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Projects highlight progress in Wilson County

By Xavier Smith xsmith@lebanondemocrat.com • Updated Sep 4, 2014 at 11:29 PM

The Wilson County Joint Economic and Community Development board executive committee met Thursday morning and discussed Wilson County’s continuation as a hotspot for industrial interest.

Wilson County Joint Economic and Community Development Board director G.C. Hixson highlighted many potential projects that could bring thousands of jobs and increased revenue for the area.

Project Axle is one of the three biggest projects detailed by Hixson. The project has a phase 1 investment of just less than $150 million. The plan projects a total number of jobs to reach 2,000 and new positions by 2020. The project seeks 70-100 acres in Wilson County.

The county also submitted available buildings and sites as required for Project Houseboat. The project features a tier I automotive manufacturer seeking 100,000-250,000 square feet of space. The plan requires 300 employees and a $50 million investment.

Project Stone would employ 200 people at full capacity. The company is looking for 80 to 150 acres of land with rail service. The three-shift operation at full capacity requires a capital investment of $100 million.

“Wilson County continues to be a hotspot for automotive and plastic interest,” Hixson said. “We have good projects coming in.”

Another one of those projects is Project TAC. TAC features a three-shift operation for a foreign-owned automotive supplier. The project requires an 80,000-100,000-square-feet existing building with 10-inch floors, rail preferred and 30-foot minimum ceiling height. The project would bring 70-100 jobs.

Some projects are in further stages of development than others.

Project Buffalo would bring 300 jobs to Wilson County and requires a $100 million investment. The CEO toured 40-acre sites while in the area last month. The company is a major Indian ceramic company.

Project Conviction features a company considering a Mt. Juliet location. The project will require construction of a 305,577-square-feet facility with a total investment of $51 million. The Joint Economic and Community Development board executive committee approved a PILOT proposal in June and submitted it to the budget committee. The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, along with the Tennessee Department of Transportation, is set to consider the application by Sept. 12.

The executive committee also approved a PILOT proposal for Project Fastbreak last month. A consumer goods company is seeking a regional distribution center to grow into a 2 million-square-feet national center campus. The project would require up to 1,500 employees at its completion.

“We have the third lowest unemployment rate in the state with 3,900 people,” said Lebanon Mayor Phillip Craighead. “When you look at our investments, we’re in good shape.”

Wilson County is now designated as a Tennessee ThreeStar certified county. The ThreeStar program is geared to help community development and economic completion at a higher level. The program focuses on jobs and economic development, fiscal strength and efficient government, public safety, education and workplace development and health and welfare.

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