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Finnish Company To Build $750M Housing 'Mega Factory' In Georgia

A rendering of the planned Admares modular housing factory in Waycross, Georgia.

Scandinavia's most famous business export to the U.S., Ikea, is known for selling modular furniture in parts to be assembled elsewhere by its customers. Now a Finnish company is taking that idea one step further, planning a $750M factory that will construct whole buildings that can be shipped and erected elsewhere.

Admares has struck a deal to build a 2.5M SF "mega factory for housing" in Waycross, Georgia, more than 200 miles south of Atlanta, Gov. Brian Kemp announced Wednesday. The facility is expected to create 1,400 jobs and begin production in 2025.

Admares is based in Turku, Finland, but said in the announcement that it is "in the process of relocating its headquarters to the U.S." It is unclear if the headquarters would be in its South Georgia facility or elsewhere.

The company has partnered with European corporate giants Porsche and Siemens to develop its robotic manufacturing capabilities, which it said reduces installation and construction timelines for a multifamily building by five times.

"With the rise of modern industrialization practices, we have combined our expertise to create a revolutionary robotic-driven manufacturing process that allows entire buildings to be manufactured at a factory rather than on a traditional construction site," Admares founder and CEO Mikael Hedberg said in a statement. 

Admares' website touts its ability to build single-family houses, townhouses and multifamily buildings, but the Waycross project will be its first manufacturing facility, which it calls its Smart Factory. It expects to hire administrators, managers, IT specialists and engineers as well as for "logistics, assembly, robotics maintenance, and production."

The competitive bidding process was led by Elizabeth McLean of the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Global Commerce team with the Waycross and Ware County Development Authority, Georgia Power and Georgia Quick Start. The greenfield site chosen sits on Highway 23. 

"This project will not only bring more opportunities to hardworking Georgians, it will also help innovate the home building industry at a time when we need more rural workforce housing," Kemp said in a statement.

Kemp's budget this year allocated $35.7M toward rural workforce housing development, the first-ever state funding dedicated toward the issue. The average home price in the state has risen from $369K in the first quarter of 2019 to $582K at the end of 2022.