The Bryan County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to sign an agreement with Caesarstone Technologies USA which officials say will ultimately bring about 180 manufacturing jobs to the Belfast Commerce Centre.
Richmond Hill council members also have to approve the measure. They are expected to vote on the agreement at a called meeting tonight.
County leaders, meanwhile, called the vote historic.
“This is a big investment for our community,” said Jimmy Burnsed, chairman of the Bryan County Commission. “We certainly expect it to be really good for the company and for the community. The product they produce is primarily for the construction injury – for both home and commercial uses – and right now America is only 8 percent of their sales. That’s why they’re coming here. They see room for growth. We’re excited to have them here in our community and to have the manufacturing jobs.”
Burnsed said the company, which makes surfaces for countertops, looked at sites around the South before deciding on Bryan County.
Steve Croy, chairman of the Development Authority of Bryan County, said that on a scale of 1-10, Tuesday’s news was a 10.
“From a development authority standpoint it was 10s across the board,” he said.
The company’s investment is expected to be between $70 and $100 million, though details have not been finalized and incentives from the state and county were not announced Tuesday. The company also hasn’t issued a statement yet.
According to its website, Caesarstone was founded in Israel in 1987 and has divisions across the U.S., but this is its first manufacturing plant in the U.S.
Work has already started on its facility
It took about six months to bring the company to Bryan County, said Croy, who got thanks from county commissioners for his work in bringing in the manufacturer.
“We’re fortunate to have them here, and it was as a team effort, from the Development Authority to city to county,” he said. “It showed what can happen when everybody is pulling together in the same direction. It’s been a really good experience.”