JDA to more aggressively market inventory of vacant industrial space

The Grady County Joint Development Authority is getting tough in its marketing of vacant industrial properties and is prepared to invest $10,000 in an advertising campaign.
JDA member Chuck Thomas lamented Tuesday the authority’s laissez-faire position on marketing empty industrial space such as that inside the Heritage Industrial Complex, the former Roddenbery pickle plant.
“I’ve been asking about this for years and we said we need to do it, but nothing ever gets done. We’re just waiting on the phone to ring,” Thomas said.
Rather than wait for potential tenants, Thomas strongly recommended Tuesday the authority adopt a budget for a marketing campaign to target Tallahassee and north Florida businesses.
Thomas, a local insurance broker and real estate developer, suggested the authority advertise industrial and warehouse space for rent at $1 per square foot.
“Some folks may say that’s too cheap, but a dollar a foot is better than zero,” he said.
He says there is at least 100,000 square feet of space available at the former pickle plant. “That is potentially $100,000 in lease payments. If we can create some jobs, too, that’s what our mission is,” Thomas said.
The veteran JDA member said that the lower than market rate might also be enough encouragement for a business to relocate. Over the years, the JDA has been successful in recruiting employers from Florida to Grady County.
The JDA’s contracted consultant Chadd Mathis agreed and said he would work to put together a marketing plan.
After discussing Thomas’ proposal, the authority voted unanimously to invest $10,000 to market vacant local industrial space.
In related news Tuesday, Mathis updated the authority members on the Collier’s International listing of the former Higdon facility. According to Mathis, the real estate company has distributed marketing information to brokers and agents in the southeastern United States. For sale signs have also been erected at the Wight Road site.
“I’d like to express a huge debt of appreciation to the city, and Pat Mitchell in particular, for helping us get both the interior and exterior of the Higdon building cleaned up and prepared for sale,” Mathis said.
“We are looking to get this building sold or leased,” he added.

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