The first shovels of dirt were flung in the air Thursday morning as dignitaries from across the globe broke ground on the new Giti Tire USA plant in Chester County.
The first phase of Giti’s plan calls for developing 250 acres of land near I-77 in Richburg and when fully operational, will employ 1,700 people.
“This day marks a big turning point. You move from planning this massive project to the execution phase and building this massive, world-class tire manufacturing facility,” said Brian Singleton, chairman of the Chester Development Association.
Giti unveiled its plans in June 2014 to open its first plant in the United States, a decision that S.C. Governor Nikki Haley said was due, in part, to southern hospitality.
“The most important thing that [Giti] wanted was a community that they could see as a family and a community that would see them as family back,” Haley said.
Giti plans to invest $560 million in the plant on the Chester County mega site, a planned industrial area with easy access to utilities, transportation and communication sources.
“It’s going to be a big plan and a big, complicated project. But we are very happy to work with a very good team,” said Enki Tan, Executive Chairman of the Singapore-based company.
Within minutes of Haley, Giti and Chester County leaders tossing sand in a ceremonial groundbreaking, bulldozers and backhoes slipped into position about a mile away to start leveling the land.
“You’ll never see this area like this again,” Chester County Supervisor Carlisle Roddey said. “This is a game-changer for Chester County. It will never, ever, be the same.”