Southwire will expand its operation in Villa Rica, with a $20 million project that is expected to bring 60 new high-paying jobs to the area.
The expansion was announced Friday by Villa Rica Mayor Jeff Reese, who said the project will be built at the company’s facility at the Trade Center Court Business Park, on the Douglas County side of the city, west of Mirror Lake Boulevard and between U.S. Highway 78 and Interstate 20.
Many of the details of the project are unknown, except that the expansion will bring 60 new jobs to the area, with an average hourly wage of $30.64, according to Reese. The mayor also said the project will involve a $20 million capital investment and a 400,000-square foot building.
Southwire officials did not return phone calls Friday afternoon to elaborate on the plan.
The project has been discussed for months by the Douglas County Board of Commissioners and by the Development Authority of Douglas County, which had identified the plan only as “Project Buck,” a code name used on the agendas of work sessions and commission meetings.
Such code names are not unusual in the early stages of similar large-scale projects.
The project also involves a tax abatement incentive program, also typical of similar projects.
In August, the Douglas County Sentinel reported that the county Development Authority unanimously voted to approve a tax incentive resolution and to refer the matter to the county Board of Commissioners.
Under such agreements, a corporation is allowed by city and county governments to pay a limited amount of property tax as its project gets under way, and then gradually pays more in taxes in succeeding years. In exchange, the companies pledge to make the capital improvements to their facilities and add the promised jobs to the area.
The addition to Villa Rica’s industrial base was welcomed by Reese.
“As the mayor of City of Villa Rica, we are excited to announce the expansion of the Southwire Facility in the Douglas County portion of the City of Villa Rica,” Reese said in a written statement. “We would like to acknowledge the time and efforts of the Douglas County Economic Development Authority and others to bring additional jobs and investment into the city. It speaks well of our individual and collective governmental agencies and entities when we can work together to bring new jobs and quality development into the area.”
Chris Pumphrey, executive director of the Douglas County Development Authority, issued a statement on his Twitter account:
“Southwire has had a significant economic impact on our region. The new jobs resulting from this project have salaries nearly two times our average wage.”
According to the Development Authority, the 2015 per capita salary of employees in the county averaged as $24,145 and is projected to be over $27,000 by 2020.
On Sept. 5, Pumphrey discussed “Project Buck” with members of the Douglas County BOC, which told them that the company would complete their construction sometime next year, and that the tax abatement plan would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2019.
Southwire was founded in 1950 in Carrollton by Roy Richards Sr., and has since expanded to become a global supplier of wire and cable.
According to Forbes, the company employs over 3,000 people and has sales revenue of $4.7 billion. It ranks number 82 on the magazine’s list of the country’s largest private companies.
Douglas County Sentinel editor Ron Daniel and reporter Liz Marino contributed to this article.