Toyota to Invest Record $1.3B in Kentucky Plant

The revamped 7.5 million-square-foot facility, which ranks as the automaker’s largest factory in the world, will further boost the region’s industrial market.

By Gail Kalinoski

Toyota Plant in Kentucky
Toyota Plant in Kentucky

Toyota announced its 7.5 million-square-foot Georgetown, Ky., plant—the automaker’s largest factory in the world—will get a record $1.33 billion in improvements and local commercial real estate brokers say that helps boost the region’s overall industrial market.

“The Toyota investment is great news for all of Central Kentucky and Georgetown, Ky., in particular. This market condition creates immediate opportunities for new development of industrial parks and speculative construction of industrial facilities. The Toyota investment will serve to bolster an industrial market that is already doing very well,” Al Isaac, president of NAI Isaac in Lexington, Ky., told Commercial Property Executive.

Bruce Isaac, senior vice president at NAI Isaac and an industrial specialist, said the $1.33 billion Toyota is spending to retool the Georgetown plant is the automaker’s largest investment in the United States.

“It certifies Toyota’s commitment to the area for years to come. That is on top of the previously invested $5.9 billion in this location, which will raise Toyota’s total investment in Georgetown to +/- $7.23 billion,” Bruce Isaac told Commercial Property Executive.

Al Isaac did not have specific numbers for Scott County as his firm does not include that county in its industrial surveys but he said the firm does perform property searches in Georgetown for national industrial clients and there is little industrial vacancy in Georgetown due to the spillover effect from the Toyota plant.

Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky (TMMK) will be the company’s first North American plant to begin producing vehicles using Toyota New Global Architecture, which is expected to shorten the development cycle for new vehicles by modernizing and streamlining the production process. TMMK, which produces Camry vehicles, recently added 700 new employees at the plant for a total of 8,200 workers. This latest infusion of money will not add more jobs but does solidify Toyota’s long-term commitment to the Kentucky plant, said Terry Gill, secretary of the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development.

“Its ripple effects will add to Toyota’s three decades of transformative impact on our communities, and for our residents across the Commonwealth. Additionally, this strengthens Kentucky’s status as a top state for auto manufacturing,” Gill said in a prepared statement.

A recent study by the Center for Automotive Research shows TMMK supports nearly 30,000 jobs across the state directly, indirectly or through spin-offs. Toyota Kentucky also uses more than 100 suppliers located throughout the state.

Toyota will be getting up to $43.5 million in additional tax incentives, which was approved by the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority this week. The amendment will be combined with previous approvals for other projects at the plant for a total of $190 million in tax incentives, according to the Courier-Journal newspaper.

The Toyota Kentucky investment news comes just two weeks after Honda Manufacturing of Alabama said it was planning an $85 million multi-phase expansion of its $2.2 billion plant in Lincoln, Ala., with the first phase expected to be complete by 2018.