Two companies that expressed interest in locating in Limestone County industrial parks have decided not to come here but a development official said losing prospects is part of the recruiting process.
“We submit for projects and get eliminated all the time,” said Tom Hill, president of Limestone County Economic Development Agency. He said he does not like to make details of a prospect or its requirements public because it can hurt the decision-making process.
Hill said he is expecting interest in sites around the county to increase after the first of the year.
“Activity is still not great yet due to coming out of recession, but we have some opportunities in 2012,” he said.
The companies that chose not to come to Limestone were codenamed Project Tile and Project Hart.
Project Tile refers to a maker of Italian tile, which plans to open a manufacturing plant that would employ about 150 people.
“Project Tile picked Athens back in 2008 to make a project visit,” Hill said. The company responded favorably to local sites but put plans on hold when the recession hit hard in 2009.
“The demand for ceramic tiles fell off,” he said. The company showed renewed interest to a site in Breeding Industrial Park earlier this year but eventually decided too much transportation would be required to get raw materials to the plant.
Officials with Project Hart, which makes plastic injection moldings for automotive suppliers and would have employed about 60 workers, initially contacted Limestone County representatives and asked about sites.
“They called us, which is unusual,” Hill said. “They said we’ve driven through your community and we like it.”
After looking at sites in Elm and Breeding parks, the company recently notified local officials it does not plan to locate here. Hill said he does not know the reason.