he Franklin County Industrial Building Authority is composed of the Mayors of the five cities in Franklin County and two appointees by the County Commission, all of whom are very aggressive in their pursuit of new industrial projects. The relationship between our cities, county government, and the county industrial authority has produced a unified approach to responsible economic development throughout the county.
In addition, our industrial building authority is a member of the Joint Development Authority of Franklin, Hart, and Stephens Counties which allows us very advantageous state incentives for new and expanding industries.
The quality of life in Franklin County is one of the best in northeast Georgia and our close proximity to several major metropolitan areas, including Atlanta GA, Greenville SC, Charlotte NC, the University of Georgia, Clemson University, Lake Hartwell, and numerous other recreational facilities makes the area a very desirable location. A new state-of-the-art 56 bed acute care regional medical center is scheduled to open in Lavonia sometime in 2011.
One of our strongest assets is the I-85 corridor, locating us approximately 98 miles from the Atlanta International Airport, 69 miles from Atlanta’s I-285, and approximately 65 miles from the Greenville/Spartanburg Airport, with excellent access to the nation’s numerous connecting Interstate highways. We have a non-union, readily available, qualified workforce due to local plant closings in our region, and we consistently draw labor into the county from a minimum five county surrounding area. Both Franklin County and the city of Lavonia have a 100% “Freeport” inventory tax exemption.
The Franklin County Industrial Building Authority currently has approximately 46 acres available for industrial development in the Gerrard Road Industrial Park located at exit 173 on Interstate 85. Through a public/private partnership with the Rooker Company two speculative buildings have been sold to new industries, and a third 52,500 sq.ft. speculative building is available. In addition to the Gerrard Road Industrial Park, owned by the authority, numerous other sites are available along the four Interstate 85 exits located in Franklin County.
It is noteworthy that Franklin County is home to an AutoZone 1.5 million sq. ft. regional distribution center, as well as Kautex-Textron’s auto fuel tank facility, Bosal Industries’ auto exhaust systems manufacturing facility, Beaulieu America’s carpet fibre production, the T.I. Automotive Group auto fuel tank facility located in Gateway Industrial Park, and one of our newest industry, Latexco LLC, a Belgian manufacturer of latex bedding products.