South Georgia home manufacturing plant could get $144M in incentives

Admares is in the design phase of its promised 2.5 million-square-foot Waycross factory that makes modular buildings
This is a rendering of the planned Admares facility poised to come to Waycross.

Credit: Admares

Credit: Admares

This is a rendering of the planned Admares facility poised to come to Waycross.

A Finnish building manufacturer could receive about $144 million in grants, tax breaks and other incentives from state and local governments to build a $750 million mass production facility in South Georgia.

The incentive package offered to Admares was detailed in documents obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution through the Georgia Open Records Act. The company specializes in mass production of buildings and houses and announced in May that it plans to open its first U.S. manufacturing facility in Waycross, about 240 miles southeast of downtown Atlanta.

On nearly 190 acres in Waycross, Admares plans to build a 2.5 million-square-foot factory — a building the size of the proposed mixed-use redevelopment of North DeKalb Mall. A prior news release said Admares will apply its Scandinavian expertise in shipbuilding to the homebuilding sector, manufacturing homes at factories and transporting them to neighborhoods.

This is a rendering of Admares' first modular home announcement in the United States, which was slated for Brooklyn, New York.

Credit: Admares

icon to expand image

Credit: Admares

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.

Admares incentives

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