Billion Dollar Business Effort in West Point

By Andrew Wittenberg  - bio | email | Twitter

WEST POINT, GA (WTVM) - Kia's West Point plant will celebrate its grand opening in just two days.

One development group that invested millions before Kia's arrival finds itself standing alone as a sign of progress in the West Point Area.

The Greater Valley Group has a vision for three cities, two states and one unifying goal --- to help West Point grow around its quickly developing economy.

Drew Rennolds sells homes for GVG.

"If you think about the actual over 4,000 jobs jobs that just Kia is going to create in the West Point area, you can think about the actual infrastructure that needs to be there as far as places for people to live, places for people to eat, places for people to actually shop," Rennolds said.

When Kia officially opens its doors on Friday, it will end years of speculation in this area.

The communities of West Point, Valley, Alabama and Lanett, Alabama have been skeptical of this growth, which came on the heels of its failed textile industry.

The Greater Valley Group took a calculated risk, investing in residential communities, shopping centers, even hotels.

That risk appears to be paying off for CEO Walter Shealy, III.

"The risk of making investments in our community is diminished greatly because the Kia plant is up and operating and is producing thousands of cars now every month," Shealy said.

Which means people will come.

Not only for Kia, but for its suppliers.

GVG was the first major development company in the area, and now after the credit crisis, they are the only one.

They stand to possibly create $1.5 billion worth of "build out" for an area with much more potential in the future.

"We think that golden triangle really runs north of LaGrange to Columbus to Auburn and we think this whole region is going to grow dramatically as we go forward over the next couple of decades," Shealy said.

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