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Hall County and Gainesville map 170-acre industrial park
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The Hall County Board of Commissioners discussed plans Monday for an industrial park on Calvary Church Road that advocates say will bring improvements to the area.

The industrial park would be a joint venture between Gainesville and Hall County and would be developed by Gwinnett Industries Inc. on a 170-acre site adjacent to the new county jail and Chicopee Woods Agricultural Center.

Gwinnett Industries Inc.’s parent company built other parks in the area, including Gainesville Industrial Park South and Oakwood South.

The county tentatively agreed to provide funds toward the $1.8 million construction costs, including road, water and sewer improvements to the surrounding area.

Calvary Church Road will be widened to accommodate the higher flow of traffic.

"It’ll be widened to an industrial grade," County Administrator Jim Shuler said. Using existing right of ways to increase its size, "the road will look more like a highway."

Commissioner Bobby Banks, whose district will house the new facility, said the road was already in need of expansion.

"Of course it needs it anyway because of the new jail," he said.

Widening the road would bring it closer to the cemeteries of Calvary Baptist Church, but would not foreseeably damage or alter the cemeteries.

"We can sneak through that cemetery without any problems," said Ken Rearden, County Public Works and Utilities director.

"It’s gonna be incredible," Commission Chairman Tom Oliver said. "It’s a positive development for this area."

While the city has been discussing the project for several months, Tim Evans, vice president for economic development at the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce, joined attorney Tread Syfan in presenting the joint venture to the county commission for the first time Monday.

Syfan said Gainesville owns 140 acres of the proposed site and the county owns 30 acres.

Evans said the developer would repay the infrastructure costs of developing the property plus an additional amount for the land.

The county and city have yet to work out an agreement on how revenue from property sales will be divided, but Syfan suggested they share proceeds based on acreage.

"I think it’s a great project and a great location for it," Syfan said.

Evans said the city has already fronted $100,000 for grading costs, and the city will also oversee project construction.

The goal of the park is to attract high investment, clean industries, such as data centers, to fill eight to nine buildings, Evans said.

This would allow the park to be relatively environmentally friendly because the buildings, while consuming a lot of power, would not release anything into the air.

"Manufacturers don’t necessarily emit," he said. "It’s an erroneous perception."

The Gainesville Business Park would attract new clients and provide space for existing Gainesville businesses to grow into instead of leaving the city.

"This is needed," Evans said.

The site was first reviewed in 2006 with the intention of building The Gainesville Business Park.

"We were looking specifically for an industrial park," Evans said.

He said construction should begin either late this year or early next year and should be complete by mid-2009.

The space in the park will be advertised to businesses during the construction period in order to fill it more quickly.

"It’s a long term sales process," he said. "It takes several years to develop a park like this."

Evans said he expects the proposed buildings to be filled within five to six years.

Commissioners are set to vote on the project at their Thursday board meeting.

Also, commissioners decided to send a rezoning request by HMR Partnership back to the planning department for further review. Randy Knighton, planning director for Hall County, said the developer was considering reintroducing the project as a planned commercial development, which would require a new proposal to the planning department.