Groundbreaking ceremony for Hyundai manufacturing plant coming to Bryan Co.

Published: Oct. 25, 2022 at 5:30 AM EDT|Updated: Oct. 25, 2022 at 6:27 PM EDT
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BRYAN COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - Tuesday marks the beginning of a huge project in Bryan County and the state of Georgia.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the new Hyundai manufacturing plant at the mega site was held Tuesday morning.

Local developers say this might be the biggest location of the Hyundai project, but it’s certainly not the last announcement of what’s headed this way.

Leaders from Georgia to Washington to South Korea broke the ceremonial ground as Hyundai begins construction. It will become the company’s second car plant in Georgia, but the first to manufacture electric vehicles.

Hyundai says they’ll invest $5.5 billion in a facility that will employ 8,100 people. State leaders call this a game changer, and company leaders agree.

“This is going to be a massive operation, with a scale that is hard to comprehend,” Jose’ Munoz, the CEO of Hyundai North America.

From here, supply companies who provide car components will begin announcing factories of their own. That will bring the job numbers, and the impact, even higher.

Both local and government officials renewed their commitment to ensure Savannah workers are ready.

Georgia Senator Raphael Warnock emphasized the need for continued funding of research and development programs to area universities and technical colleges like Georgia Southern and Savannah State.

“I just get goosebumps thinking about the people who will be working here in this plant. Many of them will hail from schools that I know well, right here in this region. It’s a win for Georgia and certainly a win for this area in the state,” Sen. Warnock said.

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp underscored that Hyundai wants the plant to be in production in a matter of years. Both leaders agreed that it’s important area workers get in on those promised jobs as work now is underway.

“We still have a lot of work to do here, we’re just breaking ground, so we got to get this facility built, we got to get cars to the market. I think that’s one thing that Hyundai understands very quickly. It was one reason that they chose Georgia. It’s because we can deliver the workforce and we can get speed to the market for them. It’s a very competitive market that’s out there – the people that are producing first and demands there and we’re going to help Hyundai do that here,” Gov. Kemp said.

Again, Tuesday marks the beginning of construction of the plant as the countdown now starts ahead of Hyundai’s 2025 deadline for plant completion.

Bryan County Commission Chairman Carter Infinger said that this plant will provide an opportunity for Bryan County residents to live and work in the same community. Infinger says he’s worked closely with Hyundai executives in bringing this plant to the county.

He expects widespread development to happen as a result.

“It’s going to change this county for the foreseeable future. A lot of people, you know, they don’t like to see the growth, some people, but you know it’s coming. We manage it and want it to be a great place. I think Hyundai is going to make an impact on Bryan County and the surrounding areas,” Infinger said.

The growth and development of Bryan County has been an ongoing debate among those who live there.

For Hyundai’s part, the company recently announced new science and technology education partnerships with Bryan County schools as plant construction is now underway.

Watch a replay of the groundbreaking ceremony below:

Impact on surrounding counties

Bryan, Bulloch, Chatham, and Effingham counties say they could not have brought this here without teamwork and we’ll see even more development beyond just this one site.

They gathered as one to celebrate the groundbreaking in Bryan County. But local developers say their counties will grow and prosper from this plant. They anticipate the 8,000 plus employees that Hyundai hire will live in any one of a host of communities in the area. They acknowledge that none of them alone would have necessarily brought the company here.

“We thought it was important, as four counties, to combine our resourses and talents and money to be considered serious competitors for these big projects,” said Brandt Herndon, with the Effingham County Industrial Development Authority.

Hyundai leaders focused on the more than 8,000 jobs their plant will bring to the region. But local developers say the company will partner with supply manufacturers that will make parts for electric vehicles. Each of those will employ hundreds of workers of their own.

“The ripple effect of suppliers will extend for miles and miles. The first wave of that is happening now and will be within 30 miles of the mega site. Bulloch County will see some of that, certainly all of the J.D.A. counties,” said Benjy Thompson, the CEO of the Development Authority of Bulloch County.

He says those suppliers will build their plants along Interstates 16 or 95, some a few miles away and others further up or down the road. We could begin hearing about those companies early next year.