At Wednesday’s groundbreaking ceremony, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal presented Baxter CEO Bob Parkinson with a symbolic sign of how beneficial the state believes the company’s decision to locate in Covington, Ga. will be.
“This type of co-operation is definitely a two-way street,” Deal said. “What you may or may not know is that Stanton Springs Parkway is going to be renamed Baxter Parkway. And the message that sends is that the road to success will have Baxter written all over it. As I said in the beginning, this a great day for Georgia.”
Leaders from Baxter as well as local and state officials were at the location in Covington, Ga. to throw the first dirt on the development. In the speeches, officials heralded it as a great honor for Georgia. A global search had been made by Baxter before settling on the Covington location, with more than 100 other areas vying for the development.
“This is a $1 billion investment,” Deal said, adding that it is the largest investment in Georgia since his term as governor. “These decisions are not made lightly and for all of you who worked to make this possible - you are a part of the choice that made this development possible that we celebrate today.”
The new 155-acre bio-pharmaceutical manufacturing facility will have a Covington address, but 150 acres are located in Walton County. The Stanton Springs business park encompasses Jasper, Morgan, Newton and Walton counties and the development’s investment will be split between the four.
“The split is 37.5 percent each for Walton and Newton counties, 15 percent for Morgan and 10 percent for Jasper,” said Kevin Little, Chairman of the Walton County Board of Commissioners, adding the tax benefits will have the same four-way split.
Much of the excitement generated by the building of the new facility is an expected 1,500 full-time jobs it will eventually bring to Georgia. The company has pledged to invest $1 billion in the new plasma fractionation plant that reportedly will add up to 3 million liters of new capacity annually once fully functional. This will boost the company's plasma-based treatments for immune disorders, trauma and other critical conditions. In addition to the manufacturing facility, Baxter is expected to locate plasma centers in a number of other communities in Georgia.
In the original press release, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal said Baxter’s decision to locate in Georgia marked a new era in the growth of the state’s bioscience industry and would have a far-reaching impact on the economy.
“We are honored to welcome this flagship company to Georgia and proud that our state’s vast resources for the biomedical field will assist the company with the groundbreaking medical advances it is renowned for,” Deal said. “Baxter’s commitment to Georgia moves us closer to making Georgia the No. 1 state in which to do business.”
Parkinson said the manufacture of high-quality biologic medicines is critical for serving the needs of patients around the world. He gave a background to some of the contributions Baxter makes to the bioscience industry. The $14 billion global industry supplies products to more than one million patients each year. The U.S. provides more than 50 percent of the world’s plasma supply, and Baxter is among the world’s leading producers.
“The plasma processed here will also provide the raw materials for Baxter therapies for things like bleeding disorders, trauma and a range of other critical conditions," Parkinson said. “We are pleased that the people of Georgia will be helping us bring the benefits of these treatments to more patients here in the us and around the world.”
Deal said Georgia Quick Start would build and operate a state-of-the-art biotech training center to meets the company’s start-up needs. He said this will also add to the capacity and curricula of Georgia’s Technical College System. In addition, the Governor’s Office of Workforce Development and the Georgia Department of Labor will assist the company in identifying and recruiting workers.