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Posted: Thursday, January 2nd 2014 at 11:16am

EDC, GHCC look ahead to new year year, reflect on 2013

By Staff
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Evans
GAINESVILLE - The Gainesville-Hall County Economic Development Council (EDC) and the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce report a successful 2013 with positive trends for 2014, including increased capital expansion, continued job creation, major construction projects in the community and a positive job creation forecast for the next two years.

In 2013, economic development efforts of the EDC and the Greater Hall Chamber assisted 33 existing and new companies with 36 projects to create 950 new jobs and invest $180 million. Several companies had more than one project expansion during the period.

Manufacturing and processing firms that contributed new growth in 2013 represented a diverse mix of businesses including life sciences, automotive, medical devices, international firms, food processing and other broad industry segments. The community’s growing life sciences and medical device businesses included expansions by Merial (France), Albert International (Germany) and the growth of a new sector for the South Hall County manufacturer Elringklinger Engineered Plastics (Germany). The life sciences sector added two new production labs with Atlanta Biologicals (Germany) and Aeon Clinical Laboratories, and the new Georgia Poultry Laboratory is set to open in 2014 in the newly developed Gateway Industrial Centre business park. Hall County’s growth in the life sciences industry benefits from a strong association with the poultry and food processing industries, as these industries share many support services, cold-chain logistics and demand similar specialized technical skills in quality control for food processing and life sciences.

Food processors Cargill and King’s Hawaiian continued to grow, with King’s Hawaiian announcing multiple line expansions in the manufacturer’s Oakwood Bakery that will be installed between 2014 and 2017 and contribute 481 new jobs in the years to come. Regretfully, Schreiber Foods will cease operations in Gainesville in 2014. The dairy, headquartered in Green Bay, Wisconsin, will consolidate for lower cost operations. At full production, the company employed 250 at the Gainesville plant.

Over half the growing firms the Chamber assisted have a combined location for their business headquarters and operations, and more than 80% of those with their headquarters in Hall County are U.S. subsidiaries of international firms. These included expansions by Bitzer (Germany), American Yazaki (Japan) as well as an additional location by ZF (Germany) and a new location for ALBAForm of the Czech Republic – Georgia’s first manufacturing and headquarters from the Czech Republic.

“The Gainesville-Hall County Economic Development Council’s investment in our Existing Industry Program is the cornerstone effort to growing the entire business community and the economy,” said Tim Evans, Vice President of Economic Development for the Greater Hall Chamber. “Hall County is home to nearly 300 manufacturing, processing operations representing over 27% of the County’s employment. These industries are the largest single segment of primary economic drivers in Hall County. Many of these existing industries support other non-production jobs in their headquarters, administration and in professional services such as finance, construction, real estate, logistics and healthcare.”

In addition to manufacturing and processing expansions, the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce reports growth in Healthcare – another primary employer for Hall County and the region. According to the Georgia Department of Labor, Healthcare is the largest share of the service sector employing 14% of Hall County’s employment base. Construction continues at the new South Hall Campus of Northeast Georgia Health System in Braselton adding to short term construction employment. With the opening planned for 2015, the campus will contribute to long-term employment growth for the region and improve access to the best quality healthcare system in Georgia.

“The outlook for 2014 and beyond is headed in a good direction for the Gainesville-Hall County Metropolitan Area, said Kit Dunlap, President and CEO of the Greater Hall Chamber. “Many of the expansions announced in 2013 will be hiring in 2014 and 2015, and for consecutive years, unemployment in Hall County continues its steady decline.”

2014 Projections
- The economic development pipeline for additional project activity from new and expanding firms is at an encouraging level with 67 active projects and several additional project expansions pending in the first months of 2014.
- Hall County’s regional role as a center for top ranked Healthcare services will be enhanced with the addition of the new Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Braselton in 2015.
- The growing and vibrant retail sectors in Hall County – Flowery Branch, Oakwood and Gainesville’s Downtown, Dawsonville Highway and New Holland Market areas – will compliment our role as a center for employment in automotive, professional and healthcare services.
- The 365 Corridor from Jesse Jewell Parkway North is a center for future commercial growth beginning from the New Holland Market, to the Gateway Industrial Centre and the newly acquired 145 acres at Howard Road and 365 acquired by TPA Realty, a world-class developer.
- New private residential development activity is responding to a decreasing supply of good quality available housing stock to meet current demand and a growing population.
- Future economic development growth will be supported by long-term public and private infrastructure investments to expand gas service, water, sewer, electrical distribution and telecommunications in Hall County.

Associated Categories: Homepage, Business News, Local/State News

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