WARNER ROBINS -- The Houston County Development Authority will chip in as much as $230,000 toward buying land that could prove critical to attracting more jobs.
The authority voted Wednesday morning to help buy the property, which Houston County commissioners approved Tuesday. Commissioners agreed to buy the four parcels, which a survey says consists of about 383 acres, in a deal valued at about $708,000.
But that land is rather valuable to the Development Authority, which expects to take possession of most of the property. It’s contiguous to a Frito-Lay plant, which is undergoing a $105 million renovation, and is almost next to Ga. 247.
Mark Byrd, chairman of the Development Authority, said the site’s access and utilities make it a great buy. It’s also relatively high ground but flat. That complements the authority’s other main development tracts, including a corporate center close to Interstate 75 and the Perry-Houston County Airport, and a tract near the Perdue Farms plant that has rail access.
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“It really gives us a complete inventory,” Byrd said.
It wasn’t immediately clear how that property would be developed. Authority Executive Director Angie Gheesling said the first tenant to move into the site could determine the future use of the property, such as whether it went only to large complexes, smaller sites or a mixture.
Gheesling said the potential of the authority’s sites, which also include a spec building, give it more ways to interest businesses.
“We have strong assets, strong and diverse,” Gheesling said. “That’s what we need.”
Discussion of the property acquisition came behind closed doors. There was no dissent on the public vote to buy the property.
Byrd said last year that the Development Authority had attracted $204 million in new investments plus significant job expansions.
“We’re developing that momentum we keep talking about, and I’m excited,” he said.
To contact writer Mike Stucka, call 744-4251.