A $3 million bond through The Bank of LaFayette was approved Thursday, May 31, for a lease-purchase by Phillips Machine Holdings LLC. The company, which does business as Phillips Bros. Machine Co. in Rossville, is looking to expand its production and add more jobs.
“We’re looking at significant job creation with this thing,” said Walker County economic development director Larry Brooks. Phillips currently employs about 60 people in its heavy equipment parts manufacturing plant. With the larger space in the BlueBird industrial park, the company looks to expand to 100 jobs.
The BlueBird facility comprises more than 271,000 square feet of building space, as well as 125 acres. Phillips is going to take the building and 45 acres, leaving approximately 80 acres of prime industrial space in the hands of the county, ready for immediate market.
“The rest will be available on the market for the next industrial interest,” said Don Oliver, the county’s attorney. The remaining property will have frontage on three roads as well as utilities and amenities already available, making it more appealing to industrial prospects, he said.
The dealings with Phillips have been in the works for nearly a year, said Brooks.
“We at least get to the talking stage with five or six prospects a month,” said Oliver. “Unfortunately not many of them get to this stage, where we’re going down the final home stretch hopefully to the closing of this deal.”
Walker County is not fronting any funds for Phillips’s purchase of the BlueBird property, and is confident that it will not ever have to.
“Walker County has never had to make good on a pledge, ever,” said commissioner Bebe Heiskell of the county’s common bond-supporting practice.
Phillips is already beginning to move equipment into the BlueBird facility, and is expected to formally announce its move with a press conference by the end of the month.