EFFINGHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - Less than a year after a groundbreaking ceremony, developers and investors for the Georgia International Trade Center are giving WTOC an exclusive look at the progress made at the site.
The industrial park sits just off Highway 21, south of Rincon, near the Chatham-Effingham county line. It has come a long way since the groundbreaking ceremony, back in March.
“As you can see, we’ve got a large city being built right here, so this project is already very well under construction,” said Neal Moskowitz, VP, Stonemont Financial Group. “We’ve already invested over $200 million in this development. We have $2.5 million under construction.”
Stonemont Financial Group is the capital partner on the project, behind developer Chesterfield Developers. Other partners on the project are the Effingham County Development Authority, the Effingham County Commission, Omega Construction and the Georgia Ports Authority.
There is still a long way to go. The whole site is equipped to accommodate just over seven million square feet of light industrial development buildings. One of those is already up, and is a little less than a month away from opening for business.
“We accomplished something with this building that is almost rarely done,” said Chance Raehn, Sr. VP, Chesterfield Developers. “We build an 800,000 square foot building in less than seven months."
Shaw Industries Group, Inc., a flooring company out of Dalton, Ga., will be occupying that building. The developer and investors say GITC provides a solution for the ever-growing demand for more industrial space close to the Port of Savannah.
“In the Savannah market, you have less than three to four percent vacancy, which is well below national averages, and it’s actually continued to drop over the last few years,” Moskowitz said. “In addition, rental rates are increasing with the low vacancy, and as we saw at the State of the Ports a few weeks ago, we don’t expect that to change anytime soon.”
In addition to the hundreds of millions invested in developing the site, the jobs brought in for construction as well as those created by the new industry will also benefit the county.
Project leaders also pointed out that to help with traffic going in and out of the site, they’ve made improvements to the intersection of Highway 21 and Old Augusta Road.
Raehn said he anticipates a mix of truck and rail traffic coming in and out of the site, with about 60 to 70 percent of that being trucks, the rest rail.