Florida Governor Rick Scott announced the construction in Suwannee County of the Klausner Lumber One sawmill.
The high-tech $130 million facility by Klausner will create 350 permanent jobs with average wages of $30,000 plus another $9,000 in benefits. Construction on the site will require 700 additional positions.
“In addition to creating hundreds of employment opportunities for Florida’s families and further growing the state’s economy, the construction of this facility represents true partnerships between many different local and statewide organizations,” said Gov. Scott. “Their efforts will create 350 new jobs for Florida families in this community. We welcome Klausner Lumber One to our state.”
This is the second sawmill announcement in the U.S. for Klausner Holding USA Inc., the Myrtle Beach, South Carolina-based American subsidiary of Tyrol, Austria-based Klausner Group.
“This project has been a huge undertaking with many challenges that we have been able to work through with Suwannee County,” said Friedrich Klausner of Klausner Lumber One. “But this is inevitable with a project of this size. The significant impact on this region has made it all worthwhile! We are pleased to be here and will be good corporate citizens in this community.”
In Dec 2012, the Klausner Lumber Two project in Enfield, NC – also a 350 job project with a $110 million investment, was announced by North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue. Klausner has additionally completed all the paperwork for a third facility in Orangeburg County, South Carolina, but no announcement has been made as yet for this facility.
“This is a great day for Suwannee County and the region. The impact will not only be felt here in Suwannee County but will have a significant economic effect in many other North Florida Economic Development Partnership (NFEDP) counties,” said county commission chairman Wesley Wainwright.
The county has been working on this project for several years now, and their total investment in the project by the time it is operational will be around $3.34 million, with a 10-year projected return on investment of almost $880 million.
“NFEDP is very excited about the project announced for Suwannee County, this being the first development on a catalyst site in our region. The direct and indirect jobs will provide a vital shot in the arm to this area, as we still have 10-11 percent unemployment,” said NFEDP chair Allen Cherry.
Aside from Board of County Commissioners and NFEDP, other organizational partners in the project included Enterprise Florida; Suwannee County Economic Alliance; and the Florida Institute of Government at Florida State University. In total, 14 counties in the North Central Florida region supported the project.
“Without the ongoing technical assistance provided by Diane Scholz of the Florida Institute of Government and the North Florida Economic Development Partnership, Inc., this project would not have succeeded,” added Wainwright. “The coordination between the county and the company, and the successful collaboration with state agencies, company officials and engineers, and the local economic development official, Dennis Cason, were unprecedented.”
The Klausner family has been in the sawmilling business for nearly a century, and Klausner mills are known for being among the most productive worldwide. Klausner currently operates two mills in Germany.