‘Project Tiger’ pulled from consideration in county|[9/20/06]

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Warren County is no longer in the running for a heavy manufacturing plant along U.S. 61 North.

&#8220It’s dead,” Warren County Economic Development Foundation Executive Director Jim Pilgrim said Tuesday.

Pilgrim said the unnamed company dropped Warren County from a list of about a dozen places under consideration because not enough of the land the company said it needed could be secured.

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&#8220We did not have a suitable site under control, either by owning it or having it under option,” Pilgrim said.

He had pitched the employer, said to have had the potential to offer 2,000 jobs, under the name &#8220Project Tiger.”

Pilgrim and Vicksburg Warren Community Alliance Executive Director Scott Martinez, also involved in trying to recruit the company here, said confidentiality agreements between economic development officials here and company representatives prevent the identity of the firm from being divulged publicly until after a site is finally selected.

In August, supervisors offered the $200 million plant, targeted for land between U.S. 61 North and the Yazoo River near Blakely, a substantial assortment of tax exemptions that included free port warehousing, a fee-in-lieu of property taxes for a period of time and an inventory tax exemption.

Mississippi Development Authority was involved in recruiting the company as well as Entergy, the company from which Pilgrim retired.

Up to 900 acres was needed for the 2 million-square-foot facility, plus access to rail lines. Also, the tract here had flood-elevation problems, dipping slowly from the highway to Yazoo River. A ring levee would have been necessary to protect it from major flooding.

Those factors also figured into the company’s decision to pull Warren County out of consideration, Pilgrim said.

&#8220When you have a project that size, (those factors) get expensive,” he said.

Project Tiger was one of about a dozen companies in the last month to do site visits or follow-up work on potentially locating somewhere in Warren County. Those industries included modular housing and companies involved in handling biodiesel.

Pilgrim remained hopeful at least a mid-major industry will decide to locate here.