Gov. Ivey Announces Plan to Bring More Than 200 New Jobs to Prattville
Governor Kay Ivey announced today that James Hardie Building Products plans to invest up to $220 million to open an advanced fiber-cement building products manufacturing plant in Prattville, creating 205 jobs.
James Hardie, whose corporate roots go back more than a century, is a leading high-technology manufacturer of numerous types of fiber-cement products with a range of applications having performance and design advantages, including external siding, trim and panels as well as interior floor and tile underlay, which are sold in markets around the world under brand names such as HardiePlank®, HardiePanel®, HardieTrim®, ColorPlus® and HardieBacker®.
Established in Australia in 1888 and an industry leading manufacturer in North America since the 1990s, the company has more than 3,250 employees and generated revenue exceeding $1.9 billion in fiscal year 2017.
“I am very excited that James Hardie has selected Alabama as the home for a major U.S. production facility and more than 200 well-paying jobs,” Governor Ivey said. “I believe this world-class manufacturer has picked the ideal site, and I’m committed to helping the company find long-lasting success in Prattville.”
Around a year ago, James Hardie began to explore the possibility of expanding its manufacturing footprint by constructing a new facility to produce fiber-cement building products for the Southern and Eastern U.S. markets. Prattville was selected after an extensive search process that focused on locations in several states.
The facility is expected to annually produce up to 600 mmstf of siding and trim utilizing James Hardie’s ColorPlus® technology, together with a number of the company’s other fiber-cement products.
“Prattville quickly became the preferred community for Hardie’s next plant due to its skilled workforce, proximity to critical resources and access to key markets,” James Hardie CEO Louis Gries said.
“We were impressed by the overall engagement and ease in which we were able to get things done, which was made possible by the close partnership between James Hardie and the State of Alabama, Autauga County and the City of Prattville, and we look forward to working closely with them in the future.”
James Hardie’s project, formally announced today at a ceremony in Prattville, represents the largest industrial development in the Autauga County city since a containerboard mill now operated by International Paper opened 50 years ago, according to Amy Brabham, economic development director for the Prattville Area Chamber of Commerce.
The new manufacturing facility will be constructed on a 103-acre site in Prattville’s South Industrial Park, an AdvantageSite-certified park located between U.S. Highway 82 and Autauga County Road 4.
An analysis by the Alabama Department of Commerce indicates the James Hardie plant will have a significant economic impact in Prattville, which has around 34,000 residents. The plant’s jobs will pay an average wage of $25.80 per hour, and the facility’s 20-year cumulative payroll is currently projected to top $200 million.
“James Hardie’s decision to locate this advanced production center in Prattville will bring high-paying jobs and new opportunities to people in the area,” said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce. “This project also shows how our teamwork approach to economic development leads to valuable partnerships with great companies.”
Besides Commerce, the recruitment team included the City Council and Mayor of Prattville, the Autauga County Commission, the economic development arm of the Prattville Area Chamber, utility providers, and the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA).
“While we look to the past for inspiration and enjoy the accomplishments of those who came before us, the future of Prattville is being written today, not for us, but for the next Partners of Prattville,” Mayor Bill Gillespie Jr. said. “Opportunities don’t just happen, they are created. As the birthplace of industry in the great state of Alabama, Daniel Pratt was the first in a long list of business leaders that created those opportunities.
“On the occasion of this exciting announcement, I’d like to welcome you as new Partners of Prattville and thank you for the investment you are making in our community, which directly impacts our quality of life and all aspects from infrastructure to education,” Gillespie added.
Infrastructure improvements at the site are part of the project. An access road and a bridge spanning a dual rail line are being funded through local sources, and all utilities are being pulled to the site. A secondary road and a rail spur are also being added.
Autauga County Commission Chairman Jay Thompson welcomed James Hardie as the county’s newest industrial partner.
“For many years, my family has been in the building industry,” Thompson said. “As I shared with the team that visited our community during the selection phase, I have spent many days measuring, cutting and installing the premier products made by James Hardie and am now proud to be able to say the products will be made in Autauga County, providing over 200 new, high-quality jobs.”
James Hardie pioneered the development of fiber-cement technology in the late 1970s, which it began using to design and manufacture in a wide range of building products in the early 1980s. James Hardie’s fiber-cement products are used in residential and commercial buildings because of their durability, strength, and low level of maintenance.
James Hardie operates in markets around the world, and has manufacturing operations in the United States, Australia, New Zealand and the Philippines.