Package delivery distribution center, creating 200 jobs, planned in south Bibb County

A new distribution center for a package delivery business, expected to initially employ about 200 workers, is planned in south Bibb County.

The company is known as Project Ryan until company officials are ready to make an announcement. Pat Topping, senior vice president of the Macon Economic Development Commission, said he could not yet talk about the project.

The company applied for a conditional-use permit with the Macon-Bibb County Planning & Zoning Commission to build a 248,370-square-foot distribution center on a 33-acre parcel at 5251 Sardis Church Road, according to a statement filed with the commission. The facility would be built in the I-75 Business Park off Hartley Bridge Road, and the company also plans to build a 1,136-square-foot security building on the site.

The western boundary of the site would feature a preserved 50-foot undisturbed natural buffer.

The site plan submitted with the application includes 405 auto parking spaces, 12 tractor parking spaces, 12 dolly parking spaces, 20 long trailer parking spaces and 80 parking spaces for 28-foot trailers.

The conditional-use permit is required because the building height exceeds 35 feet.

By design, Bibb County has attracted a number of distribution centers over the years.

In 2001, Georgia Power sponsored a study by Fantus Corporate Real Estate Solutions -- a worldwide site-location and consulting group -- to perform an executive assessment of the area.

One of the findings from that report was that economic development efforts should focus on attracting three targeted industries: high-end back office/call centers, regional warehouse/distribution centers and aerospace facilities.

Distribution centers that opened in recent years in Bibb County include:

Bass Pro Shops, a national outdoor retailer, built in 2006 a 450,000-square-foot distribution center in north Bibb County, the only one outside the company’s Springfield, Missouri, headquarters. The company invested more than $45 million in the distribution center and its attached retail store. Combined, the company initially employed about 400 people in Bibb County.

Kohl’s built a $40 million regional distribution center in 2005, bringing more than 250 new jobs to the area initially. The 520,000-square-foot facility is on Airport East Parkway in south Macon.

Sara Lee Food and Beverage -- the name changed to Hillshire Brands Co. in 2012 -- built a $24 million cold-storage distribution center in 2006 in south Bibb County that employed about 175 people. The 214,000-square-foot cold storage distribution center is in the I-75 Business Park off Hartley Bridge Road.

MBM Food Service Corp. expanded and built an $8 million, 91,000-square-foot distribution center in the Ocmulgee East Industrial Park in 2007 and added about 100 workers to its 90-person work force.

Tractor Supply Co. opened its 690,000-square-foot distribution center in September 2013 and created nearly 300 jobs. The $50 million facility is in the I-75 Business Park.

Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report. To contact writer Linda S. Morris, call 744-4223.