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Warehouse, industrial buildings springing up across Hall. Here’s why
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Two massive warehouse building under construction Monday, Feb. 7, 2022, along Falcon Parkway in Flowery Branch. - photo by Scott Rogers

One of Flowery Branch’s most heated meetings in 2021 concerned two proposed industrial buildings with a combined 336,960 square feet near Interstate 985 and Exit 12.

Residents flooded City Council chambers Nov. 4 to oppose the project, holding up signs reading “Deny” as the council proceeded to approve the development off Thurmon Tanner Parkway.

Love or hate them, warehouses, industrial buildings and distribution centers are filling the landscape throughout Hall County — and predominantly South Hall. Even as the council was approving Hines Acquisitions’ development, grading was underway on an even larger, 447,120-square-foot warehouse next door on Thurmon Tanner.

“Developers seemingly can’t build enough of them for the demand right now, and it all relates back to the supply chain issues that … we’ll see going forward for quite a few years,” said Tim Evans, vice president of economic development for the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce.

E-commerce also is fueling the boom, with “last mile fulfillment centers,” such as the Amazon delivery station that opened in South Hall in 2020.

Warehouse is actually something of a misnomer for the sprawling buildings covering big chunks of land like a blanket. A warehouse implies storage of a product and, while that may be the case, the space is often used for other purposes — processing, manufacturing, offices and customer service.

“Some of the space that’s being built in South Hall is going for warehouse use, but quite a lot of it’s going for light manufacturing,” Evans said.

The total amount of such space in Hall is about 50 million square feet, Evans said.

A string of industrial buildings has been either in construction or proposed along Falcon Parkway/Ga. 13 in Flowery Branch and Oakwood.

Construction is well underway on Makita U.S.A., a high-end power tool maker, next to the Atlanta Falcons headquarters/training camp. 

Farther north, Chicago-based CA Ventures is putting up a 439,000-square-foot building and a 202,000-square-foot building off Falcon Parkway south of Plainview Road. 

The proposal calls for two buildings that could serve several tenants, from “Fortune 500 to local warehouse and distribution users,” Steve Rowley, CA Ventures' senior vice president and market officer, has said. 

CA Ventures also is involved in what would be one of the area’s largest warehouses — a 615,600-square-foot building that would span three tracts on about 64 acres off Atlanta Highway, north of Plainview Road and across from Ridge Street in Oakwood.

No tenants have been identified, but “there could be multiple users,” Rowley said of the project.

“It could handle some kind of headquarters,” he said, adding that the development could attract 100-200 jobs with salaries ranging from $30,000 to six figures.

The project was recommended for approval with conditions by the Oakwood Planning Commission in January. A final vote hadn’t been taken by Oakwood City Council as of February.

CA Ventures also is involved in a highly controversial project in South Hall.

In August 2021, the Buford Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a warehouse facility from CA Ventures that would include two buildings, totaling nearly 400,000 square feet on a 34-acre lot at 6533 McEver Road.

Buford’s approval of the annexation and rezoning drew huge opposition from neighbors living in Buford, Hall County and Flowery Branch. The matter ended up in the courts and could be heard by the Georgia Supreme Court this spring.

Other warehouse projects were approved in 2021 and could ramp up activity in 2022, including a 224,400-square-foot warehouse between Chamblee Road and Railroad Street in Oakwood and a 463,680-square-foot project calling for three buildings off Falcon Parkway/Ga. 13 south of Plainview Drive, also in Oakwood.

One of the area’s largest industrial projects involves nearly 1 million square feet of space between four buildings off McEver Road north of Lanier Islands Parkway in Buford — about a mile from CA Ventures’ contested project.

The 97-acre project is known as Buford Commerce Park.

“We are marketing the final building, which offers 246,000 square feet of available space for lease,” said Price Weaver, senior vice president and principal with Colliers International, a global brokerage firm.

“The market remains pretty hot for industrial space around Atlanta for sure,” he said.

And South Hall “is just a natural fit for most of these (industrial) users who have been in Gwinnett County for a long time,” he said. “I think you’ll see it continue (with) additional sites — not necessarily on McEver Road, but in the area. I think you’ll see it grow all the way to Gainesville over time.”