October 24, 2011
By Barbra Murray, Contributing Editor
After a great deal of searching, Carpenter Technology Corp. has decided that its new 400,000-square-foot manufacturing plant will sprout up near the city of Athens in metropolitan Huntsville, Ala. Carpenter will shell out $500 million to develop and equip the facility for operations.
The plant, where Carpenter will manufacture premium alloy products to address an increasing demand among the aerospace and energy sectors, will occupy 230 acres in Limestone County. Competition to secure the project was steep. Carpenter had considered over 240 locations around the globe as possible homes for the endeavor before pinpointing the Alabama site, which sits 100 miles south of Nashville.
“After further analyzing state, county and local incentives, utility costs and labor resources, we felt Limestone County provided the best opportunity for us to expand our core business,” William A. Wulfsohn, Carpenter president and CEO, said. “The state of Alabama and local government entities put together a very compelling package including various tax initiatives, infrastructure grants and training programs.”
The location will allow ample room for growth and the manufacturer plans to stagger the financing for the half-billion-dollar project over the years, relying predominantly on cash from operations. Carpenter’s new facility is on track to open its doors to 203 new employees within 30 months.
Alabama’s Limestone County is laying the groundwork to attract additional businesses to the area by making big investments in educating its workforce in growing industries. Such pursuits include the $71 million Alabama Robotics Technology Park, a three-building development that will serve as a center for educating and training residents in emerging robotics and automation technologies.
The entire state of Alabama appears to be attracting more and more attention as a desirable destination to locate or expand. Northridge, Calif.-based Pharmavite, developer of the popular SoyJoy nutrition bars, announced in September that it would build a new 330,000-square-foot manufacturing and packaging facility in Opelika, and earlier this year Germany’s Selzer Automotive L.P. decided that Auburn would be the home of its first North American facility.