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Heckler & Koch coming to Columbus, GA

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German gunmaker breaks ground for new Georgia plant

Associated Press

COLUMBUS -- More than 100 city and business leaders were on hand as German gun manufacturer Heckler & Koch broke ground on a 75,000-square-foot plant that will pump $25 million in capital investment into the Columbus area and create up to 200 jobs.

If the company is able to land a contract to supply the U.S. government its next-generation assault rifle, it would be worth as much as $1 billion over 10 to 15 years, company officials say, and more than double the job count for Columbus.

"There's the potential for that large of a business, but the stars will have to line up," said Peter Simon, vice vice president of Sterling, Va.-based HK Inc., the U.S. operation of HK Oberndorf of Germany.

The factory is locating on 29 acres in the 1,500-acre Muscogee Technology Park in northeast Columbus. The property, formerly used by soldiers training at Fort Benning, was acquired in a land swap between the city and the post in 2001.

H&K should start construction early next year, Simon said. Hiring of the 200 workers is expected to begin sometime next summer, he said, with the company launching gun production in early 2005.

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