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State poultry lab approved for Hall
Headquarters will occupy new building off Ga. 365 in planned industrial park
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It’s official: The Georgia Poultry Laboratory Network’s headquarters will move to a new industrial park off Ga. 365 in Hall County.

The State Properties Commission voted unanimously Friday morning to buy 10 acres in the future Gateway Industrial Centre, spending $69,000 per acre, a staff member with the commission said.

State appraisals from March showed the property was worth between $80,000 and $93,000 per acre, according to documents provided by the commission.

The state Department of Agriculture has $13.6 million in bonds from 2009 to build the new 38,000-square-foot laboratory in Hall County.

It is expected to be complete by 2015.

State officials say the laboratory network headquarters’ current home in a partially-condemned building built in the early 1960s in Oakwood has been surrounded by residential development.

The state properties commission staff has been looking for a new home for the lab headquarters since 2011, seeking a site in Hall County at least 10 acres in size and located on a major road.

According to a memo properties’ commission staff prepared for Friday’s meeting, staff considered more than 20 properties before settling on the Gateway Industrial Centre’s future home.

“The new location is closer to the poultry industry than the current location in Oakwood,” the
memo states.

The state decision Friday depended on agreements with Hall County’s Board of Commissioners and the Gainesville and Hall County Development Authority — each signed late Thursday — promising preparation of the site for the state to build.

The proceeds from today’s property sale will be used to reimburse the county for some of that work.

The laboratory will be the first development on a 518-acre tract that is planned to be a new industrial park in Hall County. The property, owned by a group called WW 365, LLC, is expected to be developed over the next 10 to 12 years through a public-private partnership between the county government and the property owners.

In Secretary of State filings, Frank Simpson is listed as the registered agent for WW 365; other stakeholders in the property include Philip Wilheit and Jim Walters.

For its part, Hall County will have to finish roads, build water lines to the property and extend sewer lines to the park.

The deal requires the county to also install a septic system on the new state property and build sewer lines up Ga. 365 in the next three years. Hall officials still have not decided whether those lines will come from a sewer treatment plant in Lula that the county partially owns or from the south.

It is possible that Hall County could build its own sewer plant in the area, but that is not likely to happen on the three-year deadline the county has with the state.

Georgia produces some 1.4 billion chickens every year valued at about $3.7 billion. The lab helps the industry adapt with technology and disease and regulatory changes, poultry leaders said.

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