The Union Recorder: Aug 24, 2019

By: Billy Hobbs

Loan closing is expected to happen soon concerning the Georgia International Food Center at Renaissance Park at Central State Hospital, according to an official.

“We … have met all requirements and actions necessary to close,” said Mike Couch, executive director of the Central State Hospital Local Redevelopment Authority (CSHLRA). “We are ready to close from our side as far as the USDA commitment.”

Couch told board members at Wednesday’s monthly meeting that the only piece missing was the balance of the owner equity.

“We all know, the board knows, we’ve actually had some local participation, and we’ll be able to announce who those local partIcipants are once the loan closes, but we still have to finish raising owner equity,” Couch said.

The official said the timeline on the USDA project calls for it to be completed by Sept. 6.

“That’s a hard deadline,” Couch said, noting he has all of the documents needed for closing purposes. “They are at Waddell and Associates — the closing statements there. We’ve just got to get the balance owner equity into the escrow account and we can tell Byline Bank let’s go forward with closing.”

In an unrelated project, referred to as the “Stephen A. Bradley Broad Street Project 13, the Rape Crisis Center” Couch said he wanted to publicly thank interim Milledgeville City Manager Hank Griffeth for a productive leadership meeting recently.

Bradley is the district attorney of the Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit.

“Southern Cross has started on that building,” Couch said.

The CSHLRA executive director said he took some of the officials involved in the rape crisis center project, including the general contractor, to meet with the city manager.

“Great job, I really appreciate everything you did to facilitate that,” Couch told Griffeth. “It moved very quickly and they are anticipating having that project finished in the next 60 days, up and running. They’ve already hired staff. And remember that’s the rape crisis center. They will be on campus in that building and if you drive by Broad Street 13, you’ll see the work going on outside the building. But it wouldn’t have happened without the city manager’s support and participation.”

Griffeth also was publicly thanked by Quay Fuller, who serves as chairwoman of the CHSLRA. 

Couch also provided board members with an update on the Charlotte Manufacturing Project.

“Without naming the company, if you remember, we brought in a project four months ago that is a clean manufacturing company headquartered out of Charlotte,” Couch said. “We have gone to the extent that we picked a site for them. It is on the campus. It will be the Ingram Prison site.”

Couch said they had designed a 95,000 square-foot building that would be built to the company’s specifications.

He said Jamie Wilson, who has worked with CSHLRA on the kitchen project, has put together some financing scenarios for them, one of them being a tax-exempt bond, and one of them straight traditional financing, which would be less expensive for them if that was the direction they decided to take.

 “They’re going to Chicago to their holding company to present the project,” Couch said.

Plans call for company officials to present the proposal to the holding parent company next week.

“We’re guessing this is about a $7.5 million project,” Couch said.

The company will employ about 35 employees.

“It’s not a huge number of employees, but it would be 95,000 square feet of clean manufacturing,” Couch told board members. “They use sterile products in the field they are in.” Ninety percent of the building would be dedicated to manufacturing, while the other 10 percent would be allocated to office and conference space, he added.

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Erin Andrews