ALBANY Equinox Chemical is expanding again, this time adding 46 jobs, $1.5 million in local investment and moving part of its operation into the former MacGregor Golf building.
Tuesday morning, the Payroll Development Authority voted to approve a lease agreement negotiated for the facility between the Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission and Equinox.
“We work aggressively to be a community that is competitive and that meets the needs of its industries, which range from manufacturing and health care to defense and logistics,” Ted Clem, CEO and president of the EDC.
“It’s rewarding to see our efforts pay off when we’re able to assist new or expanding industries such as Equinox, a homegrown company that’s taken full advantage of Albany-Dougherty County’s favorable business costs, strong manufacturing work force and logistics network. “We’re proud of Equinox CEO Mark Grimaldi and his team. They’ve built a thriving global business that’s based right here in Albany-Dougherty County,” Clem said.
Equinox has pledged to boost its employment by 46 jobs and invest $1.5 million into its business by June 2012. It will move its packaging and bottling operations, shipping and logistics efforts, training facilities and product research operations into the 60,000 square-foot building that once held MacGregor's world-renowned golf club manufacturing center.
News of Equinox's expansion comes just two years after the company announced a $5 million expansion of its operations.
The company now is playing on a global stage.
It's move to the former MacGregor property helps in two significant ways. It not only allows Equinox the space to expand its operations, but it also helps the city who is liable for a set of loans that were initially granted to MacGregor to help the manufacturer in 2000.
In October, City leaders agreed to refinance $225,000 in outstanding debt — a move expected to save $44,000 over the life of the note, officials say.
In 2000, the Albany City Commission entered into a bond agreement with the Payroll Development Authority to essentially underwrite $500,000 to finance the MacGregor Golf Company project.
Nine years later, MacGregor, a worldwide name in golf clubs and other sporting equipment, shuttered its world manufacturing headquarters here in Albany and sold its name and intellectual property rights to Texas-based Golfsmith. The move left local taxpayers holding the tab that was originally drafted to help keep them in business.
Since that time, the PDA has worked to pay down the existing debt. That $500,000 note is more than half paid.
The city and the PDA is also the guarantor on a second loan drawn on the property by SunTrust Bank. That note, which is currently worth somewhere between $650,000 to $700,000 based on a estimate by City Manager James Taylor, continues to be paid down on schedule by the PDA.