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This amounts to 1,100 acres in unincorporated Jefferson County

The Jefferson County Economic and Industrial Development Authority (JCEIDA) is planning a new industrial park that is expected to bring approximately 4,700 new jobs to the region, according to a recent release.

JCEIDA, which already operates industrial and information technology parks in McCalla and Lakeshore, has acquired 1,100 acres of land in unincorporated North Jefferson County off Interstate 65 at Exit 275 near the Gardendale/Morris area. They plan to develop the JeffMet North Industrial Park on that site.

Located 72 miles from the Toyota Mazda plant in Huntsville, 47 miles from the Mercedes plant in Vance and 58 miles from the Honda plant in Lincoln, the park is strategically located for automotive supplier opportunities, according to JCEIDA.

“Most automakers want their suppliers within 90 miles,” said Othell Phillips, executive director of JCEIDA. “That way, logistically, it’s close enough to serve them, but they want them out of their staff area. We are outside their workforce area, but within their supply chain and logistics area.”

The new park will also be ideal for additive manufacturing and food production facilities, the release said.

Phillips cited JDEICA’s JeffMet McCalla Industrial Park as a model for the JeffMet North project. Before it was developed, the JeffMet McCalla property was believed to create six jobs per acre, according to the release. It has exceeded that forecast, adding 4,658 jobs to date, Phillips said.

“JeffMet McCalla has been very successful,” he said. “If you look at the cultivable area, we have created 6.5 jobs per hectare on that site. If you use the same scale for the North Jefferson property, we have a potential of 4,700 jobs.

“McCalla is more of a manufacturing and industrial park and that is exactly what we are trying to duplicate in the North Jefferson region,” he continued. “Because the manufacturing industry creates more jobs.”

According to the release, JeffMet North will follow the pattern established with the relationship between JeffMet McCalla and the Vance Mercedes plant, which has eight buildings that house automotive suppliers for Mercedes, Hyundai and others.

“We are in the jobs business,” Phillips said. “We are trying to create jobs. That’s what our goal is.”

Jefferson County Economic Development Advisor Jefferson Traywick said this development is a great opportunity for the county because many of their industrial parks, like Smucker’s for example, are in the McCalla and downtown Birmingham areas.

While this has led to great success for these areas, Traywick says it has also led to some pressure on workforces.

“So hopefully this project will be a way to alleviate some of that,” he said.

The Jefferson County Commission created JCEIDA in 1995 to create an inventory of commercial locations for new and growing businesses. The agency’s purpose is “to promote Jefferson County as a premier manufacturing location, attract investment from leading global companies, retain and grow existing businesses, develop, retain and attract talent and advocate for a competitive business environment ”, the agency said in the press release. .

For the new park, JeffMet North, JCEIDA is funded in part by a Site Evaluation and Economic Development Strategy Act (SEEDS) Assessment Grant recently received from the State of Alabama.

“The groundbreaking grant program – a key part of Governor Kay Ivey’s ‘Game Plan’ package of economic development bills passed by the Legislature last year – directly addresses the urgent need for high-quality industrial sites in Alabama, in a time when other states are spending heavily to expand their site programs,” the release reads. “JCEIDA matched a $191,365 SEEDS grant, leaving $382,730 to complete the engineering and due diligence for JeffMet North.”

Traywick said the county plans to break ground on the site in mid-2025 if they are successful in securing a second round of SEEDS funding early next year.