CHATSWORTH, Ga. — A planned $32 million logistics center for GE Appliances in Murray County will create 100 to 110 jobs, according to Illya Copeland, executive director of the Murray County Industrial Development Authority and the Development Authority of Murray County.
"They have actually already broken ground," Copeland said. "And they want to occupy the building in six to eight months."
The site of the center is about a mile south of the Appalachian Regional Port in Crandall.
GE Appliances announced three projects in north Georgia it said would create about 300 jobs in a press release on Thursday.
In addition to the Murray County logistics center, the company said it will invest $43 million in its Roper Corp. facility in Walker County, which it said will create 100 jobs, bringing employment there to more than 2,000, and it will build a $55 million warehouse in Jackson County that will also create 100 jobs.
"Georgia has been a longtime home for GE Appliances,” said Kevin Nolan, chief executive officer for GE Appliances, in the press release. “Our goal continues to be to become the leading major appliance business in the U.S. These investments and job expansions will help us do just that.”
The company said it chose to build a logistics center in Murray County "to take advantage of Georgia’s decision to expand the Port of Savannah to handle large trans-Pacific container ships, reducing reliance on cross-country trucking from West Coast ports. Connecting the port at Savannah by rail to the Appalachian Regional Port in northwest Georgia brings the benefits of the maritime port some 388 miles inland. This investment and the 100 new jobs it creates will bring untold opportunities to the Murray County area."
Murray County Sole Commissioner Greg Hogan praised the work of Industrial Development Authority staff in helping to bring the logistics center to Murray County.
"This will bring a diverse job mix and a welcomed new investment to our community,” said Hogan in the press release. “With the opening of the Appalachian Regional Port in Murray County in August of 2018, we are anticipating more opportunities such as this. The quality of jobs and investment this project is bringing to our community is just the beginning of a long corporate citizenship we want to achieve in Murray County.”
Chatsworth-Eton-Murray County Chamber of Commerce President Phenna Petty said she believes this is just the first of many logistics and transportation-related projects that will come to the county.
"I think they came here because of the inland port and because of all the hard work that Illya and others did," she said. "and I think we'll continue to build on that."
Officials say the Appalachian Regional Port is serving as a distribution and intake point for businesses in north Georgia, northeast Alabama, Kentucky and Tennessee, and will help move cargo to and from the Savannah port. The inland port is operated by the Georgia Ports Authority. Rail service to the port is controlled by CSX. Officials said the port was expected to take 50,000 trucks off of the roads of Georgia each year.
State Sen. Jason Ridley, R-Chatsworth, said the logistics center is a sign that the inland port will have the economic impact that supporters promised.
"I do think this will be the first project of this type," he said.
State Sen. Chuck Payne, R-Dalton, said he looks forward to seeing the new opportunities the logistics center will provide to Murray County.
“The new logistics center being built in Murray County is one example of the growth and innovation we are experiencing in north Georgia," he said in a Senate Press Office press release.