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Samkee America, Inc. Announcement Puts Macon County on Path for Even More Economic Success

Tuskegee, AL –

Today’s announcement by Governor Kay Ivey of a new Alabama industry in Tuskegee has been one year in the making. Samkee America, Inc. is a new tier-one automotive parts manufacturer coming to our community. The new project represents an initial investment of $128 million and the creation of 170 new jobs at an average wage of $20.50 plus benefits.

Samkee is now under construction on a 44.42-acre site in the Tuskegee Commerce Park. Macon County Economic Development Authority has led the recruitment of Samkee which started its search in multiple states and over 30 communities.

“We are extremely proud to be the place and community that Samkee puts its first facility in North America,” said MCEDA Director Joe Turnham. “Our relationship with Samkee has become one of a partnership of trust and mutual effort. We will be a team going forward to make them successful and to maximize this project’s benefits for the people of Macon County.”

The community partners, especially the City of Tuskegee and Utilities Board of Tuskegee (UBT), have invested in the project site and utilities to assure Samkee can be successful over time. “Mayor Tony Haygood and UBT General Manager Gerald Long and the entire city council and UBT staff and board have been extremely supportive and worked tirelessly on a daily basis to bring this one home.” Turnham stated.

Samkee has bold plans to grow here over time and add even more assets and jobs to this equation. The site is already adapted to Phase 2 and 3 scenarios.

Samkee is one of South Korea’s largest high pressure aluminum die-casting companies and a premier automotive parts manufacturer. The Tuskegee facility will make custom parts in the engine, transmission, electric vehicle, and car battery areas of automotive.

State Representative Pebblin Warren was ecstatic about the announcement and has worked for years to set Macon County up for success by helping build the capacity of economic development authority. She commented that she will personally be involved in the workforce readiness and training aspects of the project.

Turnham noted that many stakeholders behind the scenes came to the assistance of MCEDA in winning and preparing for the project. “We’ve developed a well-oiled machine to make this happen. I would like to thank Governor Ivey, the Alabama Department of Commerce team, AIDT, ADECA, SCADC, City of Tuskegee, UBT, Macon County Commission, MCEDA Board, Barrett-Simpson Engineers, Bailey-Harris Construction, Evergreen Siteworks, Attorney Milton Davis and the many consultants and specialists who have labored so hard on our behalf.

We thank our Samkee friends, especially Samkee CEO Chi Hwan Kim and Samkee America, Inc President Chan Ki Kim. We acknowledge want to recognize the entire incentives and real estate team at the law firm of K&L Gates, LLP who guided their client through all aspects of this transaction this past year. All have all been part of this successful collaboration.”

Tuskegee-Samkee now joins the Town of Shorter (Hanon Systems) by hosting another Tier-One Automotive company, Samkee. Shorter is also home to LogisAll, a Korean automotive logistics company located here in Macon County.

“The winning team spirit, a lot of prayer and the refusal to quit despite tall odds many days shone through at the end, and this win is just another mile in our journey to establish our communities in Macon County as world-class places to live and do business.” Turnham said in closing.

Nation’s largest no-kill dog rescue shelter opens in Alabama

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By William Thornton | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

A facility billed as the largest no-kill dog rescue in the United States is now open in Macon County.

Big Dog Ranch Rescue Alabama has turned a 100-acre former greyhound training facility into a regional rescue center, which its owners say will eventually save about 5,000 dogs a year over a region covering eight states including Alabama.

Located in Shorter, the facility will serve as a rescue, rehabilitation and adoption center for neglected and abused dogs. It’s a companion facility for a similar shelter in Palm Beach County, Fla.

“The opening of a second Big Dog Ranch Rescue location is something I’ve prayed for over the years,” Big Dog Ranch Rescue Founder and CEO Lauree Simmons said. “It’s a great day for us and, more importantly, it’s a great day for the dogs.”

Founded in 2008 by Simmons, Big Dog Ranch Rescue says it has saved more than 53,000 dogs during its time.

Currently, the center is comprised of three renovated buildings housing more than 100 dogs, and a temporary veterinary center staffed by a medical team. The owner says a remaining 13 kennels will be renovated, along with other support buildings, as funding allows.

The center, according to its organizers, will help alleviate a pet overpopulation crisis in the Southeast, and allow adoptable dogs to be transported later to Northeastern rescue partners. Cost of living increases have resulted in overcrowded shelters and a soaring euthanasia rate, they say.

Crews Begin Work On 683-Acre Industrial Park

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Construction crews in Tuskegee, Ala., are working on the first phase of a master-planned industrial park that's been years in the making.

The 683-acre Regional East Alabama Logistics (REAL) Park in Macon County is expected to dramatically boost economic growth in the area when completed.

"The park is being developed in three phases," said Joe Turnham, director of the Macon County Economic Development Authority (MCEDA). "The large acreage affords the community and developer the ability to offer site arrangements and clusters of larger acreage lots that accommodate buildings up to one million square feet, or buildings of 200,000 square feet. Large parcels along the I-85 corridor are becoming increasingly rare, and this large acreage park allows Macon County and REAL Park to compete in a limited space."

The project, an effort led by Farpoint Development and the local Bassett family, is situated on a portion of the existing Beck's Turf Farm. Turnham said now is the right time to build.

"Our nation and the state are very limited on available inventory of warehouse, logistics and manufacturing space that is quick to market," said Turnham. "It's hard to find lease space of this magnitude anywhere in the corridor. Some experts say America is one billion square feet short of viable inventory of space. By having partners like Farpoint and Opportunity Alabama, we are able to offer ready-space in a hungry market and win projects for our community."

The structure is being erected to attract new tenants to the project.

"The REAL Park and this first building are located at Exit 42 on I-85 in the growth area of the corridor," said Turnham. "Having available, Class-A industrial space ready for occupancy puts Macon County and its partners in a unique and favorable position to win projects that need to be in the corridor right away. Speed to market is essential in today's environment."

Turnham noted the spec building sets the tone and quality for the type of development REAL Park will become. Building 2 and 3 are expected to emerge quickly once the first building is finished.

"REAL Park has three phases planned and can change and accelerate that model based on the market and demand," he said. "We see a park that can ultimately accommodate a dozen or more buildings and at least five million square feet."

The estimated price tag will change with build-out and customer specification, with 169,000 sq. ft. expandable up to roughly 250,000 sq. ft. Costs vary, but range from approximately $15-25 million.

The effort is primarily a private development with participation from Opportunity Alabama and its new investment fund. The local public communities and utilities are providing secondary funding of utilities and infrastructure.

"The genesis of this project is based on relationships, dreams and daring entrepreneurship," said Turnham. "It's a model of how communities, investors, developers, utilities, contractors and other stakeholders can pull off a regional gem and create inventory for the state of Alabama to market, as well.

The spec building is designed by MCA Architects of South Carolina and is a versatile space with tilt-wall construction that can be adapted for various uses. It can easily be divided into smaller spaces for multiple individual tenants.

Turnham also is pleased with the expected economic impact.

"The park at full development portends to create over 1,000 new jobs, and up to $500 million or more in new investments. Furthermore, the new tax revenues and payrolls will allow Tuskegee-Macon County to invest in infrastructure, education and workforce development, as well as attract new retail and housing for a new generation."

According to Philip Williams, CCIM, Farpoint's director of development, "The site is very conducive to Class-A industrial development, and from that standpoint, it is easily developed. The biggest challenges on this project are the same other developers face with increased construction costs, a tight labor market and materials availability, which we have mitigated to a large degree.

"We are currently under construction on the first building and are continuing design on the overall site. We have completed the majority of site work and will be pouring the slab in several weeks. We will continue construction from now until the first quarter of 2023, when we will deliver the first building."

Williams pointed out, "Tilt-wall construction is the preferred method of construction for this type of industrial building in this part of the U.S., and has a useful life greater than 50 years, representing a solid structure that will attract high quality industrial users seeking a Class-A product.

"We will be completing offsite traffic modifications, including additional turn lanes and more enhancements as the industrial park continues to expand. The project will have an ALDOT standard road that spans throughout the entire industrial park. This is a unique opportunity to serve such an important community and help bring jobs to an area that has often been overlooked and underinvested."

The park is brokered by Cushman-Wakefield and is being built by Doster Construction of Birmingham.

"Doster is one of Alabama's top construction companies, and has been a super professional partner," said Turnham. "They have a superior design-build team and move quickly and nimbly to meet client needs."

Doster senior project manager Erik Oxford noted that tilt-up construction requires significant organization and collaboration on the building site.

"The chronological steps that need to be taken for a tilt-up project are site evaluation, engineering, footings and floor slabs, forming tilt-up panels, steel placement, embeds and inserts, concrete placement, panel erection and panel finishing."

Completed construction includes all under slab utilities and interior footings, but much work remains.

"Currently, we are working on the site installing drainage ditches, domestic water line, fire water line and installing the Industrial Park Drive main roadway," said Oxford. "We are pouring our continuous footings in preparation to start pouring the slab."

Tasks yet to be carried out include forming and pouring the tilt wall, erecting the tilt wall, erecting the structural steel and receiving and installing the TPO roof.

Oxford said site work is a lengthy process, because of the size of the property.

"Concrete will be time-consuming as well, as we are pouring the slab that is 168,480 square feet, and then the tilt walls. The total volume of concrete will be approximately 5,200 cubic yards."

One of the big advantages for crews has been working on an existing sod farm.

"The site was relatively flat. No clearing was involved. We were able to strip the topsoil and go to work."

A total of 24,707 cu. yds. of fill material will be moved during construction, along with 24,215 cu. yds. of topsoil.

There has been no roadwork to date; however, crews will install a site road, as well as a southbound right-hand turn lane on HWY 186 into the park.

Major milestones for the project will include the final slab pour, erection of tilt walls, erection of structural steel and completion of the roof.

Equipment on the job includes excavators, bulldozers, rock trucks, a 250-ton crawler crane, manlifts and all-terrain forklifts. Main materials include concrete, steel, roof insulation and TPO roof.

"It's truly an honor to be associated with a project that has the potential to provide such an economic impact to the Macon County community," said Oxford.

Turnham added, "This project is a dream and case study of how public and private collaboration make new economic reality. As Governor Kay Ivey said at the June groundbreaking ceremony, this is good for Alabama." CEG

Industrial Market Set for Major Growth in the Southeast

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The industrial construction market in the southeast is projected to have immense growth over the next several years. The changes in the market are a result of ecommerce, supply chain issues, logistics strategy changes, and the development of EV auto plants. This has caused a huge demand for new manufacturing, distribution, and storage facilities near interstate and rail avenues.

The Golden Triangle which includes the I-85 corridor is projected to be the focus of industrial development in the United States because of rail connectivity, interstate corridors, growth of the Mobile port, population migration, and the shift of the supply chain.

We asked Justin Patwin, Managing Director at Farpoint Development, some questions about the current state of the industrial market. Hear what he had to say below.

What is your opinion of the industrial market today, particularly in the southeast?

“The southeast in general is still very much undersupplied with high quality industrial product given the continued demand, not to mention the influx of people moving to the southeast from other parts of the country. In areas like the Carolinas, the market is a lot tighter with the volume of activity we are seeing but in other areas, like Alabama, there’s more opportunity for future growth.”

What indicators do you look for as a company when deciding where to develop property?

“We certainly like to see where land pricing is relative to the cost of construction. We also like to see strong demand from the national brokerage community – who is in the market for space and what the leasing velocity is like for a given area. We are also looking to see what other developments are going and what does the general pipeline look like for the next 2-4 years.”

What were the key factors that drew you to Wire Road, Exit 42 in Macon County for the R.E.A.L Park?

“I think the first thing from a location perspective is the opportunity to have a large land assemblage right off I-85 stood out to us, especially knowing that there isn’t a lot of Class A space in the vicinity. From there, it was also the opportunity to create something impactful for Macon County fit well with our overall mission as a company. We like projects where we can do well for the firm and good for the community – those are win, win scenarios that don’t come around that often.”

Just within the last month, Doster has broken ground on three Alabama industrial projects for Farpoint Development, Fed Ex, and Lockheed Martin. The market trends predict that this growth will continue, and Doster has an experienced Industrial Division in place to provide preconstruction and construction services on your next project.

Read more about Doster’s expertise in Industrial Construction here.

Contact us

Joe Turnham
608 Dibble Street, Suite 7
Tuskegee, AL 36083