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JDA looks to temporarily lease Higdon plant

The former Higdon Furniture Company manufacturing facility could soon be leased out on a temporary basis by the Grady County Joint Development Authority.
“That’s $72,000 a year we could really use,” said JDA member Chuck Thomas during discussions about the potential short-term lease of 72,000 square feet of the former Higdon facility on Wight Road.
The authority is willing to lease the facility for $1 per square foot to generate cash flow for the authority’s development activities.
Recently, the authority contracted with Colliers International to market the manufacturing facility for sale.
JDA consultant Chadd Mathis reported Tuesday that Colliers did not have any initial response to marketing the plant to other furniture manufacturers, so they will now market it to a wider range of industrial clients in hopes of selling it.
In the meantime, Woodhaven Furniture Industries of Cairo, formerly MacTavish, has expressed interest in leasing a portion of the Higdon facility on a temporary basis.
This would not be the first time the JDA has leased additional space to Woodhaven on a short-term basis. Previously, the furniture manufacturer leased a portion of the Heritage Industrial Complex for approximately 24 months.
JDA member Thomas says this would be a similar arrangement and Woodhaven officials understand they would have to vacate the property within 30 days if a permanent buyer is identified.
JDA Chairman Charles M. Stafford suggested Mathis contact Colliers International officials to verify that a short-term lease would not conflict with the sales agreement the authority has executed with the international commercial real estate broker.
Originally, Woodhaven was looking at leasing about 48,000 square feet of space at the Higdon facility, but Mathis says in a meeting Tuesday Woodhaven officials have now identified a need to lease 72,000 square feet of the manufacturing quadrant of the Wight Road plant.
“They are looking to move in by Nov. 1,” Mathis said. The JDA consultant said Woodhaven’s in-house counsel was preparing a proposed lease agreement to submit to the JDA for its approval.
In hopes of reaching an agreement before the authority’s October meeting, Chairman Stafford appointed a committee including Thomas and JDA member Robbie Burns to work with Mathis to negotiate a deal with Woodhaven and to clear the transaction with Colliers International.
Woodhaven officials have said they are interested in leasing the space for only about four months, but Thomas predicts that need could expand beyond that time frame.

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