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Georgia Technology Park
to open soon

 

By Monroe Roark
Times Correspondent 

  After months of planning, an official announcement was made Friday regarding a $100 million development in Stockbridge that is expected to produce more than 8,000 jobs in the next several years.

  Georgia Technology Park will sit adjacent to I-75 off Rock Quarry Road, with a 33,000-square-foot building already in place to anchor the 40-acre site.

The lone existing building on the Georgia Technology Park site that will anchor the 40-acre project.       Photo by Monroe Roark

  The project is a public-private partnership through which the Stockbridge Downtown Develop-ment Authority (DDA) will own the high-tech park and the World Internet Group will operate it.

  The entire concept was sparked by Community Broadband’s decision in early 2013 to partner with the city and bring high-capacity broadband Internet service that is reportedly 200 times faster than the current national average. That initiative involves a $15 million investment from Community Broadband at no cost to taxpayers, city officials have repeatedly said.

  According to DDA chairman J.T. Williams, World Internet Group was leaving its Dunwoody headquarters last summer and had offers with financial incentives from ten states to move. The company was two weeks away from relocating to Texas before switching gears and moving to Stockbridge, where the new headquarters will be one block from I-75 and 20 minutes from Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

  The infrastructure already in place will allow the first phase of the technology park to “go live” this spring, according to a company statement. The project is expected to eventually create about 3,500 permanent direct jobs – most at high-level starting pay – and 5,250 indirect jobs.

  World Internet Group is already leasing the site’s lone existing building, which Williams said was purchased for 40 percent less than what it cost to construct it 14 years ago. That building will house an innovation lab and an accelerator, both designed to help technology companies that are starting up or need to grow without leaving the area.

  A research center, learning center and job center will also be developed within the first-phase building to help enhance technology services that will benefit Stockbridge, the surrounding area and the entire state.

  The Rock Quarry Road corridor will be one of the first segments wired by Community Broadband, including Piedmont Henry Hospital and extending along Patrick Henry Parkway to the Georgia Power customer call center. That phase is expected to be operational by July, Williams said.

  Several data centers will eventually be able to locate in the park, which “will be the most extensively wired high-speed campus in the United States,” Williams said.

  “We are pleased to partner with the Downtown Development Authority on this major technology initiative,” said CEO Scott Barresi of the World Internet Group. “We believe this will have a significant impact on the technology sector in the state, making Georgia the Southeast’s premier technology hub.”

  World Internet Group assembled the 15 parcels necessary for the project in August and then approached the DDA in October with a proposal to develop the Georgia Technology Park as a public-private partnership, Will-iams said.

  The DDA began closing on the properties last month with a $5 million loan from the City of Stockbridge. The DDA expects to finance the balance of its commitment to the public-private partnership, which also calls for $75 million in private investments. The debt would be paid off from shared proceeds from the lease agreements for the park.

  Top economic development officials in the state, as well as the governor and lieutenant governor, have been in the loop on this project and are excited to see it come to fruition, according to the DDA chairman.

  “It’s a very pro-business move,” said Williams, who came to Henry County in the mid-1980s to develop the Eagle’s Landing community. “That’s why I came to Henry County 28 years ago, because of the very cooperative, business-friendly government.”

 

 

©Henry County Times, Inc.