The following information summarizes Etowah County's attributes as a manufacturing location. The Industrial Development Authority staff welcomes the opportunity to promptly answer your questions, provide elaborative details, and prepare materials specifically related to your particular locational requirements on a confidential basis.
Location and Logistics
- Gadsden is on Interstates 59 and 759 in northeast Alabama; I-65 is a one-hour drive away, and I-20 is 45 minutes away.
- We are within one hour of Birmingham, two hours of Atlanta and three hours of Nashville.
- Two rail lines serve Etowah County, and transloading services are available.
- Gadsden’s airport provides general aviation services and accommodates private jet aircraft; Birmingham's international airport is less than an hour’s drive away.
- More than 50 first-tier automotive parts suppliers are within a two-hour drive of Gadsden.
- There are 9 vehicle assembly plants within a three-hour drive.
A variety of buildings are available for sale or lease. For example, more than 1,000,000 square feet of buildings (many having cranes) are now available for lease in a new, privately developed, heavy industrial park comprising the former Gulf States Steel site.
- An electric power substation and a 115 KV transmission line are adjacent to this property.
- Rail service is provided by two railroads; rail and truck scales are on site.
- T-1 data connections are in place.
There are several industrial parks in Etowah County. The largest is Gadsden’s 1,000-acre Airport Industrial Park, adjacent to an I-59 interchange.
- Individual sites can be configured in size and dimension to your specific requirements.
- All utilities are in place.
- A complete Environmental Impact Statement has been performed, disclosing no problems.
- Machine shops, tool & die shops, stamping operations, steel service centers and plastic injection molders are here.
- Other locally available services include industrial hardware distributors, electroplating, e-coating, powder coating, flocking, welding, industrial gases, cutting and shearing, grinding, mold repair and scrap metal recycling.
- Chapters of NTMA and ASQ offer continuing education and networking programs.
Permits and Regulations
- The policy of local elected officials and government department heads is to make sure new and expanding industries do not encounter any “red tape”.
- A building permit can be issued within 5 working days of the submission of plans.
- We are in attainment with all EPA ambient air quality standards; no local permits are required.
- There are no state or local regulations pertaining to safety, health, or family and medical leave.
Taxes and Fees
- The deductibility of federal taxes reduces the maximum corporate state income tax of 6.5% to an effective rate of about 4.8%, before any credits are applied.
- The combined state, county and city property tax is 49 mills on 20% of assessed value, or $9,800 per $1 million annually before exemptions.
- Sales taxes on construction materials total 9% before exemptions.
- The combined use tax rate on the purchase of machinery and equipment is 3.25% before exemptions.
- State income tax credits can constitute 100% capital cost recovery.
- Real property taxes can be exempted for 10 years.
- Personal property taxes also can be exempted for 10 years.
- Sales taxes on project construction materials can be exempted.
- Use taxes on initial equipment purchases can be exempted as well.
- No inventory taxes are assessed on raw materials, component parts, work in process or finished goods.
- A retroactive state grant to help defray site preparation costs is available.
- Job applicant recruiting, screening and training to company specifications are free of charge.
Labor Availability, Cost and Climate
- The population is 37,000 in Gadsden, 75,000 in the urban area, 104,000 in Etowah County, and 384,000 in a 30-mile radius.
- More than 5,000 persons have filed job applications at the state's Gadsden Career Center office; 12,000-plus residents are underemployed.
- As examples, average hourly wage rates here are $11.36 for material handlers, $12.91 for welders, and $14.54 for machinists.
- Alabama is a Right to Work state; 94% of the industries in Etowah County operate without unions, and 100% of the metalworking companies here are union-free.
Education and Training
- Our public schools were the first in the state to adopt a Tech-Prep diploma curriculum.
- Our community college offers Associates degrees in Automotive Manufacturing, Automated Manufacturing, Computer, Electrical Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Industrial Maintenance, Machine Tool, and Mechanical Engineering Technologies.
- Our advanced manufacturing technology center provides postsecondary education, company-specific training and engineering assistance in CAD (including CATIA), CAM, CIM, CNC, MRP, LEAN manufacturing, PLCs, and quality systems such as ISO, QS, TS and Six Sigma.
- We have registered apprenticeship programs for mold makers, machinists and tool & die makers.
Quality of Life for Transferees
- Our public school systems have advanced academic and fine arts programs.
- A large community college and branches of three state universities are here.
- Costs of housing and of living are among the most affordable in the U.S.
- Gadsden has two regional medical centers and numerous health care providers.
- A symphony orchestra, art museum, civic theatre and cultural arts center are here.
- The climate allows year-round golf, tennis, fishing and other recreational activities.
- Gadsden is a Keep America Beautiful national award-winner, a recipient of the U.S. Conference of Mayors' City Livability Award, and a winner of the prestigious "All-America City” award from the National Civic League.