|Autauga County State and Local Leaders Cut Ribbon On Massive Industrial Spec Building to Spur Regional Economic Growth|
Pine Level, AL- “If you build it, they will come.” Ted Clem, director of business development at the Alabama Department of Commerce, said he generally does not put much stock on the classic Field of Dreams line.
But in the case of economic development, when a county can offer a ready-made site for development, coupled with a strong support system, “yes, it works.”
“The strategy has worked repeatedly—and it’s worked in this community,” Clem said, an Autaugian himself.
Kristi Pieper, director of economic and community development for Autauga County, welcomes guests to the ribbon cutting on a new industrial spec building at the Central Alabama Electric Cooperative Interstate Business Park in Pine Level on Thursday, Sept. 21. (Jacob Holmes/The Post)
Clem was just one of numerous officials on hand to celebrate the ribbon cutting on the newest project in Autauga County’s economic development portfolio on Thursday—a newly completed “Class A” industrial spec site that will soon be used to attract a major manufacturer to the fast-growing Pine Level area and become “an economic engine for the entire region.”
The building measures at a massive 50,000 square feet, with the site already prepped for expansion up to 100,000 square feet as soon as the occupying manufacturer is ready. And with nearby land available, the site could eventually house up to 250,000 square feet of workspace. It also measures up to32 feet at its eaves and is just one mile from I-65.
Multiple officials emphasized: “The building is now for sale.”
“We are making Autauga County the best place to live, worship, work and play,” said Kristi Pieper, director of economic and community development for Autauga County. “In economic development, we talk about recruiting and marketing, and that is certainly very important. But if you don’t have a product, you don’t have a place for these companies to go for industrial prospects.
“We know speed to market is vital for today’s industries and having a spec building that can be easily modified for any number of industries really takes our community to another level in competing to win industrial projects.”
Steve Sewell, vice president of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, said having a product isn’t just necessary to win industries, it’s a must-have to even “get in the hunt.”
“We get calls every week from companies,” Sewell said. “I’d say 98 percent of them start with ‘Do you have a site? Do you have a building that meets the requirements that we’re looking for?’”
Many of the officials present had just been on this site six months earlier, when it was nothing more than some shovels in the dirt.
State Sen. Clyde Chambliss, R-Prattville, said the 174-day turnaround is exciting for everyone to see the new building so quickly, but said it is also important for ensuring speed to market.
“When a business gets a contract and they have 360 days to get from dirt to production to customer—we’ve just taken 180 days out of that timeline,” Chambliss said.“That’s why it’s so important because when a business has that opportunity, if they can’t meet that timeline, they’re out of the running for that business. So that 174 days is very, very important.”
Now that the building is ready to be occupied, officials are just waiting on the next big announcement—which industry is the next to call Autauga County home?