Great Southern Wood Preserving will invest $22.5 million to expand the selection of wood treatments for residential, industrial and marine use produced at its Avoyelles Parish, LA facility. The expansion will also allow the lumber processing company — best known for its YellaWood® brand pressure-treated pine — to target new commercial and industrial markets in Louisiana.
The Alabama-based company’s expansion will retain 75 jobs and create 58 new direct jobs at the Mansura facility. Louisiana Economic Development (LED) estimates the project will also result in 144 indirect jobs, for a total of more than 200 new jobs in Central Louisiana.
“This expansion in Mansura is the culmination of the long-range plan we had in mind when we began operations there in late 2011,” said Jimmy Rane, Great Southern’s founder, president and CEO. “We’ve experienced continued growth through those years, and have reached the stage where investing in expanded product offerings will allow us to serve the broader Louisiana market with new products and additional manufacturing capabilities for residential, construction and industrial markets. We have a very strong leadership team and workforce in Mansura, and we’re poised to continue growing in Louisiana, which is a key growth area for us. We couldn’t be more excited about our expansion in Mansura, and we’re looking forward to getting underway.”
Located on 35 acres, the Great Southern facility in Mansura will be expanded to include a 187,500-square-foot warehouse to protect treated lumber, and a 112,500-square-foot manufacturing facility, office building and truck maintenance shop. Construction on the expansion began in March and is expected to be complete by the end of 2023.
“Great Southern Wood Preserving joins a growing list of lumber companies that have announced new or expanding operations that created more than 600 direct new jobs in Louisiana the past two years,” said Governor John Bel Edwards. “The timber industry is thriving in our state, and investments by existing Louisiana producers like Great Southern reinforce our agribusiness sector and contribute to the revitalization of our rural communities.”
Louisiana offered the company an incentive package that includes the LED FastStart workforce development program, and Great Southern is also expected to participate in the state’s Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption programs. The company will receive a $750,000 award from the state’s Retention and Modernization Tax Credit program, and $750,000 from the CLECO economic development fund established in 2017 as part of the public utility’s transition to private ownership. The fund, which is administered by LED, was created to support job-creating projects across CLECO’s largely rural 24-parish service area.
“Great Southern Wood is an important component of the wood products industry, which is a driver of the Central Louisiana economy,” said Larkin Simpson, executive vice president of Louisiana Central. “We applaud their leadership and commitment to the region with the addition of new jobs and capital investment in Avoyelles Parish. Investments like this one continue to strengthen our regional economy and showcase the ability and capacity of our people. Louisiana Central is proud to work alongside our valued partners to grow jobs, grow opportunity, and grow our region.”
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