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Warner Robins, Peach County Make Big Move for Industry

June 7, 2017
Article: Wayne Crenshaw - Macon Telegraph (Video credit to DAPC and Flint EMC)

Warner Robins and Peach County have joined forces to make a big move into economic development.
 
The two governments have agreed to buy 432 acres near the southwest corner of the Ga. 247 connector and U.S. 41, just east of Interstate 75, in hopes of luring major industry.
 
The tract is in Peach County and in Warner Robins. The city provides water and sewage service in the area. The tract is already being marketed and has a name: the Georgia International Industrial Park.
 
On Monday, Warner Robins City Council approved the agreement and the Peach County Commission followed suit Tuesday. It allows the newly formed Joint Development Authority of Peach County and the city of Warner Robins to move forward with getting a $2.4 million bond to buy the tract.
 
The city is responsible for 30 percent of that total, while Peach County would cover the rest. Warner Robins Mayor Randy Toms said the city has special purpose local option sales tax dollars allotted for economic development that would cover its portion, but the hope is little money would have to actually be spent.
 
That’s because payments would be interest only for the first two years. If the land is sold during that time then the loan could be repaid quickly. However, Toms acknowledged there is some risk if the land is never sold.
 
“There are some promising prospects,” he said. “There is some trepidation because it’s territory we have never done before as the city of Warner Robins.”
 
Peach County voters approved a referendum in March that would extend a tax exemption on business inventory to distribution centers. B.J. Walker, director of the Peach County Development Authority, declined to say whether a distribution center is among the prospects looking at the site.
 
But he said it’s an ideal site for that as well as other industries and the tract is large enough for multiple industries. He expects the sale of the land to close in 45 days. Legacy State Bank in Loganville is the owner of the tract.
 
Walker said the sale price amounts to $5,500 per acre, which he said is “a great price” for the location.
 
He expressed confidence that the tract will attract industry.
 
“I’m sure it will result in something,” he said. “It’s not a matter of if, it’s when.”
 
Warner Robins Councilman Tim Thomas, who pushed for the city to create its own development authority, said the project illustrates why the authority was needed. He also expressed confidence the city’s investment will pay off. He noted that with increasing traffic congestion in Atlanta, more companies are looking elsewhere in the state.
 
“We were told it’s a prime location,” he said.
 
The tract is behind a strip of land along the south side of the Ga. 247 connector that was cleared years ago for commercial development but nothing ever went there. Walker said the industrial tract will have an easement across the commercial tract to allow access to the highway. The industrial tract is across from Fastenal and H&H Home and Truck Accessory Center on the connector, and west of the Publix shopping center.

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Call: (478) 825-3826 or peachcountydevelopment@ymail.com425 James E. Khoury DriveUnit BFort Valley, Georgia 31030