The Rome-Floyd County Development Authority approved the issue of $240 million worth of industrial revenue bonds Tuesday for a Ball Packaging LLC expansion that is already well underway.
Ball is expanding its location in the Shannon area to manufacture recyclable aluminum cups. The company unveiled plans for the addition to its can plant in October 2019. Ground was formally broken in January and the plant is expected to go into service sometime during in the fourth quarter of this year.
During the groundbreaking ceremony John Hayes, Ball Corp. chair, president and CEO, said the “infinitely recyclable” aluminum cup was developed over a seven-year research and development period.
The plant will initially produce 20 ounce cups but will eventually produce cups in several sizes. Hayes said Ball will be able to churn out half a billion of the lightweight cups a year.
When complete, the expansion will mean the addition of another 145 jobs.
During the Zoom video-conference Tuesday, Development Authority President Missy Kendrick said Ball has canceled its option to buy property in the Northwest Regional Gordon-Floyd Industrial Park. That puts 65 acres back on the inventory of land available for new industry in the community.
The search for acreage to add to the inventory has essentially been put on hold during the COVID-19 public health emergency, Authority Chair Jimmy Byars said.
Once Kendrick and Heather Seckman get everything settled in their new offices, the search for real estate will resume, he noted. The authority is moving into space in the Manis Business Center, located at the old Georgia Power headquarters at Broad Street and Turner McCall Boulevard.
Kendrick said activity connected with bringing prospects into the county has slowed down, with companies doing a lot of web-based research instead.
She said they’ve been working on one existing industry project and two new industry projects since the authority last met.
“We are still following up on a lot of projects that we had that have pretty much been tabled at this point,” she added.
A lot of companies are expecting the economy to pick back up again, Kendrick said. Byars agreed, saying many in the real estate business believe there will be significant improvement by the second half of the year. Byars is the CEO of Hardy Realty.