Tower Automotive to Occupy Delco Building

By: Stan Torgerson
By: Stan Torgerson

The T's are all crossed and the I's are all dotted. Meridian has its first spin-off development from the automotive industry.

"City, county and state governments took today to secure a new manufacturing facility in Meridian," said Joe Norwood, president of the Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors.

The move paved the way for Tower Automotive to build a second Mississippi facility, this time in Meridian. The plant is expected to provide about 200 jobs, producing frame and body components.

Tower Automotive will take possession of the old Delco Remy building, put on a 100,000 square foot addition and hire 200 to 300 people.

"With the right economic development, I see a tremendous future," said EMBDC board chairman, Paul Barrett. "I think we've learned that we can go through this process together with the city, the county, the state, that we can work together, that we can pool our resources and make good things happen for this community. I do think this is just the beginning."

The project will be funded with a $9 million bond issue by the supervisors. The company will repay half of that as well as the entire cost of the addition. The balance will be retired through additional tax collections as a result of the plant.

The city deeded title of the building to the county as well as $829,000 in insurance proceeds. The state added $800,000 in economic development grants.

The present building will be gutted, leaving only the four outside walls and then reconfigured to suit the manufacturer. Total initial investment by all parties will be in excess of $50 million.

Officials say the company has indicated the average wage rate will be $12.00 per hour. There will be salaried positions as well.

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