Pictured L-R above:Heath Tippens – COED, Misti Martin – COED, John Rooker – Rooker, Marshall Day – COED, Ron Rouse – Inalfa Roof Systems, Dan Twork – Inalfa Roof Systems, Wylly Harrison – GDEcD, Governor Nathan Deal, Tom Cromartie – CBRE, Charles Stallworth – GA Power, JoAnne Lewis – GEDA
On Monday, the Georgia Economic Developers Association (GEDA), one of the leading organizations for economic development professionals in the U.S., presented Inalfa Roof Systems and the Cherokee Office of Economic Development (COED) with the 2013 Deal of the Year Award in the Large Community category. Governor Nathan Deal was on hand to recognize company and community representatives at GEDA’s Annual Awards Ceremony.
An independent committee of consultants reviews all nominations and makes recommendations to the board of directors. The board selects the recipients based on the economic impact of the project to the community and state, the site location process, characteristics that made the deal so meaningful, and overcoming obstacles. Cherokee’s Inalfa Roof Systems Project was an immediate stand out.
In December 2012, contact was made to the Cherokee Office of Economic Development regarding interest in an existing spec building in SW Cherokee. In February 2013, the company visited the building and community and acknowledged stiff competition with a building/community in Tennessee. A great sales team had been assembled including Chattahoochee Technical College and GDOL to cover workforce and training needs as they needed a skilled workforce. Inalfa, impressed with the location & workforce, entered into lease negotiations with the developer, but later that month, the existing facility was leased to another company, leaving Inalfa with no viable existing building option in GA. With great disappointment, the deal was lost, and it looked like Inalfa would locate in Tennessee. A build-to-suit option was never considered due to the company’s short time frame. Equipment for the new facility had already been ordered.
Local leadership was convinced that Cherokee was the right fit for Inalfa’s new southeastern HQ/Manufacturing & Distribution facility. In an effort to prove this, the Cherokee Office of Economic Development (COED) contacted Inalfa and asked if they would consider a build-to-suit (BTS) option in the Development Authority’s new Cherokee 75 Corporate Park. Inalfa reluctantly agreed to entertain the BTS option with their real estate team from CBRE. After intense negotiations in March, Inalfa chose Rooker to develop their new 165,444 sq ft facility in the Cherokee 75 Corporate Park.
From a local level, COED staff, Cherokee Board of Commissioners, and the Development Authority boards worked seamlessly to meet the goals of this project. The trust level between the community and Inalfa in addition to the great business case, sealed the deal. John Rooker, developer, stated “there aren’t many communities that could achieve the timeline and risk associated with this project, but we had confidence that Cherokee was the right partner.” Danny Colaris, vice president of North American Operations for Inalfa Roof Systems stated, “After a four-year search for a location in the South, we couldn’t be more pleased to find our ideal site in Cherokee County. The state and local economic development teams, as well as Georgia Power, were all been extremely helpful in introducing us to this strategic location and the advantages of doing business in Georgia.”
Inalfa Roof Systems, a leading supplier of sunroofs and open roofing systems for automotive manufacturers, has committed to a capital investment of $28 million, and 300 new jobs in three years at their new Cherokee facility. COED Chairman Marshall Day stated, “The Inalfa project is a testament of the strength and benefit of local and state partnerships. Had it not been for the collaboration between the community, Georgia Department of Economic Development, Georgia Power, Rooker, CBRE and others, this project would have located elsewhere.”
GEDA awards “deals of the year” in various categories annually to celebrate collaboration and job-generating accomplishments of its members. Celebrating its 50th anniversary, the non-profit association is made up of professionals, volunteers and supporters. The association provides networking and professional development opportunities for its members, and supports public policies that promote quality job creation and sustainable economic development throughout the state. For more information, visit www.geda.org.
The Cherokee Office of Economic Development is the lead economic development entity for Cherokee County, Georgia. COED focuses on business recruitment, retention and expansion of major industry and corporate office operations. For more information, visit www.cherokeega.org.