While many communities continued to struggle with attracting new business and infrastructure, 2012 was another good year for Forsyth County.
In 2011, community economic development projects generated some $43 million in new capital investment, said Randall Toussaint, vice president of economic development for the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce.
“This year, we are on pace to surpass last year’s totals,” Toussaint said, in a statement. “Since January [of 2012] we have participated in 16 economic development projects that are forecasted to bring our community up to $67 million in new capital investment.”
Forsyth was a leader in the region for 2012, said Suzanne Browne, regional project manager for existing industries at the Georgia Department of Economic Development.
“In 2012 Forsyth County’s business expansion activities accounted for nearly 40 percent of the total number of expansion projects in our 13-county region of Georgia,” she said in a statement.
That region includes counties in the state’s northeast corner. Those projects generated more than 750 new jobs, helping dip the local unemployment rate to 6.4 percent in September, the latest month for which data was available.
Forsyth’s unemployment rate topped the state’s, which was 8.6 percent, and the national rate, which was 7.6 percent.
Some of the highlights of economic development in Forsyth over the past year included seven in the international business arena, which generated 250 new jobs and $9 million in capital investment.
Forsyth is now home to more than 60 international businesses.
One of the most recent was IUS Technologies, a Korean-based technology firm, which this fall selected Forsyth as the site of its U.S. headquarters and manufacturing site.
IUS Technologies, which is at 1355 McFarland 400 Drive, is slated to bring in up to 150 jobs over the next five years, as well as $10 million in capital investment.
Also this fall, Biodiesel King LLC, a British chemical equipment supplier announced it would establish its U.S. headquarters and distribution center in Cumming. The facility will create about five new jobs.
Health care facilities also fared well in 2012.
In October, Northside Hospital-Forsyth received state approval for a $51 million expansion project that will add three new floors to its north tower and a three-story wing to the women’s center.
The overall project, which is scheduled to take between 18 and 24 months beginning this winter, will include 110,600 square feet of new construction and nearly 10,000 square feet of renovations.
Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Forsyth celebrated its one-year anniversary in June.
A large assisted living facility opened in 2012, and another, which opened in 2011, expanded this year.
Gracemont, which opened in June 2011 near the Dawson County line in north Forsyth, completed a 39,000-square-foot expansion this summer.
Villas at Canterfield, in central Forsyth, opened its first phase, a three-story, 76,000-square-foot facility, in October.
Many retail establishments also debuted or expanded in 2012.
Among them were two sports memorabilia businesses.
UGAForever.com opened its first warehouse and storefront on Samples Industrial Drive in November.
The store caters to University of Georgia fans and is officially licensed with the school’s alumni association.
Also in November, Fan Creations, a manufacturer and wholesaler of licensed NCAA, NFL and other sports gifts and home décor items, expanded into a 21,000-square-foot facility on Northgate Avenue.