Officials planning a new industrial park in Hall County have secured an engineer to design the infrastructure in the park and for its first tenant, the Georgia Poultry Laboratory.
On Wednesday, the Gainesville-Hall County Development Authority signed two agreements with Rochester & Associates for engineering services at the planned Gateway Industrial Centre on Ga. 365.
The agreements, according to Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President for Economic Development Tim Evans, will guide the coming design of work for the preparation of the site of the new poultry lab and for the roads in the rest of the park.
The site preparation for the poultry lab, according to the agreement, totals $87,000.
Evans said that work is being paid for using proceeds from the sale of the property to the State Properties Commission. Just last month, the properties commission voted to buy 10 acres in the future industrial park, spending $69,000 per acre.
Another agreement calls for Rochester to complete a boundary survey and any work related to road design and wetlands delineation on the park property, Evans said. The work includes design for improvements to White Sulphur Road.
The cost for that contract, totaling some $571,000, will be fronted by Hall County taxpayers, but as long as other parcels on the park property sell, the money will be repaid through those profits, Evans said.
The county’s investment in on-site infrastructure will be repaid as the property is divvied up and sold, a process that could take some 10 to 12 years, Evans has said.
If it is successful, the park could provide between 3,000 and 4,000 jobs once it’s fully developed, officials have said, and add millions of dollars to Hall County’s tax base.
It also will bring sewer to the Ga. 365 corridor in the next three years.
The Gateway park also has access to more than one mode of transportation, with some 1.7 miles of frontage to the Norfolk Southern rail line along with a little more than two miles of frontage on Ga. 365.
Further, officials decided to pay up front for grading, stormwater detention ponds and roads on the site of the new poultry lab, something key in a state agreement to locate the lab there within the next year. The new lab was originally planned to be located near its current home.
The site of the park is currently owned by WW 365 LLC. A filing with the secretary of state for the corporation lists Frank Simpson as its registered agent.
A document referenced in the Gainesville and Hall County Development Authority’s Aug. 23 meeting after the commission meeting also indicated the authority’s chairman, Philip Wilheit, had a share in the property.
Wilheit, who is also Gov. Nathan Deal’s appointee to the Georgia Board of Regents, recused himself from the discussion and vote at that meeting.
For their part, county officials have agreed to install a septic tank on the poultry lab property within 180 days.
They have three years to connect the property to a bona fide sewer system, under the agreement.
County officials said if they choose to connect the property to a Lula sewer plant where the county owns capacity, they would have to build about 29,000 feet of sewer lines to the property.
There are other options for providing sewer to the property, including partnering with Gainesville’s Public Utilities Department and building a sewage treatment plant.
The latter is the least likely option in the short term.
County taxpayers’ commitment for infrastructure on the entire 518 acres is estimated between $9 million and $10 million. The money would largely come from special purpose local option sales tax revenues, which were specifically targeted for building sewer lines up Ga. 365.
Any money used to build sewer or roads on the industrial property will be repaid as the lots are sold to industries.
Money spent connecting the lines to a sewer treatment plant would not be repaid, however.