published Monday, August 15th, 2011

Millions to be spent on Enterprise South sewer upgrade

Train cars sit near a lot at the Volkswagen plant at Enterprise South industrial park.
Train cars sit near a lot at the Volkswagen plant at Enterprise South industrial park.
Photo by Angela Lewis.

VW RAMP-UP


Volkswagen is slated to have two full production shifts in operation this month at its Chattanooga auto assembly plant.

In perhaps the strongest signal yet of confidence that Volkswagen will grow its Chattanooga presence, the city plans to spend millions of dollars to upgrade its sewer system at Enterprise South industrial park.

“VW keeps talking about doubling its size. Amazon is coming,” said Jerry Stewart, Chattanooga’s director of waste resources. “We’re looking down the road.”

Stewart said he hopes to start work in about 60 days on a $7.5 million sewer upgrade at the industrial park that is home to the two companies. He said he believes the city is in line to receive a $1.3 million federal Economic Development Administration grant for the project. The city will put up the remainder, Stewart said.

The sewer expansion will more than double the amount of waste the city’s Enterprise South pump station and infrastructure can handle daily, he said. Currently, it can accommodate about 1 million gallons a day. After the upgrade, that figure will go to some 2.5 million gallons daily.

J.Ed. Marston, the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce’s vice president of marketing, said the city has worked to position itself for possible VW expansion.

“We feel very good about the prospects that as VW grows its market share in the U.S., that will position us to have a good shot,” he said.

The VW plant, with about 2,000 employees, uses a portion of the 1,340 acres on which the factory sits. While the existing facility was built to produce 150,000 cars a year, VW officials have said they could easily grow the annual plant capacity to more than 200,000.

VW officials also have said they could build a plant mirroring the existing one and double capacity to 500,000 vehicles annually.

The German automaker has an option on an additional 1,000 adjacent acres at Enterprise South.

VW’s premium subsidiary, Audi, has indicated it, too, will build cars in North America, and automotive analysts said Chattanooga has a chance at the plant.

While VW is ramping up assembly of its all-new Passat in Chattanooga for a September market introduction, Amazon is on a fast track to open its 1 million-square-foot distribution center by Christmas.

  • photo
    The Amazon construction site is near the front gate of the industrial park at Enterprise South. Staff Photo by Tim Barber/Chattanooga Times Free Press

When fully staffed, the Amazon facility could employ more than 2,000 full- and part-time workers, the nation’s No. 1 Internet retailer said.

Stewart said Archer Daniels Midland, the newest company to land at Enterprise South, is clearing its tract for a new facility. The foods processor is building a warehouse and terminal to transfer sweeteners from rail cars to trucks for delivery to its customers.

Chuck Hammonds, the Southeast Tennessee Development District’s director of community development, said the regional agency is helping the city secure the EDA grant.

“You’ve got to show job creation [for EDA grants],” he said.

In addition to the 1,000 acres VW has under option, there are about 65 acres at Enterprise South that are not committed.

Stewart said the growth potential at Enterprise South is significant. VW’s Enterprise South supplier park already houses more than a half-dozen companies.

“I don’t think there’s been an end to [VW] suppliers,” Stewart said.

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about Mike Pare...

Mike Pare, the deputy Business editor at the Chattanooga Times Free Press, has worked at the paper for 27 years. In addition to editing, Mike also writes Business stories and covers Volkswagen, economic development and manufacturing in Chattanooga and the surrounding area. In the past he also has covered higher education. Mike, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., received a bachelor’s degree in communications from Florida Atlantic University. he worked at the Rome News-Tribune before ...

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twharr said...

What about he downtown sewers?

August 15, 2011 at 7:52 a.m.
adolphochs said...

They stink!

August 15, 2011 at 9:41 a.m.
royw64 said...

what About When All These Companies Pack Up & Leave, When Their Taxes Come Due ?

August 15, 2011 at 10:06 a.m.
nucanuck said...

Sounds like another corporate subsidy and taxpayer expense.

August 15, 2011 at 10:32 a.m.

How stupid! Didn't Jerry Stewart state in an interview last week that seperating the combined sewer sytem downtown would cost 4 million dollars, but that the money could be better used else where? Now we know what he really meant! The City refuses to spend 4 million downtown, but is ready to drop 6.2 million for Volkswagen! Maybe if people saw what happens with the combined sewer system when there is a heavy rain downpour they would be outraged! The smell ain't nothin' compared to what happens when it pours rain! But Volkswagen is far more important. I guess what happens downtown with the combined sewers is out of sight and out of mind. Just don't breathe through your nose.

August 15, 2011 at 12:17 p.m.
signal said...

unscathed_corpse, they said the downtown sewers would cost 400 million dollars, not 4 million. Big difference!

August 15, 2011 at 1:05 p.m.

4 million or 400 million, they need to correct the issue at hand in downtown Chattanooga before sinking anymore money into the boon doogle at Enterprise South. The tax payers have been fleeced enough! Correct what is wrong. But lets see. There is the new facility to be built along Hamm Rd for the sewer plant, the funds for Volkswagen improvements, slowly they spend here and there putting a bandaide here or a patch there, never really fixing what is now outmoded and broken. How soon till an unfunded federal mandate comes down and the community is hit with ever higher taxes and user fees?

August 15, 2011 at 1:21 p.m.
signal said...

Would you be willing to pay the much higher taxes to finance a $400 million upgrade?

August 15, 2011 at 1:55 p.m.
timbo said...

Just like I have said over and over and over.. the Germans will dollar and dime us to death. It is already over $1,000,000,000 (how do you like them zeros.)

This was the dumbest deal in world history...Chattanooga smells just like they should with the people in charge. It stinks and they stink. Someone is getting paid off.

August 15, 2011 at 3:10 p.m.
bigbearzzz said...

Yeah Timbo and those 2000 jobs that they brought to the area....man...what pricks! Can't believe we let them come in here and bring all those jobs to an area that needs them more so than ever....What were they thinking?!?!

August 15, 2011 at 3:34 p.m.
timbo said...

bigbearzzz.....Why in the world is it fair for the government to steal my money and give it to a foreign corporation? Why should the government be picking the winners and losers?

I will forgive you for being sarcastic because you are ignorant of the facts about this stupid deal. You are ignorant because the literally "one a day" VW fluff stories in the TFP have brainwashed you. You actually think that everything is just peachy keen when the taxpayer foots the bill. Things like sewers and $8 million dollar walking bridges are just fine for the 2000 jobs. Whoppee...

Well, here is a little dose of reality buster.

  1. There is a little document called, "The Memorandum of Agreement" between the state, county, and city governments. I have read it cover to cover. Have you? It is a travesty what these dumb butt politicians gave away to get those 2000 jobs.
  2. Let's talk about those jobs. When local and state governments give up tax revenue you would think that they would hire locally. Guess what? They only hired about 400 of those people locally. Feeling like an idiot yet?
  3. We paid $587 million in incentives versus Alabama who only offered $389 million. Alabama had landed Mercedes and one of the Japanese car companies. The reason they didn't match our world record setting total was that they had already overpaid for the car companies they had and knew that they don't pay off in jobs like they claimed. Mercedes almost bankrupted the state pension fund. In any event, VW was going to Alabama and it was reported in all the media. One week later we learned that dumba** politicians doubled down.

This was the mother of all bad deals and has cost us over $200 million in cash already, along with who knows how much cost off the books and for what? A few hundred jobs that cost about $100,000 per job. Since we only get about $2 million per year in "school tax" it will take about 79 years to pay this money back. That is just the cash, not to mention the lost tax revenue.

So laugh on fuzz ball, no one can hear you for the Germans laughing so loud at the rubes that made this deal. It's a wonder we don't have to provide free snitzel (sic) every day. Can you say dummkopf?

By the way, you were right about one thing, they are pricks.

August 15, 2011 at 7:19 p.m.
memphisexile said...

Fix the downtown sewers instead!

August 15, 2011 at 10:54 p.m.
jesse said...

hey, they been battin 0000 on gittin somebody to bring anything to their big ind,park,i guess they fig."hey we got to have thisun"no matter what it costs! you can bet your a$$ if littlfield runs again you gonna be hearin about what a great deal this was and how many jobs it brought to chatta. BUT the dude that's workin on the line at v/w ,he's happy as a pig in whatever!!

August 16, 2011 at 11:33 a.m.
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