Industrial development is a hot topic in Henry County, but what’s happening at a local level to affect the market is often misunderstood. The board of commissioners have taken several steps to better direct new industrial growth while recognizing and appreciating the contributions made by existing tenants.
January 2017 was a major turning point and marked the beginning of the current board of commissioners because three of the six board members were newly elected and first taking office at the time. Since then, in January 2019, a fourth seat has also changed over to a new member.
So, when asking the question “how many warehouses have been built that the current BOC approved?” the answer is…
Since January 2017, no new warehouses have been built that were approved by the current board of commissioners. The board has considered only one industrial rezoning request in the last three years for property located west of Atlanta Motor Speedway. That project was a carry-over from a larger comprehensive plan amendment adopted in 2014 by a previous board and no construction has occurred on-site.
The sitting commissioners have taken several steps to better direct new industrial development, like adopting a highway corridor overlay district that prohibits new warehouses along major roadways, and objecting to proposed industrial development in Locust Grove. Last year, in a major decision positively shaping the county’s future, the BOC kept industrial land uses out of future mixed-use developments.
Industrial tenants provide jobs and stability to local area.
The manufacturers and logistics companies in McDonough provide thousands of jobs that would otherwise not be available in Henry County. In the 2018 update to the county’s comprehensive land use plan, the report found that twenty-five percent of all jobs within the county are located within the freight cluster. The report also encourages industrial infill development by limiting the industrial area to its existing boundaries.
The industrial sector provides stability to Henry County’s tax digest. Industrial properties have very stable property values, meaning that in an economic recession, when residential and commercial property values are falling, industrial values will see only minor change. This softens the reduction in property tax collections during an economic recession allowing more county services to remain open and less of a burden placed on homeowners to support them.
Many warehouses pay between $500,000 and $1,000,000 in annual property taxes. This helps offset operating expenditures for the school system and public safety, the largest expenditures in the county, without hardly utilizing either service. A typical distribution center pays property taxes equivalent to 365 homes.
Who’s approving the new warehouses?
Several of the new warehouses either under construction or built in recent memory have been approved by city councils. In Locust Grove, three new industrial projects representing 6.2 million square feet of planned industrial space have been approved in the last two years.
In McDonough, a 728,000 square feet e-commerce fulfillment center was annexed into the city and rezoned in May 2018. The project is located along Georgia 42 across from the former Toys “R” Us distribution center. The builder’s previous project, McDonough Commerce Center along Avalon Parkway, is also inside city limits.