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New Economic Development Project Will Bring 1,700 Jobs to Athens

Meissner, a California-based company that makes filtration products, has agreed to build a $250 million facility in Athens that will employ almost 1,700 people.

Athens-Clarke County Commissioner Mike Hamby, who serves on the ACC Development Authority, made the announcement at the commission’s meeting Apr. 4. The development authority met earlier this afternoon to approve bonds for the project. “This is really a good project for Athens,” Hamby said. “The company is a really good fit for our community.”

The facility will be located on property known as the “Christian tract” at Spring Valley Road and Athena Drive. Operations are expected to start in 2026, but it will not be fully built out until about 2030. The site will include a state-of-the-art cleanroom, laboratories, research and development and office space in multiple structures, according to a news release from Gov. Brian Kemp’s office.

“We are thrilled to embark on this important expansion and are excited to build our second U.S. manufacturing campus in Athens-Clarke County,” company president Christopher Meissner, said in a news release. “The State of Georgia, and Athens-Clarke County in particular, is an ideal location with an incredible talent pool and strong geographic position that allows us to serve clients on the East Coast and throughout the world. We sincerely appreciate the partnership with state and county officials, and are eager to break ground to join the community in Athens-Clarke County.”

The commission voted unanimously to spend $1.9 million to extend sewer lines to the property. According to an ACC Economic Development Department fiscal analysis of “Project Square”—Meissner’s code name during negotiations—incentives also include property tax abatements that start to decline after Year 8, but the development is still expected to net the county government and school district $6.4 million over a 15-year period, accounting for the cost of providing services. The total payroll is projected to be $117 million when the facility is fully built out, generating $24 million a year in local retail sales. 

According to its website, Meissner makes filters and other equipment for the pharmaceutical, biotech, microelectronics, chemical, and food and beverage industries. The average wage will be about $82,000 a year, Hamby said. “A lot of scientists and researchers will be part of this,” he said. The company said it will also be hiring for engineering, information technology and administrative positions.

Hamby compared the deal favorably to Caterpillar, which brought 1,500 jobs to Athens at much lower wages and with more taxpayer dollars devoted to infrastructure.