Wellspring Project

Toyota Motor Manufacturing Mississippi

December 12, 2017

1,000,000 Corolla Built in Mississippi

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The Wellspring Project was the name for the mega-site located in Northeast Mississippi that landed the newest TOYOTA plant in North America.

THE PUL ALLIANCE (Pontotoc, Union, Lee County)

FORMED IN 2001

The PUL Alliance was formed in 2001 by local governments in Pontotoc, Union, and Lee Counties to promote job creation and economic development by developing and marketing a large-scale industrial site suitable for automotive or other major impact industries. In 2003, The PUL Alliance became the State of Mississippi’s first regional economic development alliance.

HISTORIC PARTNERSHIP

The unprecedented partnership allowed local governments to cross county lines and share in development costs of the Wellspring industrial site near Blue Springs, MS. The PUL Alliance played an integral role in the designation Highway 78 as Interstate 22 and has demonstrated the importance of partnerships and regional economic development strategies.

OH WHAT A VICTORY!

In February 2007, Toyota Motor Company announced plans to build a $1.3 billion manufacturing facility on a 1,730-acre tract of land owned and marketed by the Alliance. Since then, several Tier 1 automotive suppliers have located and expanded throughout northeast Mississippi and even more are anticipated as Toyota Motor Manufacturing Mississippi, Inc. increases production.

The PUL Alliance Members are: Community Development Foundation, City of New Albany, City of Pontotoc, City of Tupelo, Lee County Board of Supervisors, Pontotoc County Board of Supervisors, Pontotoc County Chamber of Commerce, Three Rivers Planning and Development District, Union County Development Association, & the Union County Board of Supervisors.

How it all started

Pontotoc Union Lee (PUL) Alliance is the State of Mississippi’s first regional economic development alliance. A multi-governmental entity, the PUL Alliance was formed to actively locate a major automotive manufacturer in Northeast Mississippi, a region where over 30% of the labor force is employed in manufacturing.

This unprecedented partnership was formed in 2001 and approved in 2003 under state legislation allowing collaboration between multi-governmental jurisdictions for major economic development purposes. The PUL Alliance has spent the past four years combining the financial and technical resources needed to recruit a major automotive manufacturer to Northeast Mississippi. Since its inception, PUL Alliance officials have actively marketed the Wellspring Project site at automotive industry trade shows across the United States and Europe, and have engaged directly with automotive industry experts to promote the benefits of the Wellspring Project and the region’s workers.

Formation of the PUL Alliance is reflective of the longstanding, progressive local economic development efforts in Pontotoc, Union, and Lee counties. Once the most impoverished area in the United States, Northeast Mississippi is now the upholstered furniture manufacturing capital of the world and Lee County is the financial and retail hub of a multi-state area. This development is the direct result of strong regional partnerships between public bodies, private industry, and economic development entities.

In November of 2004, PUL Alliance officials secured land options with the site’s 21 landowners, providing full marketability of the 1,700 acre site. Almost a year later, the Wellspring Project site became the third certified “megasite” in the seven-state region of the Tennessee Valley Authority. These designations, coupled with full clearance of environmental, geological, wetland, and archaeological impediments reinforced the site’s “ready to go” characteristics.

The Community Development Foundation functioned as the marketing wing of a state-wide effort to recruit TOYOTA Motor Sales to the Wellspring Project site located in Blue Springs, Mississippi.  This TVA certified mega-site was chosen by TOYOTA in February of 2007 and construction began in April 2007.

The Wellspring Project began in September of 2001 as the PUL Alliance (Pontotoc, Union, & Lee County) and was approved in 2003 under state legislation allowing collaboration between multi-governmental jurisdictions for major economic development purposes.  This was the State of Mississippi's first regional economic development alliance.

"How long did it take to develop a site, market a site and recruit the world's top automotive company to build their newest plant there?"

SEPTEMBER 2001
Initial organizational meeting of Pontotoc, Union, and Lee counties
NOVEMBER 2001
Pontotoc, Union, and Lee (PUL) submit to Mississippi
Development Authority for alliance approval
MARCH 2002
Initial site search and evaluations by PUL, MDA and Tennessee Valley Authority
MAY 2003
Blue Springs site identified and preliminary site development engineering begins
SEPTEMBER 2003
PUL Alliance approved by Mississippi Development Authority (MDA)
OCTOBER 2003
MDA awards the PUL Alliance a $250,000 preliminary site development engineering grant for the site
FEBRUARY 2004
Preliminary site development engineering complete on 1,200 acre core site
MAY 2004
Site submitted into the TVA’s megasite certification program
NOVEMBER 2004
Land options with the site’s 21 land owners and 1,700 plus acres secured
DECEMBER 2004
All environmental and cultural studies completed and cleared
JANUARY 2005
Site becomes the third, certified megasite in the seven-state TVA region
MAY 2005
Introduced the Wellspring Project to the automotive industry at the Automotive World Congress in Barcelona, Spain
JUNE 2005
SEDC Automotive Seminar
JANUARY 2006
The Alliance seeks an unprecedented new partnership between local and state governments to secure the ownership of the Wellspring Project site
NOVEMBER 2006
Began conversion on land options to purchase agreements and/or actual purchases
DECEMBER 2006
Updated engineering study, cost estimates, and all environmental reports
FEBRUARY 2007
Toyota selects the Wellspring Project to build a $1.3 billion assembly plant, its eighth in North America
APRIL 2007
Toyota breaks ground for Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Mississippi, Inc. (TMMMS) located in Blue Springs, Mississippi at the Wellspring site
JULY 2008
Toyota announces that it will produce the Prius, the world’s most successful hybrid vehicle, at the new plant in Blue Springs, Mississippi—not the Highlander as previously planned.
JUNE 2010
Governor Barbour announces that Toyota will resume operations in Blue Springs, Mississippi and that the plant will make the Toyota Corolla.
NOV 17, 2011
Toyota celebrates production of first Corolla made in Mississippi.
FEB 6, 2012

Toyota Mississippi adds second shift.

APRIL 17, 2014
Toyota Mississippi begins producing Corollas for export to customers in Central and South America and the Caribbean.
FEB 12, 2015
500,000 Corolla rolls off the line at Toyota Mississippi.
APRIL 13, 2017
Toyota Mississippi announces it will build a 15,000 square foot visitor and interactive training center. Construction is expected to begin in late 2018 with a targeted completion date in mid-2019.    
DEC 12, 2017
1 millionth Mississippi-built Toyota Corolla rolls off the line.
APRIL 26, 2018
Toyota Mississippi expands and invests $170 million and creates 400 new jobs.