Georgia

Dollar General Announces $85M Distribution Center Project in Jackson, Georgia

Dollar General Corporation (NYSE:DG) has announced that it has purchased land in Jackson, GA to serve as the location for an approximately one million square-foot distribution center, the fifteenth facility in the retailer’s growing distribution network.

Dollar General distribution center in Jackson, GA

Dollar General distribution center in Jackson, GA (photo – Dollar General)

The facility, which is expected to employ more than 500 people to serve more than 1,000 stores in Georgia and surrounding southeast states, represents a capital investment of approximately $85 million.

Dollar General operates 12,483 stores in 43 states, including more than 700 stores and over 5,000 employees in Georgia.

Governor Nathan Deal said in a statement that “Dollar General’s decision to build a fulfillment center here in Georgia is a direct reflection of the high quality of our workforce and Georgia’s strategic location for accessing the Southeastern market.”

The 150-acre site in question spans across both Butts and Spalding counties, and is expected to serve as a catalyst for economic development in the region. Apart from the creation of 500 direct new jobs, it is expected that an additional 150 temporary jobs will be created during the construction of this project.

Todd Vasos, chief executive officer of Dollar General, added that “I want to thank the leadership in Butts and Spalding counties, as well as Georgia Governor Nathan Deal and the Georgia Department of Economic Development for their support and assistance on this project.”

The Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) worked on this project in partnership with the Butts County Economic Development team, the Griffin-Spalding Joint Development Authority and Georgia Power.

GDEcD Commissioner Chris Carr said in the release that “Dollar General’s decision to locate in Butts and Spalding Counties speaks volumes to the culture of collaboration that exists for business in Georgia.”

This project was first announced back in February by the Butts County economic development team and Griffin-Spalding Joint Development Authority.  Butts County Board of Commissioners Chairman Keith Douglas said in a statement at that time that “We appreciate the collaboration among everyone who has helped bring Dollar General to Butts and Spalding Counties.”

Griffin-Spalding Development Authority Chairman Chuck Copeland likewise noted that “The cooperation of our Spalding County leadership and the Butts County Commissioners and their Development Authority, as well as the expertise of GDEcD, have been key elements to the success of this project.”

Copeland also highlighted the fact that due to the substantial number of jobs being created, this project will have a meaningful impact on the area in terms of new employment opportunities.

New Atlanta CNG Fueling Stations Support City’s Sustainability Goals

City of Atlanta officials, accompanied by representatives from Atlanta Gas Light and Clean Cities Georgia, have officially opened a new Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) fueling station at the Solid Waste Lakewood Facility.

Atlanta Gas Light CNG

Atlanta Gas Light CNG (photo – atlantagaslight.com)

The Lakewood refueling station and another station at the Maddox Park Solid Waste Facility will support the Atlanta Department of Public Works in its goal to transition the city’s entire fleet of solid waste collection vehicles from diesel fuel to CNG fuel.

The 20 trash collection vehicles that will initially use the stations will serve as many as 96,000 residents per week. After refueling at one of the two CNG stations overnight, these trucks will be able to complete their routes each day without needing to refuel.

Mayor Kasim Reed, who cut the ribbon on the new CNG station, said in a statement that “Cutting the ribbon on this important new facility promotes cleaner air and reduced fuel consumption by our municipal fleet, and supports our goal to become a top tier city for sustainability in the U.S.”

The Mayor added that the City of Atlanta is committed to protecting the environment by incorporating sustainable practices in city operations. This is one of the things the City of Atlanta’s Office of Sustainability is working with all city departments, to balance Atlanta economic development and growth with environmental protection while being mindful of social justice.

Atlanta Department of Public Works Commissioner Richard Mendoza noted that by “By installing and maintaining our own, cleaner-burning CNG fueling stations, the City of Atlanta will see immediate fuel cost savings by as much as 50 percent and a reduction in carbon emissions by 13-21 percent.”

At CNG stations, gas is typically taken from the local gas utility’s line at low pressure, compressed and dispensed into the vehicle’s storage tanks at high pressure, typically to 3,600 psi. There are two basic types of fueling equipment – fast-fill and time-fill. The former fills the vehicle’s fuel tank in about the same time it takes to fuel a regular vehicle. The latter do not have a storage system and typically compress the gas directly into the vehicle storage cylinders to refuel vehicles while they are parked overnight.

The new Atlanta CNG stations have equipment to time-fill up to 30 collections vehicles at each site overnight as well as a two-hose fast-fill dispenser for topping off the collections vehicles and fueling other CNG vehicles.

Construction of these CNG facilities was undertaken by Atlanta Gas Light Company. The project was funded by a $2.5 million share of the Georgia Public Service Commission’s $11.6 million program to develop CNG stations in Georgia.

Atlanta Unveils Turner Field Stadium Neighborhoods Livable Centers Initiative (LCI) Plan Recommendations

The City of Atlanta Department of Planning and Community Development, in partnership with Invest Atlanta, the Atlanta Fulton County Recreation Authority, and Perkins+Will, has unveiled design concepts and plan recommendations for the Turner Field Stadium Neighborhoods Livable Centers Initiative (LCI).

Atlanta Turner Field Stadium LCI

Atlanta Turner Field Stadium LCI (photo – stadiumneighborhoodslci.org)

The concepts unveiled are a result of community feedback to provide different approaches to re-integrate the Turner Field redevelopment into the stadium neighborhoods.

The Turner Field Stadium Neighborhood LCI is a program of the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) which awards planning and implementation grants to enhance communities.

The Atlanta Office of Planning is the City’s agency for establishing an action plan to integrate land use with housing, transportation, historic preservation, and community and economic development. Invest Atlanta is the official City of Atlanta economic development authority.

Perkins+Will is an interdisciplinary, research-based architecture and design firm established in 1935 and founded on the belief that design has the power to transform lives and enhance communities.

LCI is a joint planning effort of the City of Atlanta and Invest Atlanta. The goal of the program is to promote development practices that support increased use of all transportation modes to help reduce emissions and meet air quality requirements. The LCI program also provides transportation infrastructure funding for projects identified in the plans.

Since LCI kicked off last fall, more than 1,600 community residents and stakeholders have participated in the planning process.

Mayor Kasim Reed said in a statement that “We have a unique opportunity to develop a shared vision for the Turner Field Stadium neighborhoods and I want to ensure that all residents’ voices are heard throughout the entire planning process.”

The study is funded with Federal Highway funding through ARC as well as the City of Atlanta, Invest Atlanta and the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The Atlanta Fulton Country Recreation Authority (AFCRA) has also provided in-kind contributions such as the use of FanPlex for public meetings.

The study area is approximately 1,340 acres, and includes all of the Stadium Neighborhoods Tax Allocation District (TAD) created to facilitate the redevelopment of the area around Turner Field by encouraging substantial new development. The TAD has helped establish the framework for redevelopment opportunities and investment in portions of the Summerhill, Mechanicsville and Peoplestown neighborhoods, and provides an important economic incentive to enhance the market competitiveness of the area.

The LCI plan recommendations and designs were unveiled at the Atlanta Streets Alive event, and feedback gathered at the open house event will be integrated into the final plan recommendations before being presented to the public in June at FanPlex.

Australian Company Eden Gets $25M Augusta, Georgia Incentives For EdenCrete Manufacturing Project

EdenCrete Industries Inc. (ECI) has announced the selection of the Augusta Corporate Park in Augusta, GA as the location for a large-scale production facility and global manufacturing headquarters.

EdenCrete

EdenCrete (photo – Augusta EDA)

Supported by a package of state and local incentives totaling nearly $25 million, the company will invest $67 million to construct the plant. ECI expects to create 251 new jobs for Augusta and Richmond County.

The first phase, planned to be completed in four stages over the next seven years, has a planned annual production capacity of 50 million gallons of EdenCrete concrete admixture. The site has sufficient area to accommodate a further nine similar phases as demand grows.

EdenCrete Industries Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Perth, Australia-based Eden Energy Limited (ASX:EDE). ECI has been established to manufacture and market EdenCrete, Eden’s proprietary carbon nanotube enriched concrete admixture that significantly improves many of the performance characteristics of concrete.

In a statement announcing the project for Augusta and Georgia, Governor Nathan Deal said that “When global manufacturing companies like EdenCrete Industries Inc. choose to locate to Georgia, it is a testament to the international reputation of our top-ranked business climate.”

Greg Solomon, chairman of Eden Energy, added that they selected Georgia, and in particular Augusta, to establish their global manufacturing base, not only because of the government’s support for industry and Georgia’s highly efficient transport access to both the North American and international export markets, but also, because of “the warmth of its people, the quality of its workforce and the attractive standard of living and opportunities that it offers our future employees.”

Augusta Mayor Hardie Davis said in the release that “Augusta-Richmond County welcomes ECI to our continually growing business community.” The Mayor added that their innovative products and process is exactly the kind of company that finds the perfect location in Augusta.

Augusta Economic Development Authority (AEDA) Chairman Henry Ingram likewise noted that “ECI combines a long-time manufacturing process with new age technology innovations, and we are proud to welcome them to the Augusta Corporate Park.”

AEDA worked on this project in partnership with the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD), GDOT, the Augusta-Richmond County Commission, City of Augusta, Augusta Utilities, and Cranston Engineering Group, P.C.

The company is getting a generous financial assistance and incentives package estimated to be worth up to $24.76 million over the next 20 years. This includes $11.59 million from the State of Georgia and another $13.17 million to be provided by local entities, as follows:

– A grant of 112 acres of industrial land in the Augusta Industrial Park worth $2.8 million, with an option over a further 31.5 acres;

– Approximately $5.8 million in property tax breaks over 20 years through the AEDA Industrial Revenue Bond program;

– $2.5 million from the AEDA for road improvements, along with $100,000 towards site preparation costs, and $400,000 for securing rail access to the site;

– $500,000 from GDEcD towards the cost of establishing the road, and for training and hiring assistance; and

– $1.57 million from Augusta Utilities to install water and waste water lines to site.

The company will also get various other state and local tax benefits including state job tax credits; county property tax exemptions; inventory tax, and freeport exemptions; and state sales and use tax exemptions.

Atlanta Singled Out For Excellence in Climate Change Reporting and Environmental Sustainability

The City of Atlanta has earned itself a couple of pats on the back for its sustainability practices and policies, as evidenced by a prestigious global top 10 cities listing in the Climate Disclosure Project (CDP) and an Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) award for innovative environmental sustainability.

CDP Climate Change Disclosure works

CDP Climate Change Disclosure works (chart – cdp.net)

First up, CDP selected the City of Atlanta as one of their top ten cities out of 308 cities worldwide after evaluating each city’s sustainability practices and policies.

Every year, CDP singles out ten city governments excelling at reporting on climate change. CDP publishes an InFocus report for each of these ten cities, cataloging the city’s climate change achievements in a formal, bound booklet.

Atlanta is the sole U.S. city in this year’s CDP’s list of the top ten city governments excelling at reporting on climate change (Adelaide, Australia; Atlanta, U.S.; Canberra, Australia; Durban, South Africa; Leon, Mexico; Mexico City, Mexico; New Taipei City, Taiwan; Oslo, Norway; Ravenna, Italy; and Vancouver, Canada).

More than 300 cities now use CDP’s system to report on their climate change progress.  This group of cities includes many of the world’s largest and greenest cities, including more than 90 percent of C40 cities.

Cities worldwide now compete strongly to receive this InFocus report. It’s considered important because the data shows a strong correlation between disclosure and climate change action. Cities that have disclosed to CDP for three or more years report significantly higher levels of emissions measurement and management data, risk recognition and adaptation actions and opportunities.

Here’s the Atlanta booklet that highlights the city’s climate change achievements and sustainability policies and plans.

Secondly, the City of Atlanta also received the CREATE Community Award for Environmental Sustainability from the Atlanta Regional Commission. This is a recognition presented to local governments for their innovative efforts in the Atlanta region. The City received this award for its 2015 Atlanta Climate Action Plan.

Mayor Kasim Reed said in a statement that “Thanks to strong public-private partnerships and an excellent record of performance by my Office of Sustainability, we continue to strive to protect our environment and work towards our goal of becoming a top-tier city for sustainability.”

The Atlanta Climate Action Plan, created by the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, was adopted unanimously by the City Council last September. It details approaches and policies that the is uniquely positioned to implement, including actions that can create local jobs and promote Atlanta economic development, reduce energy and water usage, improve air quality and reduce the city’s carbon footprint.

Stephanie Stuckey Benfield, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, added that the Office of Sustainability is excited to be recognized for its climate work. “I would like to thank CDP and ARC for these honors and our more than 50 stakeholder experts across Atlanta who helped us earn them,” added Benfield.

Atlanta Economic Development Funds Help EDENS Break Ground on Moores Mill Project

Mayor Kasim Reed, accompanied by Dr. Eloisa Klementich, president and CEO of Invest Atlanta, helped project developer EDENS break ground on the Moores Mill Shopping Center project.

Moores Mill shopping center in Atlanta

Moores Mill shopping center in Atlanta (rendering – edens.com)

Supported by Atlanta economic development funding for a road extension leading to the new shopping center, EDENS is making a $95 million investment.

The 70,000 square foot center located on Moores Mill Road at Marietta Boulevard includes a 45,600-square-foot Publix grocery store and 9,000 square feet of retail space in its initial phase. It is projected to create up to 200 construction-related jobs and as many as 300 permanent jobs.

EDENS develops, owns and operates similar community shopping centers in primary markets across the U.S. The company, which has built an institutional-quality portfolio of more than 120 retail centers, has its regional headquarters in Atlanta, in addition to other regional headquarters in Boston; Washington, DC; Miami; Houston; and Columbia, SC.

Mayor Reed said in a statement that “Through the City’s collaboration with EDENS, Invest Atlanta and the U.S. Congress, we are able to move forward on this important project, which will bring $95 million in investment to this corridor now, and additional investment for decades to come.”

The Invest Atlanta Board has previously approved the use of $500,000 through the Perry Bolton TAD to complete a part of the Moores Mill Road extension project, up to the proposed new Moores Mill shopping center. The Perry-Bolton/Northwest Atlanta Tax Allocation District was established in 2002 to support the redevelopment of over 500 acres of underdeveloped real estate in northwest Atlanta.

Jodie McLean, CEO of EDENS, said in the release that “This project took a lot of collaboration and dedication. EDENS is grateful to everyone who helped get us to this day, Mayor Reed, Councilmember Moore, our partners and most especially this community.”

The Moores Mill Road extension is also a federally-funded project, and additional city funding will now be required to complete it. The City of Atlanta says it will now work in partnership with EDENS to complete the Moores Mill Road extension and alleviate traffic issues at the intersection of Moores Mill and Bolton roads.

Dr. Eloisa Klementich, CEcD, President and CEO of Invest Atlanta, said in a statement that Invest Atlanta is dedicated to supporting catalytic projects that stimulate vibrant and viable communities, and added that the Moores Mill project is a great example of such an investment. “This project supports not only a sustainable community but also promotes economic growth, improves residential – retail options and provides for new employment opportunities,” said Dr. Klementich.

Augusta, GA Economic Development Incentives and Financing Secure Textron Expansion

Textron Specialized Vehicles has announced plans for a $40 million expansion of their operations in Augusta, GA with the addition of a second new facility and 400 new jobs.

Textron Specialized Vehicles expansion in Augusta, GA

Photo – augustaeda.org

Supported by a state of Georgia grant, job training assistance and Augusta economic development financing, the company plans to acquire the former Procter & Gamble manufacturing facility in Augusta, expanding their campus by 235 acres, and adding more than 600,000 square feet.

The new facility is located just a mile from Textron Specialized Vehicles’ existing headquarters and manufacturing facility. Textron Specialized Vehicles designs and manufactures more than 90 consumer and commercial vehicle models, most of which are manufactured in Augusta. The company currently employs more than 1,000 people in Georgia.

Governor Nathan Deal said in a release that “Our commitment to job creation and economic development is evident in the number of companies who’ve expanded or relocated here. We welcome Textron Specialized Vehicles’ continued growth and feel that Georgia’s economic environment will be of major benefit to the growing company.”

Kevin Holleran, president of Textron Specialized Vehicles, added that “We are fortunate to be able to facilitate such expansion in our hometown, and are thankful for the assistance of the Augusta Economic Development Authority, the Georgia Department of Economic Development and our city and state officials to bring this project to fruition.”

The Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) is providing $600,000 as a Project Development Grant to Textron Specialized Vehicles, and more than $1.6 million in job-training assistance through the Georgia Quick Start program.

GDEcD Commissioner Chris Carr noted that of the 329 projects located in Georgia during FY15, existing industry accounted for 75 percent of total investment to the state and 63 percent of total jobs created. “As you can see, this sector drives Georgia’s economy, and we appreciate companies, like Textron Specialized Vehicles,’ commitment to our state,” added Commissioner Carr.

The company’s acquisition of the former P&G facility will be facilitated through the issuance of $20 million in revenue bonds issued by the Augusta Economic Development Authority. This revenue bond financing is expected to cover the purchase price of the facility as well as capital improvements needed to prepare the facility for vehicle manufacturing.

Walter Sprouse, executive director of the Augusta Economic Development Authority, added that “The Augusta Economic Development Authority was excited to be a part in the organization’s expansion decision, and to assist, as always, with the creation of new jobs in the Augusta area.”

Atlanta Approves Incentives For US Headquarters Relocation of Global Payment Processor

At its latest meeting, the Board of Invest Atlanta approved grant awards to secure the relocation of the U.S. headquarters of Project Voice, an as yet unnamed Fintech company.

Atlanta Econdev Project Voice

Atlanta Econdev Project Voice (photo – atlantaga.gov)

The Atlanta economic development agency worked with the Georgia Department of Economic Development, the Metro Atlanta Chamber, and Georgia Power on this relocation.

Project Voice has been approved for a grant of up to $40,000 from the Economic Opportunity Fund, and is also eligible for the State of Georgia’s Regional Economic Business Assistance Grant (REBA) program and Job Tax Credits.

In this case, the Atlanta Development Authority (dba Invest Atlanta) is eligible for up to $100,000 from the REBA Grant Fund, on behalf of Project Voice. REBA is a specialized State of Georgia economic development tool that is used to enhance the state’s competitiveness in attracting significant economic development projects and as a vehicle for local, regional or state-wide initiatives that will have either short- or long-term economic development benefits.

Atlanta secured the relocation of Project Voice over competition from other states including California. Supported by state and local incentives, Project Voice will make a capital investment of $5.7 million to take up renovated Class A office space at Live Oak Square in Atlanta’s Buckhead District, a highly-established financial district that is home to some of Atlanta’s longest established law, banking, and professional service firms.

The relocation is expected to create 143 new jobs in the City of Atlanta with an average wage of $86,610. An economic impact analysis shows that the project will generate $444,000 annually in new tax income for the City of Atlanta, and $620,000 for Fulton County.

Invest Atlanta board documents describe Project Voice as a company that “provides a global network and enables merchants to securely do business in multiple channels including online, mobile, and in-person. The company is both a merchant acquirer and global processor, processing over $17 billion in annual transaction volume and supporting 150 global currencies including all major credit cards, debit, and alternative payment solutions.”

This description can be found on the website of Merchant e-Solutions, a Silicon Valley company headquartered in Redwood City, CA. The company is a subsidiary of Cielo S.A., Latin America’s leader in electronic payment solutions. Sao Paulo, Brazil-based Cielo S.A. is a publicly traded company serving more than 1.6 million active merchants and covers 99 percent of Brazilian territory. Cielo acquired Merchant e-Solutions in 2012, primarily for its industry-leading technology platform.

Atlanta Secures EngagedMedia Operations Headquarters

Technology and patient engagement firm EngagedMedia has announced the selection of the Atlanta Technology Village in Atlanta, GA as the site for its new operations headquarters.

EngagedMedia

EngagedMedia (photo – engagedmedia.com)

The company is taking up the building in Atlanta’s Buckhead District after an exhaustive site selection process.  The Atlanta economic development benefits of this project include the creation of 25 new jobs over the next two years.

Southlake, TX-based Digital Health Dialog, LLC (dba EngagedMedia) is a leader in offering innovative patient engagement programs to leading pharmaceutical companies worldwide through their Engaged Patient platform.

EngagedMedia’s proprietary patent-protected technology connects patients with the largest drug brands globally and increases adherence and interaction between the patient and major pharmaceutical brands.

EngagedMedia uses innovative technology to help communicate directly with patients based on intelligent data. Their  technology includes proprietary processes for electronic opt-in for health and wellness programs, HIPAA compliance and otherwise. EngagedMedia’s technology and patent portfolio includes, among other things, proprietary processes for delivery of prescription drug discounts, including to cellular, mobile and other devices.

While establishing their new operations headquarters in Atlanta, EngagedMedia will continue to have offices in the Dallas, TX and Phoenix, AZ areas. Sam Garvin, chairman of the EngagedMedia Board, explained how they made the decision to choose Atlanta for the new facility.

“After an exhaustive national search we concluded Atlanta’s ATV Buckhead location was an ideal location for us to attract and retain associates with technology and pharmaceutical backgrounds as we continue our rapid growth in 2016 and beyond,” said Garvin.

Garvin explained that the availability of these professionals along with Atlanta’s convenient location on the East Coast and its rapid connectivity to Atlanta Hartsfield Airport with abundant flights nationwide will allow them easy access to support their major clients.

EngagedMedia President and CEO Joe Farkas added that that they expect to hire 25 employees over the next two years to support their growing client list and new business development initiatives. “We felt Atlanta and ATV met all our criteria for attracting dynamic and driven technology professionals as we fortify and invest in our infrastructure to serve an ever growing list of clients,” said Farkas.

InComm Investment Adds to #ReUpGA Fintech Atlanta Economic Development Campaign

Payments and transactions technology company InComm announced an expansion of its downtown Atlanta headquarters and other investment projects in metro Atlanta.

InComm

InComm (photo – incomm.com)

Announced as part of a metro Atlanta economic development campaign called “#ReUpGA,” the company plans to make an investment of $20 million to support the growth of its downtown Atlanta headquarters, development of a new data center in Suwanee, and expansion of its current Peachtree Corners call center.

These expansions will enable InComm to create more than 275 new jobs in the region in the coming year. This includes 125 new associates as part of its expansion of its existing Atlanta headquarters, along with 100 new associates at its existing Peachtree Corners call center facility, twenty new associates at the new Suwannee data center facility, and 30 new associates at its existing Alpharetta data center facility.

InComm chose metro Atlanta and Georgia for these expansions following a site selection process that considered several states outside of Georgia.

InComm Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer Scott Meyerhoff said in a release that the state of Georgia and several local governments, including the City of Atlanta, have demonstrated their commitment to keeping them in the region by creating a favorable economic environment to develop talent through their internship program and university partnerships with Georgia Tech, Georgia State, University of Georgia and Kennesaw State.

That is why, said Meyerhoff, “we gladly Re-Up our commitment to Georgia’s future today.”

The InComm announcement was made as part of the American Transaction Processors Coalition (ATPC) “#ReUpGA” campaign, which is a collaborative economic development initiative among “Transaction Alley” fintech companies to grow Georgia’s workforce, resources and reputation.

The payment processing industry, which is based largely in Georgia, supports over $4.4 trillion in credit and gift card transactions that occur annually in the U.S. Transaction Alley companies are ground zero for this industry, managing more than 70 percent of all U.S. financial transactions, totaling 85 billion swipes annually. Georgia payment processing companies directly employ nearly 40,000 workers.

Governor Nathan Deal said in the release that “InComm’s decision to continue investing and creating jobs in metro Atlanta speaks to our status as a hub for the financial technology industry.”

“InComm has taken advantage of these resources to build its business and become the industry leader it is today,” added Atlanta Mayor Kasim. ”InComm is part of the Atlanta community, and we look forward to growing and prospering together.”

Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) worked with Invest Atlanta, the metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and Georgia Power on this project. The Georgia Department of Labor is furthermore providing hiring assistance to InComm.

GDEcD Commissioner Chris Carr said in a release that ‘Along with the culture of collaboration that exists between businesses, state government, academic institutions and local partners, it is clear that Georgia is the place for companies in the FinTech industry to thrive.”

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