Regulations blamed for industrial vacancy - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Regulations blamed for industrial vacancy

By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Albany may be missing out on new development and jobs because of rules at one of the city's industrial parks.

Albany Dougherty Economic Development Commission leaders say they've had interest in the Pecan Grove Corporate Center off Newton Road , but the park's covenant is standing in the way.

A ready to go site with infrastructure like water and sewer keeps development costs low and in this economy, that's what any business is looking for.  But restrictions in this covenant mandate that all buildings must be enclosed and certain materials must be used in construction and that's scaring potential tenants away.

An important tool to attract and grow business in Albany appears to be locked the Payroll Development Authority's toolbox. It's land that's available and ready for construction.

"Property that has water, sewage, and infrastructure that's necessary to open a turn key business and start production quickly is limited," said Payroll Development Authority Chairman Jeff Sinyard.

While there are plenty of sites in the PDA owned Pecan Grove Corporate Park awaiting development, the park's covenant is keeping some business at bay.

"Its intent was a very good intent to be a corporate park and to be very pleasing aesthetically because of its location," said Albany Dougherty Economic Development Commission President Ted Clem.

Several smaller manufacturers who have expressed interested in the property that require outside tanks or production areas don't meet the rules, so the Payroll Authority is looking at a possible fix.

"Is there a section of that park where those standards could be loosened, that wouldn't detract from the aesthetic appeal of the rest of the park?" said Clem.

So the authority plans to go back to the five businesses in the park who've met the restrictions and see if they're will for those rules to be relaxed or if they would be opposed to sectioning off area in the back of the park where building restrictions could be relaxed.

They're also looking at ways to make other land ready for business.

"Our first priority is to make sure we're protecting our existing," said Sinyard.

"We've got to get other industrial sites prepared and ready," said Clem.

In the last year, Albany's lost more than 2,300 jobs. That's why Jeff Sinyard said it's important they look at every opportunity to bring jobs to southwest Georgia. Changes in this business park might be one way to do that.

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