On July 15, Amazon, the behemoth online retailer, announced that it was opening a fulfillment center in Pflugerville, Texas, just outside of Austin, with the help of Atlanta-based developer Seefried Industrial Properties Inc.
Two weeks later, news outlets in Chicago reported that Amazon had plans to build a fulfillment center. The developer? Seefried Industrial Properties Inc.
And on back to back days earlier this month, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Tampa Bay, Florida, outlets raced to break the news of about new Amazon facilities that had been in the works behind the scenes -- with Seefried Industrial Properties Inc.
Around the country, when Amazon has a need to extend its vast network of distribution and fulfillment centers to maintain its frenetic delivery system, it turns to Seefried Industrial Properties Inc.
It just so happens that the developer also has a project in Forsyth County: a three-building, 418,220-square-foot warehouse complex on about 103 acres off Shiloh Road. Plans submitted by Seefried to the Forsyth County Department of Planning & Community Development on July 9 call the development a “distribution center.”
Amazon and Seefried declined to comment for this story, while officials with Forward Forsyth, the economic development arm of Forsyth County, declined to comment specifically about the connection between Amazon and Seefried on this project.
But last Thursday, Aug. 6, Forward Forsyth published a press release in which it said it has been working with Seefried on the development.
Its code name: Project A to Z.
Four years ago, Sharp Residentials LLC wanted to build a 286-home subdivision on the site. A few nearby neighborhoods pushed back, but that’s only because there aren’t many in the area. That portion of Shiloh Road is one of the primary hubs of commercial and industrial activity in South Forsyth.
As such, the Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce was also vocally opposed to the subdivision. It needed land like this to be developed for commercial uses so that the county’s tax digest did not rely so heavily on property taxes, it said.
“We are extremely concerned,” said Chamber President and CEO James McCoy during a 2016 Board of Commissioners meeting, ”about the long-term economic consequences of taking one of the few tracts of commercially-zoned property … and rezoning it for a residential use.”
Two weeks later, county commissioners voted down the subdivision.
Then Seefried entered the picture. Its plan mirrors similar ones that the Atlanta developer has worked on for Amazon.
The project would include a 194,725-square-foot “cross-dock” building, another nearly-173,000 square foot unit, and a 63,000-square-foot facility, according to documents. There would be more than 1,800 parking spaces.
According to Forward Forsyth, “Project A to Z” would bring $70 million in capital investment and 285 full-time jobs over the next 20 years.
In addition, the county would get $12.7 million in property taxes from the development.
“The Forsyth County Economic Development Strategic Plan sets out a priority for identifying, protecting, and promoting valuable business development sites to help balance the local tax digest,” said Mark Lytle, Interim Vice President of Forward Forsyth, in a statement. “The proposed development by Seefried Industrial Properties is the outcome of a long-term effort to ensure the site is developed in a compatible and complimentary business use. This is our best opportunity to maximize the positive fiscal and economic impact to Forsyth County.”
The project would add to recent moves by Amazon to build up its distribution and fulfillment infrastructure in Georgia.
A day before Seefried submitted its plans, Amazon announced it was opening delivery stations in Atlanta, Buford, and Fairburn.