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Gainesville council to transfer property for ZF Industries expansion
German company will add 80 jobs at plant to build automatic transmissions
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Gainesville City Council authorized Tuesday the transfer of 23 acres of Industrial Park West property to the Gainesville-Hall County Industrial Authority.

The authority plans to sell the property to ZF Industries for $50,000 per acre.

The Germany-based company will use the property for its first automatic transmission production facility in North America.

The plant will employ 150 people, bringing 80 new jobs to Gainesville.

The company already has one Gainesville location that employs 320 people, but has outgrown the site located on Palmour Drive, Evans said.

With the new site, ZF plans to use the property for the industry's first automatic transmission plant in North America, where it will manufacture six-speed automatic transmissions for commercial vehicles.

One of ZF's lead customers is Nissan in Canton, Miss. The company builds transmissions for Mississippi Nissan's commercial full-size pickups and walk-in vans. The transmissions built here will be used in a new light commercial vehicle that will be built at Nissan's assembly plant in Canton, Miss.

The company also manufactures transmissions for Ford, General Motors, Mercedes-Benz, John Deere, Tata, JLG, Bell and Harlo.

While the new plant will produce the first automatic transmission for the company in North America, ZF Industries produced more than 1 million automatic transmissions for passenger cars, light trucks and commercial vehicles in 2007.

ZF plans to begin construction on the property in early 2009, and begin production with 150 full-time employees - including 70 existing employees - by October 2010.

The company's initial investment, including construction and equipment purchases, will exceed $40 million, Tim Evans, vice president of economic development for the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce, previously has said.

This story will be updated as developments warrant.