By REBECCA HAZEN
The Dade County Industrial Development Authority (IDA) reported during their monthly meeting on Monday, Nov. 15, that “Project Flavor” has decided to not come to Dade County.
Project Flavor was a code name for a food manufacturing company. The IDA had signed a nondisclosure agreement, so the company’s name was never revealed.
“There was a concern about wastewater. That was a concern from day one,” Director William Back said. “We think there is a possibility that it might still be in Georgia, but there has not yet been an announcement as to where they’re going.”
Back continued, “Our system just wasn’t ready for them, and we didn’t have a plan to present to them that would have changed their long-term look.”
Back also noted that the city’s Planning Commission has defined hotels and motels. The Planning Commission would like to not allow any more motels in the city. The definition of a motel is a one or two floor layout with guests accessing the rooms from the exterior.
“Is there any objection if I resume that line of discussion with hotel developers? This is something I started a couple of years ago, but I didn’t go far,” Back said.
Back noted that there was one hotel operator that looked into Trenton recently, who was willing to open a small 24-room hotel.
“I encourage any hotel operators to take a second look at Trenton,” Back said.
Board member Evan Stone said that he recently spoke to a hotel operator, who told him that money is now available again to build, which was not available when COVID-19 started.
The IDA members agreed to let Back reach out to hotel operators.
Also, during the meeting, Back asked the board members to consider selling land in the Industrial Park.
Back noted that when the IDA gets an RFI (Request for Information), which is the standard way in which companies reach out to industrial parks that they are thinking of locating to, the RFIs typically have a requirement of 30-50 acres.
The Industrial Park has 19 acres that have some slope to it, 10 or 11 acres of which are usable, which is a much smaller amount than what is requested by companies.
“I would like to get some discussion whether we could hire a commercial broker to put that lot on the open market. What would most likely happen is a developer would buy that lot and build a spec building. Many times, a company will build a building on speculation, with hopes that they can lease it or eventually sell it to another company. The advantage to the county and the IDA in the short term is that we can sell property without having to make any incentives. It would generate some revenue for us,” Back said.
“We’ve talked to a spec building company in the past. Ask them if they would be interested and see what they have to say. Then we’ll have more data on the table,” Chair Peter Cervelli said.
Back has a new rented office space at the River Run Logistics building in Trenton, at 13506 North Main Street, for $250 a month. Back had to move out of the Dade County Administrative Building due to lack of space. There is a possibility that the IDA will also be able to rent out a second room to use as a conference room. The office space will be temporary.
“When the county moves into the new building that they will eventually create for the Board of Elections, there are likely to be offices there that we can move into as well. I don’t know the time line for that,” Cervelli said.
The IDA voted to allow Back to purchase an all-in-one printer, copier, and scanner for his office, not to exceed $400.
IDA board member Larry Moore announced his resignation from the board.
“It has been an honor and a pleasure to serve in this position. I am proud of all we have accomplished over the years. I have no doubt the board will continue these successes in the future,” Moore said in a written statement.
“It’s fitting to note that Larry, when he became sole commissioner, he was the first commissioner that hired an economic development director for the county,” Stone said. “He had a vision back then, and hopefully we can continue it on.”
The IDA will not hold a regularly scheduled meeting in December.