Much of the attention surrounding Hyundai has been focused on the South Korean company’s massive Metaplant America at the Bryan County Mega-Site in Black Creek, due to open early in 2025.
With good reason. The $5.54 billion investment is expected to generate some 8,100 jobs.
But the automaker is on a tighter deadline for completion of its Hyundai Mobis manufacturing plant at the Belfast Commerce Center in Richmond Hill.
The plant, which Mayor Russ Carpenter in November called “by far the single largest investment in the economy of our city,” in its history, is expected to begin production at some point in 2024, officials say, and is on deadline to meet that target.
Officials say the Hyundai Mobis facility will provide some 1,500 jobs and invest more than $926 billion in the economy, while supply more than 900,000 power systems and 450,000 integrated charging control units annually at full production.
While the largest single investment in Richmond Hill’s history, it’s not the only one.
It’s also far from being the only investment in the area, a portion of some 5,000 acres of Rayonier owned-land the city annexed in 2017.
Distribution centers for companies ranging from Medline to FedEx and the developers Xebec and Anatolia are creating of millions of square feet in warehouse space in the Belfast Commerce Park, and there’s still room for more.
And as dump trucks moved dirt during a recent visit to the Commerce Center, something stood out.
The Hyundai Mobis site is in an area where just about everything seems brand new, from booming development east of I-95 to warehouses and industrial space on the west side of the interstate near Richmond Hill Fire Department’s temporary Station 3.
Even the Exit 82 interchange is new, having opened to traffic in 2020.
West of I-95, the longest tenured company in the Belfast Commerce Park is Caesarstone, the Israeli manufacturer of quartz countertops. It opened for business in 2015.
Hyundai Mobis, meanwhile, is constructing a pair of plants with a combined square footage of some 507,000 square foot on a 180-acre site behind warehouses off Belfast Keller Road just west of I-95, and the Development Authority of Bryan County lists a pair of sites in the Belfast Commerce Park still available for the right company.
East of the interstate there’s land where St. Joseph’s Candler is building a large medical campus near the Heartwood residential development, not far from the new Richmond Hill High School.
The school is expected to cost taxpayers more than $100 million through bonds approved by voters in 2017. The new school expected to be able to some 3,500 students when it opens in the fall of 2024. The developer, Rayonier’s real estate arm Raydient, has plans to put some 10,000 homes in the area over a 20-year period.