Govenor Robert Bentley announces Shape Corp. will invest $24 million for new plant in Athens

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The office of Gov. Robert Bentley announced Friday that Michigan-based manufacturer Shape Corp. will build a new plant in Athens, the county seat of Limestone County.

The plant will bring some $24 million in capital investment to the region along with 170 new jobs, according to a news release trumpeting the move.

“I am honored that Shape Corp. has selected Alabama as the home of their new manufacturing facility, and I am proud of our state’s resources that helped secure this exciting new company,” Bentley said in a statement. “Alabama’s Robotics Technology Park and AIDT’s workforce training services were two key factors in securing Shape’s commitment to a long term partnership with our state. Alabama’s existing workforce, workforce training capabilities and pro-business infrastructure are all critical components in my endeavor to bring new jobs to Alabama.”

The plant’s operations will consist of “design, engineering, testing and manufacturing of metal and plastic solutions,” according to the release.

Athens Mayor Ronnie Marks was also enthused by the new development.

“This $24-million investment by Shape Corp shows that Athens continues to be attractive to industries,” said Marks, who tipped his capped to his legislative partners. “I appreciate the Athens City Council for its efforts to support job growth in our city.”

Construction on the new Athens site is set to begin this month and be operational by late summer 2016.

The investment comes as welcome news to the governor, who of late has been plagued by poor relations with the state Legislature and beset by his public divorce from former First Lady Dianne Bentley.

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