Henry hopes to mimic Perimeter-area success in convention center plans

Henry County is considering a building a convention center to bring trade shows and meetings to the south metro community. PHOTO: FOREST DEVELOPMENT GROUP
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Henry County is considering a building a convention center to bring trade shows and meetings to the south metro community. PHOTO: FOREST DEVELOPMENT GROUP

Henry County is hoping to capture a little of the Perimeter area’s office development success.

The south metro Atlanta county has plans for a massive convention center, office complex and retail destination on more than 400 acres near the intersection of I-75 and I-675.

With hopes to bring more white-collar jobs to area, Henry commissioners and developer Forest Development Group recently unveiled a proposal to build a hybrid convention center and arena in an area called Reeves Creek. They hope the project will not only attract trade shows and meetings, but corporations, high-end homes, retail and restaurants.

“I think it’s going to be a phenomenal development,” Henry Commissioner Bruce Holmes said. “It will be beneficial not just for Henry County but the entire metro Atlanta region.”

Under the plan, Reeves Creek will include 750,000-square-feet of office space, a performance arts center, hotels, walking trails and chef-driven restaurants. Reeves Creek will also include homes, but the plans does not say how many.

The project’s cost has not been determined because of an ongoing feasibility study.

The push for the project comes as Henry, the second-fastest growing county in metro Atlanta, looks for ways to diversify its tax base. The county has become a logistics and warehousing powerhouse over the past two decades, but leaders want to attract corporate headquarters and white collar jobs.

Building out a convention center surrounded by offices, hotels and entertainment could provide that employment mix, backers of the convention center said.

“We would like to see Henry County kind of mimic the Perimeter area around I-285 with Class A office development,” Holmes said.

Commissioner Dee Clemmons said locating the project near the intersection of two major interstates will also boost visitation to Henry and promote tourism spending south of Atlanta.

“The I-75 corridor is a major thoroughfare for the snowbirds,” she said. “This will become a destination center for them to stop, rest and restore along their journey. They will spend money in our community that will benefit us all.”

Commissioner Vivian Thomas said it all boils down to jobs.

“A convention and arena center, inclusive of an entertainment venue, means jobs,” she said. “Upscale dining and accommodations? Jobs. Innovative office space and fashionable shopping? Jobs.”