It takes awhile for this week’s announcement to sink in that consumer product giant Procter & Gamble is going to build a $500 million manufacturing facility in Berkeley County.

Not Ohio or Alabama or Tennessee or North Carolina, but West Virginia.

Skeptics might wonder if there was some soul-selling going on by Governor Tomblin, Commerce Secretary Keith Burdette or both.

If this had come down to a bidding war, West Virginia couldn’t have been in the running. One competing state reportedly offered 1,000 acres… free. P&G bought the Berkeley County land.

Consider that Tennessee landed a $600 million Volkswagen plant last year, but had to put up $165.8 million in incentives and $12 million to train workers. Alabama had to come up with $80 million in incentives for a $142 million Polaris ATV factory.

In fact, the deal put forward by West Virginia to attract the country’s second largest consumer products company (after Apple) is stunningly modest.

According to the state Commerce Department, the state put up $8.5 million for preparation and infrastructure at the 450-acre Tabler Station Business Park and no special tax incentives other than those already available.

Burdette says it did help that West Virginia’s corporate net income tax has been reduced from 8.5 percent to 6.5 percent over the last several years, and that the state has eliminated the anti-business franchise tax.

Also, Burdette says, Procter & Gamble found it could deal directly with our state’s decision makers. “I get the impression that didn’t happen everywhere and that they were impressed that a state like West Virginia could actually be more nimble, more responsive,” he said on Talkline Wednesday. “This is a big deal for them.”

Procter & Gamble said West Virginia also had the location going for it. The site is along the I-81 corridor in the Mid-Atlantic region, putting it within a one-day transit of 80 percent of the company’s retail customers and consumers in the eastern U.S.

Notably, West Virginia officials are not trying to temper expectations, as they have done with the proposed ethane cracker plant in Parkersburg. “We have a high confidence level that this project will end up being maybe even substantially bigger than what’s being announced,” Burdette said.

That could mean more than 700 permanent jobs, a building larger than one-million square feet and an investment of more than $500 million.

Burdette expects even more investment from downstream businesses. He’s already talking with several companies that expect to provide supplies to the P&G facility that are interested in locating nearby.

Also, having a company with the stature of Procter & Gamble coming to West Virginia provides a large, flashing business billboard that may help attract other industry leaders who think, “If West Virginia is good enough for P&G, then it’s good enough for us.”

And finally, consider this: Of the seven billion people on this planet, five billion use product brands that come from P&G.

And now West Virginia is becoming an important partner with P&G.

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Comments

  • Bill Igoe

    Great news for West Vrginia that P&G is going to locate in Berkeley County.
    All you need to do is look to our next door neighbor, the sate of Virginia, to see the benefits of having a Right to Work law on the books. One other point, it took many years of Democratic leadership in the house and senate of WV to royally screw things up.......give the new Republican majority some time and they will really get WV on the right track to providing better opportunities for all West Virginians!

  • AX MAN

    You will have to say, that P&G has the products to help clean West Virginia up.

  • DP

    Hoppy, you article says it all! P&G locating a manufacturing plant in WV is a BIG, BIG DEAL! Relative to attracting other businesses, your line "If West Virginia is good enough for P&G, then it's good enough for us" is spot on!

    brian-I absolutely concur with your post! What a shame so many posters bitch about the lack of jobs, but bitch when a Mega Corporation (Big Business) providing thousands of construction, permanent and spin off jobs, decides to locate here. The mindset of some of these posters is Unfrigging Believable!!!

  • i dont know JACK

    Infrastructure at this site ? OK lets look at infrastructure, Alleghany power doesn't have a sub-station within 7 miles of this place that can charge a battery much less a manufacturing company this size. Water, the current supply runs dry in the summer and they surely cant deliver water from the Potomac River to this place through the straws they call water lines. Sewer, now that's a stinky subject within itself with the Chesapeake Bay deal. LOCATION and a lot of ass kissing sold this property but I sure am happy that PG came to WV.

  • brian

    As I read some of the Comments by a lot of these so called WV s sounding off about the Company moving into WV I'm thinking these people want WV to stay last or near the bottom of the food chain so they can set at home get their welfare checks, disability checks, free subsidies for their fatherless children, unemployment checks, well when these P&G employees get to working we people who want jobs can pay them even better or bigger checks don't they think of that, the dummies. Welcome to WV P&G

    • ViennaGuy

      I agree. It would indeed appear that many people are content to wallow in misery rather than climb out of it.