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Three companies set to bring 333 jobs to Rutherford

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Three new projects were approved by the Rutherford County Industrial Development Board on Wednesday morning for La Vergne, Smyrna and Rockvale bringing 333 jobs with annual salaries ranging from $28,000 to $75,000 to the county.

"These projects continue to demonstrate the vitality of Rutherford County's economy," said Bill Jones, IDB chairman and president of Destination Rutherford.

Jones said the Chamber of Commerce is currently working with 33 companies, in various stages of negations, to relocate or expand in Rutherford County. The projects have a potential economic impact of $1.1 billion with more than 5,000 possible jobs in mainly advanced manufacturing and distribution/logistics.

"It's a testament to the vitality of our local economy," Jones said.

Not all of the projects will result in jobs, but three of the 33 did Wednesday morning.

Project Triton

At the highest end of the wage scale, Triton Construction will spend $2.2 million to build a 13,000-square-foot expansion to its Rockvale facility. The expansion will add 25 new jobs with an average annual wage of $75,000.

"The company was looking to relocate its assets and we were able to work with them," said Brian Hercules, vice president of economic development at the Chamber of Commerce.

Triton is a leader in the gas pipeline and fabrication industry. Its existing facility in Rockvale will be expanded to support the company's growth in its fabrication department. The company will build equipment used in natural gas infrastructure, Hercules explained.

"We are excited about the growth of Triton Construction," owner Bill McDowell said. "We are optimistic about the future opportunities in the natural gas industry."

On Wednesday, the IDB approved a five-year payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) plan, which will abate the taxes on the company's $1.49 million capital investment by 100 percent.

Under the incentive package, Rutherford County will forgo collecting taxes on improvements at the site, as well as any industrial equipment that are part of the project. The incentive package is estimated at $71,641.

The project is expected to contribute more than $5 million to the local economy in wages and other taxes over the five-year period, according to an economic impact study.

"The wages are good and the jobs are unique," Jones said. "Triton points out that there are lots of things going on that aren't national deals, that there are local companies providing a valuable service at a high wage."

Construction is expected to be completed in January 2018.

Project Valeo

Nissan supplier Valeo North America is expanding it existing facility in Smyrna by 83 new jobs over the next five years, Hercules said.

Valeo produces products and systems that contribute to the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions and to the development of intuitive driving.

The French company has 166 plants, 20 research centers, 38 development centers and employs 100,900 people in 32 countries.

The auto supplier plans to invest $25 million to expand existing operations in Smyrna and in return it will receive $728,509 in tax incentives over seven years.

The expansion will add 130,000 square feet so Valeo can increase the volume of existing product offerings and add new product lines.

Manufacturing at the Smyrna facility will include front-end modules, active grill shutters, and HVAC products.

"We are thrilled that Valeo continues to add commerce and opportunity to the town of Smyrna," Smyrna Mayor Mary Esther Reed said.

In return for its investment, the IDB approved a tax abatement of 100 percent on Valeo's new equipment over seven years. Only the equipment qualifies because the company will be refurbishing an existing facility.

Over the seven-year period, Valeo will pay more than $2.2 million in real property taxes and contribute more than $10 million in wages and taxes over the PILOT, according to an economic impact study.

The new jobs created, 33 in 2017 and 50 in 2018, will receive an average annual salary of $35,000, plus benefits, Hercules said.

"They are effectively doubling the size of their employment," Hercules said.

Valeo also received incentives from the Tennessee Valley Authority.

Project HYLA

HYLA Inc., a mobile device reverse logistics technology and services provider, will open a new facility in La Vergne, creating 225 jobs at an average annual wage of $27,686.

"We selected the state of Tennessee, Rutherford County and La Vergne due to its central location, business-friendly climate, and high-quality talent pool," HYLA CEO Biju Nair said in a press release.

HYLA will locate its new operations in an existing 100,000-square-foot facility in La Vergne where it will refurbish pre-owned cell phones.

"They buy the phones from major providers, wipe them of data and repair them," Hercules explained. The company then resells the phones, mostly to overseas clients.

To date, HYLA has refurbished more than 43 million devices, which has diverted more than 9,500 tons of e-waste away from landfills and avoided 51.5 billion gallons of water pollution.

HYLA plans to make a $860,000 capital investment. In exchange, the IDB approved a five-year PILOT on valued at $29,407.

Under the incentive package, Rutherford County and the city of La Vergne will forgo collecting taxes on improvement at the site and on the building, as well as any industrial equipment that are part of the project.

Over the five-year period, the company is expected to have a $27 million economic impact in wages and other taxes, according to an economic impact study.

HYLA also received incentives from the state of Tennessee and TVA.

In unrelated business, the board also adopted an open records policy to be in compliance with the state's Sunshine Law. It sets a policy for dealing with records requests from the public and media.

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