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GOLDEN TRIANGLE, Miss. (WCBI) — Monday’s long-awaited groundbreaking for Yokohama Tire’s initial $300 million investment in Clay County doesn’t mean economic development recruiters are sitting back.

The Japanese company’s long-term plans to more than triple its original operation will attract a variety of suppliers to the area. And those already have started looking, which means more jobs.

And a much-needed major retail project in Columbus totaling as much as 50,000 square feet could be unveiled next week when Columbus and Lowndes County consider tax incentives for the development.

“We’ve got three projects looking pretty hard in Lowndes right now and two projects in Oktibbeha and just this week with Yokohama announcing, we had some of their vendors and suppliers that we’ve started talking to them about some sites,” Golden Triangle Development Link CEO Joe Higgins said following a question and answer session today with the Columbus Rotary Club.

And Higgins noted the retail project could be fully disclosed next week Link representatives appear before supervisors Monday and the City Council Tuesday night to get approval for the proposed tax-increment financing plan that will give the developers breaks on property and sales taxes to help pay back bonds and financing needed to make the project work.

“We hope the company will disclose who they are when we go before the supervisors and city council to get their approval. We hope to be able to disclose who they are then,” Higgins said.

The project will be in the area of the existing Belk’s on Highway 45 North and include at least two major retailers.. If approved and the deal is finalized by next month, construction could start in January and be completed by next fall in time for the Christmas shopping season.

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