City of Huntsville and Huntsville Industrial Development Board

Issue

After a nationwide site search, Huntsville, Alabama, was identified as one of three finalists for a $1.6 billion automobile manufacturing facility to be implemented through a first-of-its-kind joint-venture arrangement between Toyota Motor Corporation and Mazda Motor Corporation. This project was the subject of national and international press, and the President mentioned it in his 2018 State of the Union address. The city engaged Bradley to help Huntsville become the winning site.

Challenge

To help Huntsville be selected as the winning site, Bradley needed to identify affordable, financeable local incentives. This research involved a deep, extensive understanding of various Alabama legal nuances and procedures at the intersection of public finance and economic development.

Included in this analysis was a new tax increment financing law (commonly known as a TIF) that Bradley helped draft years earlier. Another challenge was negotiating on behalf of the city the terms of a complex project-development agreement with Toyota. The agreement had to protect the public’s interest while also serving the needs and production demands of Toyota and its affiliates.

Solution

Bradley helped Huntsville and its Industrial Development Board (IDB) at every stage of the process. In addition to having drafted the special TIF financing law, the firm spent weeks of intense negotiations to craft a project development agreement that protected the city and the IDB’s interests while also affording the flexibility necessary for Toyota to develop the project within an ever-changing automotive market.

After the development agreement was final, Bradley attorneys served as bond counsel to help the city with a more than $70 million TIF-based borrowing to fund the main project site and other public obligations for the project. From start to finish, the process took less than three months, and the firm’s experience and responsiveness allowed Huntsville and its citizens to prevail as the site of choice, bringing more than 4,000 new jobs to the greater Huntsville area.