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Silicor will miss deadline; future uncertain

 

Ralph Billingsley

Ralph Billingsley

 

 

Jeff Clark

 

A much-anticipated Lowndes County industrial prospect will miss a second construction deadline. According to Lowndes County Administrator Ralph Billingsley, Silicor Materials is not expected to meet its phase one groundbreaking deadline set for Dec. 31. 

 

"This week, the Silicor committee -- myself, (board president Harry) Sanders, board attorney Tim Hudson and District 2 Supervisor Bill Brigham -- met at the Link building with some Silicor officials, Billingsley said. "They gave us a project update and they indicated they were not going to be able to meet their Dec. 31 deadline. We gave them a deadline extension in September. (Link CEO Joe Max Higgins) is going to appear before the board Dec. 3 to let us know where we go from here, if we give them another extension or not.  

 

The company, initially called Calisolar, announced its intention to locate in Lowndes County in Aug. 2011. Construction on the project was originally scheduled to begin in May of this year. 

 

The company was next slated to begin the initial phase of construction by Sept. 2. After failing to meet that goal, the board of supervisors granted the company an extension until Dec. 31, stipulating they meet specific, monthly benchmarks or risk having the county cancel the project. 

 

State lawmakers awarded a $75.25 million incentive package to the company last September, including a $59.5 million equipment and construction loan, $11.25 million for infrastructure and $4.5 million for local workforce training. Lowndes County gave an additional $19 million in financial incentives.  

 

"I'm hopeful they can get this worked out," District 4 Supervisor Jeff Smith said. "We definitely want to see this come together to bring more jobs to our community. So, I'm remaining optimistic." 

 

Silicor officials have blamed a lack of funding for their delays, claiming they have not been able to receive a commitment from their European banking partners.  

 

In its original announcement, the company planned to create 921 jobs on a 250-acre campus at the industrial park. 

 

 

 

SILICOR TIMELINE 

 

 

 

  • August 2011: Calisolar (later known as Silicor) officials announce intent to locate in Lowness County. 

     

     

     

  • September 2011: State lawmakers approve a $75.5 million incentive package for Calisolar to locate at the Lowndes County Industrial Park. 

     

     

     

  • May 2012: First projected day for Calisolar construction. Phase 1 construction date is moved to September. Phase 2 scheduled to begin Dec. 31. If schedule is not met, Lowndes County Board of Supervisors will pull incentive money and close project. 

     

     

     

  • August 2012: Columbus-Lowndes Development Link CEO Joe Max Higgins tells board of supervisors construction will not begin in September. Dec. 31 deadline is given. Company is now called Silicor Materials. 

     

     

     

  • September 2012: Silicor officials meet with supervisors' Silicor committee. 

     

     

     

  • Nov. 15, 2012: Silicor officials inform Higgins they will not meet the Dec. 31 deadline.

     

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