FORREST CITY, Ark. -- It hasn’t been easy for locals to watch the old manufacturing facility in Forrest City sit empty for the past decade.
“It’s been aggravating, but a new day has arrived.”
Mayor Larry Bryant told WREG he’s ecstatic a China-based company is going to invest $410 million into the old Sanyo facility.
Shandong Ruyi Technology Group leaders are using it to manufacture yarn.
“Hopefully, they can help us spin off some other manufacturing companies to come to Forrest City," said Mayor Bryant. "It’s been a drought for awhile.”
The company plans to buy more than 200,000 tons of Arkansas cotton every year to spin for textile use.
“This is beautiful apparel they produce -- beautiful apparel that will even look greater with Arkansas cotton," said Governor Asa Hutchinson.
The mayor said the company plans to renovate and use the existing facility, but also build a new facility right by it. They expect to create 800 jobs that will reach people up to 75 miles away, which includes Memphis.
Governor Hutchinson said the growth is much needed since the area’s been lagging behind national unemployment statistics.
“This is what I consider the biggest trophy that we can bring in for the Delta, for Forrest City," said Governor Hutchinson.
Cotton from Arkansas is already shipped all over the world, so Forrest City leaders told WREG it’s going to be a major benefit to have it manufactured right in their own city.
Renovations are expected to begin later this year, with production starting the middle of next year.
It’s going to be the company’s first facility in North America.