The Development Authority of Bulloch County made formal arrangements Wednesday for German-based plastics recycler revalyu (which spells its brand name all lower-case) to locate a plant for recycling PET, the material of many clear plastic beverage bottles, in Gateway Regional Industrial Park.
Polyethylene terephthalate is the same material called polyester when used to make yarn for fabric, but it is commonly called PET when made into firmer products such as bottles. The plant here would turn used bottles into PET polymer pellets that can be processed into yarns.
DABC board members, meeting at 8 a.m., unanimously approved a memorandum of understanding for the processing plant to bring $50 million investment and create 71 jobs in its first phase.
A possible second phase could “more or less double that,” said the Development Authority’s CEO Benjy Thompson.
Unlike some other industrial prospects choosing Bulloch and neighboring counties in this year’s flurry of announcements, the revalyu Resources project appears to have nothing to do with Hyundai Motor Group’s planned 8,100-employee electric vehicle and battery “meta plant” in northern Bryan County.
“While the Development Authority of Bulloch County is very excited with our involvement with Hyundai Motor Group and their suppliers, we are also happy to note that Statesboro-Bulloch County continues to generate interest from projects unrelated to Hyundai,” Thompson said. “With revalyu, we’re also pleased to welcome our first German-based company to the community.”
To be clear, the site is in the long-established Gateway Regional Industrial Park on the western side of U.S. Highway 301 south of Statesboro. It is not part of the I-16 interchange land, east of 301, now known as Bruce Yawn Commerce Park (but which previously also had a “Gateway” name).
In fact, the approximately 43-acre site now being provided to revalyu Resources was the same offered Aspen Aerogels back in 2015. After halting its plans for that site and seeing market conditions evolve, Aspen Aerogels made a new deal with the DABC for land in the Bruce Yawn Commerce Park. Since a February 2022 announcement, Aspen has been building a $325 million aerogel insulation plant there expected to employ 250 people.
Although Aspen intends for aerogel batting made there to be used in or around EV batteries, the factory was planned before Hyundai’s announcement and not connected to it.
More recently, Joon Georgia, a unit of established auto body parts manufacturer Ajin USA that would be a direct supplier to the Hyundai plant, revealed plans for a $317 million factory anticipated to eventually employ 630 people, also at the commerce park.
Discussions about the revalyu Resources prospect were also underway before the Hyundai announcement, Thompson said.
Unlike the I-16 commerce park, the Gateway site is along a railroad line, so revalyu would have rail access if needed.
The Development Authority is not gifting the land to the company but selling it at “a slight discount,” Thompson said.
As with Joon Georgia and Aspen Aerogels, the tax-exempt DABC would retain formal ownership for a period of years in order to provide a “tax savings” or partial abatement. In this case, it would be a 100% exemption from the Bulloch County government portion of property taxes for 10 years followed by a 50% exemption for five years.
But – as also with Aspen and Joon Georgia – the company is expected to make payments equal to the school district and fire protection taxes.
The DABC’s attorneys are also making arrangements for revalyu Resources to issue up to $100 million in bonds for the project with the factory as collateral and the Development Authority as a pass-through.
“There’s no repayment responsibility on the part of the Development Authority or the county or anyone other than the company,” Dan McRae, bond attorney with the Seyfarth Shaw firm, assured the DABC board via teleconferencing.
He indicated that the agreement should be complete by Jan. 18. Construction is expected to begin in March, Thompson said.
The DABC itself hailed the revalyu Resources plant with a news release through the advertising and public relations firm RobMark. But the release noted that Project Manager Cameron Barnhill represented the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s global commerce team on the project, working in partnership with the DABC, the Georgia Ports Authority and Georgia Power.
When fully completed, the plant will be able to process more than 200 tons a day of “used plastic bottles into high quality sustainable PET polymers,” the release stated. It identified the bottles processed by revalyu Resources as “100% post-consumer” and stated that the company “uses a revolutionary environmentally friendly chemical PET recycling process.”
The company sells recycled PET pellets and filament yarns to more than 60 other companies in more than 15 countries. This material reportedly is used in seamless knitting, weaving, denim, automotive materials, furnishings and technical textiles.