Georgia’s Newest Mega-Site Now GRAD Certified

Planning Meeting Photo

(pictured above) A strategic planning meeting last week at which The Development Authority of the City of Milledgeville & Baldwin County Board of Directors, Milledgeville City Council Members, and Baldwin County Commissioners sat down for round table discussions about the new Sibley-Smith Industrial Park mega-site.

Georgia’s Newest Mega-Site Named Market-Ready
Sibley-Smith Industrial Park is now a Georgia Ready for Accelerated Development site

Milledgeville, GA – The Development Authority of the City of Milledgeville & Baldwin County (DAMBC) announced today the new Sibley-Smith Industrial Park has been named a Georgia Ready for Accelerated Development (GRAD) site by GDEcD, the state of Georgia’s marketing and sales arm.

“GRAD designation for the Sibley-Smith Industrial Park means it can truly compete on a global stage for new industry and the accompanying jobs,” said Pat Wilson, Executive Director of Georgia Allies, and COO of the Department of Economic Development. “I fully believe efforts by the Development Authority of the City of Milledgeville & Baldwin County to attain GRAD status for the site will be beneficial.”

The Sibley-Smith Industrial Park, named for the former property owners, is approximately 1,643 acres and is considered a mega-site. It is one of only 11 mega-sites in the state of Georgia and considered by the DAMBC to be in the top 3 because of rail siding on site, accessibility from a four lane highway, and all utilities already are on-site or within minimal proximity.

The GRAD designation indicates the Sibley-Smith Industrial Park is market-ready. The designation also includes several tools to market the site, including:

  • Program benefits on the Georgia Department of Economic Development website
  • Highlighted listings on the industrial site databases of major electric utility Web sites
  • Continued presence on Georgia Allies electronic newsletter targeted to companies and location consultants
  • Site awareness for statewide project managers and Georgia Allies partners

“Having GRAD certification on the new mega-site means having a significant advantage over the competition to win new projects that create jobs,” says DAMBC Executive Director Matt Poyner. “While the GRAD certification process is extensive, having it means due diligence studies have been done and potential companies have confidence from qualified consulting firms that no known issues exist on the site and projects can proceed with reduced risk.” Currently, of the 10 other communities with mega-sites, 7 do not have GRAD certification completed.

The Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) plans, manages and mobilizes state resources to attract new business investment to Georgia, drive the expansion of existing industry and small business, locate new markets for Georgia products, inspire tourists to visit Georgia and promote the state as a top destination for arts events and film, music and digital entertainment projects.

Gov. Nathan Deal today announced that Sparta Industries, a manufacturer of HVAC duct liner insulation, will establish a new plant at the former Rheem Manufacturing building in Milledgeville. This venture is projected to create more than 1,000 jobs and represents a capital investment of $22.5 million throughout the next 5 years.

“Georgia’s pro-business climate, highly-skilled workforce and manufacturing infrastructure continue to attract innovative manufacturers like Sparta Industries,” said Deal. “This Milledgeville facility will bolster the company’s growth and further demonstrate why Georgia is a top destination for job creators. We welcome Sparta Industries to Georgia and feel that our economic environment will be of major benefit to the company.”

Using a zero emission process, Sparta Industries manufactures foam insulation for use in the commercial building industry. Sparta Industries will hire plant and warehouse operation, supervision and maintenance personnel at the new facility. The company will also be hiring for sales and administrative positions.

“We look forward to working closely with the community,” said Sparta Industries chief financial officer Jeremy Meighan. “Together we can make a well-deserved economic impact on Milledgeville and the surrounding areas.”

Sparta Industries founder and board chairman Walter Sommerman has overseen the construction of 32 plants, 24 of which are located in the U.S. Each of the 32 plants has been profitable since inception.

“Sparta will use an exciting new technology to produce insulation in Milledgeville,” said Dr. Kenneth Hall, vice president of research and development for Sparta Industries. “The product will be more efficient and less costly while eliminating health and environmental issues.”

Rheem Manufacturing previously occupied the facility but closed for business in 2007 during the economic downturn. The building remained vacant until Sparta Industries agreed to purchase the property.

“We’ve been waiting a long time to get someone back to work in this building,” said Development Authority of the City of Milledgeville and Baldwin County Chairman Chat Daniel. “We are optimistic about a great future and partnership with Sparta Industries. This community is ready to assist them as they get up and running.”

Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) project manager Wylly Harrison represented the Global Commerce division in partnership with the Development Authority of the City of Milledgeville and Baldwin County, Georgia Power, the Georgia Department of Labor, Georgia Quick Start and GC Financial Solutions, LLC.

“This has been an amazing opportunity to work with a group of brilliant people to bring both jobs and opportunity for a well-deserved area,” said Tony and Crystal Gandy of GC Financial Solutions, LLC.

“This is a great win for Milledgeville and Georgia as a whole,” said GDEcD Commissioner Chris Carr. “Sparta Industries is the kind of forward-looking and innovative company that Georgia’s business-friendly environment is suited to support. We want to thank our partners at the local level for their diligence throughout this project, and we look forward to Sparta Industries’ continued success as operations ramp up.”

The momentum of 2015 continues with BIG news and opportunity for Milledgeville-Baldwin County. The Development Authority of the City of Milledgeville & Baldwin County (DAMBC) have unveiled a project in this community many years in the making, Georgia’s newest mega-site.

The site, named the Sibley-Smith Industrial Park, is around 1,657 acres located in Baldwin County, Georgia, south of Milledgeville, and is zoned heavy industrial (HI). It is situated along US Hwy 441 bypass approximately 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) north of the US Hwy 441 business & US Hwy 441 bypass intersection. Norfolk Southern Rail and utilities are already on site.

“We are now officially home to the newest mega site in Georgia,” says DAMBC Executive Director Matt Poyner. “The dynamic collaboration of our City and County leadership, to help make this project happen, speaks to their commitment to a legacy of opportunity, job growth, and economic development in this community.”

This development by the DAMBC is a milestone to enhancing the attractiveness of Milledgeville-Baldwin County to prospective industry. In addition to rail and utilities already on the site, GRAD Certification is in process to be complete Spring 2016. Once certified, the site will have a significant marketing advantage because prospective companies know GRAD certification means extensive due diligence has been completed, and the ability exists to be up and operational in a much faster time frame.