Skating With a Battery

North Georgia dreams of a bigger version of the Braves’ sports-driven development, while battery-powered vehicles keep driving manufacturing south.

Suppliers for Hyundai’s Metaplant have committed to investing almost $2 billion in southeastern Georgia. An auto dealer wants to invest that amount in an entertainment-based mixed-use development in Forsyth County. Killer Mike and Andrew Young are expanding their minority-focused financial app, and Yamaha and Gulfstream are growing. 

Fire and Ice 

The possible return of the National Hockey League to Georgia fired up interest in a proposed $2 billion mixed-used, entertainment-driven development in Forsyth County, but talk of pro hockey was on ice when the Forsyth Board of Commissioners received an overview April 25.  

Auto dealer Vernon Krause’s 84-acre development along Georgia 400, the Gathering at South Forsyth, includes 1 million square feet of Class A office space, 600,000 square feet of retail, a 500-room hotel, 2,400 apartments (none classified as affordable housing), a fire station, a community center with an ice rink, and an arena that would host more than 100 events a year.  

The development team projected 20,000 construction jobs and 12,000 “long-term employment opportunities” and repeatedly referenced The Battery, the development around the Atlanta Braves’ Truist Park. Tone Frisina of SCI Architects emphasized the flexibility and first-class amenities of the arena, which a filing with the Atlanta Regional Commission says could have 20,000 seats.  

But no one said “hockey,” let alone NHL. 

That makes sense. The league’s commissioner says expansion isn’t happening soon. A referendum in Tempe, Arizona, on May 16 will decide whether the only franchise considered a candidate to move, the Arizona Coyotes, will get a new arena in a Battery-like entertainment district. Atlanta lost the Flames in 1980 and the Thrashers in 2011, and the NHL has never given a city a third franchise.  

The Gathering’s team said the arena is feasible with a schedule of graduations, concerts, Broadway shows, circuses, and other entertainment. Earlier in the meeting, the board deferred a decision on a new library because of fiscal concerns, and Commissioner Todd Levent pushed unsuccessfully for details on what the developers want from the county. Still, he said the project “will change the trajectory of Forsyth County forever.” 

Commissioner Laura Semanson said any county contribution “is not something that the average taxpayer here in Forsyth County is going to see on their tax bill.” 

The commissioners will take up the developers’ first requests, regarding a county code amendment and rezoning, on May 9. 

The all-electric Kia EV9, to be built in West Point, is the company’s first three-row SUV.

EV Supplier of the Month  

Seohan Group is the latest South Korean company following Hyundai to Georgia. Its Seohan Auto Georgia affiliate is bringing 180 jobs to Liberty County to manufacture shafts, axles, and brake systems for the electric vehicles Hyundai will make at its $5.54 billion Metaplant America in Bryan County near Savannah. 

Seohan, which is expanding an Alabama complex to support Hyundai EV production there, is spending more than $72 million to prep the plant for production by late 2024, the company announced April 11. 

“Sustained growth of the EV market over the past few years suggests that accelerated change to the automotive market is inevitable,” Seohan Auto Georgia CEO Jung Kee Koo said in a statement. “We believe Georgia will be the center of the EV industry and will be a new frontier for Seohan’s future with limitless opportunities and potential.” 

Suppliers have announced nearly $2 billion worth of projects to support the Hyundai Metaplant America, where production of up to 500,000 vehicles a year is due to begin in early 2025. The Korean companies clustered in the Savannah area include PHA, Seoyon E-Hwa, Sewon, Ecoplastic, Joon, and Hyundai Mobis. 

Across the state, Hyundai’s Kia subsidiary announced April 5 that it will build its all-electric EV9 SUV at its West Point plant beginning in 2024.  

Furnishing Liberty With Jobs 

Home decor company Creative Home Ideas is opening a distribution and manufacturing facility in Tradeport East, the same business park in Midway in Liberty County that Seohan selected. 

As announced on April 18, the New York-headquartered company plans to spend more than $15 million and create 70 jobs when the project opens in 2024. Its brands include Juicy Couture Home, Jessica Simpson, and Laura Ashley. 

Financial Wait Is Over 

Atlanta-based digital banking platform Greenwood has eliminated its customer waiting list after three years and opened to the general public. 

Rapper Killer Mike, civil rights leader Andrew Young, and entertainment entrepreneur Ryan Glover founded Greenwood to serve Black and Latino individuals and businesses. The platform has more than 500,000 customers, according to a press release April 18. 

Greenwood delivers financial tools through an app, while Coastal Community Bank in Washington state provides the actual banking services.     

Lab Work Scheduled for Clarke County  

California-based life sciences company Meissner plans to invest $250 million in Winterville outside Athens on its second U.S. manufacturing plant, creating more than 1,700 jobs within eight years. 

Meissner makes microfiltration and therapeutic manufacturing systems for pharmaceutical companies working in areas such as oncology, cardiology, and immunology. Its Clarke County campus is due to open in early 2026, the company said April 5. 

More Growth 

  • Qcells and a Virginia company are sharing a federal order for 2.5 million solar panels, enough to power 140,000 homes, Vice President Kamala Harris announced during a visit on April 6. Qcells is investing $2.5 billion to expand in Dalton and Cartersville.
  • On April 12, Yamaha opened a 75,000-square-foot Marine Innovation Center in Kennesaw, the home of the company’s marine division. The company plans to expand its 2,300-strong Georgia workforce. 
  • On April 6, Gulfstream announced a double expansion that will cost $150 million in Chatham County. The airplane manufacturer is adding 250 jobs to grow its maintenance service center at Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport and 1,350 jobs to build more G400, G500, and G600 aircraft.  

Facebook Comments