The City of Adairsville has filed an application with the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA) for a 48.57-acre economic development that "warrants regional review," according to the state agency.
Adairsville City Manager Pamela Madison completed a Developments of Regional Impact (DRI) application on Aug. 28 for the proposed project. According to the paperwork sent to the DCA, the project seeks to create a 750,000-square-foot warehouse off Joe Frank Harris Parkway, north of where US 41 intersects with GA 140 and slightly south of the Bartow County/Gordon County line.
Per the city's application, the anticipated value of the development at buildout is $45 million. According to the documents submitted to the DCA, C2 Partners, LLC is serving as developer for the project.
The proposed development sits on land currently owned by HJ Brothers Realty, LLC, a New York-based company that purchased the property in 2014 for a little under $500,000.
As to who the possible tenant of the warehouse may be, however, remains a mystery. Since the name of the project submitted to the DCA is "Stanton Industrial," rumors abound that the interested party is Stanton Carpet Corp., a New York-headquartered carpet manufacturer with a distribution center in Calhoun.
However, representatives from Stanton Carpet Corp. declined comment when asked by The Daily Tribune News about their involvement in the project.
Madison — described in the DRI application as the city contact who officially completed the document — also did not respond to numerous requests for comments on the proposed development.
C2 Partners, LLC owner Sean Coughlin, however, said the project currently has no specified end-user.
"We don't have anybody in tow yet on this building," he said. "We've had a lot of inquiries on it and all of them have been in that 750,000-square-foot range, so we wanted to go ahead and get a grading plan [and] get all of our studies done so we could get the site fully entitled so the next state deal that came along, we'd be a viable site for."
Coughlin is no stranger to working with clients associated with the carpet sector. Among other projects, he helped develop the million-square-foot Surya Rugs building in Cartersville.
If he had to venture a guess as to who the end-user of the Adairsville development may be, Coughlin said his "preferred" client would be a company in the same field.
"It's the textile capital of the world up there, so the odds-on bet is it might be someone affiliated with that industry."
Bartow County Commissioner Steve Taylor said if Stanton is indeed the company looking into the property, they haven't contacted him about pursuing any tax breaks.
"They haven't come to the county for any sort of tax abatements yet, so they're going to go it alone as far as abatements and subsidies go," Taylor said. "I'm not sure what the City of Adairsville's promised … as of right now, the county hasn't been involved in any subsidies for this project."
Cartersville-Bartow County Department of Economic Development Executive Director Melinda Lemmon said she hasn't been clued into the specifics of the development either.
"What this project is, I don't know," she said. "The property, you can see the listing on our website — it's part of the original Georgia North Industrial Park, it's got the utilities there, it is zoned — so there's not a lot of additional due diligence that's needed, so in the marketing of the property, the broker has made some connections here, apparently … I have not spoken to an end-user for that property."
Adairsville Mayor Kenneth Carson revealed what he's heard about the project — and according to his accounts, there have been discussions about as much as 2 million square feet of developments being built on the property.
"We had just had information that a developer was wanting to build, I think they're going to start off with two 500,000-square-feet spec buildings," he said. "And in the long-range plans, I think they were going to add another possible million-square-foot spec building, also."
Carson said he couldn't confirm who the party interested in the property may be. However, he said the city government is nonetheless eager to get the project underway.
"I know it's most definitely going to happen," he said. "This last week I was in the office, they were talking about the groundbreaking and actually getting the land-disturbance permits."
Still, Coughlin said he doesn't anticipate any physical development happening at the property until at least next year.
"I don't think you'd see a shovel on the ground for probably nine to 12 months," he said.
The DRI application tabs August 2020 as the project's estimated completion date. The same document estimates the project will generate about $500,000 in annual local tax revenues.
As for what the DRI designation would mean for the proposed project, Lemmon said it would simply satisfy "a permitting requirement of large buildings" and would not make the development automatically eligible for any additional state incentives.
While the proposed project sounds like it would undoubtedly have a profound financial influence on Bartow, Lemmon said there just aren't enough concrete details available to make any predictions about the proposal just yet.
"I don't have enough information to really plug that into our model and determine what that [economic impact] might be," she said.
Regardless of who the eventual warehouse tenant may be, Taylor said the interest in the property is yet another example of Bartow's "pro-business attitude" drawing major employment opportunities to the county.
"It just adds more jobs to the community," he said. "Right now the challenge is finding the skilled workforce for these jobs, but we know we can do it."