MOULTRIE -- The economic development authority is using money from the recent sale of the Johnson Building to build a metal building at Spence Field for a startup precision metal working company that is expected to hire 25 workers within the first year of operation.

With close to two decades of metal working experience, Mike Prairie of Valdosta is partnering with Thomasville investor Drew Eason to break into the business of refurbishing industrial parts and other items, such as airplane propellors.

The new company, called Milac Manufacturing, Inc., was able to secure financing of about $300,000 through the Southwest Georgia Regional Development Center's revolving loan fund. The Moultrie-Colquitt County Economic Development Authority (EDA) will lease the building to Milac for $1,600 per month over five years at which time the company could buy the building for $115,000. The EDA will also provide an allowance of $15,000 to the company to complete the plumbing and electrical services.

Tyson Steel gave the low bid to build the $175,000 100-by-150-foot structure set to stand on two acres of land to be purchased from the city just beyond the detention center, development authority members said. The city and county will assist in construction, they added.

On Wednesday, the EDA approved a lease agreement with provisions that amendments be made to safeguard the public entity from environmental liability. Milac will use powdered chromium in a closed loop chrome plating process, and authority members want to ensure the facility is built properly to contain the carcinogen.

The building should be completed -- and Milac will begin hiring seven to eight workers at $10 to $12 an hour to start -- by March, development officials said.

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