Here, we look at just a few of the financial reasons that make the metro area so attractive to so many. read more
By Ken Abramczyk
Metro Atlanta continues to strengthen its reputation as a business hub as companies relocate to the area to build new headquarters and manufacturing facilities, as well as expand current ones. Local economies are fueled by those actions, resulting in job creation and new construction. And the area’s national rankings reflect that. In fact, metro Atlanta is ranked first in growth potential as a tech hub and fourth for corporate headquarters by Business Facilities Magazine. The Computing Technology Industry Association ranks Atlanta first in its tech diversity index, and Site Selection has named Georgia as the top state for doing business for eight consecutive years.
Year after year, the area’s economic growth buzzes along. According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, metro Atlanta’s gross domestic product grew from $269 billion in 2010 to $397 billion in 2018. That’s a 47 percent total increase over eight years. That kind of impressive economic development is not only driven by the businesses and brands that already call Atlanta home, but it also attracts new companies and opportunities to the area. Here, we look at some of the big players and growing companies that have decided to make the move to metro Atlanta and nearby communities.
Anduril Industries, a defense technology company, will invest $60 million in a new manufacturing and research facility in Atlanta. Anduril’s new Atlanta office will be home to Area-I, a manufacturer of advanced unmanned aircraft systems purchased by Anduril in 2021 that acts as a wholly owned subsidiary of the company. More than 180,000 square feet inside industrial buildings will be transformed into mixed-use office, research and development, manufacturing and production space, located at 1435 Hills Place Northwest in Atlanta.
The move is expected to create 180 new jobs in Fulton County over the next three years. Area-I will be hiring for a variety of engineering disciplines, including aerospace, electrical, mechanical, software and systems backgrounds for research and development. The new space allows for the hiring of more skilled mechanical and avionics technicians.
Atlanta is an ideal spot for Anduril, as aerospace products are Georgia’s top export, totaling $9.19 billion in 2021 alone. According to the company, its mission is to transform U.S. and allied military capabilities with advanced technology by creating a path for the efficient development of cutting-edge artificial intelligence, computer vision and networking technology.
Boehringer Ingelheim, a leading Germany- based pharmaceutical health development and manufacturing company, recently started construction on a new 63,000-square-foot facility as part of a $57 million investment at its Animal Health Global Innovation Center in Athens.
Two existing administrative and laboratory spaces will be connected as part of this construction, and the existing innovation facilities will be renovated and expanded by 5,000 square feet. Expected to be completed by the spring of 2024, the company will add 55 new research and development positions. Boehringer Ingelheim manufactures vaccines, parasite-control products and therapeutics for pets, horses and livestock, and the expansion will bring additional research and development capabilities.
Since 2018, Boehringer Ingelheim has invested more than $100 million in facilities in Georgia. The company’s U.S. headquarters is located in Duluth, and its poultry vaccine manufacturing site is housed in Gainesville. The company focuses on human pharma, animal health and biopharmaceutical contract manufacturing. Boehringer Ingelheim also works with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services for the distribution of oral rabies vaccine, and the USDA awarded the company a contract to help supply vaccines to the National Animal Vaccine and Veterinary Countermeasures Bank to prevent foot-and-mouth disease in American livestock.
A manufacturer of medical devices used in interventional medical specialties, Boston Scientific will construct manufacturing and supply chain facilities in Johns Creek, investing $62.5 million in the project. The company will add an expected 340 new jobs over the next seven years.
Boston Scientific designs, develops and manufactures medical devices and therapies used in less-invasive procedures. Healthcare providers apply the company’s technologies in endoscopy, cardiology, peripheral interventions, oncology, urology and neurology. In 2016, Boston Scientific, headquartered in Massachusetts, purchased Georgia-based EndoChoice and currently employs approximately 300 workers across Georgia. More than 17,000 of the company’s products are used to treat approximately 30 million patients worldwide annually. Boston Scientific products treat benign and malignant tumors, gastrointestinal cancers and diseases, pulmonary diseases and lung cancers, digestion and nutrition, upper and lower GI bleeding and pancreatitis.
Ecopol, an Italian manufacturer of biodegradable film used to wrap everyday products, will build the company’s first North American facility and invest more than $38 million in Spalding County. The facility, which will be built at The Lakes at Green Valley eco-industrial park, is expected to create 130 new jobs in the area. The location is a 570-acre mixed-use development along the GA Highway 16 corridor that is dedicated to promoting clean, environmentally friendly manufacturing. All projects within The Lakes must achieve a certain “eco” rating from the Griffin-Spalding Development Authority, which provides a standard rating system for environmentally sustainable construction.
A sustainability-focused company, Ecopol manufactures water-soluble and biodegradable film used to wrap products such as detergents, agrochemicals, cosmetics and other consumer goods. The company strives to provide the consumer with a product that is easy to use, safe and environmentally friendly. For the new facility, Ecopol will be hiring for positions in production, maintenance and administration prior to the completion of construction.
80 Acres Farms, a vertical farming company, announced a $120 million investment in Covington with the development of a new facility that will generate more than four times as much food as the company’s largest facility in Hamilton, Ohio. The site will be capable of growing microgreens, leafy greens, vine crops and fruits year-round, boosting the company’s ability to meet consumer demand for local, fresh produce. The completion of the new facility, which is slated for early 2023, is expected to create 150 new jobs in Newton County, including hourly growing and harvesting jobs, as well as management positions in finance, sales and more.
80 Acre Farms’ name is derived not from the amount of land used to grow the farm’s products, but from the amount of food that is grown. In fact, the company is able to produce up to 300 times as much food per square foot as traditional farms, using 95 percent less water per pound of produce and minimizing food loss. The founders’ first farm was only a quarter acre, but as they used super-efficient vertical farming techniques, it could grow as much as 80 acres of traditional farmland, according to the company’s website.
Home Chef, a meal-producing company owned by Kroger, will open its first facility to incorporate a full-service kitchen for cooking and batch production at a 181,000-square-foot facility in Douglasville. As part of the company’s meal preparations, employees within the 6,000-square-foot kitchen will cook vegetables, starches and grains and produce sauces to be used in the company’s meals. Home Chef is expected to hire for nearly 700 jobs. The Douglasville location, which will be leased by Home Chef, is expected to make distribution and production of meals and food products more efficient for the company. It also will be the company’s first single-tenant facility and will include state-of-the-art features like an upgraded food-safe material design, better facility flow and more.
Home Chef, acquired by Kroger in 2018, offers simple recipes in many formats, saving time for customers. The company’s products include Oven-Ready and Fast & Fresh meals, along with its Culinary Collection for more adventurous home cooks. The company also creates add-ons like protein packs, salads and desserts. Customers can order meal kits or easy prep meal kits online or purchase in Kroger. Home Chef delivered over 10 million meals last year.
Jack Link’s, a meat snacks manufacturer, will expand its global reach by building a new manufacturing facility in Perry, which is expected to open for operations at the end of 2023. The $450 million investment is expected to create 800 jobs. The new production facility will be located on a 120-acre site at 720 Perry Parkway in the I-75 GRAD Certified Site in Houston County. The GRAD Certified Site is a Georgia Ready for Accelerated Development Certified park; properties must complete specific certification requirements prior to a visit by a prospective business to earn the GRAD program certification.
Job opportunities at the facility will include positions in management, production and production supervision, quality, maintenance, engineering and office support. Additionally, the company will take advantage of Georgia’s award-winning workforce project, Quick Start, which provides customized workforce training for companies.
Jack Link’s, a family-owned and operated company, makes a variety of high-quality meat snacks, including jerky, sausages, steak strips, bars and sticks. The company sells products in more than 40 countries and focuses on environmentally friendly manufacturing processes.
Okabashi Brands, a third-generation family-owned shoe company, has announced that it will reinvest in its Buford facility, doubling production by adding new manufacturing lines. Okabashi will invest $20 million over the next five years in its Gwinnett County-based facility and is expected to add 340 new jobs to the area. The renovation will add new manufacturing lines and allow the company to increase production by 100 percent. New positions also will open in manufacturing and distribution.
The Georgia-based women-led company has sold over 35 million pairs of shoes to major retailers via ecommerce and through major contract manufacturing customers. Okabashi Brands includes three lines: Okabashi, Oka-B and Third Oak, a turnkey contract manufacturing operation. Okabashi sandals are 100 percent recyclable, containing an average of 25 percent recycled content, part of the company’s sustainable manufacturing. The company is one of only one percent of footwear manufacturers operating in the U.S. today and has donated more than 100,000 pairs of shoes to frontline workers.
Procter & Gamble, an American multinational creator of personal healthcare and hygiene products, plans to invest $205 million in a new distribution facility in Jackson, creating 350 new jobs in Butts County. Located at 950 Logistics Parkway at the Georgia Ports Authority, the organization’s new state-of-the-art automated facility will span more than one million square feet of space. The company already operates a manufacturing facility in Albany and a distribution center outside of Atlanta.
Procter & Gamble’s numerous products are prominent in the American marketplace and found throughout American homes on bathroom and laundry room shelves, ranging from Charmin toilet paper and Puffs facial tissues to Cascade dishwasher detergent and Tide laundry products. The company recently reported net sales of $80.2 billion for fiscal year 2022, an increase of five percent over the previous year. The company also was recognized for innovation, diversity and corporate social responsibility.
The North American division of Saint-Gobain, an international light and sustainable construction company, will expand operations at its Dublin manufacturing facility, creating 400 new jobs over the next two years in Laurens County. Saint-Gobain ADFORS North America bought the Dublin facility at 168 Willie Paulk Parkway in June 2020 and manufactures products in heat protection and thermal insulation. As part of its $28 million investment, ADFORS will double its North American production of key materials by reactivating the facility’s furnace, idled in 2019 prior to the company’s purchase.
ADFORS manufactures and distributes materials and services for construction and industrial markets. The company emphasizes sustainability and performance in creating solutions in renovations of public and private buildings, light construction and decarbonization of construction and industries. The company resolves to address some of the challenges facing the construction industry with efforts to help reduce the 40 percent of carbon dioxide emissions linked to the construction sector, preserving natural resources and addressing challenges of rapid urbanization.
The expansion will see new positions open in site and operations management and engineering and will include opportunities for supervisors, production workers and others. The company plans to take advantage of Georgia’s Quick Start program to provide workforce training for new employees.