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Chamber tour aims to lure industry to Hall
Statewide developers leave an empty building in Oakwood South Industrial Park on Tuesday afternoon after visiting the facility up close during their tour around the Gainesville Hall County. The group was hosted by the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce.

The Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce hoped to woo economic developers with a tour of Hall County on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The chamber hosted 20 statewide developers this week from the Georgia Department of Economic Development and Georgia Power Co.

The group visited business sites around the county such as Oakwood South Industrial Park, Tanners Creek Business Park, Gainesville Industrial Park West, Gainesville State College, Lanier Technical College and the new Gainesville Business Park.

Tim Evans, vice president of economic development for the chamber, said the visits are an important step to attracting new businesses.

"They recommend communities that are best fits for new companies," Evans said. "They are partners in working with business recruitment to bring new jobs and new investments into the community."

Established businesses in Hall County like Kubota Manufacturing and ZF Industries came to the area through recommendations by the same type of developers years ago.

"That’s the kind of service the state and power company provide in site location assistance," Evans said. "We have a long, successful track record with new business recruitment as well as keeping existing industries happy in this community."

A new asset to the county is the 175-acre Gainesville Business Park, which is now under construction and will provide space for many businesses to locate.

Evans said the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce is courting certain businesses to fit in with the long range plan for Gainesville and Hall County.

"We’re targeting a few industries in particular. Light manufacturing, life sciences companies and data centers," Evans said. "We’ve really looked through the Vision 2030 effort and that’s where we want to be in the future, we want to have a lot of our economic development built around life sciences. Light manufacturing because it tends to be very clean industry and it’s a real strength for our community. And data centers because the infrastructure at that park is unique. The infrastructure is highly reliable, and we use the words ‘redundant’ and ‘diverse’ for power and telecommunications. ... Data centers are in great demand in our country."

Aside from the facilities available to house companies, Evans said he thinks the developers were impressed by Gainesville’s work force.

"The things that businesses are looking for are certainly to answer the real estate needs that they have but also the issues that a business may have in attracting and recruiting talent," Evans said. "They want the best people to work for their organization and they want skills that may be unique. We can answer that better than so many communities. We have such a diverse work force and having a commuting pattern with as many people that commute into Gainesville-Hall County every day and that commute out of the community. That sets us apart from a lot of the smaller urban areas around Metro Atlanta that are just bedroom communities. We’re actually a place where people work."