One site, hundreds of jobs; that's the gamble one hometown is taking in order to turn its economy around.

“It will be a good investment for the tax payers,” said Alan Hawthorne the Executive Director of the Joint Industrial Development Authority in Wythe County.

In Wythe County's 1200 acre industrial park, called Progress Park, one site is under construction.  It’s a site county and regional officials have targeted to attract a mega-manufacturing industry that could provide hundreds of much-needed jobs to the area.

Wythe County developed Progress Park in the 1990’s. It’s currently home to about five businesses. In 2005, Gatorade and its bottling company Amcor opened manufacturing plants in the park, creating hundreds of jobs.

But much of Progress Park still sits empty, which county administrators blame on the park’s mountainous terrain.

“Well, right out here in about 2.5 years of grading, you can start building a building,” said Hawthorne, of the pitch to potential buyers looking to build in the park. “And as you might imagine, click goes the door as they leave!  That's a timeline that goes with no one.”

So when the recession hit, and the potential buyers dried up, Wythe County got to work making the site more attractive to potential manufacturers.

“Interest rates are the lowest they've been in my lifetime,” said Cellell Dalton, the Wythe County Administrator, of one of the reasons the county chose to build during the recession.

“Grading prices are about half of what they had been,” said Hawthorne of another reason to start construction early.  “It gave us the opportunity to perhaps tackle something we otherwise wouldn't have been able to do.”

The price tag to prepare the 230-acre lot identified for a mega-manufacturing industry is around $25 million; almost half of the money came from state grants. County administrators estimate they saved millions of dollars in construction costs by doing the work during the recession.

The risk, is that the county is doing all of this work without a buyer.  No one has committed to building on the site, which makes it an expensive gamble for the county.

“In 1998 when we bought this 1210 acres, we had no one. Today, we have five industries here,” said Dalton of their past success in Progress Park, which gives him confidence in the new project.

The site work will be finished by next year.  The state will work with county administrators to market the Progress Park lot to international manufacturing companies. County officials expect it to take 3-7 years to get a company into the site.