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ATLANTA-After a disappointing experience last month in trying to attract DaimlerChrysler AG to a potential new 1,550-acre manufacturing site in Savannah, state officials are now courting Ford Motor Co. at another location nearer to the city, area industrial brokers intimate with the negotiations tell GlobeSt.com.

In secret negotiations with an undisclosed seller, the Georgia Properties Commission has approved the land purchase in hopes of interesting the Dearborn, MI-based automaker into opening a new manufacturing plant, brokers say. The Georgia Department of Industry, Trade and Tourism confirms the land purchase has been approved but won’t say where the tract is located and how much the state is willing to pay for the dirt.

Brokers following the negotiations tell GlobeSt.com Ford has narrowed its search for a new assembly plant in Georgia to Morgan and Meriwether counties. Morgan is east of the metro area; Meriwether is south of Downtown. Both counties have adequate land reserves, railroad connections and interstate access.

Local industrial brokers familiar with rural land values tell GlobeSt.com the state probably expects to pay no more than 20 cents per sf, or about $9,000 per acre for the 1,500 acres. That would mean a total gross price of about $13.5 million.

Still unanswered, however, is what Ford would do with its 56-year-old, 128-acre assembly plant in Hapeville, an area suburb. That plant employs 2,322 skilled workers who produce the Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable models. Ford officials have repeatedly declined to say what, if anything, would happen to the Hapeville site if a new plant was built.

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