Bax­ter could lo­cate 150-plus em­ploy­ees in ’13

The Covington News - - FRONT PAGE - GABRIEL KHOULI gkhouli@cov­news.com

Lo­cal cham­ber of­fi­cials and real es­tate agents con­tinue to urge New­ton County res­i­dents to pub­licly list their homes on the mar­ket so they can be po­ten­tially be pur­chased by Bax­ter In­ter­na­tional ex­ec­u­tives.

And for those homeowners wait­ing for more de­tails, cham­ber Pres­i­dent Hunter Hall pro­vided the most de­tailed look yet on how the Bax­ter re­lo­ca­tion process is go­ing to work at a Tues­day meet­ing for the pub­lic.

Bax­ter has no de­sire to han­dle the re­lo­ca­tion process it­self, Hall said, but has in­stead turned over the process to AIReS, or Amer­i­can In­ter­na­tional Re­lo­ca­tion So­lu­tions, a Pitts­burgh-based com­pany that spe­cial­izes in cor­po­rate re­lo­ca­tions.

In turn, AIReS is sub­con­tract­ing with At­lanta-based real es­tate firms Pru­den­tial, Harry Norman, Cold­well Banker Bullard, Sotheby’s and At­lanta Fine Homes, which will do the home buy­ing.

While many of the 1,500 work­ers who will even­tu­ally be em­ployed at Bax­ter’s fu­ture man­u­fac­tur­ing plant on the New­ton/Wal­ton county line could be hired from the lo­cal re­gion, the ma­jor­ity of the plant’s ex­ec­u­tives will likely come from fur­ther away, wher­ever their spe­cial­ized tal­ents can be found. Those hires will need their cur­rent homes sold and new homes pur­chased in quick fash­ion.

Bax­ter ex­pects to lo­cate 150-200 em­ploy­ees in 2013, and Hall told The News Thurs­day that a Bax­ter of­fi­cial told him about roughly 70-80 per­cent of the com­pany’s new hires in 2012 and 2013 will be re­lo­cated to the re­gion around the plant.

Hall said he’s heard that about 25-30 em­ploy­ees are al­ready in the re­lo­ca­tion pipe­line.

The lo­cal cham­ber is work­ing to ed­u­cate the five real es­tate firms about New­ton County.

“They come in, we give an ori­en­ta­tion about New­ton County and Cov­ing­ton, qual­ity of place, what it looks like, what it doesn’t look like. We’re pretty blunt. We say things you can’t see as real es­tate agents,” Hall told the crowd of real es­tate agents and lo­cal res­i­dents and of­fi­cials.

Hall said an AIReS rep­re­sen­ta­tive has said a house must be listed on both the Ge­or­gia Mul­ti­ple List­ing Ser­vice and the First Mul­ti­ple List­ing Ser­vice, both of which real es­tate agents have ac­cess too.

While the five At­lanta firms will be han­dling the buy­ing, Hall said he was told that for sellers it doesn’t mat­ter which real es­tate agent or

firm they choose, so choos­ing a lo­cal agent is still the best bet.

The other point that was made over and over again is that homes must be listed at fair mar­ket value. Even though the hous­ing mar­ket is some­what tight, re­lo­ca­tion firms or in­di­vid­ual Bax­ter em­ploy­ees are not go­ing to buy a house for more than its worth and don’t have time to hag­gle, Hall and lo­cal real es­tate agents said.

“If your house is not listed at fair mar­ket value, not only is it not go­ing to sell, no­body is go­ing to look at it,” said Bill Blair, pres­i­dent of the East Metro Board of Real­tors. He said sellers need to trust the fair mar­ket value given by their real es­tate agent, be­cause they’ve al­ready taken into ac­count ev­ery as­pect of the home that goes into its value.

The other ad­vice of­fered to sellers was to make sure their home ti­tles are com­pletely clear and clean (a con­cern on some fore­clo­sure pur­chases), get home in­spec­tions done ahead of time and to make sure the homes are in the best shape pos­si­ble.

“It’s a beauty pageant,” said RE/MAX Real­tor Le Anne Long.

Hall said he was told by a Bax­ter of­fi­cial that hous­ing in­ven­tory on the mar­ket is light in New­ton and most other sur­round­ing coun­ties and that com­pe­ti­tion ap­pears to be heat­ing up, which was taken as a pos­i­tive sign for the re­gion’s hous­ing mar­ket.

How­ever, one area which New­ton County can’t even com­pete in is in tem­po­rary apart­ment hous­ing, as no lo­cal com­plexes met Bax­ter’s needs, Hall said.

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