The Forsyth County Planning Commission approved a conditional-use permit during its meeting Tuesday, Sept. 22, to allow Seefried Industrial Properties Inc., to conduct around the clock business hours in warehouses totaling 442,495 square feet with 1,810 parking spaces on about 103 acres currently zoned Restricted Industrial District (M1) off Shiloh Road.
The project is scheduled to go before the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners on Thursday, Oct 22 for a final decision.
Seefried, an Atlanta-based developer, has been tied to a number of Amazon fulfillment centers, including locations in Louisiana, Texas, Chicago and Tampa Bay, though officials did not formally say Amazon was coming to town.
“This is a delivery station for a large internet retailer, District 2 planning board member Stacey Guy said. “We’ve not said who this is, but you can use your imagination, I suppose.”
James McCoy, president and CEO of the Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce, said the project was expected to have a big economic impact on the county.
“I suspect you may have read; we did some analysis some time back of the economic impact of this particular project,” McCoy said. “According to the … analysis that we did, just in property taxes alone, it is a little over $12 million of net positive impact to our community.”
The project is proposed with three buildings: Building 1 totaling 219,000 square feet; Building 2 totaling 180,375 square feet; and Building 3 totaling 43,120 square feet.
Conditions for the project included limiting the round-the-clock operation to Building 1, required deck parking for required spaces and to incorporate a contemporary style as outlined by the county’s comprehensive plan.
Guy, who lives near the proposed development, said neighbors have valid concerns about the higher amount of traffic the project will bring.
“Make no mistake, this will make a lot of traffic,” he said. “I don’t want to sugar coat it, and I’ve tried not to sugarcoat it with my neighbors and with the HOA leaders around this and with the businesses around it.”
Greg Herren, chief operating officer of Seefried, said traffic had been a big focus in discussions with nearby residents.
“I know that one of the concerns in the community is the traffic,” Herren said. “When we met with the HOA guys, their concern was we that we not use Stoney Point as simply a cut through over to Peachtree Parkway from Shiloh [Road], and we have agreed with that.”
Herren said the company is also helping to “create a solution” with GDOT for a road project at Shiloh Road and Shiloh Road East that will include a roundabout.
“With the new construction of Ronald Reagan [Boulevard,] there’s going to be a signalized intersection at Ronald Reagan and Shiloh Road, so we want to and have committed to being part of the solution there,” he said.
According to a slide shown during the presentation, the development will employ:
• 148 first-shift employees from 2 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.;
• 47 second-shift employees from 6 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.;
• 47 third-shift employees from 1:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.;
• 38 same-day shipping positions from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.;
• 8 employees to deal with return from noon to 10:30 p.m.;
• And 344 drivers working between 9:20 a.m. and 8:50 p.m.
The positions are staggered to avoid peak traffic times.
Guy said it was his understanding the company wanted the development to be operational by “before the holiday season next year.”
On 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.
Two weeks later, county commissioners voted down the subdivision.
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.
“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,” Mark Lytle, Interim Vice President of Forward Forsyth, previously said 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 complementary business use. This is our best opportunity to maximize the positive fiscal and economic impact to Forsyth County.”