Gigantic industrial park proposed near future Hyundai EV factory

Credit: Bryan County

Credit: Bryan County

A timber company owns the 1,144-acre property near Savannah and is proposing nearly 4 million square feet of warehouse space

An enormous plot of woods and wetlands in the Savannah area may soon become a sprawling industrial park.

Haiseal Timber, a Dublin, Ga.-based company that owns swaths of undeveloped forests across the Southeast, recently submitted a proposal to rezone a massive property in Bryan County for potential warehouses, industrial facilities and distribution centers. Under the project name “Haiseal Tract,” the development would include six industrial facilities that include 3.9 million square feet of warehouse space.

The property is just across I-16 from the Bryan County Megasite, which will be home to Hyundai’s $5.5 billion plant breaking ground later this year. A representative for the local development authorities, which have been heavily involved in the Hyundai project and recently took part in approving $1.8 billion in incentives for the automaker’s new factory, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution the authorities aren’t involved in the warehouse project and it “is not related to the Hyundai project.”

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The project, which doesn’t include a named developer, is proposed for a 1,144-acre site owned by Haiseal Timber.

Due to the size of the proposed industrial park, the property owner had to complete a Development of Regional Impact (DRI) application, which is required for gigantic projects that will affect more than just the city or county where the project is located. The Atlanta Regional Commission vets those applications, including an analysis on how local infrastructure will be affected.

DRI applications are among the first steps in the development process for large projects, so details often change — sometimes drastically — before a project is completed. Audra Miller, community development director for Bryan County, said the property owner approached the county about three months ago to begin exploring the warehouse project.

“The county in the past few years has been very focused on diversifying our tax base, because we were primarily residential,” she said. “Economic development has been a goal of the county for the last five to 10 years.”

According to a concept plan obtained by the AJC through an open records request, about 580 acres of the property will be used for the industrial facilities. The rest of the property will remain undeveloped.

It’s unclear if the warehouse proposal is speculative or if it includes one or more anchor tenants. The AJC tried to contact Haiseal Timber regarding the project and received no responses before publication.

The project site runs along Old Cuyler Road, and the plot of timberland stretches to the Bulloch County line. The land is currently valued at roughly $2.7 million, according to county property records.

The first development steps will require local officials to rezone the 580 acres to industrial use from agricultural use and amend their future land use map. The site would need several infrastructure improvements, including road, water and sewer extensions. In addition, the project’s developer would have to pursue a wetland permit before construction can begin since the current site plan would affect more than 12 acres of wetlands.

A projection of how many jobs the warehouses could create was not included in the application, but the built-out project is expected to generate about 6,500 daily vehicle trips. Georgia has experienced a light industrial boom due to the continue growth of e-commerce, a trend that accelerated due to the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The warehouse park is expected to be completed by 2028, and it’s estimated to be worth roughly $234 million — about $60 per square foot — when it’s finished.

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