John Deere Commercial Products' presence in Columbia County is growing stronger, economic developers said last week.
The small-tractor manufacturer in the Horizon South Industrial Park near Grovetown has purchased a warehouse building from the county years earlier than expected and poured new investment into another facility.
Just more than a year after moving into the Columbia County Development Authority's 128,000-square-foot speculative building and entering into a 10-year lease-purchase agreement, the company paid off the industrial revenue bonds on the facility.
The development authority Wednesday announced the sale's completion, which originally was estimated at $4.1 million.
The county built the spec building in 1998 to market to prospective companies. In late 2002, John Deere took over the building to use as a warehouse near its other manufacturing plants in Horizon South.
"It's significant to me because it shows that they're healthy and it points to the fact that they had a very strong year in 2003," Zack Daffin, executive director of the development authority, said about John Deere's decision to buy the building nine years earlier than scheduled. "It points to the fact that their future is bright here."
Along with the purchase of the spec building, John Deere also announced it is investing nearly $1 million in site improvements at its 5000 series facility to hold more parts and finished products.
"We have a wonderful partner in Deere; an industry that repeatedly demonstrates support of Columbia County's efforts to grow its industrial base," Bill Coleman, chairman of the development authority, stated in a press release. "Through their tremendous success, they have positioned themselves to be able to make additional investments in our community."
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