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Office park builder not worried about buildings vacancy
Patillo Construction is not concerned about a slow economy affecting the sale of this new building in the Oakwood South Industrial Park expansion. - photo by Tom Reed

OAKWOOD — A speculative building for Oakwood South Industrial Park East on H.F. Reed Industrial Parkway has sat empty for about a year, but the park’s builder says it’s not concerned about slow development of the 70-acre park.

"It’s longer than we like, but given the circumstances (of the economy), it’s not too bad at this point," said Rusty McKellar of Patillo Construction’s land department on Tuesday.

"Our marketing guys are showing (the property) quite frequently. I don’t know that we’ve got a prospect that’s ready to go or anything, but it is being shown."

Ten years ago, Oakwood bought 250 acres on the west side of McEver Road, between West Hall High School and Jim Crow Road, for Oakwood South Industrial Park, its first industrial park.

Patillo since has bought up all the land and mostly developed sites in the park.

According to the city, 12 of the 13 single-tenant buildings are occupied and more than 400 jobs have been created.

Oakwood spent $4.5 million on the land infrastructure, but through reselling the land, has made a $1.5 million profit, said Patti J. Doss-Luna, assistant city manager.

In addition, the park contributed some $42,000 to Oakwood’s tax base last year and $266,172 to the Hall County school system, according to data compiled by Doss-Luna.

Patillo, which has main Georgia offices in Stone Mountain and builds industrial parks throughout the Southeast, began development last year of an additional 70 acres east of McEver.

Patillo put up a 111,000-square-foot speculative building on 20 of the 70 acres, a shell structure that will be completed once a tenant is acquired, just as the nation’s economy began to slump.

"I think you’re seeing a lot less speculative construction these days," McKellar said. "Virtually none."

Still, a turnaround of a year or so on filling a speculative building with a tenant is not unusual, he said.

Once a tenant is acquired, "we can fill a building out in two to three months," McKellar said.

Patillo has plans for a second building in Oakwood South Industrial Park East. The building, at 350,000 square feet and expandable to 450,000 square feet, would be Patillo’s largest office building on either side of McEver.

Oakwood, which has extended M. Stringer Road across H.F. Reed into the east park, "would connect to McEver whenever other land develops in there," City Manager Stan Brown said.