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Tour Shows Bibb Industrial Sites and Successes


Tour Shows Bibb Industrial Sites, Successes


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The van bounced along the dirt road — more like a lane with tire ruts — until it reached the rail line at the far end of the soybean field.

The land is prime hunting territory for deer, turkey, wild hogs and other game. Before long, it should be prime for commercial development, too. The Norfolk Southern rail leads to the other end of Sofkee Industrial Park, where about 150 acres sits graded, prepped and curbed for the Kumho tire plant, now projected to be finished in 2013.


 “This one day will be a 1-million-square-foot plant,” Pat Topping, senior vice president of the Macon Economic Development Commission, told the van’s passengers. “The rail will feed the building with raw materials. Finished goods will come out the other end.”

The Kumho site was just one destination on Thursday’s industrial park tour for commercial real estate brokers and development team members. Another stop was on Avondale Mill Road, where construction has started on First Quality’s $200 million diaper plant.

“They’ll have the diaper lines running this way,” Topping told the crowd, waving left to right as earth-moving equipment, controlled by GPS, graded the land. Topping showed off available land in Sofkee, Airport East and Airport South parks, while sightseeing at some of Macon’s existing industries.

“This guy in there recycles a million plastic bottles every day,” he said while cruising Allied Industrial Park. “He makes felt used in roofing materials.”

At Airport East, Topping touted the Kohl’s distribution center as the company’s most productive and “highest in company morale.” Across from the plant, he said, there are available tracts with a pond.

“We catch alligators over there every couple of years,” he said.

The tour included looks at some of Bibb County’s growing industries, such as Timco, which recently announced a $1.4 million expansion.

Trip Wilhoit of Fickling & Co., one of about a dozen agents along for the ride, said the tour was “very informative.”

“I was very familiar with most of it, but things have changed over the last couple of years,” he said. “I hope they keep changing. Macon has a lot of potential for the next 10 years or so.”

To contact writer Rodney Manley, call 744-4623.

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