Officials with Balta Home USA are looking forward to getting their U.S. floor covering operations back under one roof. And that new roof will be in Shannon, on the former Florida Tile property. Balta, the largest floor covering firm in Belgium, revealed plans for a new distribution center in Shannon on Tuesday morning.
Alyssa Douthre, Balta controller and vice president for finance, told members of the Rome-Floyd County Development Authority on Tuesday the firm hopes to have a 300,000-square-foot distribution center with up to 75 employees up and running by October of this year.
The development authority approved financial incentives both for Balta and the Hight Property Group, which actually purchased the 171.07 acre Florida Tile tract for $1.9 million. Balta will occupy approximately 45 of the 171.07 acres. Hight will continue to own the property and has a 12-year lease with Balta, according to Rome Floyd Chamber President Al Hodge.
Heather Wilson, a human resource specialist for Balta, said the company would be reaching out to the Chamber for help with a job fair in the near future. “We know that some of our people will come with us from Dalton,” Douthre said. “We will be transitioning our people from Dalton first and then moving everything from Calhoun after the first of the year.”
The Balta plant will occupy the footprint that is currently occupied by remnants of the old Florida Tile building, and Douthre said they will build with an eye on the potential to double the size of their facility to add manufacturing operations in the future. Currently all of the Balta floor coverings are manufactured at plants in Belgium and Turkey.
Douthre hinted that the company could develop a manufacturing facility on the site as part of future expansion.
Andy Davis, the attorney for the development authority, said Balta will get a $2 million incentive pack-age over five years, meaning the company will not pay any local property taxes for that period of time.
Balta will make a payment in lieu of taxes of $2,500 annually during the five year tax abatement period.
The Hight Property Group will receive an $8 million incentive package over five years. The first three years they will not pay any property taxes, the fourth year they will pay 25 percent of the tax bill and the fifth year they will pay 50 percent. Hight will make payments in lieu of taxes totaling $123,231 over the five year period.
Chamber Economic Development Director Heather Seckman said HPG, a consortium of Atlanta and Carrollton-based investors, plan to bring three and possibly four more tenants to the large tract.
The Rome-Floyd County Development Authority also agreed to act as a conduit for a land swap between the city of Rome and Butler Properties to facilitate development of a strip shopping center on the site where the Shanklin-Attaway American Legion Post now sits.