Atlanta-based Oakmont Industrial Group is working with the county to buy 38-acres of land on White Road, which is near the intersection of Interstate 20 and Six Flags Drive, to build warehouse facilities, said Jim Pehrson, the county’s finance director.
Oakmont wants Cobb to spend $200,000 to improve White Road before the builder will spend an estimated $30 million to buy and build on the property, according to an Aug. 12 intergovernmental agreement for the project between the county and Development Authority of Cobb County.
“The construction of road improvements by the county is critical to inducing the company to locate the facility in the county,” according to the agreement.
The Development Authority of Cobb County’s grants committee, chaired by Bob Morgan, approved the agreement between the authority and the county at its Tuesday meeting.
Once the agreement is approved by the authority’s full board, as well as the Board of Commissioners, the development authority will be committed to paying the county $50,000 by November 2017 to help contribute to some of the road improvement costs, said Nelson Geter, executive director for the authority and economic development manager for the Cobb Chamber of Commerce.
“What Cobb County is asking us to do is essentially be a partner in this adventure with them,” Geter said. “The county will upfront the expenses.”
Oakmont intends to build 580,000 square feet of warehouses that will hold between 10 and 15 tenants and create a total of 300 full-time jobs by November 2017, Geter said.
The authority is not required to pay $50,000 to the county if the warehouses don’t meet those expectations, Geter said.
“If the building is empty at the end of (November 2017), we pay absolutely nothing,” Geter said.
Committee member Donna Rowe said she approved the agreement because it was contingent on creating jobs.
“The money is not going to go out until the jobs are created,” Rowe said.
Committee member Richard Moore said he felt confident committing to pay the county for the road improvements.
“If the county is putting forth more money than we are and (the project is) creating 300 employees, that seems like a good thing,” Moore said.
Jim Wilgus, Cobb’s deputy director of transportation, said the county hasn’t decided what improvements to make to White Road, but he said the proposed improvements could be presented to commissioners at the Sept. 23 meeting.
“The estimate on the current road improvement that we’re contemplating is $200,000,” Wilgus said. “That road was already scheduled to be resurfaced, but because of some development potential we are studying some further improvements.”
Wilgus said resurfacing White Road, where the warehouses would be located, would cost $50,000. Another $150,000 will be spent on improving the sharp turns in the road, he said.
“This road is anticipating heavy truck traffic, so the improvements will try to make it easier to turn onto it,” Wilgus said.
Wilgus said the county hasn’t fully planned what it will do to improve the area.
“We’re still putting this thing together,” Wilgus said. “This is very early.”
Pehrson said he didn’t know many details about the project yet either.
“Our board hasn’t approved anything yet,” Pehrson said. “I know very little about it at the time.”