UPDATE: 2,000 new jobs next to VW? - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: 2,000 new jobs next to VW?

Aerial view of the Enterprise South Industrial Park. / Chattanooga Times Free Press Aerial view of the Enterprise South Industrial Park. / Chattanooga Times Free Press
Sketch obtained by WRCB-TV showing facility and parking spots Sketch obtained by WRCB-TV showing facility and parking spots

By Gordon Boyd
Eyewitness News Reporter 

CHATTANOOGA (WRCB)-- A permit application, filed with Tennessee's Department of Environment and Conservation, confirms that Hamilton County is courting a new employer who could bring 2,000 permanent and/or seasonal jobs to the Enterprise South Industrial Park.

But Mayor Claude Ramsey is being vague.

"I signed confidentiality agreements, and any new industry in town is their announcement," Ramsey says.

Who "they" is, isn't spelled out in the DEC application. Rather, county officials refer to a "distribution facility plus a truck court and 2,300 employee parking spaces."  The facility would put 1.02 million square feet (23 acres) under roof on an 80-acre site just south of the Volkswagen Assembly Plant.

[Read the application]

"The idea that it would be something other than auto doesn't make any sense," says Kim Hill, the Director of Sustainability and Economic Development Strategies for the Center for Automotive Research (C.A.R.) in Ann Arbor, MI.

"The facility next to it (VW) is gonna generate a huge amount of traffic and they'd have trouble getting their trucks through it," says Hill.

Hill doubts  VW wouldn't need additional acreage, should it choose to assemble another vehicle besides the new sedan set to debut in 2011. 

"It's already paved and plumbed for expansion," says Hill.

Volkswagen spokesman Scott Wilson says VW has no involvement in the development, nor has it been told who this prospective employer might be.

According to the application filed with the DEC, Hamilton County is preparing the permit for Seefried Properties of Atlanta.  

Seefried's corporate website touts the company's role in developing "more than 40 million square feet of both speculative and build-to-suit distribution facilities."  Its client list includes Emery Worldwide, Eagle Corporate Logistics, Nippon Express and JAS Forwarding Worldwide.  A company spokeswoman declined Eyewitness News' request for comment.

Mayor Ramsey confirms Hamilton County has discussed incentives to lure the un-named employer, but declines to discuss any specifics.

"I think we'll know one way or another, in the next week," Ramsey says.

Editor's Note: If you have information about this project, you can share it anonymously with Channel 3 by emailing newstips@wrcbtv.com.


CHATTANOOGA (WRCB/CTFP) - A permit application for a site at Enterprise South Industrial Park shows county officials are planning for a business that will bring 2,000 jobs to Hamilton County, Channel 3 Eyewitness News has confirmed.

Hamilton County Commission Chairman Fred Skillern confirmed today that the county is in talks with a business that will bring a number close to that amount. He said the company, which he said is Internet-based, will bring in 1,000 full-time jobs and said other jobs that will be "seasonal."

"What I have heard, none of it is official," Skillern told our partners at the Times Free Press. "Let me make it real clear, I have not met with any of those people."

Skillern told the paper the company was attracted to Chattanooga in part because of the nearby Erlanger campus. At the end of Wednesday's County Commission meeting, Mayor Claude Ramsey refused to divulge details about the project, but acknowledged the county is courting a business.

Hamilton County Mayor Claude Ramsey told Channel 3 Eyewitness News that he is bound by a confidentiality agreement and cannot discuss the project.

When asked about tax incentives Ramsey told us, "If it happens we will announce those incentives and that sort of thing and the whole process."

An announcement could be soon.

"I think we'll know one way or another within the next week," Ramsey said.

Channel 3 Eyewitness News has obtained a copy of the permit application which states: 

The purpose of the proposed activity is for the construction of a distribution facility that will be occupied by a large commercial tenant. The project encompasses approximately 1.02 million square feet under roof for the distribution facility and 2,300 employee parking spaces within the 80-acre site. This tenant anticipates the need to hire approximately 2,000 employees to staff the facility. This is comparable to the number employees that will be needed to staff the Volkswagen assembly plant to the north.

Click to read more from our partners at the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

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