‘Project Uno’ making headway in Putnam County

COOKEVILLE – An industrial development prospect that could bring nearly 1,000 jobs to the Upper Cumberland region is making headway in Putnam County.

Both the Cookeville City Council and Putnam County Commission approved a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for Project Uno this week, in which terms of the pending agreement with the unknown prospect were outlined. The document still needs approval from the Industrial Development Board (IDB) of the City of Cookeville, but among the publicized details: Uno is considering 36 acres in the approximately 225-acre Highlands Business Park, which is located within view of Interstate 40; the prospect would build a $12.5 million, 265,000-square-foot facility and would invest roughly $34 million in equipment; and the state of Tennessee has OK’d about $2.2 million in economic development grants. The city and county have also agreed to convey to the building’s contractor $1.25 million – each – on behalf of Uno. Those funds will be used for site preparation.

In return, Uno expects to add 600 full-time equivalent jobs by the end of 2016; 800 full-time jobs by the end of 2017; and 911 full-time equivalent jobs by Dec. 31, 2018.

The IDB, which meets Monday, will consider a PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) agreement, in which UNO will pay $125,000 to the city and county for 20 years starting in October 2016. The land, building and equipment would be owned by the IDB.

Project Uno has been rumored for months – the city and county approved incentives for the prospect back in August – but it’s standard policy for officials to hold off on commenting until an official announcement is made.

Liz Engel is the editor of the Upper Cumberland Business Journal. She can be reached at liz@ucbjournal.com

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