Michelin planning expansion – “Project Cougar”

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By Stan Welch

After weeks of observing secrecy, symbolized by the naming of a potential economic development project as “Project Cougar,” the company considering the investment let the cat out of the bag. Michelin, Inc. ran public notice of a public hearing on the proposal in the local daily paper, effectively removing any need for secrecy. The company, which currently employs more than 700 people at two facilities in Anderson County, is contemplating building two more facilities, which might employ as many as another three hundred people and involve a capital investment of more than $500 million.

In fact, both those numbers are threshold figures that would trigger larger incentives being offered in terms of tax breaks and infrastructure credits.

County Administrator Rusty Burns cautioned that competition for the projects is fierce, both within the United States, and overseas. “This is far from a done deal, but the County Council and the economic development staff is working very hard to assure Michelin that we want them to grow with Anderson County, as we grow with Michelin.”

Burriss Nelson, Director of the County Economic Development Office, says that the investment could eventually approach $1 billion.

The public hearing on the proposal will be held at the second February meeting of the Anderson County Council, on Feb. 21. The announcement of such a hearing has to be made at least fifteen days in advance; thus the Monday publication of the notice. More on Project Cougar