Home to Alabama’s Capitol, Montgomery County continues to innovate, attracting new businesses and technology while acknowledging the past
January 31, 202
Montgomery County, in central Alabama, is home to the state Capitol. It is part of the state’s River Region and is the birthplace of the Civil Rights movement. It accommodates river traffic on the Alabama and Tallapoosa rivers and motor traffic along Interstates 65 and 85.
The county is anticipating big new projects in business, technology and just plain fun.
On the business front, the county saw three project kickoffs with a total value estimated at $1.1 billion.
Biggest is a $600 million beverage park where Manna Capital Partners plans to build a 1.7 million-square-foot production facility for both alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages. The minority-owned enterprise also will include a research and development facility.
Next, Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama, a stalwart part of Montgomery’s economy for nearly 20 years, announced plans for a $300 million expansion for production of electric vehicles, including the popular Santa Fe and Genesis models.
Shortly after that announcement, supplier Hyundai Mobis said it would invest $205 million to build an automotive battery module plant.
“I’m proud of our collaboration with partners to bring more than a billion dollars in capital investment,” says Montgomery Mayor Steve Reed. “As part of this strategy, we leveraged our unique assets to position Montgomery as a global hub for logistics and technology.”
In addition to state government and automotive plants, Montgomery has seen plans for new Amazon and FedEx facilities and anticipates a multimodal facility linking the capital city via direct rail with the Alabama State Port in Mobile.
On the technology front, the city and county continue to collaborate with Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base, the area’s largest overall employer, on TechMGM — a collaboration of local industry, education and government entities working to leverage Montgomery’s technology assets to expand the local economy, with several initiatives underway.
One of the newest projects is the Lab on Dexter, a public-private partnership to grow the tech and innovation ecosystem of the city.
“Just last year, we celebrated unprecedented economic growth, new investment and worldwide interest to Montgomery,” said Anna Buckelew, president and CEO of the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce. “Because of that, momentum is building in Montgomery. There is a new energy, a faster pace.”
And on the fun front, Montgomery looks forward to the opening in summer 2023 of Montgomery Whitewater, an Olympic-standard whitewater and outdoor activities center and much more. The park is expected to boost the economy through tourism, as well as providing fun for local residents.
Seeking to make the most of what it already has, the city has partnered with several local groups to develop a block-by-block development plan for downtown, which also is meant to grow tourism and capitalize on the waterfront.
Other new initiatives focus on the gateway to the city, including the I-65 corridor, Southern Boulevard and the Selma-to-Montgomery Voting Rights Trail. “These projects will go hand in hand with our Montgomery Forward capital improvement strategy, the downtown plan, enhancements to our riverfront and Montgomery Whitewater to boost visitor experience and quality of place,” Reed says.
“Montgomery’s greatest asset is its people, and our people have been resilient,” says Reed. “We are seeing record job growth and innovation. We also have initiated new programs that enhance quality of life and the beauty of our neighborhoods.
“When we think about all of the work and collaboration that went into this billion-dollar banner year for economic development, we have to think about the tangible impact these investments will have in our community,” Reed says. “They will change lives. They will uplift families. I’m excited to see the fruits of this labor and to see how these new opportunities can truly transform Montgomery.”
Lori Chandler Pruitt is a Birmingham-based freelance writer for Business Alabama.