Tony Wilbert over at Skyline Views posts that a huge General Mills distribution center is being considered in the Covington area, about 30 minutes south of Watkinsville.
In a commercial and industrial real estate market that is largely dead, I would imagine local and state officials are falling all over themselves to land this deal. While we wouldn't want to debate with Skyline Views on whether they are truly looking at Social Circle proper, one has to wonder if the most logical location is Stanton Springs, the four-county industrial park and mixed-use effort along I-20 that has long been searching for a big fish. One local blogger even posited years ago that Stanton Springs was prime competition for our very own (well, not really ours) Orkin tract at the intersection of 78 and 316 for bioscience projects.
While the counties -- Newton, Morgan, Jasper and Walton -- began work on Stanton Springs 10 years ago, landing a 1.3 million square foot facility will be proof positive that going ahead and getting your land under contract (or secured) and "pad ready" is absolutely necessary to secure a landmark tenant, especially in this environment (likely along with a sizable marketing investment).
Our community has learned this lesson the hard way, as our inability to actually secure the Orkin tract (it is still owned by its namesake family in Atlanta) has reportedly led to uncertainty in many of our past efforts to land top industrial tenants. And uncertainty isn't good.
So, while the proposed facility certainly wouldn't compare to a corporate headquarters (General Mills HQ is pictured), you certainly wouldn't find anyone complaining in this economy.