The $533 million global headquarters and manufacturing facility Advanced Munitions International is building in Blount County will be built in two phases, and will require additional land that the company has yet to secure.
Phase one of the project will be built in Partnership Park North, at Louisville and Proffitt Springs roads, in Alcoa. The company is currently looking for a location for phase two, said AMI President and CEO Mark Kresser.
Kresser told The Daily Times that AMI announced both phases together in October because “we’ve been very comfortable with the whole process and with everything that we discovered in the area.”
The Payson, Ariz.-based company announced in October plans to build a global headquarters and state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Blount County with an initial investment of $533 million and 605 new jobs.
The Industrial Development Board of Blount County has agreed to AMI having the entire 235-acre Partnership Park North to build on, but that site will only house phase one of the development, said Bryan Daniels, Blount Partnership President and CEO.
“That’s what can fit on our piece of property,” Daniels said. “AMI is going to have to acquire additional property to do phase two.”
As part of a local incentives deal, AMI must invest at least $200 million in site work, building construction and equipment in phase one. They also must employ at least 477 employees with average salary and benefits of $43,800 per year as of Dec. 31, 2020.
A local incentives agreement — including land, a six-year graduated tax abatement and road and infrastructure improvements on the site — is only for phase one of the development, Daniels said.
An incentives agreement dated Oct. 17 and signed by the Blount Partnership, the IDB and AMI, shows that the company will also be helped by a $4.7 million grant from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, and if phase two is undertaken, the grant will be increased to just over $6 million. Attempts to confirm the grant amount with ECD on Thursday were unsuccessful, but Assistant Commissioner for Communications and Marketing Clint Brewer told The Daily Times in late October that the grant had not yet been approved by the state funding board.
AMI will also receive a $6.77 million “investment credit grant” from TVA and a $125,000 grant from Oak Ridge National Laboratory to assist “in paying for the cost of the facility,” the incentives agreement shows.
Phase one of the AMI development is going to be built on Partnership Park North, which was purchased for $2.38 million in 1997 and jointly owned by the city of Alcoa, the city of Maryville and the Blount Partnership in a 30-30-40 split, respectively.
The Blount County parties and AMI have agreed that the value of the property is $11.3 million, according to the incentives agreement. If AMI does not meet the $200 million investment commitment by Dec. 31, 2020, the company will be required to pay the IDB a percentage of the value of the property based on the actual amount expended.
The agreement states an understanding that AMI may request “comparable incentives for such Phase 2 as are being implemented as to Phase 1.”
“The Blount Parties acknowledge that is it their intent to offer comparable incentives relating to Phase 2 provided expected employment and capital investment goals of AMI are met,” the agreement says.
Daniels said the Blount Partnership will “possibly” provide additional incentives for phase two, but said they “just don’t know” what AMI will need for the second phase of development.
“It’s hard for us to say what they’re going to need infrastructure-wise,” he said. “We don’t know what needs infrastructure-wise or any other variables are out there until we can assemble the property needed for phase two.”
‘Compliment the business’
Kresser said the phase two site doesn’t necessarily have to be right next to phase one, but will be close by.
“It would be advantageous to have it be local and close by, but not necessarily tied to the same building,” he said. “I cannot imagine that it will be outside Blount County.”
In the announcement in October, AMI said it will be building a new campus for its manufacturing, distribution and R&D operations. The company is known in the firearms industry for its HPR Ammunition brand, which is a specially formulated ammunition that employs proprietary technology.
Kresser said phase two of the development will compliment the business, but not necessarily be an add-on.
“It won’t be a continuation of exactly what we’re doing, but it will complement the business,” he said.
He declined to give any further details, but said it is part of AMI’s “overall global plan.”
The company plans to break ground on phase one in March of 2016, and hopes to be completed in the third quarter of 2018. Kresser said production may begin in partial segments before the end of construction.
Kresser is the only employee relocating from AMI’s Arizona site to Blount County. The 605 promised jobs will all be new positions, he said.