Michael Gray, partner, Panattoni Development Company, has presented this news to President Eric McDonald, Chairman Reed Freeman and members of the Development Authority of Polk County (DAPC).
Panattoni is preparing market driven master plans for Polk’s industrial sites as part of the Economic Development Strategic Plan and Vision being developed by Fanning Institute.
“We are impressed with what local leaders are trying to do with land positions,” Gray said. “We don’t see many communities being this proactive.”
Gray said, during Tuesday’s DAPC meeting, he was a bit shocked to see the available information since 95 percent of landowners have no idea what they have.
He said he would not encourage local leaders to build a speculative building in today’s economy.
Instead, he discussed the importance of being prepared when industrial prospects show interest in locating here.
Rose Leypoldt, who accompanied Gray, gave an update on options for Polk’s four separate industrial sites.
These include Rockmart 101 Industrial Park, which has a total of 44 plus acres of vacant land; Cedartown North Industrial Park with more than 110 acres of vacant land in Phase 1 and 225 acres in Phase II; a 100-acre tract near Rockmart and 70 acres of land near Cedartown.
She said she was encouraged to see how flexible Polk’s land positions are and presented several options on each industrial site.
McDonald said he was surprised to see the size of buildings that could be placed on available land in Rockmart 101 Park.
“Once the plan is complete,” he said, “we can market sites that would be suitable for a 60,000 to 400,000 square foot building in Cedartown and Rockmart.”
Gray said the idea is to show structures that will match market demands. “You want prospects to visualize what they will place in a selected location.”
However, he and Leypoldt agreed this is what designs and master plans are subject to achieve.
McDonald also discussed the importance of workforce to the future of Polk’s economic development.
“It is important to provide a workforce that will attract industrial prospects,” he said.
He focused on the following facts:
A total of 5,000 people work in Polk but live elsewhere.
About 9,000 travel outside of the county for employment.
Approximately 5,300 live and work in Polk
Freeman pointed out that people have traditionally left Polk to work in other areas – whether to the General Motors plant or elsewhere.
However, he said the statistics have changed now that about 5,000 people come here for employment.
“We once had a few that came from Alabama to work at Rome Plow or other local industry,” he said. “These numbers are proved in our churches, country clubs and other organizations.”