HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – The week started off with a bang for Huntsville, as Governor Robert Bentley, city, county and state leaders welcomed Remington Outdoor Company.
The United States’ oldest manufacturer of firearms will add a facility in Huntsville, bringing more than 2,000 jobs over the next decade.
Remington Arms’ CEO George Kollitides was in attendance and said Alabama was the clear choice.
“The state motto says it all,” Kollitides said as he started his speech. “We Dare Defend Our Rights.”
Scroll to the bottom to read our blog of the day’s events. Here are videos from each of the speakers – click on each one to watch the various announcements:
Remington will buy a 500,000-square-foot building on Wall Triana Highway for manufacturing, new product development and training for the company’s commercial, military and law enforcement businesses.
The Military Times’ GearScout website reported the news on Friday. No city, county or state leaders would officially confirm the news over the weekend, only saying there was a big economic development announcement planned for Monday. However, U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) confirmed Remington would be it.
The Huntsville City Council also called a special meeting Monday to approve an incentives package for Remington.
Our live blog begins shortly before 2 p.m. We are setting up now at the Huntsville Madison County Chamber of Commerce.
Alabama State Senator Bill Holtzclaw told me that he’s excited to
finally be able to talk about the big announcement, just as soon as
Bentley breaks the big news officially.
We’re streaming the announcement here: http://whnt.com/on-air/live-streaming/
The press conference has begun.
The governor of Alabama, mayor of Huntsville, TVA chairman, chairmen of the Madison, Morgan, and Limestone County Commissions, congressmen, and many more elected and appointed officials are in attendance.
The Secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce Greg Canfield has taken the stage.
He says he and other elected officials began courting this internationally known company in spring 2013.
Canfield is thanking many people who he says were instrumental to the process of bringing this yet-to-be-announced company to Alabama.
Canfield says in August in 2013, nine sites from all over Alabama were introduced to the company for possible locating.
The company quickly narrowed the location to Huntsville and found a building that suited their needs, according to Canfield.
Canfield announced the company to be the U.S.’s largest manufacturer of firearms.
The CEO of Remington Arms has taken the stage.
George Kollitides, the CEO of Reminton, said that he and his company are proud to be in Alabama, “The state that put a man on the moon”
George Kollitides, the CEO of Remington Arms, is on the stage now.
Kollitides says that he is proud to be in a state with such strong support of the armed forces.
Kollitides says that Remington brings the best in outdoor weapons, ammunition, and gear to the United States.
Kollitedes says that Alabama’s strong support of rights is something that his company has in common with the state.
The process to select a new location was extensive, according to Kollitedes, but he says that Huntsville won hands down.
More than 2,000 jobs are planned over the next decade, Kollitiedes says.
Kollitides has thanked the officials present and all of Alabama for welcoming him and his company to the state.
Governor Robert Bentley has taken the stage.
Bentley has welcomed Remington to Huntsville.
24 states made offers to Remington, according to Bentley.
Rick Perry, the governor of Texas, called Bentley yesterday, congratulating him for the securing of Remington, Bentley says.
Bentley says the pro-business attitude of the state, the cooperative spirit for business, and the strong support of the Second Amendment were deciding factors for Remington to come to Huntsville.
Bentley says Remington will prosper because the people trained in Huntsville will be the best workers in the world.
Bentley has presented Kollitiedes with a token of the Great Seal of Alabama, welcoming him to “Sweet Home Alabama.”
Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle has taken the stage.
He cites a local poll asking if people support Remington coming to Huntsville. He reports that 97% of people supported Remington coming to Huntsville.
He joked that his approval numbers have never been so high.
Battle says that he his proud that Huntsville has become a home for advanced manufacturing. He promises Kollitiedes a highly skilled and greatly trained workforce.
Madison County Commission Chairman Dale Strong has taken the stage.
He says “project traveler,” the code name for Remington, has been the best kept secret in Madison County.
Strong says the Remington is on track to be the third largest private employer in Alabama.
The press conference is drawing to an end.
A reminder, tonight at 5, the Huntsville City Council will hold a special meeting to discuss the development agreement with Remington.
WHNT News 19 reporter David Kumbroch is currently interviewing Governor Bentley to find out more information about what Remington coming to Huntsville will mean for the state.
Tune in to WHNT tonight to see what the governor tells David.
Note: Videos from news conference are processing – we’ll post them shortly.
Also – we will pick up the live blog tonight at 5 p.m. at the special-called Huntsville City Council meeting.
Videos added above – click on each one to see the various announcements from Remington CEO George Kollitedes, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, Alabama Secretary of Commerce Greg Canfield, Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle and Madison County Commission Chairman Dale Strong.
Mayor Battle has called the meeting to order.
Battle says that he and others have been under a non-disclosure agreement since April 2013.
First up for discussion, the Project Development Agreement between Huntsville, Madison County, and Remington.
Battle called on Michelle Jordan to talk about the recruitment of Remington.
Jordan says Remington Outdoor Company aligns very well with Huntsville’s economic development mission in increasing the manufacturing sector of the economy.
Shane Davis, Huntsville Director of Urban Development says the project began in July of 2013. Huntsville was evaluated with 24 other states and numerous cities to find the best fit for Remington.
The building, located at 100 Electronics Blvd, the former Chrysler facility, was able to meet Remington’s needs, according to Davis.
Full employment is expected to happen by year eight, according to the economic development agreement between Huntsville and Remington.
Rod Kanter, who helped construct the development agreement, said that the first phase of local incentives provided by the city totals $12.5 million dollars for the acquisition of the facility and capital for its improvement.
The money will be provided in installments, provided that Remington hires the projected number of employees agreed upon and the average salary meets the agreed upon amount.
The second phase of incentive is a $2.0 million incentive that is set up to be an incentive program.
When an agreed upon number of full time employees are hired, incentive money will be made available to the company. For every 250 full time employees are hired, $500,000 will be given to Remington, up to the full $2.0 million.
Mayor Battle says he is sure that Remington will meet or exceed expectations.
The City of Huntsville’s immediate financial commitment is $9.5 million for the acquisition of the facility at 100 Electronics Blvd to come from the city’s capital improvement program fund.
Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce CEO Chip Cherry said the capital investment by Remington is projected to be $110,900,000 and its estimated annual payroll is projected to be $105,000,000, at full employment.
Mayor Tommy Battle said that they City of Huntsville is making a long term investment in a long term industry. He says that the city has safeguards in place to protect the city and the taxpayers in case Remington is unable to fulfill their end of the economic development agreement.
Battle says that Remington will own the facility in ten years, if they meet the employment targets agreed upon.
The state government’s incentive to Remington is $50 million, according to Battle.
Workforce development training will occur through a AIDT and local colleges. Job fairs will also be held to help ensure the workforce pool is made aware of the jobs.
Everyone will have a chance at the jobs, according to Battle.
These type of economic development projects come along every five to six years. Mayor Battle says he has received messages from mayors across the state, wishing they had the same decision to make about if to bring a major manufacturer to town or not.
Councilman Olshefski clarified that the city of Madison has contributed nothing to the incentives offered to Remington.
The city council has approved that economic development plan and amended the budget to include the incentive money offered to Remington.
The council is adjourned.
Tune in to WHNT News 19 tonight to hear what the Mayor and other city council members said about Remington coming to Huntsville.