Speedway Commerce Center receives first read

Site plan for Speedway Commerce Center (E&A photo)

The Speedway Commerce Center received its first reading in Hampton on December 8. The city council voted 5-1 to pass the first reading towards rezoning. The rezoning request must complete a state review before the council considers the second reading.

The proposed commerce center consists of 546 +/- acres. The property is located on Lower Woolsey Road at the western terminus of Georgia 20. The applicant, THLJ Investments, LLP, is requesting a rezoning from RA (residential agricultural) to MU (mixed-use). Proposed uses include 300 apartment units and 75,000 square feet of commercial space. Finally, 5.29 million sq ft of industrial space would be the largest use.

Panattoni is onboard as the industrial developer for the project. Panattoni has previously developed projects in Henry County including Whirlpool and Ghirardelli Chocolate.

Concept site plan (E&A photo)

The property, as part of a larger 1,934-acre area, was annexed into city limits in October 2019. During the meeting, the applicant stated other development may be considered on the remaining land in the future. Future development could include residential housing on the Spalding County line, retail off US 19 / 41, and mixed-use near Atlanta Motor Speedway.

The proposed AMS casino and entertainment district may affect future development on the property. However, the casino requires a statewide voter referendum authorizing casino gambling in Georgia to become reality.

Planning staff withdrew two recommended conditions. The conditions were a max manufacturing building footprint and limits on warehousing / distribution use. If the project receives final approval, then the developer and city will negotiate a development agreement before construction starts. The agreement may consider new limitations.

Project triggers DRI review

In addition, the project must undergo a development of regional impact (DRI) review. The review process — completed by Georgia Department of Community Affairs and the Atlanta Regional Commission — considers transportation impacts and possible environmental concerns. Large-scale developments expected to affect multiple communities undergo the state review. The review lasts 45–60 days after the project traffic study is completed. Therefore, the council must wait before scheduling the second read of the request.

In November 2018, Henry County rezoned 683 acres west of the speedway. The development has plans for 6.1 MSF of industrial space in seven warehouses. No construction has occurred to date.

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