Alabama Department of Commerce is a sponsor of our 2013 Auto/Aero Site Guide.
It’s a well-known fact that supply chain and logistics issues affect the location decisions of all manufacturers — and particularly those in the automotive sector. Major assembly operations and their OEM suppliers locate in proximity to one another, and the finished products need good road and rail transportation access to deliver their products to consumer markets. Part of that equation has been satisfied through CSX’s Select Site Program, which identifies for manufacturers those properties along the CSX network that can rapidly utilize freight rail service. This designation confirms that standard land use issues have been addressed on the sites and they are ready for development.
“The Select Site designation promotes shorter decision timelines, increased speed to market, and lower upfront development risk for companies seeking industrial property to place their manufacturing operations,” said Clark Robertson, CSX assistant vice president for Regional Development. And according to CSX’s Regional Development Manager John Sanford, the I-85 Site in Macon County, Alabama, is the first recipient in the state to receive CSX Select Site designation. It is situated along the Hyundai-Kia automotive corridor just off I-85, connecting Montgomery and Atlanta, Ga. It would be an ideal site for a Tier 1 or 2 automotive supplier.
Alabama ranks fourth nationally for car and light truck production. Mercedes- Benz, Honda, and Hyundai have assembly plants in the state; engines are assembled for Toyota and Navistar; and numerous automotive OEMs operate throughout the state.
CSX’s site certification program complements Alabama’s own AdvantageSite designation. Again, AdvantageSites have also undergone a vetting process to ensure they meet all standards relevant to accessibility, infrastructure, planning/zoning, and environmental and geotechnical due diligence. Greg Knighton, vice president of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, noted, “We commend the communities that recognize the importance of having prepared sites and for committing the resources to receive AdvantageSite designation.”
There are currently 44 AdvantageSites in Alabama, stretching from north to south. Recently, Rausch & Pausch LP (RAPA), a Tier 2 automotive supplier that is headquartered in Germany, chose a location in Auburn Technology Park West, with AdvantageSite designation for its U.S. headquarters and production facility. According to company President and CEO Kelly Nelson, the fact that all the preliminary due diligence was performed on the site was a factor in the firm’s location decision.