Posted on: Saturday - May 5, 2018

A Wall Street firm is moving its corporate headquarters from New York City to Nashville. A boat manufacturer is investing $9 million to build a new plant in Lake County, creating nearly 200 jobs. 

A South Korean automotive and appliance supplier is planting a flag in Weakley County. A longtime Selmer employer kicked off two new lines of production.   

All told, it was a busy and consequential week for Tennessee. Gov. Bill Haslam and TNECD Commissioner Bob Rolfe announced nearly 1,500 new jobs and more than $90 million in private capital investment across the Volunteer State.

Here’s a roundup of this week’s major economic development news.

Lake County’s Big Day
Tucked in Tennessee’s northwest corner between Reelfoot Lake and the Mississippi River, Lake County has not had a new, significant industrial project in many years. 

On Monday, Gov. Haslam stopped in Lake County. Hundreds of residents gathered in the gym at Lara Kendall Elementary School in Ridgely to celebrate the county’s largest economic development project in recent memory.

Excel Boat Company, LLC announced it would invest $9 million to build a 100,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Ridgely. A manufacturer of a full-line of premier recreational boats, Excel Boats plans to create nearly 200 jobs over the next five years.

CEO Glenn Foreman said the plant has the capacity to eventually employ 300 people. Foreman considers the new plant a way to “make a huge difference in a community that truly wants us.” By the time Excel Boats hits its promised job count, it will be the largest private employer in Lake County.

Lake County, one of Tennessee’s smallest communities, is among the 15 distressed counties in the state, based on unemployment, poverty rates and household income. For all of those reasons, the new Excel Boats plant will be a major shot in arm for Lake County.

“One of our priorities has been to attract jobs and private capital investment in rural Tennessee,” Gov. Haslam said. “Excel Boats’ new plant and the creation of nearly 200 jobs will be transformational for Lake County.”

Weakley County Lures Its First FDI Project, 220 Jobs
Tuesday brought more good news for West Tennessee. Dong-A Hwa Sung Co. LTD unveiled plans to establish its first U.S. operations in Martin and Weakley County. The South Korean manufacturer will invest $13 million to build a new plant that will eventually employ 220 people. 

This is Weakley County’s first piece of foreign direct investment (FDI) and the latest in a string of South Korean firms that have planted a stake in Tennessee. Since 2011, South Korean firms have pledged to invest more than $1 billion in Tennessee operations.

Dong-A’s new plant will supply LG Electronics’ new home appliance factory in Clarksville and other appliance and automotive companies in Tennessee and North America. 

Founded in 1974, Dong-A supplies rubber and plastic components for home appliance and automotive makers. Its customers include Nissan and GM as well as fellow South Korean firms LG and Samsung Electronics.

AllianceBernstein to Bring 1,050-Job HQ to Nashville
Music City welcomed one of Wall Street’s oldest wealth management firms to town on Wednesday.

AllianceBernstein LP, a money manager that oversees approximately $550 billion in assets, announced it would invest more than $70 million to move its corporate headquarters to Nashville from New York City. The global financial firm plans to base 1,050 jobs in Nashville.

AB’s new headquarters ranks among the largest and most significant TNECD projects in Gov. Haslam’s tenure. AB relocation underscores Nashville’s rising profile as a hub for U.S. and international businesses.

“It is hard for me to overstate how important this is,” Gov. Haslam said. “I think this opens up an entirely new type of company to locate here. This is a major Wall Street firm that is going to call Nashville home.”

Here’s how president and CEO Seth Bernstein explained his company’s decision to move after more than 50 years in New York: 

“So why Nashville?” Bernstein said. “The short answer: Nashville emerged as the clear winner by every metric we analyzed: housing, education, cultural amenities, weather, cost of living, business-friendliness, ability to source the country’s top talent, diversity and inclusion and more. No other city could compete.”

“Nashville is a vibrant and growing city,” Bernstein continued. “Moving our corporate headquarters here allows us to offer advantages to our employees that we just simply couldn’t do in the New York Metropolitan area: a more affordable cost of living, with lower taxes and housing costs, a high quality-of-life including much shorter commuting times for many of our people and a brand new state-of-the-art working environment with all the best technology and tools.” 

Monogram Refrigeration Doubles Down in Selmer
Later on Wednesday, Gov. Haslam and Commissioner Rolfe traveled to Selmer, where Monogram Refrigeration celebrated the start of production of a new line of air conditioning units and new refrigeration products. 

Last year, Monogram, a subsidiary of GE Appliances, a Haier company, said it would invest $9.3 million to expand its Selmer facility, add two new production lines and create 210 jobs. The expansion will double Monogram’s headcount at its Selmer plant.

Monogram, a leading U.S. manufacturer of household appliances, has operated in McNairy County since 1986 and is among the county’s largest employers.

“We are grateful to Monogram for its continued investment in Tennessee and for choosing to grow its footprint in our state,” Gov. Haslam said. “Monogram has had operations in our state for more than 30 years and I appreciate this world-renowned company for its commitment to create more than 200 jobs in Selmer.”