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FactoryMation To Expand Canton Facility

The $3.2 million project is expected to be completed by September 2013.

A Canton-based business has signed onto build a new facility within the newly created opportunity zone.

FactoryMation has signed a contract to construct a 62,500 square-foot facility that will serve as its headquarters and distribution location, the Cherokee Office of Economic Development announced on Friday.

The new facility, located in the Technology Ridge opportunity zone, is slated to open in September 2013. FactoryMation pans to invest $3.2 million in the building and about $800,000 in equipment. The new building will sit on 5.48 acres at 160 Bluffs Court, which is adjacent to its current facility. 

"There are many reasons we chose to expand in Cherokee, one being its close proximity to Atlanta without the congestion," said Russ Sanders, president of FactoryMation said. "The benefits of the Opportunity Zone were icing on the cake."

Sanders also noted the proximinity of the Cherokee County Regional Airport andChattahoochee Technical College's Canton campus are "an added bonus," adding he has two employees being trained at the campus.

The new facility will be developed by Nick Nichols and Watt Neal of Nichols Neal Construction and Wilson, Hull & Neal Real Estate. Nichols and Neal also developed the current facility.

The new building will include 15,000 square feet of office, 5,000 square feet of manufacturing, and 42,500 square feet of warehouse space. Eight new jobs will be created by the close of 2012 and an additional 30 new jobs will be added once construction on the new facility is complete. That will bring FactoryMation's total number of employees to 65.

The company discussed its plans earlier this year during a press conference after the county learned it received its second opportunity zone designation from the Department of Community Affairs. 

Created in 2004, an opportunity zone is a state designation that allows local governments to provide tax incentives for economic development and revitalization of pockets of poverty. 

Benefits include eligibility for a $3,500 tax credit for each new job created, the use of job tax credits against 100 percent of income tax liability and withholding taxes, and the expansion of the definition of business enterprise to include businesses of any kind.

The Technology Ridge area includes parcels west and south of the Interstate 575 interchange at Exit 20 along Old Highway 5, east of I-575 along old Highway 5 north to Ball Ground and the western side of I-575 around the Howell Bridge Road area.

The new zone includes parts of Canton-Cherokee Business & Industrial Park, RiverStone and Bluffs Development, some property around the Cherokee County Regional Airport and some property in the city limits of Ball Ground. The new opportunity zone will include about 4,704 acres. The designation will be valid through 2022.

The county also has another opportunity zone designation in southwest Cherokee County.

FactoryMation is a national distributor of industrial control products with over 30,000 parts offered. They set up shop in 2005 with just 7,500 square-feet of facility space in the Airport Industrial Park. They moved into a 16,000 square-foot, multi-tenant building in The Bluffs and have since grown to 35,000 square feet. 

"They are a true small business success story,” noted Buzz Ahrens, Chairman of Cherokee County Board of Commissioners.

The facility's expansion has been supported by a wide range of governmental entities, garnering assistance from the city of Canton with permitting fees and the Cherokee Office of Economic Development. 

Marshall Day, Chairman, Cherokee Office of Economic Development's board of directors added the office has "worked with FactoryMation for quite some time to make this vision a reality."

"The City of Canton is excited about the expansion of FactoryMation in the Bluffs and was pleased to be able to help make this expansion feasible and cost effective," added Canton Mayor Gene Hobgood.

The state of Georgia is also excited to support FactoryMation's expansion, noted Mary Ellen McClanahan, regional project manager for the Georgia Department of Economic Development. 

"The state recognizes the importance of existing businesses and industries and when they expand, it shows a strong future with continued job growth and investment," she added. 

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