GP expansion coming?

Published 2:00 am Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Georgia-Pacific could soon be making a $347 million investment in its Brewton mill — a project that would bring up to 2,000 construction workers to the city for two years.

“This is a great project for Brewton if it comes through,” said Broox Garrett, chairman of the Brewton Development Authority. “Before anyone gets too excited, this is not a done deal.”

The project is competing with others in the company, Garrett said, but one piece of the puzzle was approvals from the City of Brewton for a tax abatement over 10 years.

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“The Brewton Development Authority is making the recommendation to approve the tax abatement,” said Garrett, who noted that the abatement will include sales and ad valorem taxes but will not include ad valorem taxes designated for schools. Details of the project were not released because it is still preliminary, but Garrett said the project would have a significant impact on Brewton.

“Local people are really behind this project,” Garrett said.

Mayor Yank Lovelace said he believed the project, with its potential for construction jobs, would be a “game changer” for the area.

Jay Belafonte, regional tax manager for GP, said he was “very excited” to tell council members about the project.

“It would take two years to complete,” he said, “and would see a significant amount of personnel coming to Brewton. We are very optimistic that it might come through.”

In response to a question from councilman Joe Watson, Garrett said he believed GP would make every effort to hire local residents who meet the skills needs of the construction jobs.