The Cookeville Industrial Board signed a PILOT agreement for a $150 million capital investment project in Putnam County Friday.
Board Chairman Robert Bell said many details remain confidential regarding what is being referred to as ‘Project Sim’.
“I’m not going to comment too much on the company or their investments, but this will have a major economic impact on our region,” Bell said.
Stephen Crook is the Cookeville-Putnam County Chamber Vice President of Economic Development. He explains the resolution is still in the early stages but helps keep the project moving forward.
“A ‘payment in lieu of tax agreement’ (PILOT) is essentially terms in which a company is educed to commit to job creation, capital investment, as well as a wage that is described on the front end, which we’ll review,” Crook says. “The terms of this agreement are still kind of under development and, as such, the resolution is a preliminary consideration of the project as a whole as well as the structure we have right now.”
Crook was able to speak during the meeting about the company looking to move to the area but couldn’t go into detail due to confidentiality.
“It is a growing industry segment, and it’s been a target industry for some time,” Crook says. “We’ve got some complimentary companies companies that are already located here and a lot of growth within the market itself.”
The project will reportedly bring a foreign company to the United States for the first time, making the Putnam County location the company’s U.S. corporate headquarters.
Crook said ‘Project Sim’ will create approximately 200 new jobs for the area with positions ranging from working-wage to corporate and executive positions. The jobs will also bring a $25 average wage but will likely vary based on the positions.
“Because of the corporate headquarters component, that wage itself is somewhat skewed based on the very high-wage positions within the operation,” Crook said. “70 to 75 percent of them will be working-wage above per capita but still not the SAIC-type wages we’ve seen of late. This is more along the line of a half-tick above the starting wage of Ficosa.”
Crook said the project and company behind it will ultimately have a “tremendous impact” from the local community to the entire region.
“This is a target industry it’s a big company that has an international presence, and our objective is to be sure to bring the best jobs to our community,” Crook said, “and also ensure that from a capital investment perspective and property tax perspective, the respective municipalities are in a better position tomorrow than they are today. This project does check all those boxes and we’re really excited.”
Bell stated during the meeting that both the company and Governor Bill Haslam request details not be released until an official announcement is made. A timeline on the project has not been released, but officials speculated the possibility of an announcement happening in the near future.
The company, which has not been publicly named, is being represented by Stephen Jasper of Bass, Berry, and Sims in Nashville.