It’s not often that you see a city give up on potential tax revenue-rich commercial property.
But that’s exactly what the city of Pooler voted to do this week when it approved a plan to de-annex a 1,560-acre mega-site that the state and coastal economic development authorities have for years pitched to major manufacturers.
The property long known as the Pooler mega-site will reside as of Jan. 1 in unincorporated Chatham County, according to a report by the Savannah Morning News.
The move was made to help make the mega-site more competitive with other states’ industrial parks, the newspaper reported.
The Pooler site has for years been held out as one of the state’s best pieces of property for a major manufacturer. It sits near I-16 and I-95 and is served by rail. It’s also not far from the bustling Savannah port.
But the property has often been the runner-up for some big name manufacturers.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist Matt Kempner wrote recently about the frustrating push to sell the mega-site. Last August, Gov. Nathan Deal said the site was still generating interest from companies.
Volvo apparently thought the Pooler site was too small for its needs and looked at another property along I-16 before choosing land near the South Carolina coast for a factory that will employ thousands.
The Pooler property twice was bait for a Sprinter vans plant (which also went to South Carolina). Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems did put a plant there, but much of the property remains unused.
At issue is a Freeport exemption, the Morning News reported, that is an incentive that exempts from ad valorem taxes certain goods.
Pooler hasn’t enacted a Freeport exemption, but Chatham County does, the newspaper reported.
Will the move actually be the carrot that leads to new jobs? Is it an act that has to be made? Those are the questions.
The Savannah Economic Development Authority board and the Georgia Ports Authority, the site’s owners, have already approved the move.