Hyundai Changes Economic Landscape, Two More Companies May Be Coming To Montgomery

D.J.'s Bar-B-Que just may be the perfect example of what Hyundai has done. Created more business for Olivia Rhodes and then some.

"We serve about 75 to 100 Hyundai employees per week," said Rhodes.

Another way to put it into focus? When Hyundai Motor Manufacturing arrived a few years ago, the company said it would hire 2,000 people. Today, 3,152 work at the sprawling plant and that doesn't include tier one suppliers. Add those numbers to the mix and you're talking real jobs, 12,000.

So what about all this talk of at least two major companies looking at Montgomery? Right now Alabama lawmakers are meeting in a special session to pass bills that would allow the state to borrow up to $750 million dollars in incentives for prospective corporations. Alabama is competing against Louisiana for at least one of the 4 prospects.

"It means opportunities," said veteran lawmaker Representative John Knight of Montgomery.

No one is saying on the record what kind of businesses are looking, but together they could add nearly as the same number of jobs Hyundai originally estimated.

"Between 1,700 to 2,000, especially just for Montgomery alone," said Knight.

"A huge impact," said Montgomery County Commissioner Todd Strange.

Alabama offered Hyundai some $250 million in incentives. Now that lawmakers are looking at borrowing more money, there is always that concern the state is giving way too much. After all, we're talking about taxpayers' money.

"It's a fact of life. Anytime you get into an incentive situation we always do a cost-benefit analysis. You figure out the rate of return and if it doesn't work then you start negotiating," Strange said.

"If we didn't think we could afford it, then it wouldn't be on the table," said Knight.

And what about the job pool. Are there enough employees to meet the needs of a new company? 12,000 are working because of Hyundai. Locally, the unemployment rate is 3 and a half percent.

"You can pull from Prattville, Millbrook, Lowndes County, 82% of the jobs are here in Montgomery, we can pull from this tri-county area," Strange said.

In the end economic experts say it comes down to this; sometimes you have to spend money to make money, and no one is benefiting more from that than the lady at D.J.'s Bar-B-Que.

"We got 4 new hotels since Hyundai," said Rhodes.

Another impressive number. Hyundai  at first estimated its payroll at 99 million.. now it stands at 232 million.