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Despite economy, industrial park likely to proceed

Gainesville City Council to vote on joint project today

POSTED: January 20, 2009 12:30 a.m.

In spite of the economic downturn, Gainesville and Hall County will likely move forward with the construction of a planned industrial park.

In a vote that comes shortly after some area industries announced layoffs and closings, the Gainesville City Council will decide on an agreement today that will make way for the construction of the first building in a new, 171-acre industrial park.

With a majority vote, Gainesville Business Park on New Harvest Road could have its first building to market in the middle of next year, said Tim Evans, vice president of the development authority.

Evans says the building’s completion in mid-2010 will be right on time for the economy.

"We believe that’s a really good time for us to be coming online with a new product," Evans told the council in a work session last week.

The council’s vote today will allow the development authority to take out a $2 million loan to finance the installation of utilities and the construction of the first building in the industrial park.

Evans told the council last week that he does not want to wait for potential buyers to come along before building in the park. Instead, the authority plans to keep a speculative building on the property at all times.

Evans told council members Thursday that 80 percent of prospective buyers are looking for sites with buildings already on them.

"If we don’t have an existing building, we’re missing out on 80 percent of the market," Evans said.

The city owns 145 acres of the future industrial site, and the county owns the rest. The two governments will foot the loan repayments — and split the profits from the sale of the property — based on their prorated share of the property.

Plans for the park call for Pattillo Construction to build nine buildings that range in size from 48,000 square feet to 200,000 square feet.

If all the buildings are sold, the city stands to make $2.6 million from the deal, according to the development authority.

The property, located between New Harvest and Barber roads, was once purchased as a spray field for treated wastewater. The property was never used as such, however, and last February it was rezoned to make room for the industrial park.

At the time, leaders of the business community said the park would bring industry and jobs to the area.

"If you build it, they will come," Kit Dunlap, president of the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce, promised planning board members when they voted to recommend the rezoning’s approval last year.



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