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BAXLEY, GA-For Contender Boats, it was a deal the Miami-based manufacturer couldn’t refuse, area industrial brokers familiar with the transaction tell GlobeSt.com.

First, the state gave the company a $2-million cash grant to buy an estimated 500,000-sf building that had sat empty for three years in this town of about 5,000 permanent residents. Brokers intimate with the deal tell GlobeSt.com Contender plans to invest about $13 million to reconfigure and equip the building.

For future planned expansion by Contender, the Southeast Georgia Regional Development Authority threw in 15 acres adjoining the 25-acre site which had previously been used as a mobile home manufacturing site. The agency confirms for GlobeSt.com the land deal is valued at about $150,000 or $10,000 per acre (23 cents per sf). Company representatives couldn’t be reached by GlobeSt.com’s publication deadline.

The entire deal hinges on Contender’s pledge to create a minimum of 424 jobs at the end of five years and keep that job level total for 10 years. The company plans to hire at least 150 workers at $12 per hour within the first year of operations, the company has told Appling County officials. If the company can keep its hiring promise, it will be exempt from property taxes for 15 years, according to the Authority.

Contender is the second South Florida boat builder to relocate to Georgia in the last nine years, according to Gov. Sonny Perdue’s office. Atlanta-based Marine Products Corp. moved its main plant in 1976 to a one-million-sf facility in Nashville, GA north of Valdosta where it manufactures the Chapparal brand stern-drive and inboard pleasure boats. Marine Products also has 50,000-sf plant in Valdosta where it makes the Robalo brand of outboard sport fishing boats. Contender builds boats in the 21-foot to 36-foot size category.

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