Randy Southerland 2016-12-08 03:01:29
In the Right Place at the Right Time Barrow County is in the right place at the right time. Located half way between Atlanta and Athens and bisected by major highways and rail lines, Barrow provides easy access to Georgia and the rest of the Eastern seaboard. The county is already benefiting from a trend that is becoming evident throughout the nation. The next stage of population growth in the U.S. is centering on the outer fringes of big city suburbs. Counties like Barrow will grow faster than Atlanta and its suburban counties. The Georgia Highway 316 Corridor/University Parkway, connecting Atlanta to Athens and located in the heart of Georgia’s Innovation Crescent, is Georgia’s Innovation Corridor offering a high quality of living and a talent pool of graduating students from area technical colleges and universities. Barrow County has sixteen miles of prime commercial and industrial properties along 316 and within the Atlanta MSA. With four, new elevated interchanges and the West Winder Bypass connecting Highway 316 to I-85 being constructed in the next few years along the Barrow portion of the 316 Corridor, residents and visitors will be able to move more safely and efficiently throughout the Barrow community. Commercial and industrial traffic will have improved mobility and time to market shortened due to the 316 Corridor and West Winder Bypass improvements. These improvements will also increase developable acreage for new industrial and commercial developments with easy access and shorter trip times to Atlanta and eastern seaboard markets. Just as many local residents left Metro Atlanta for a more relaxed and less expensive home in Barrow, so have a growing number of companies and industries. Businesses seeking to expand have moved out of Gwinnett County and other close in counties. Sports apparel and equipment maker Mizuno USA decided to relocate and consolidate its distribution and manufacturing operations in a new facility in Braselton. The firm invested $18.5 million in a new facility and currently have 180 employees. “The attraction is our qualified workforce,” says Guy Herring, director of Barrow County Economic and Community Development. “A lot of our workforce comes from metro counties and so we have a large pool to pull from.” As part of Metro Atlanta’s 21 county Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), companies locating here can count on attracting employees from throughout the area – roughly 44,000 potential workers. The county also boasts a high quality local school system attuned to training workers for industry. Barrow Workforce Development campus includes not only a branch of Lanier Technical College, but the county’s Sims Academy for Innovation and Technology. It’s a short drive to both the University of Georgia and Athens Technical College to the east or Gwinnett Technical College to the west. “We’re right in the middle of all those universities and technical colleges,” he adds. “So we have the training available to provide that qualified workforce. And then of course our technical college will design training programs for those specific industries.” Barrow employers can find graduates who have gone through mechatronics and industrial building automation programs. “It really just broadens the range of these students’ education so they can go to any of these industrial facilities whether its distribution, manufacturing, and be qualified to manage those building systems – the AC handling, the security,” explains Herring. “Those are all taught at the technical college level. In addition to workforce, transportation is a prime attractor for companies that need to ship supplies and products in and out of the region. In addition to highways such as Georgia Highway 316 and I-85, there are 16 miles of rail lines that hook into the national transportation network. “You can move freight and commerce as well as that workforce in and out and through Barrow,” says Herring. That transportation network is a persuasive reason to locate manufacturing and distribution facilities in the county. Women’s fashion supplier Chico’s FAS – Barrow’s largest employer – moved two distribution facilities, a call center and corporate offices to the county. With more than 1,200 employees on the payroll, the company is the county’s largest employer. The company’s clothing is aimed at fashion-savvy women over 30. It operates the Chico’s, White House Black Market and Soma brands. Their home corporate office is in Fort Myers, Florida, but all their distribution is here in Barrow County,” explains H erring. “We’ve worked with them over the years to enable them to grow and expand here and they’ve been very successful in doing so.” When Schuetz Container Systems Inc. moved its operations to the city of Carl, it was the culmination of a process that began in 2008 when the company purchased a 38-acre site for about $4 million. The goal was to expand their existing operations in Gwinnett. They were out of space and needed access to rail. The company wasn’t able to start building until 2013 when two new buddings went up. They now house the company’s plastic molding operations for containers that carry liquids such as soft drinks, water and chemicals. The $52-million investment produced 180 new jobs and helped to reduce the number of residents who needed to travel outside the county for work by giving them opportunities closer to home. Barrow has been careful and deliberate in the types of companies it looks to attract. Advanced manufacturing is number one on the list. In addition, with a major auto plant across the border in South Carolina, suppliers to the major car makers are also a key target. Barrow’s newest high tech engineering startup company, DHX Electric Machines, formed as a Georgia Tech Incubator. Located in Braselton, the company develops ultra-high torque density electric motors and drives for niche markets using a patented technology. “We also are pursuing the plastics industry which falls in line with our emphasis on advanced manufacturing,” says Herring. Barrow County is centrally located in the middle of the Georgia Innovation Crescent. Formed in 2007, the program is an effort to nurture and encourage the technology industry explosion in the region, particularly in health IT and life sciences. The Innovation Crescent Regional Partnership, which includes Barrow, is leading the charge to bring more high tech industry to the area. “With our proximity to Atlanta our target industries are going to be those industries that have for need a technical workforce,” says Herring. These include Life Sciences, Bio Science, food manufacturing and even the film industry. Companies are finding a welcoming home in the county’s array of industrial and business parks. The Park 53 Industrial and Technology Complex has been getting upgrades through $1.1 million in grants to complete essential infrastructure within the park. Park 53 is situated adjacent to the county’s workforce development campus where Sims Academy and Lanier Tech are located. “Our workforce can be trained on site and we can tailor the programs to the needs of the industries that come into the industrial park,” adds Herring. Throughout Barrow County, the “Open for Business” signs are out, and now more than ever, companies are seeing the county as the right place for them. Banow County Accessibility Barrow County is within a day's travel to three large seaports and two international airports. The county is very accessible by having direct access to major rail and interstate systems. RAIL: Sixteen miles of CSX mainline moves over 400,000 tons of rail freight through Barrow County. This CSX mainline, with connectivity to Norfolk Southern, the Port of Savannah and multiple available industrial rail sites provide ample opportunities to prospective rail industries. AIR: The Barrow County Airport is a general aviation airport with 5500' cross runways, ILS, FBO, and available hanger and industrial space. Businesses, such as Zaxby's, have made the airport their corporate aircraft home because of the available hanger space, the accessibility, and the proximity to Atlanta but outside of the Hartsfield-Jackson umbrella. ROADS: Barrow County has one exit on I-85 providing direct access to the eastern seaboard markets. University Parkway / Highway 316 runs the length of Barrow County, connecting Athens to Atlanta and providing multiple commercial and industrial development opportunities.Three GRAD sites are located along the Barrow County's portion of University Parkway providing entitled properties for commercial and industrial development. SEA: The Ports of Savannah and Brunswick are only four hours away via interstate and state routes providing direct and expedient access to international markets. Industry Mix in Barrow County Barrow County, Georgia boasts a diverse economy, and according to the U.S. Census Bureau, it's one of the nation's fastest growing counties. Agribusiness, distribution & logistics, manufacturing and more in Barrow County drive the area's modern economy. Target Industries Barrow County, Georgia as a Certified WorkReady Community, is poised to attract a variety of industry sectors, especially the bio-tech, technology, and life sciences sectors, but also advanced manufacturing, and distribution. With available property along I-85 in Braselton, rail-served properties along 18 miles of CSX mainline, and industrial properties along Georgia Highway 316 - Georgia's Innovation Corridor - Barrow County, Georgia is uniquely positioned for ease of transportation and excellent accessibility to markets. Barrow County Employment CURRENT WORK FORCE Barrow County, Georgia's location in the Atlanta MSA puts it at the center of a draw area labor force of roughly 700,000 workers. Barrow County is also in the center of Georgia's Innovation Crescent, and along Georgia's Innovation Corridor (University Parkway/Highway 316), where North Georgia's universities provide a wealth of talent via recent graduates of business, technology and life sciences programs. Training One of the reasons Barrow County is an excellent location for manufacturing and local businesses is the level of workforce training available, both to businesses and to students still in the Barrow County School System or attending Lanier Technical College. • Barrow County Schools • Sims Academy of Innovation and Technology • Lanier Technical College • Tier 1 Research Universities nearby • Georgia Institute of Technology • University of Georgia • Emory University • Georgia State University Incentives & Taxes The Barrow County Economic Development Department aggressively pursues both state and local incentives to make the cost of relocating and operating your business extremely competitive. Tax exemptions, fee waivers and property tax abatements are some of the incentives that make the cost of doing business in Barrow County low. Additionally, a wage rate low er than the U.S. average keeps business costs in check. Barrow County Economic Development Department will work with your company to aggressively package the most beneficial statutory and negotiated tax, financing, development and training incentives to help you locate or expand your business enterprise in Barrow County, Georgia. Since 2008, companies operating in Georgia use a Single Factor Gross Receipts apportionment formula. This formula substantially reduces Georgia income tax for companies based in the state but that deliver a large portion of products or services to customers outside Georgia. Under the law, Gross Receipts, or sales in Georgia, are the only factor used to determine the amount of a company's income that is subject to Georgia's 6 percent corporate income tax. To many companies, Georgia's single factor apportionment formula could mean savings of hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars over the long term . Locally, Barrow County continually strives to improve our business-friendly environment. Tourism Impact Tourism is the second largest industry in the State of Georgia and Barrow County has its share of the market. Chateau Elan Winery and Resort • 11th largest tourism destination in the State • Contributes over $50 million to the State and Local economy • Providing over 350 jobs in the tourism and hospitality industry. • Hosts many corporate events for companies such as Seimens, Coca-Cola, Kimberly-Clark, Delta and many more. • Recently invested $20 million to re-energize their award-winning winery, expand its corporate meeting facilities, and to construct a Chateau-like Hampton Inn on property to increase room accommodations. Fort Yargo State Park • 1800-acre State Park including a 300-acre lake • Ranked consistently in the top five most visited in Georgia • Over 350,000 visitors last year • $25 million economic impact to the State's economy. Day-use activities, such as hiking, biking, boating and fishing • Overnight accommodations such as camping, recreational vehicles and cabins and yurts. • New Master Plan created that will create an even greater economic impact to the Barrow community and the State. Film Opportunities Barrow County, Georgia is a Georgia Camera Ready Community, connecting film and TV productions with local expertise and support. Barrow County Economic D evelopment is your point of contact for any TV or film project. BARROW COUNTY FILMING INFORMATION • County Seat - Winder • Distance from County Seat to Atlanta - 45 miles • Airport/Distance - 48 miles to Hartsfield- Atlanta Airport - less than 1 mile to Barrow County Airport • Topography - Rolling farmland interspersed with commercial/industrial clusters • Filmography - WSBTV Atlanta, Channel 2: Georgia's Hidden Treasures-Holiday Edition, December 2010 coverage of Town of Bethlehem • Unique Filming Locations - Cities of Winder, Auburn and Statham; Fort Yargo State Park; The Carl House; Four distinctively different golf courses; Shackelford Park; Barrow County Airport; Chateau Elan; Winder- Barrow Speedway; and Old Railroad Depot. Barrow County and Georgia’s Innovation Crescent Georgia's Innovation Crescent is both a geographic area and a coalition of more than 15 counties and economic development entities all dedicated to supporting Georgia's life science and technology growth. Anchored by the world's most traveled and most efficient airport, L with Atlanta on one end and the University of Georgia in Athens- Clarke County on the other, Barrow County's location is literally in the middle of all activities that emerge from the Innovation Crescent. Flanked by research organizations such as the Georgia Institute of Technology and University of Georgia, along with teaching institutions including Emory University and More house School of Medicine, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, plus more than 16,000 life science and technology companies, the Innovation Crescent encompasses all these rich resources. Barrow County's location within this geographic region offers a robust and dynamic workforce, diverse entrepreneurial and innovation opportunities, a strong base of public and private support, and a lifestyle that offers accessibility to virtually any activity available.
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