Members of the Bartow County Planning Commission voted unanimously Monday evening to recommend approval of a request from a developer to rezone about 47 acres off Highway 293 near Old River Road from M-1 mining to I-1 industrial.
Nick Faber, a regional market officer for IDI’s Atlanta-area operations, said the proposed facilities do not currently have any end-users lined up. He said that IDI Logistics’ clientele runs the gamut from medical device companies to food companies.
“You have local, you have regional and then you kind of have national distribution,” he said. “This submarket, in specific, a lot of this is servicing metro Atlanta, in the northwest submarket, what we call ‘up 75’ … typically higher office finishes, higher-end office jobs, there’s a big engineering kind of network in this market, and you’re pulling from some of the higher residential areas in all of Atlanta.”
The proposed Bartow County development, he said, is targeting smaller tenants, such as regional and local offices.
“We would project that to be three or four in a building,” he said. “So it’s different from a 400,000-square-foot guy coming in with hundreds of trucks a day — you’re looking at 95,000- to 100,000-square-foot tenants, which you have about 3,000 to 5,000 square feet of office.”
As for the project timeline, Faber said he’s optimistic IDI Logistics can close on the property by February. After that would come about 90-120 days of design time, with buildout estimated at nine to 12 months.
“So we’re marketing the buildings that entire time,” he said. “Very often we would pre-lease some of these buildings, and that would give us reason to accelerate the development.”
He said he anticipates the buildings being at least 95% leased within 12 to 18 months, putting the project on a tentative timetable to be completed in 2021.
“Hopefully sooner,” Faber told the commission.
On the subject of traffic concerns, Faber said the light-industrial development wouldn’t generate a tremendous amount of truck volume.
“I’m not going to say you won’t have 53-footers,” he said, “but it would be [rarer] than in the much bigger, what we call ‘bulk buildings.’”
Local engineer Karl Lutjens spoke on behalf of the applicant.
“By placing this here, we feel like this works very well, between an industrial railroad site and further to the north is also mining,” he said. “We have a four-lane highway that is just off the exit ramp … we have spoken with [The Department of Transportation, or DOT] about needing road improvements, which we will need to make on 293.”
Early designs for the project depict all but one of the access points being off Highway 293. The other, Lutjens said, will be off Old River Road.
“We honestly knew that this would be a traffic generator, and that’s why we have multiple driveways and we have actually filed for a [Development of Regional Impact, or DRI], and one of the comments in the DRI study says that we had to work with DOT in order to improve the driveways and make the driveways acceptable for this type of development,” he said. “There will be deceleration lanes, and there will probably be a left-turn lane for the major movement driveway, or any major movement driveway."
IDI Logistics' national portfolio includes industrial properties in California, Florida, Illinois and Texas. In Georgia, the company currently has about 447,000 square feet available at a logistics center in Jefferson, with two proposed buildings in Buford eclipsing 1.1 million square feet.
“What we do like about this location is you have multiple access points,” Faber said of the planned Bartow County development. “Which is pretty compelling for a use such as this.”
At the public meeting, commission members also voted unanimously to recommend approval of an amendment to the County’s zoning ordinance, impacting mini-warehouses and self-storage facilities located in Bartow’s I-1 industrial districts.
“We are requesting that we place some of the zoning requirements that we have in the commercial districts also in the industrial districts,” said Bartow County Zoning Administrator Brandon Johnson. “We are requesting a front facade finished with brick, stone or stucco on any metal buildings that are used for mini-warehouses or storage.”
The ordinance amendment also would require such properties to have 40-foot landscaped strips fronting right-of-way in addition to the standard buffers already required by the I-1 zoning. The required buffer would increase to 60 feet if the property fronts a state or federal highway, while chainlink fencing would be prohibited along any road frontages.
“We have a lot of the similar language in the commercial districts,” Johnson said. “In the commercial districts, they are now a conditional use — they’re still a permitted use in the I-1 district.”
Bartow County Commissioner Steve Taylor will approve or deny the recommendations at a public meeting scheduled for 10 a.m. Wednesday at the Frank Moore Administration and Judicial Center.