Albany Tractor Co., which has been a mainstay in Albany for more than 35 years, will have a new home soon. An agricultural equipment company with strong roots in Albany will move soon to a more strategic location in neighboring Lee County.

The South Slappey Boulevard agricultural equipment dealership will soon move onto an 18-acre parcel of land at the Oakland Meadows Business Park in Lee County, Flintco President and CEO Chris Cannon announced Tuesday.

“We simply need a facility that’s better designed to meet today’s needs,” Cannon said. “The Lee County location, from a strategic standpoint, made sense to us.”

“This has nothing to do with being in Lee County vs. being in Dougherty County. We’re very satisfied with the relationship we have with Dougherty County. We just needed to find the proper location for this business.”

Construction on the new facility, Cannon said, will begin “within the next year or so.” The new Albany Tractor location will front on U.S. Highway 82 in the southwest portion of the county.

Cannon said the project is “in the design phase” right now.

Lee County officials, who started working with Cannon on the deal some 2 1/2 years ago and actually closed on the sale in August of last year, said Tuesday they were excited to see the project moving forward.

“When people come into Lee County on U.S. 82 and see all that John Deere green at that location, it’s going to be a nice welcome to the county,” Lee County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Winston Oxford said. “(Albany Tractor) is going to be a welcome addition to our community, and we’re projecting that the dealership will, with ad valorem and local option sales taxes, have from a $100,000 to a $115,000-a-year impact on the county’s economy.”

 “And the jobs that it will bring into the county are very good jobs.”

An impact study conducted by the Chamber shows that around 70 jobs will initially be relocated in Lee County once Albany Tractor builds and moves into its new facility. Some of those jobs include positions at the recently discontinued Albany Tractor branch in Dawson, which Cannon said “had already been digested” by the company.

“We’re not talking about a facility that will initially create new jobs; we’re talking about re-employment at a new facility,” he said. “We’ll still have all of our current employees, and they’ll continue to reside where they reside now.”

Lee County Commission Chairman Ed Duffy said Albany Tractor’s decision to move to the Oakland Meadows industrial park shows that the county’s $5 million-plus investment in infrastructure along the U.S. 82 corridor was a good one for the county.

“Because the county had the vision to invest in infrastructure out U.S. 82, we’ve been able to entice commercial and industrial development to the county,” Duffy said. “Without that investment, John Deere (Albany Tractor) would not have located in our industrial park. And that is a significant development, projected at around $3 million.”

“The investment made by the county is going to return millions of dollars in funds to Lee County. That’s the only way the county will continue to grow and thrive without having to raise the millage rate.”

Albany Tractor, which is part of the Flintco family of companies, has locations in Americus, Colquitt, Cordele, Cuthbert, Pelham, Sycamore and Sylvester, in addition to the Albany location.