Continental Tire project wins deal-of-the-year contest

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The groundbreaking ceremony for the Continental Tire plant in Hinds County.

The Mississippi Development Authority is taking home the gold — to be specific, Business Facilities Magazine’s Gold Award for landing the Continental Tire project in Hinds County.

“Mississippi executed an impressive double play early in 2016 by winning the highly coveted Continental plant and simultaneously landing the new TopShip shipbuilding complex in Gulfport,” said Jack Rogers, the magazine’s editor-in-chief, in announcing the award. “The Magnolia State had a banner year—and we fully expect that its dynamic and well-executed growth strategy will produce even greater success in 2017.”

As part of its deal with Mississippi, Continental agreed to create 2,500 jobs that pay an average of $40,000 per year. Continental’s overall investment would total $1.45 billion, the company said.

TopShip LLC, which makes vessels for offshore oil and gas drilling companies, inked a deal with the state in which they promised to create 700 jobs in Gulfport.

Gov. Phil Bryant posted on Facebook that the accolade “further cements Mississippi’s position as a leader in advanced manufacturing.”

Business Facilities, which is based in Tinton Falls, N.J., hosts its deal-of-the-year contest annually. Economic development organizations defined by city, state or region can submit up to three projects and pay a $50 entry fee to the contest, according to the magazine’s website.

The magazine also said Mississippi overcame a number of challenges to seal the deal with Continental, including the discovery of a cemetery and approximately 270 marked and unmarked burial plots on the site.

In addition, Gov. Phil Bryant personally asked the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for wetlands mitigation permits — about 100 acres would be affected — to speed up site development. Also, as part of the memorandum of understanding, Hinds Community College would help train Continental’s workforce.

This year’s silver and bronze Business Facilities deal-of-the-year awards went, respectively, to the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development for a $789 million General Motors plant expansion and the Georgia Department of Economic Development for Honeywell’s new software development center in Atlanta.