LG breaks ground on $250M appliance plant in Tennessee

By ERIK SCHELZIG Markets Associated Press

LG Electronics Inc. on Thursday broke ground at the site of the South Korean appliance manufacturer's first washing machine plant in the United States.

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The 1 million-square-foot (92,900-square-meter) facility in Clarksville is projected to cost $250 million and create 600 new jobs. Located about 50 miles (80 kilometers) northwest of Nashville, the site was selected after a six-year national search.

The plant is scheduled to be completed by the first quarter of 2019, and it is designed to be able to produce a fully assembled washing machine every 10 seconds. The company said the highly automated facility will also be able to shift production of models within four minutes.

Company and local officials were joined at the groundbreaking ceremony by U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and U.S. Sen. Bob Corker.

Ross said LG's decision to build the plant in Clarksville will bring "family-sustaining jobs to Tennessee."

"This is exactly the kind of job creation and investment that the administration is seeking for American workers," Ross said.

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Corker praised President Donald Trump and his Cabinet for fostering investment in the U.S.

"The Trump administration has done an outstanding job, I think, of releasing the animal spirits in our nation and focusing on job creation," Corker said.

LG is also building a new $300 million North American headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, and expects to at least double employment there from about 500 to more than 1,000 by 2019. The company also announced plans this week for two Michigan facilities: A vehicle components factory in Hazel Park and an expanded research and development center in Troy.

South Korean tiremaker Hankook also has a new plant in Clarksville. Hankook announced last year it was moving its North American headquarters from New Jersey to Nashville.

The new LG plant will be near a new Google data center in Clarksville on the former site of the $1.2 billion Hemlock Semiconductor plant that was shuttered in 2013. The company disassembled the plant and donated 833 acres of land back to the city and county.