From the November/December 2022 Issue
Business Facilities: Describe Baldwin County, AL, and what it can offer businesses.
Lawson: Baldwin County can be defined as one of the most desirable places to live, work, and raise a family, not only along the Gulf Coast but in the southeastern United States. Our community is positioned between Mobile, AL, and Pensacola, FL. The success that we have seen as a community in terms of economic development is directly related to how attractive Baldwin County is as a place to live and work.
Millions of people visit Baldwin County each year for its white sandy beaches, vibrant communities, and a place to experience a true vacation, but many are staying for career opportunities and a quality of life that you don’t have to pay top dollar for. This has helped us become the seventh fastest-growing area in the nation. We have experienced 27% growth since 2010, adding more than 55,000 people.
From companies in the office and technology arenas to aerospace and advanced manufacturing, the Baldwin County community is well-rounded. This allows us to also be Alabama’s leader in talent attraction—for three years running. Individuals are moving to the community not just because they are able to find an attractive quality of life, but also for career opportunities. This has allowed us to continue the economic cycle, attracting hundreds of jobs and corporate capital investment which is moving the dial for the community.
BF: What is a recent relocation or expansion project in Baldwin County?
Lawson: Our attractiveness as a destination for talent and preparedness in economic, community, and product development has allowed us to recruit one of the largest economic development announcements in Alabama’s history. In 2022, Novelis, which is a leader in aluminum production globally, announced a truly generational investment at the former South Alabama Mega Site in north Baldwin County.
Novelis will construct the first fully integrated aluminum rolling mill in the U.S. in more than 40 years. This facility will produce rolled aluminum for the beverage cans and automotive markets. We anticipate over 1,600 construction workers during their buildout and additional employment to the tune of 1,000 to support this facility. The company will invest more than $2.5 billion in capital investment, and this is just for phase one. There is an additional phase planned for the facility that will be incorporated into the construction. The direct impact that Novelis will have will send positive ripples throughout our economy, as they will boast an average wage of over $65,000 with full benefits for all employees.
In addition, Novelis has also announced the development of a 70,000-square-foot advanced manufacturing and leadership training center in Daphne at our class A office park, Daphne Innovation and Science Complex. At this facility, Novelis will develop thousands of employees in leadership, culture, and technical training while also hosting corporate, customer, and community engagements. Novelis will be operational in Baldwin County in 2025.
BF: Tell us about an incentive/tax break/training program that’s having an impact.