County Commission Committee Recommends Mitsubishi Incentives

By Andy Meek

The Shelby County Commission’s economic development & tourism committee has recommended approval of the county contributing $1 million to the financial incentives for Mitsubishi Electric Power Products Inc., which is building a new transformer manufacturing plant in Memphis.

The full commission will take action on the recommendation at the full County Commission meeting Monday.

Mark Herbison, senior vice president for economic development with the Greater Memphis Chamber, said local officials have been working on the Mitsubishi project since January 2009.

Ken Badaracco, who will be the plant manager for the Memphis facility, said MEPPI began canvassing the U.S. for sites about 2 years ago. The site selection was whittled down to 6 to 8 locations, and MEPPI then began ranking them based on amenities like schools and infrastructure.

Badaracco said Memphis ended up among the final two or three locations but had an uphill battle because Rivergate Industrial Park, the site where MEPPI is putting its plant, needed a large amount of infrastructure work.

That’s where the incentive package came into play.

Herbison said the project will generate tens of millions of dollars in property tax revenue for the city and county.

“What they’re going to be building here are very heavy transformers that are now only built in Japan,” Herbison said, adding that it will provide the TVA and other utilities with products they now have to import.