Real estate group buys former Brown & Williamson tobacco plant in Macon

The Brown and Williamson plant first opened in Macon in 1977.

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MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – An investor out of Los Angeles has purchased the former Brown & Williams tobacco plant on Weaver Road in Macon. The plant has sat vacant for more than 15 years after closing operations in 2006.

Macon-Bibb County Industrial Authority Executive Director Stephen Adams says Industrial Realty Group made the purchase. Adams says the company plans to renovate the plant and put it on the market after seeing so much industrial growth in Macon.

The Brown & Williamson plant opened in Macon in 1977. Employees from the company’s plants in Louisville, Kentucky and Petersburg, Virginia transferred to the site.

When U.S. tobacco sales took a downturn and started to look bleak in 1978, Macon became the company’s primary manufacturing facility. Plant operations were phased out in Louisville, and the Virginia plant eventually closed. The Macon location closed in 2006.

At it’s peak in 1997, Brown & Williamson employed 3,000 people and produced 30 billion cigarettes a year.

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Shelby Coates is an evening anchor/producer at 41NBC News. She anchors the 5, 5:30, and 6 evening newscasts. She also works behind the scenes producing the 5:00pm and managing newsroom assignments. She returns to 41NBC after working in Evansville, Indiana as the Morning/Noon Anchor and Executive Producer for WEVV. Shelby also spent time in Spartanburg, South Carolina, where she spent three years anchoring and producing the weekend morning newscasts at WSPA-TV. She also worked as a general assignment reporter, receiving several honors for her investigative and consumer reporting. Shelby has spent time working as a news anchor/reporter in Chattanooga, Tennessee; Macon, Georgia; and Abilene, Texas. Shelby is a native of Clarksville, Tennessee. She graduated from Abilene Christian University in Texas with a bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism and Mass Communication and a minor in sociology. Shelby has a passion for empowering local communities, church ministry, public speaking, strengthening women and mentoring young people.