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Huntsville/Madison Chamber: ‘Project Laser’ not connected to Toyota

Toyota Alabama plant

Toyota Motor North America announced plans to build a new billion dollar factory to make batteries for electric cars, only four days after the city of Huntsville announced a plan called "Project Laser" which hopes to bring a national distributor to Huntsville.

Posted: Oct 18, 2021 10:17 PM
Updated: Oct 19, 2021 5:35 PM

Toyota Motor North America announced plans to build a new billion-dollar factory to make batteries for electric cars.

This comes only four days after the City of Huntsville announced a plan called "Project Laser," which is hoping to bring a national distributor to Huntsville.

On Tuesday, the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce confirmed the two projects are not connected.

Project Laser remains a secret because the city is under a non-disclosure agreement with the potential buyer of the property. 

"We're causing a reason for more logistics to come through Huntsville," Shane Davis, the director of urban and economic development for the City of Huntsville, told the City Council on Oct. 14.

At that council meeting, Davis announced a potential buyer wants to purchase 134 acres between Interstate 565 and Old Highway 20 to build a $100-million distribution center.

"What they want to do is build a $100-million distribution logistics-type spec facility that would attract a national-type tenant," Davis said.

Council member Frances Akridge asked the question on many people's minds: Why would an anonymous national tenant choose Huntsville?

"A spec building of something that size is very unusual," Akridge said. "We're not known as the logistics area, except for the airport, right?"

Davis responded, "We weren't. We are now."

Four days after the council meeting, Toyota Motor North America announced plans for a $1.29-billion factory to manufacture electric car batteries. They haven't announced the new factory location yet, but it will likely be in one of the eight states that already have a Toyota manufacturing plant, like Alabama.

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