Stanton Springs designated market-ready

Photo by Howard Reed

Photo by Howard Reed

Stanton Springs has been named a Georgia Ready for Accelerated Development (GRAD) site by Georgia Allies, a public-private partnership that focuses on economic development marketing.

The 1,600-acre mixed-use planned development located at the junction of U.S. Highway 278 and Interstate 20 is proposed for industrial, commercial and residential uses. The designation by GRAD means that all infrastructure, including water and sewer, roads, gas and telecommunications lines, are in place and the site is ready for development.

"It tells project managers, site selection consultants and the end user that we have all the infrastructure in place, the zoning in place and these are pad ready sites. We're ready to hit the ground running," said Shannon Davis, economic development director for the Covington-Newton County Chamber of Commerce.

Georgia Allies started GRAD to help promote sites of 50 acres or larger throughout the state and asked the Joint Development Authority of Jasper, Morgan, Newton and Walton counties to participate in the certification process for Stanton Springs, which took nearly 18 months to complete. The certification was done in cooperation with the JDA's realty partner on the project, TPA Realty Services LLC.

"We are pleased that Stanton Springs has been able to achieve this designation after more than one year's efforts. We feel that it will demonstrate that Stanton Springs and our region are truly ready for accelerated development," said Alan Verner, chairman of the Joint Development Authority.

The designation will give those marketing Stanton Springs an extra edge, Davis said, included highlighted listings on the industrial site sections of major utility Web sites; special attention on the Georgia Department of Economic Development Web site; and continued presence on Georgia Allies electronic newsletter targeted to companies and location consultants.

"The GRAD designation for Stanton Springs means that it can truly compete on a global stage for new industry and the accompanying jobs," said Dennis Chastain, vice chairman of Georgia Allies. "I fully believe that the JDA's efforts, along with its development partner TPA Realty Services LLC, to attain GRAD status for Stanton Springs will be beneficial."

Davis said there were three or four inquiries regarding Stanton Springs in both 2009 and 2010 and two or three of those projects have yet to settle on a location. Marketing greenfields, or undeveloped land, in the current economy is a challenge, she said.

"The market is already saturated with buildings so buyers can get their choice. Selling Stanton Springs and making it a good product for somebody is a challenge but we've been successful and we've taken the opportunity to do it," she said. "This is a project of regional impact, running the whole I-20 corridor from Rockdale to Lake Oconee, because people will drive that far for jobs."