The Mazda-Toyota U.S.A. plant under construction in Huntsville will have impact far beyond the city limits, Huntsville's mayor said Thursday morning in the Shoals.
Speaking to the Shoals Chamber of Commerce, Mayor Tommy Battle said first- and second-tier automotive companies that would do business with the $1.6 billion Mazda-Toyota plant could mean as many as 20,000 new jobs in north Alabama.
"When you really look at it, instead of 5,000 jobs you're probably looking at 18 to 20,000 jobs all across north Alabama," Battle said. "There are some suppliers who want to be 50 miles away from the manufacturer."
The Shoals is in a perfect spot, between Toyota's Mississippi plant near Tupelo and the Mazda-Toyota joint venture in Huntsville, Battle said.
The Shoals Economic Development Authority is currently building a 40,000-square-foot facility at the industrial park in Rogersville to try and attract some of those companies. President Kevin Jackson said the spec building will be done in August.
"We've been very proactive in the Shoals with our development of spec buildings and industrial land to suit these suppliers," Jackson said.
Jackson said they are marketing the building to auto supplieres and have had some interest in it.
"Of course, we've had multiple projects that have looked in the area, but we can't go into who those projects are," Jackson said. "But yes, there has been interest."
The Shoals Economic Development Authority is also building a 100,000-square-foot building in Muscle Shoals to attract more industry. That facility is expected to be finished by the end of the year.