Belgian Company Twenty Three tabs Gallatin as U.S. manufacturing base
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By Adam Sichko – Senior Reporter, Nashville Business Journal
Ed Sheeran rocked a sold-out Nissan Stadium show in July underneath an enormous circular LED screen suspended in mid-air. A series of oversized guitar picks dangled from multi-story pillars, projecting Sheeran's image.
A company expanding to Greater Nashville can take part of the credit.
Twenty Three, headquartered in Belgium, has chosen Gallatin to be its U.S. manufacturing hub. The company makes and assembles the framework that holds together massive video displays commonly used in concerts and other live entertainment events, including music festival Coachella and Red Hot Chili Peppers tours.
Twenty Three is investing an initial $3 million and leasing a 31,000-square-foot facility about 35 miles northeast of Nashville. The company will be fully operational in Gallatin by October, hiring 10 full-time workers initially with a focus on design engineers and people with manufacturing experience.
"We hope to double by the end of next year, for sure," said Viktor Martin, the company's top U.S.-based official. "We know the requests from our customers based in the U.S. have been there for years. Until this year, we just weren't big enough to make this big investment. Now we are doing it, and we are expecting a lot of extra work coming in because of that."
The company also has manufacturing sites in China and in Belgium, the latter of which is being "copy-pasted in Gallatin," Martin said. The company also has an office in California, which will remain open.
The company looked at only two U.S. options for its manufacturing expansion: Nashville and Las Vegas.
"What made us choose Nashville is really a lot of our customers, who historically were very West Coast-based, are opening an extra facility in Nashville. A lot of extra ones are coming in right now," Martin said. "It's also centrally located, close to highways … only a half-hour to the airport. You can't do this if you're too remote."
James Fenton, Gallatin's economic development chief, said the kinds of jobs at Twenty Three are the caliber he's been seeking.
"Four or five years ago, we decided to start pursuing tech-heavy companies and this really fits right into that slot for us," said James Fenton, executive director of the Gallatin Economic Development Agency. "We’re also looking for companies who need a high skillset of workers. They're the kind of jobs we’ve been searching for."