Large business park planned in Coweta County

A development team has proposed a business park on the site of a golf course along I-85 near Newnan in Coweta County, but it is likely a number of years away from development.

Orchard Hills Land LLC, a subsidiary of Meadows Development Corp., has filed a Development of Regional Impact petition with regional planning authorities for a proposed development with 3 million square feet of light industrial space and nearly 300,000 square feet of other commercial space.

Orchard Hills

An aerial map of the Orchard Hills Golf Club in Coweta County. Source: Google and Batson-Cook Realty

The property is currently the Orchard Hills Golf Club, a public golf course along the interstate and Ga. 16 south of Newnan, about 40 miles southwest of downtown Atlanta.

Meadows President Andy Howard said Tuesday his firm expects to keep Orchard Hills operating as a golf course for five to 10 years. But he sees potential in turning the site, with significant frontage along I-85, into a commercial development for warehousing and distribution space, offices and retail.

The developers have not yet filed a petition to rezone the land, and such a move is likely a year or two away, Howard said. DRI filings are aimed at alerting the Atlanta Regional Commission and neighboring governments of large projects, so that they can prepare for potential effects such as traffic and demand for schools and other services.

Howard and business partner John Bourbonnais have developed a number of similar business parks under his current company and through other development firms, including The Meadows at Bluegrass near Cumming. The 700-acre-plus distribution and office park along Ga. 400 in Forsyth County is home to a number of companies, including Scientific Games.

Howard’s firm acquired the nearly 280-acre Orchard Hills property about a year ago.

The property is not far from the Newnan-Coweta County Airport and just north of a proposed industrial project known as the Bridgeport site. Atlanta-based developer Pope & Land Enterprises has planned a more than 1,400 acre industrial complex for manufacturing, research and design, warehousing and offices near the city of Moreland.

Industrial real estate is very hot with large blocks of available space becoming scarce and lots of new speculative development underway.

“Market conditions and investor demand have pushed new development to its highest level in 20 years,” CBRE Research said in a 2016 industrial market forecast. “Given the long-term growth expectations for Atlanta and its status as a distribution hub for the Southeast, investors are flocking to the market for opportunities.”

In the past four years, metro Atlanta has seen tenants fill 48.4 million square feet of industrial space, including 12.1 million square feet through the first nine months of 2015, according to CBRE Research.

The vacancy rate in Atlanta area industrial space – mainly warehousing and distribution – actually grew for the first time in 10 quarters in large part because of an influx of new space. But, the demand still remains strong, the report said.

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“Market conditions and investor demand have pushed new development to its highest level in 20 years,”

And there's yet another sign another recession is near.  Oh well, that's just how it goes.