There will also be a larger facility built of about 450,00 square feet off Gees Mill Road for the consolidation, which would bring together about three or four locations.
The city of Conyers had offered $4.1 million in abatement of ad valorem taxes over 10 years for the industry and waived permitting and inspection fees for the expansion/consolidation, which could represent about $120,000 in savings. Rockdale County had agreed to monitor both the wastewater discharge and water consumption, instead of just the water consumption, to more accurately bill for sewage use and also to make sewer lines more readily available.
Sullivan said the Development Authority will be working with Hillphoenix and Ashley Capitol on capitol and financial vehicles for the new building.
The city of Covington, which operates its own utilities, had offered a 20 percent reduction on electricity rates for two years; a reduction in natural gas rates; waived building and permit fees; waived sewer and tap fees; and offered a 20 percent discount on storm water fees for two years.
The Covington plant would reportedly not close, however, and might see some reinvestment and development, according to Harrison. Covington Mayor Ronnie Johnston said about $2 million in development might be invested into the Covington plant.
Sullivan said another entity was prepared to move into the old Hillphoenix facility once they’ve moved out but declined to comment further.
“We're working long range. we have a lot in the pipeline. Rockdale has never had as much activity as we're having now.”
Hillphoenix, a leading manufacturer of refrigerated display cases, has 11 locations, including in Virginia, Iowa, Texas, California, Arizona, and Mexico, according to the company website. The company has been in Rockdale for decades.