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New Industrial Park in Jefferson County Could Total 4,700 Jobs, Say Officials

The JCEIDA's JeffMet North is more than 1,000 acres off I-65 and Exit 275. (Photo courtesy of JCEIDA)

By Barnett Wright

The Birmingham Times

A new industrial park planned for Jefferson County on more than 1,000 acres could total close to 4,700 jobs when full and be made up of automobile suppliers and distribution centers, said Othell Phillips, executive director of the Jefferson County Economic Industrial and Development Authority.

Jefferson Metropolitan North Industrial Park is located off Interstate 65 at Exit 275 near the Gardendale/Morris area.

From a logistics standpoint, most automobile manufacturers want their suppliers within 90 miles which makes the property ideal, Phillips said.

JeffMet North is 72 miles from the Toyota Mazda plant in Huntsville, 47 miles from the Mercedes plant and 57 miles from the Honda plant in Lincoln.

“We will have a good chance of landing automobile suppliers that would supply to those large automobile manufacturers,” said the JCEIDA executive director.

Phillips said he wants the new park to duplicate the success of JeffMet McCalla which has yielded 4,658 jobs.

“JeffMet McCalla has been very successful,” he said. “If you look at the developable acreage, we have produced 6.5 jobs per acre on that property. If you use that same scale at the North Jefferson property, we have the potential of producing 4,700 jobs.

“McCalla is more of a manufacturing and industry park and that’s kind of what we’re trying to duplicate in the North Jefferson area,” he said, ”because the manufacturing industry produces more jobs.”

JeffMet North will target suppliers for the aforementioned auto plants, following the pattern established with the relationship between JeffMet McCalla and the Vance Mercedes plant, which has eight buildings that house automobile suppliers for Mercedes, Hyundai and others.

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

Jefferson County Economic and Industrial Development Authority was formed in 1995 by the Jefferson County Commission with a mission to provide an inventory of commercial sites for new and expanding businesses.