Gainesville is working on roads and utilities to help bring its 85 Business Park to life with connections between U.S. Highways 129 and 60.
The 1,300-acre Gainesville 85 Business Park, which is off Allen Creek Road, will be the largest in North Georgia, city officials have said, and the city has made significant progress on the park since it began planning in earnest in 2018.
The park has attracted one business expansion so far with Cottrell, Gainesville-based maker of over-the-road car haulers and equipment, which is planning a $125 million, 500,000-square-foot facility, which was announced in February 2021. Tim Evans, vice president of economic development for the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce, said there has been interest from other businesses, but getting utilities installed and roads finished will help spur more investment.
“The greatest interest we've had in the sites is from existing industries that are needing a place to grow,” Evans said. “That’s no surprise at all, because that’s been the case in our previous parks.”
Currently, Fullenwider Road connects to U.S. Highway 129 and dead ends in the park, but a road connecting Fullenwider to Allen Creek Road is under construction now. Gainesville City Manager Bryan Lackey said it should be complete by the end of the year. A sewer lift station planned for the park is expected to be operational in the summer of 2023, Lackey said.
“With this park, it’s filling a need right now that we’re out of in this community,” Evans said. “We don’t have any more large sites. Our largest site would fit about 200,000 to 250,000 square feet in the Gateway Industrial Center.”
Some speculative buildings are under construction now in South Hall, Evans said, but those who don’t want to lease, need places like the 85 Business Park.
“For that business that wants to own a site and develop their own building like Cottrell … It’s a highly specialized manufacturing building, and they need to own it,” he said. “It’s a good time for it to be coming online. There’s a scarcity of large developable sites where your businesses can expand to, and this is a good spot for it.”Evans said the city of Gainesville has helped support the project by providing the water, sewer and road access needed for a project of its size. The site has been talked about as a potential industrial park for more than 15 years, he said, and in 2023 it could have nearly all its utilities in place with more tenants likely announced by then.