Sewer lines now stretch up Ga. 365/Cornelia Highway from Gainesville to Lula Road — setting East Hall up for strong growth in 2018 and beyond.
Hall County wrapped its sewer expansion project in East Hall in March after more than $5 million and five years invested in the work. With roads, rail and high-speed internet in the area, sewer access has been the missing piece for high-value commercial development in the area.
Now intended to allow more ambitious commercial and residential development along a busy transportation corridor extending from Interstate 985, the sewer expansion in East Hall started as a promise to serve the Georgia Poultry Laboratory.
The poultry lab was the first tenant for the Gateway Industrial Centre, which opened in late 2012. It relocated from Oakwood on condition that Hall County would provide sewer lines from Gainesville to the site.
But after the poultry lab, the 500-acre industrial site landed other tenants: Kubota Manufacturing of America Corp. and Tatsumi Intermodal USA, which provides logistics and export services to Kubota.
Together, the companies employ close to 2,000 people and operate in more than 600,000 square feet of space in the industrial park.
So what’s next on 365?
This year, Lanier Technical College plans to finish its $131 million campus on Cornelia Highway across from Howard Road. The project has a price tag rivaling that of the Northeast Georgia Health System’s Braselton hospital project and will have a capacity of 5,000 students.
With a public conference area and room for new training and education on campus, the new Lanier Tech complex will attract Hall County residents and new students to the corridor.
North Hall sewer lines also edge up to two mega-housing developments that stalled during the housing crash and 2008 recession: Hagen Creek and Cane Creek, which together straddle the intersection of Cornelia Highway and Lula Road.
Cane Creek and its 1,135 acres would have room for 2,054 homes and 2.8 million square feet of commercial space. The Hagen Creek project includes more than 1,500 acres, 1 million square feet of commercial space and 2,906 homes.
It was estimated in 2008 when the projects were zoned that they would have room for 7,965 jobs when fully built out.
For the moment the projects — two of the largest currently zoned for development in the county — aren’t showing signs of life as Hall County economic growth picks up steam, but should that change in the future, the county sewer lines, along with the city of Lula’s own separate treatment plant, are in the ground and ready.
Some smaller residential projects in the area could hook into the new system in the near term, according to Hall County Public Works Director Ken Rearden, whose department managed the sewer buildout.
“Buffington Farm, they have zoned as well,” he said. “They’re getting ready for land-disturbance permit for 185 homes up here. Some of these are lake lots with dockage. It’ll have some high-price homes, but they’re on our sewer.”
The development will sit near the lake off of Cagle Road near White
Sewer lines along Cornelia Highway also mean a better quality of life for the people who already live in North and East Hall.
“There’s always been some discussion about a retail grocery store up in this area,” said Rearden, whose department managed the sewer buildout. “You’ve got Jaemor Farm up here, but you don’t have Publix or Ingles or Kroger or anything anywhere from really Limestone Parkway all the way up Cornelia.”