Maury County's Key Business Advantages: Location, Labor and Land

Maury County's assets of a strategic location, abundant land and available, well-skilled labor mean this community has a bright future.

Kevin Litwin
On Friday, September 9, 2011 - 09:01
Columbia, TN

When it comes to competitive advantages, Maury County has the three L’s in its favor – location, land and labor. Centrally located near a major metropolitan area (Nashville) and a major interstate (I-65), the region offers convenient access to markets throughout the Southeast.

The area also has plenty of unoccupied space and sites for relocating or expanding industries, with parcels ranging from 10 to 500 acres. Cherry Glen Industrial Park, located off Highway 43 in Mt. Pleasant, is TVA-certified as a deal-ready park, with utilities and access roads in place and environmental assessments completed. The 587-acre park offers premier lakefront plots with office, commercial and industrial zoning.

In Spring Hill, local leaders are working on a plan to extend city sewer lines east of I-65 to attract more commercial development, and Columbia has long been considered the retail and services hub for this southern Middle Tennessee region.

Northfield Marketed for Training, Incubator

A large labor pool available in the wake of the General Motors plant closure means that Maury County can offer companies its most valuable asset: a well-trained, highly skilled workforce, one that has even more opportunity for specific career development now that the South Central Tennessee Workforce Alliance has leased Northfield, GM’s former 320,000 square-foot administrative and training center, with the option of purchasing the building down the road.

With 100,000 square feet dedicated to workforce and career development, the remaining square footage of this expansive space is being marketed for back-office and business accelerator usage, says Tom Brewer, interim director of the center.

“The Maury County Chamber and Economic Alliance and community leaders know this building is a jewel, and GM is being more than a generous partner in making this work,” Brewer says, noting that Northfield offers a 10-bay automotive garage, a 100-seat theater, a 300-seat multipurpose room, a soundstage with two recording studios, 30 classrooms, 90 conference rooms, six computer labs and 700 fully furnished office cubicles.

Workforce training at Northfield will not be built around a set curriculum, Brewer says, but will be centered on the needs of business, making it a useful tool in Maury County’s well-equipped economic development toolbox. Training can be designed for the specific needs of new or existing companies in this versatile five-star facility. Its potential as a full-service corporate location hasn’t even been tapped at this early stage in plan development, Brewer says.

“Northfield is set up as a ‘plug and play’ for a call center or corporate headquarters,” says Elizabeth West, director of economic development for the Maury Alliance. “This is truly an incredible asset for our community.”

Northfield's vast space, along with Maury County's central location and skilled workforce, has already caught the attention of Soltility, a Friendsville, Tenn.-based solar energy firm, which is working on negotiating a deal to lease 10,000 square feet inside the facility to assemble solar photovoltaic arrays for home and business installation.

Incentives Available

If location, land and labor weren’t enough, the county also offers attractive incentives for qualifying companies, West says.

“The communities of Maury County take a strong pro-business attitude when it comes to job creation and capital investment,” West says. “Tax abatements or deferrals may be offered on both city and county levels once a project has been evaluated and if it meets certain job creation and wage criteria, skill levels and capital investment, and the government entities in Maury County will assist with securing state grants and incentives for infrastructure improvements.”

Thanks to a four-year strategic plan funded through a $2.75 million public/private partnership, the Maury Alliance is sharpening its focus on the four prongs of economic development: new business attraction, existing business, workforce development concentrated on knowledge-based companies and attracting new workforce talent to this community that offers a dynamic quality of life.



Kevin Litwin is the author of Crazy Lucky Dead and a freelance feature writer with a career spanning more than 20 years.