Thomasville Mayor builds regional growth through international partnerships

January 01, 2014

When Chinese manufacturer Golden Dragon Copper was looking to build its first facility in the U.S., 61 communities across the nation put in bids on the $100 million deal, which guaranteed more than 1,000 new jobs for the selected area. Deep in the Black Belt of Alabama, Thomasville Mayor Sheldon Day was up for the fight.

Day worked with area development officials to use state tax incentives, proximity to a rail line, and access to the Port of Mobile as primary reasons to persuade the copper tubing facility to locate in west Alabama, and their efforts were successful.

The Golden Dragon site was originally planned for 50 acres of land just south of Thomasville High School. However, Golden Dragon officials soon realized the site was only one-third of the size needed for facility construction and future expansion and began to consider relocating. Mayor Day was ready with a second option–274 acres of land in Wilcox County, just outside of the Thomasville city limits near Pine Hill–more than enough to prevent the plant from leaving the region.

Golden Dragon will occupy 135 acres of the new space, now known as the Thomasville-West Wilcox Industrial Park. Day and other local officials hope that they can use the rest of the land to attract other industrial facilities in the future.

The Golden Dragon facility will provide an estimated 1,000 temporary construction jobs and 300 to 500 permanent jobs by the time it is completed. Over the last two years, the Delta Regional Authority has invested more than $600,000 in Wilcox County to help purchase the land needed for the Golden Dragon project.

Golden Dragon, based in Xinxiang, China, is one of the world's largest manufacturers of specialized copper tube, with sales close to $4 billion a year. The Alabama plant will serve as a subsidiary to the international manufacturer, producing copper pipes and tubes for air conditioning, cars, and other applications.