PHOTO: LifePoint Health merged with RCCH Health Care, which is owned by a private equity firm. / Photo Matt Blois
By MATT BLOIS
By most measures the economy in Williamson County is very healthy, mirroring positive economic indicators at the national level.
However, that unemployment rate also makes it harder for businesses to find workers, and uncertainty about politics and economic policy at the national level has made some businesses cautious.
As the year comes to a close, here are some of the most important business stories from Williamson County in 2018:
AllianceBernstein is moving its headquarters to Nashville from New York City. The move will bring 1,050 new jobs to Davidson County and more than $70 million in local investment from the global asset management company. #TNWillLead https://t.co/D6ieHa0cZR pic.twitter.com/9azGcT1qyg
— Gov. Bill Haslam (@BillHaslam) May 2, 2018
In May, the finance company AllianceBernstein announced that it plans to move its headquarters from New York City to Nashville. Williamson Inc. played a big role in bringing the company to the area.
The consultant for the AllianceBernstein relocation project was a speaker at the chamber’s annual economic summit in 2016.
According to Williamson Inc., AllianceBernstein wasn’t initially interested in relocating to Nashville. The consultant working on the project suggested looking at Nashville, and the company ultimately decided to move there.
In November, General Motors announced that it would lay off close to 14,000 workers. The cuts will affect five North American factories but not the plant in Spring Hill, which has been an important employer since it opened in 1990.
However, the plant hasn’t always been the most consistent economic driver. The plant shut down in 2009 and reopened in 2011.
In April, GM announced that it would bring back a third shift at the Spring Hill Plant because of strong sales for the Acadia and XT5, which the Spring Hill plant produces. In December, the company announced that some of the workers could move from idled plants to Spring Hill.
It's a historic day for Tennessee.
I'm very pleased to welcome @Amazon's 5,000-job operations center for fulfillment and transportation to Nashville.
These are high-paying jobs, averaging about $150,000 per year, that will be incredible for Middle Tennessee and its residents. pic.twitter.com/NBL3ocAAgY
— Bob Rolfe (@CommishTNECD) November 13, 2018
Nashville didn’t succeed in its bid for Amazon’s second headquarters, but the tech company did announce that it will open a regional hub in downtown Nashville, bringing about 5,000 jobs with it.
The company will receive about $102 million in incentives, including $65 million in cash grants from the state of Tennessee for capital expenditures.
According to a press release, the center will serve as a hub for the Eastern U.S. and will be located in Nashville Yards.
The real second headquarters will be split between New York City and Washington D.C.
LifePoint Health, a large hospital management company located just outside of Brentwood, merged with RCCH HealthCare and became a private company this year.
A private equity firm that owns RCCH HealthCare purchased LifePoint for $65 per share, a total of $5.6 billion. The sale was finalized in November.
While LifePoint’s success caught the attention of private equity firms, other hospital management chains in Williamson County have struggled. Quorum Health and Community Health Systems both lost money this year, and are closing hospitals to reduce losses.
— Williamson, Inc. (@williamson_inc) December 19, 2018
Williamson Inc. and the Heritage Foundation of Williamson County have partnered to create an entrepreneurship center at the former O’More College of Design.
The center will have office space and shared spaces for businesses. It will be located in the Fleming-Farrah mansion.
Williamson Inc. CEO described the center as a place where business owners will be able to collaborate. In a press release, he said supporting entrepreneurs will provide long-term stability for the local economy.
Earlier this year, the Heritage Foundation announced that it planned to buy the O’More campus from Belmont University. The sale should close in early 2019.