State and local officials offered multiple tax credits, grants and other incentives to Admares in exchange for its investment and promise to employ 1,418 workers at an average annual salary of $55,960. Admares did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Ware County ended October with a 3.3% unemployment rate, roughly equivalent to the statewide rate, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, the county’s poverty rate of 24.3% is nearly double the statewide figure, according to U.S. Census data. Ware County’s median household income of $39,419 is also significantly lower than that of Georgia as a whole.
Critics argue states, cities and counties offer incentives with a loose hand, shifting the burden of paying for growth onto other taxpayers. But proponents say these incentives are needed to outcompete other states, generate tax dollars on undeveloped land and expand employment opportunities, especially in rural corners of the state.
Earlier this year, Georgia lawmakers began a review of more than 50 tax credit programs, ranging from incentives for film to job tax credits offered automatically to most large employers to determine if taxpayers get the promised bang from the public largesse.
The largest inducement offered to Admares is an estimated $78.5 million in property tax savings from a 25-year local tax abatement. The Waycross and Ware County Development Authority will lease the 189-acre site along U.S. 23 to Admares through a complicated real estate transaction called a “bond-for-title” transaction, which results in a property tax break for the company.
Admares will qualify for multiple incentive programs baked into Georgia code. These include job tax credits, credits covering qualified machinery costs, free job training for new workers through Georgia Quick Start and a port tax credit bonus for increasing imports and exports. The Georgia Department of Economic Development offered a discretionary $8 million Regional Economic Business Assistance (REBA) grant, which is used to “close the deal” when multiple states or countries are vying for the same project. According to state documents, Florida and California were competed for the Admares facility.
In June, Admares, the development authority and the state signed both a memorandum of understanding and performance and accountability agreement to finalize the incentive terms. Starting no later than February 2026, Admares will have to hit certain performance metrics — such as employment and private investment — to receive the incentives in full during a five-year performance period. Reaching 80% of the promised goals is considered compliance, according to the documents.
A spokesperson for the Waycross and Ware County Development Authority said Admares is in the design phase of its facility, which is expected to open in late 2025.
Finland-based building manufacturer Admares is planning a $750 million facility in Waycross. Below are some of the more significant incentives offered by state and local governments to land the factory.
Total value: $143.9 million*†
- $78.5 million in local property tax breaks over 25 years
- $24.8 million in job tax credits
- $19.8 million in qualified machinery costs
- $8.9 million in a port tax credit bonus
- $8 million REBA grant
- $4 million in Georgia Quick Start job training for new workers
*Values are rounded
†Total value does not include certain incentives that are based on future potential expenditures