Jon Seagraves, Chairman, Development Authority of Bryan County.
2021 was a year of growth for the Development Authority of Bryan County (DABC). After facing a challenging year in 2020 and learning new ways to adapt and thrive in a changing environment, the DABC spent the past year focusing on new opportunities for the community. As 2021 progressed, these new opportunities led to a series of significant accomplishments and notable economic development activity.
One major accomplishment was the acquisition of the 2,000+ acre Bryan County Mega Site (BCMS) by the state of Georgia and the Savannah Harbor Interstate 16 Corridor Joint Development Authority (JDA), which consists of Bryan, Bulloch, Chatham, and Effingham counties.
The acquisition of the site represents the culmination of many years of planning and hard work, and the intent is for the site to eventually be used by a single, large manufacturing project of regional significance.
The BCMS represents an incredible opportunity for the state and region, and we are thrilled to have taken this important step forward.
Early in 2021, CRG, a private developer based in St. Louis, MO, completed a 700,000 square-foot facility in the Interstate Centre II industrial park. This facility is leased to a tenant as a distribution center.
Additionally, CRG began construction on a 463,250 square-foot speculative building and a 708,990 square-foot speculative building, both of which are also in Interstate Centre II.
Another private developer based in Kansas City, MO, VanTrust, began construction on an over one million square-foot speculative building, which should be complete later this year.
VanTrust’s development is called Interstate West and is adjacent to Interstate Centre I. These new facilities will attract even more job-creating economic development projects in the community.
Additionally, St. Joseph’s / Candler purchased a site in Interstate Centre I at the entrance of the park. St.
Joseph’s / Candler plans to build a 40,000 square foot medical facility that will serve the industries in and around the park and residents in the surrounding areas. This new healthcare opportunity will help attract new economic development projects and will house offices for the DABC. We are very excited about this new partnership.
In Richmond Hill, Medline has continued to make progress on the construction of its 1.2 million-square-foot facility that will be shared with FedEx Ground. The DABC began design and permitting for a new access road that will serve our property in Belfast Commerce Park, and we plan to complete construction of the road later this year.
Furthermore, we have continued to work with private companies and developers to attract new investment and jobs to the park. Several speculative buildings are planned to begin construction soon, and we look forward to seeing more opportunities come to Belfast and the surrounding area.
In addition to the successes mentioned above the DABC hosted its first annual Industry Day in 2021. This was an opportunity to educate 7th grade students at Bryan County and Richmond Hill Middle Schools about jobs at local industries, and while the event had to be held virtually due to COVID-19, we were still pleased with the result. We also were able to complete an update to data that was part of a labor study from 2017, and this data has been very helpful in our efforts to recruit new industries and to inform existing industries about changing labor market conditions.
2021 was a year of growth and rehabilitation from the COVID-19 pandemic, and the DABC is excited to keep pursuing new opportunities and working together with the community to continue this growth. The economic development activity in 2021 laid a good foundation for the successes to be built in 2022.
Seagraves is chairman of the Development Authority of Bryan County.