Big box store locations on busy Albany street corners sit empty, but realtors said another type of commercial building is growing in demand and it is bringing jobs to South Georgia.
The second warehouse for Powersports Plus is on Industry Drive in Albany. Inside there are thousands of parts for all kinds of road, off road, and marine craft which supply customers across the country.
"We just outgrew our other facility. We put a second floor in a couple of years ago. We outgrew that. And we were forced to get a second warehouse," said Powersports Plus Director of Retail Operations Bill Saunders.
Warehouse buildings are in demand. Meanwhile several commercial building lots on Ledo Road, which a few years were prime to be the site for a big box store, have seen dramatic price cuts, but still no buyers.
"To find a 50,000 square foot user is kind of tough in any market right now," said Coldwell Banker Walden & Kirkland Commercial Real Estate Agent Todd Davis.
Meanwhile, Powersports' model shows the future of business. Warehouse suppliers that can ship parts or merchandise across the country overnight in many cases. And Albany realtors said they are seeing a lot of interest in industrial or warehouse properties.
"It could be distribution, manufacturing. Businesses looking to expand, with larger square footage. We've got new businesses that have looked," said Davis.
"We're seeing other businesses similar to our moving into the area. It's got some advantages to buying in Albany, Georgia," said Saunders.
These businesses need three things: top notch fiber optic internet, available labor force, and good transportation. Many also want railroad availability.
Albany can offer all at a lower price than some other areas.
So a physical store in every town is becoming obsolete. Powersports is doing business for the future now. The big box store building sites are still there for expansion, but Albany could see a big growth of jobs in distribution and warehouse businesses.
"That will create jobs, which we need the most," said Davis.
PowerSports Plus has seen a big increase in their number of employees. In 2011, they started with 20 employees. Today they employee close to 140 people.
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