1776 Munitions abandons plan to locate in Valley

Published 10:55 am Tuesday, August 15, 2023

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VALLEY — The City of Valley has received disappointing news about a prospect that was expected to bring hundreds of jobs to the community. 

Chambers County Development Authority (CCDA) Executive Director Valerie Gray told Mayor Leonard Riley and city council members on Monday that Project Primer probably would not be locating in the city. They’d been looking at locating in the city since last September.

The project would’ve brought 1776 Munititions to the area, which was initially expected to bring 836 jobs to the community. Gray had said in September 2022 that the capital investment was $250 million and that the initial startup cost was $172 million. 

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“I wish I had better news, but we haven’t lost any money on this,” Gray said.

Project Primer is the ammunition manufacturer considering building a new plant on the Burney property site between Fob James Drive and 55th Street.

A major factor in their not coming here was the rise in interest rates over the past year. That has made it increasingly difficult to borrow money, which usually occurs when a new plant is being built.

“I’m sorry they are not coming,” Mayor Leonard Riley said Tuesday morning. “They would have created a lot of new jobs in the city.”

Gray will soon be retiring as CCDA executive director. “Twenty-five years ago, local officials took a chance on a hometown girl who had graduated from the University of Alabama,” she said Monday. “I am looking forward to retirement. The organization I am leaving is in great shape. I have an excellent staff.”

The CCDA has had some jarring successes over the past quarter century. The development of the Chambers County Industrial Park at Exit 70 on I-85 has been a big deal along with John Soules Foods coming to Valley and the development of a regional airport in Lanett. The CCDA was involved in all of those projects. Its office is located in the new terminal at the Lanett airport.

Mayor Riley and members of the council took turns in thanking Gray for the job she has done for the city and all of Chambers County.