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Tradeport East, West given 'GRAD' status
Land is being prepared for spec buildings in Tradeport East near Midway. - photo by Photo by Joe Parker, Jr.
    Last week, one year after its invitation to apply, the Tradeport Business Centers in Liberty County were granted Georgia Ready for Accelerated Development status by Georgia Allies.
"What this means is that we'll be featured on the Georgia Allies website, highlighted in listings on major utility websites, and put in their newsletter," said Anna Chafin, Director of Marketing and Research at the Liberty County Development Authority. "We're hoping this will help us generate more interest."
    The Tradeport Business Center is a 5,300-acre development off of Interstate 95 that is intended for mixed use. It was bought from International Paper and Laurel View Development Corporation by LCDA, and is also partially owned by Industrial Developments International after its pledge to buy 300 acres. IDI finished construction this month on a 502,000-square-foot speculative building, and joins the company of Target's 1.5-million-square-foot regional distribution center and The Tire Rack's 242,000-square-foot distribution center in Tradeport East.
    Although the development is appealing on its own--it is located close enough to Savannah that freight costs are low, it is a day's drive from Florida, its West branch is served directly by rail, and, perhaps most attractively, it is located in what has been a Tier 1 Job Tax county for almost 10 years, which means businesses receive $1 million in tax credits for every 50 jobs they create--Tradeport stands to benefit from its association with Georgia Allies.      
Founded after Atlanta's 1996 Olympic Games as a means to capitalize on development opportunities, Georgia Allies functions as a partnership between state government and private corporations, and includes powerful companies like Georgia Power, AT&T, The Coca-Cola Company, and Delta Air Lines. According to the Georgia Allies website, an event hosted by the organization last year to raise awareness for development opportunites created 23 expansion projects, 1695 potential jobs, and $196 million in investments.  
    Of the land contained within the Tradeport Business Center, only about 9% has been sold. "Because there is so much land in the development, we have an expected 25-30 year build-out period," said Ron Tolley, CEO of LCDA, "but if fortune smiles on us, maybe it will be faster than that."

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