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Development Authority approves funding for Brenau projects
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Plans to award a road construction contract for the Chicopee Mill Industrial Center were put on hold once again Tuesday as Development Authority officials seek additional financing for the project.

Initial bids for the road construction, which will provide access to the new 40,000-square-foot headquarters and production facilities for manufacturer REP Inc., came in over budget, and officials had considered scaling down the project.

However, “That’s really not a situation the city (of Gainesville) wants to inherit,” said Gainesville Public Works Director David Dockery.

Officials are now looking to acquire about $90,000 in state DOT funding to pay for the road construction, which will cost a total of about $290,000, according to Tim Evans, vice president of economic development for the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce.

Once financing is secured, the project, which officials described as “shovel ready,” will take between 60 and 90 days to complete.

“We might as well do it right up front,” said Authority Chairman Philip Wilheit.

Joshua Silavent

The Gainesville and Hall County Development Authority on Tuesday approved the final interest rates and principal payments for about $8 million in bonds to fund campus construction projects at Brenau University.

The projects include new sorority houses, a residence hall, an anatomy laboratory and a field house.

BB&T bank is purchasing the tax-exempt revenue bonds at a seven-year interest rate of 3.49 percent. At the end of that term, BB&T can renegotiate the rate or essentially opt out, at which time Brenau would have to find another buyer for the remainder of the 26-year term.

The monthly principal payment owed by Brenau begins at about $17,000 next year and increases annually until the final payment of about $39,000 is owed in 2040.

Demolition of the existing sorority houses should be complete by the end of June, according to David Barnett, Brenau’s senior vice president for administration. And a January or February 2015 timeline has been set for completing construction of the new homes.

Meanwhile, construction of the anatomy lab is scheduled for completion by December, and the residence hall is expected to open between August and December 2015.

The authority, as well as the Brenau Board of Trustees and Hall County Board of Commissioners, already approved issuing revenue bonds to pay for the projects.

The Development Authority — a partnership between Gainesville, Hall County and the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce that works to attract new businesses and expand existing private industry, often using its power to issue bonds to finance construction projects — has no financial obligation.

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