800 jobs expected after Lee Co. groundbreakings

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AUBURN, AL (WSFA) - There was positive economic news in Lee County Monday as two major companies broke ground on facilities that will ultimately employ more than 800 people. GE Aviation and Pharmavite each put shovels in the dirt to announce the start of construction on manufacturing facilities in the Auburn and Opelika areas.

"It's a banner day for economic development in Lee County," said Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn). "Today's groundbreakings begin the work that will soon put several hundred of our citizens into good-paying, desperately-needed jobs. And let's not forget all the good construction jobs that are created to build these high-tech facilities."

GE Aviation is building a state-of-the-art 300,000 square-foot environmental coatings facility in Auburn's West Technology Park. The plant will build precision, super-alloy machined parts for GE jet engines that will power future commercial and military aircraft, and also to support the vast fleet of GE jet engines already in service. The facility, scheduled to open in late 2012, is expected to employ 300 to 400 people at full production.

Pharmavite, which produces Nature Made vitamins and SOYJOY nutrition bars, chose Opelika's Northeast Industrial Park for its $76 million manufacturing and packaging facility. Pharmavite is expected to create 280 new jobs in its first production year, and 400 jobs within a few years.

Speaker Hubbard, who represents both Auburn and Opelika in the Alabama House of Representatives, said he hopes these groundbreakings portend an improving economic outlook for Lee County and all of Alabama.

"It's not every day that you see dirt begin moving on projects that will create up to 800 jobs in the area," he said. "I hope we can keep this momentum going to bring even more jobs and opportunities for folks who need them."

INFORMATION SOURCE: Mike Hubbard's press office

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