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365 corridor beginning to take shape

POSTED: April 16, 2014 12:35 a.m.

Government officials, business leaders and developers gathered Tuesday at the Brenau Downtown Center to discuss progress along the Ga. 365 corridor in northeast Hall County.

Outside of new construction in Flowery Branch, Oakwood and other parts of South Hall, this corridor has long been prized and is seen as the next big growth area for the county. Elected officials have made it a priority to approve, support and encourage development in the area.

“We can see it coming,” said Richard Mecum, chairman of the Hall County Board of Commissioners.

Now, the Cane Creek, Hagan Creek and Gateway Village mixed-used developments are beginning to see the first signs of infrastructure being built to support the expected influx of businesses and residents.

As anchors to the Gateway Industrial Centre, these developments will offer more than 5,000 residences and about 4.5 million square feet of commercial and office space on over 3,000 acres of land.

John McDonald, a representative for the Gateway Village project, said he hopes the development will enhance the Gateway Industrial Centre, adding that land has been set aside for a new fire station to support residential and commercial growth along the corridor.

Hall County has committed to building sewer infrastructure to support these developments, including awarding a nearly $5.2 million contract in February to Strickland & Son Pipeline to build a pump station, sewer pipes and force mains. The new infrastructure would transport wastewater to the Gainesville sewer system.

Public Works Director Ken Rearden said installation of pipes will begin in May, with a completion date set for March 2015. Grading has already begun and land has been set aside at the Gateway Village for a master pump station.
Officials said they expect the infrastructure to be able to handle up to 750,000 gallons of wastewater per day.

Rearden said the Gateway Industrial Centre has been the catalyst for other developments.

The county has pumped nearly $4.5 million into constructing roadways in the 518-acre park, and officials said they expect the work to be completed this summer.

A big draw for the Gateway Industrial Centre is its proximity to a Norfolk Southern railway line, business leaders said. And construction continues on the new state poultry lab, the first tenant at the park.

Developers have a lot to consider when looking to buy property and build, including factors such as time, money and risk. But those considerations are minimized in Hall County, said Rick Bradshaw, president of Atlanta-based real estate firm TPA Group.

Bradshaw said he has invested in Hall County, and the area has a history of market successes, is independent of Atlanta and has many organizational supports and resources, as well as a wealth of available property.

Tim Evans, vice president of economic development at the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce, said Hall County must learn from growth patterns in metro Atlanta and Gwinnett County as it continues to ready itself for new development.

“We have to prepare,” he added.

Despite all the talk about new development and coming growth, it’s the businesses already operating in Hall County that can spur the best changes and lead the economy forward, officials said.

“Existing industry paves the way,” said chamber President and CEO Kit Dunlap.


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