Toyota-Mazda rejects Memphis Regional Megasite

11/17/2017

Toyota-Mazda have eliminated the Memphis Regional Megasite from consideration for its new plant, Tennessee Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe confirmed.

The Japanese automakers’ decision takes Tennessee out of the running for one of the largest industrial development projects underway in the country.

Toyota and Mazda announced this year its decision to build a $1.6 billion electric car plant in the U.S., expected to create 4,000 jobs and spur thousands of related supplier jobs and would have transformed West Tennessee.

West Tennessee residents officials saw the massive plant as an economic driver for their hard-pressed region and were confident as recently as last week the Megasite would make the final list of sites under consideration.

Rolfe said the reason Toyota-Mazda passed on the Megasite was because the site is not “shovel-ready” as compared to other sites in other states, because of two main hurdles.

In November 2016, work began on implementing a 35-mile force main that would carry treated sewage from the Megasite to the Mississippi River.

Rolfe said the first gating item is getting the wastewater permits for the force main from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.

“If the stars line up, we are hopeful we will have all the necessary permits before the end of quarter one in 2018,” Rolfe said.

Rolfe confirmed a second undisclosed tenant also rejected the Megasite. The Megasite, located 30 miles outside Memphis and 12 miles outside Brownsville, has seen the state appropriate more than $140 million since it purchased the Megasite in 2009.

While 70 percent of property owners affected by the pipe’s installation have signed the easement agreement, Rolfe said at least four families have made the decision to not sign the agreement.

Rolfe said the ECD will work with the attorney general’s office and likely proceed with an eminent domain to continue with the project.

Source:  Knoxville News Sentinel, by Omer Yusuf and Ted Evanoff, Jackson Sun

The East Tennessee Economic Development Agency markets and recruits business for the 15 counties in the greater Knoxville-Oak Ridge region of East Tennessee. Visit www.eteda.org

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