Opelika is located in east central Alabama along I-85 approximately 100 miles south of Atlanta, GA and 65 miles northeast of Montgomery, AL. The county seat of Lee County, AL, Opelika is part of the Auburn-Opelika Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). According to Forbes (January 30, 2008) magazine, the Auburn-Opelika MSA is the 6th fastest growing Small MSA in the nation, and only third behind Mobile and Huntsville in Alabama. The MSA’s 2009 population is estimated to be 155,474.
Lee County's exploding population mirrors the steady growth and development of nonagricultural employment in the area. The growing manufacturing sector, including automotive suppliers, expanding recreation and numerous new and expanding retail developments have worked to strengthen the area’s economy over the last decade and will continue to generate future opportunity for business and industry. Logistically, the area is in an excellent location:
- Opelika is located along I-85, an hour and twenty minutes from Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, fifty minutes from the Montgomery Regional Airport-Dannelly Field and thirty minutes from the Columbus Metropolitan Airport. The Auburn University Regional Airport, covers an area of 423 acres which contains two asphalt paved runways.
- Ft. Benning, GA home of the Army Infantry School as well as the Army Airborne School is located just south of Columbus, GA, which is thirty minutes from Opelika. As part of the BRAC process, Ft. Benning welcomed approximately 35,000 new residents to the area when the United States Army Armor School, currently located at Fort Knox, KY merged with the Infantry Center to create the new Maneuver Center. The largest wave of new residents to Ft. Benning arrived in October of 2010.
- U.S. Hwy 280 to Columbus and Birmingham, AL and U.S. Hwy 431 to I-20 at Anniston, AL come right through Opelika.
- Opelika is seventeen miles from the new Kia automotive plant in West Point, GA and sixty miles from the Hyundai automotive plant in Montgomery.
- Opelika is ten minutes from Auburn University, a major research university. Auburn is one of the few universities to carry the torch as a land, sea and space grant university. Students can choose from more than 140 degree options in 13 schools and colleges at the undergraduate, graduate and professional levels.
- Silver Companies, a successful real estate development and investment firm announced in October 2007 the development of Celebrate Alabama, a premiere retail, entertainment and attractions destination located along I-85 in Opelika between Atlanta and Montgomery. The recent economy has put this venture on hold for the moment.
With all these assets, it is easy to understand why Opelika is a great place to do business!
Accolades for Auburn-Opelika MSA
- Opelika Sportspex and Aquatics Center won the Quality of Life award from Alabama League of Municipalities (June 2010)
- RTJ Grand National Golf Course ranked #1 Public Course (GolfWorld magazine, 2009)
- #5 on Top 10 Small Cities for Doing Business (Inc. Magazine, 2008)
- 6th Fastest Growing Small MSA in the Nation (Forbes Magazine, 2008)
- 3rd Top Small Metros for Recruitment & Attraction (Expansion Management, 2007)
- 4th on Top 10 Locales Where Jobs are Plenty (MSN, 2007)
- 89th among top 100 fastest growing metro areas (U.S. Cenusus Bureau, 2007)
- #19 on Top 20 Boomtown List for Small Cities (Inc. Magazine, 2007)
- Small Market of the Year (Southern Business & Development, 2006)
- #1 Small City to Start and Grow Business (Entrepreneur, 2006)
- #1 City in America for Golf (Golf Digest, 2006)