By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support local journalism.
New industrial park in works
IDB map.jpg
Industrial Development Board director Don Alexander shows where the board has an option to buy 218 acres near the Coffee County line for $981,000. If the deal is finalized, it will be called Elam Industrial Park.

A new industrial park is in the works for Warren County at a cost of nearly $1 million.

The Industrial Development Board is moving forward with plans to purchase 218 acres of land between Morrison and the Coffee County line.

The IDB has held an option on the land since last May. During that time, environmental work has been conducted, along with a site survey to determine exact acreage.

The purchase price is $4,500 an acre, or $981,000.

“To me, we need to put this land in control of the Industrial Development Board while we can,” said IDB director Don Alexander during the board’s meeting on Thursday. “We can’t get any closer to 1-24 and still be in Warren County and there is easy access to a four-lane, divided highway. I think the time is right for us to get this property and maintain it.”

The Industrial Development Board put a temporary halt on requesting funding from the city and county more than a year ago in an effort to be self-sufficient. The nearly $1 million purchase would utilize about half of the board’s available money, according to Alexander.

“It’s a big bite, but when you get a large tract like this which lays flat, I think we need to take it,” said Alexander.

The site would be called Elam Industrial Park in recognition of the family which would be selling the land to the IDB. While calling it an industrial park suggests the land may one day be home to several businesses, Alexander said that won’t be the case.

“It would be for a one-entity user,” said Alexander. “In talking to officials from the state, this is the type of site they are looking for and don’t have.”

Said IDB member Tommy Foster, “This shows the state we’re willing to make a commitment. No one else has a big industrial site like this that’s easy to get to.”

Foster, a realtor, said the $4,500 price per acre is slightly lower than the current Warren County market for large acreage sales, which is usually around $5,000 an acre.

IDB members seem agreeable to buying the 218 acres, but they want to make sure they are able to buy easements from the property onto Highway 55. Alexander said two property owners would need to sell the IDB easements and both have said verbally they are OK with doing that.

IDB member Trevor Galligan, an attorney, pointed out the board needs to get confirmation in writing from the property owners about purchasing the easements before agreeing to spend $981,000.

The board voted unanimously to pursue options to buy the easements necessary to reach Highway 55 from the 218 acres. Foster said he will work up a suggested price for the easements before the next board meeting.

The property would be an addition to the IDB portfolio, which already has acreage available at Mt. View Industrial Park. The IDB used a $500,000 grant from the state last May to prepare a 700,000-square-foot pad on land located past Morrison Industries. The grant was a 90-10 match with the IDB having to pay a little more than $50,000 for the dirt work.

By having a site deemed “pad ready” it eliminates much of the pre-construction work that has to be done for an industry looking to establish a new location.