APD 40 interchange may open by this fall

ALLEN MINCEY Banner Staff Writer
Posted 4/13/16

While being careful not to reveal probable industries or commercial developments for the land around Interstate 75’s Exit 20, it does appear that many jobs will be created in the area during the …

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APD 40 interchange may open by this fall

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While being careful not to reveal probable industries or commercial developments for the land around Interstate 75’s Exit 20, it does appear that many jobs will be created in the area during the next few years.

Doug Berry, vice president of Economic Development for the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce, told fellow Rotarians Tuesday that over 3,000 jobs could be seen in the Spring Branch Industrial Park. He said that this would include 3,173 indirect employees (those who would remain on site as well as those who will be developing the site), and 2,316 of that number would be direct employees at the park.

Direct payroll for those who would remain at the park would be just under $85 million annually. Industrial property taxes are projected at $1,175,865 for Bradley County and $1,109,736 for the city of Cleveland.

“It will be something that will rival anything that we have in our community,” Berry said, “and something that we can be proud of.”

Berry said a resolution was approved in 1998 for work to be done on property around Exit 20, and 11 years later, development of the Spring Branch Industrial Park was proposed. The biggest obstacle for that work was the state allowing the land along APD 40 to be opened up for this expansion.

Since then, the state has worked with the Chamber of Commerce and other entities in an agreement on the property, including work that is nearly completed on an interchange to allow traffic off APD 40 into the industrial park area. There were projections of the interchange opening in the spring of 2017, but Berry said that it now appears this will open in October or early November of this year.

“This is a beautiful piece of property, with 120 acres of wooded area, and 80 acres of that property open and ready for development,” Berry said. “There are some (topographical) variations there, but some of that will make for great natural barriers between industries.”

Berry added that the proposal for the industrial park has separate areas that are not cookie-cutter pieces. “There are no square parcels in the proposal,” he said.

Along with potential industries locating in the park, the area off Exit 20 will be apt for commercial property, including hotels, retail marts, and other businesses. Berry was even asked by one of the Rotarians about a rumor that an outlet mall is planned for that vicinity. He said he has also heard such talk, but not any definite plans.

He did say two commercial properties recently constructed in Chattanooga might have been potential businesses for the area off Exit 20, but development was not ready at the time for these businesses to be built there.

Projected commercial development includes 70 acres for retail, areas for six restaurants and four hotels, 200,000 square feet for office space and 20 acres for apartments and/or condos.

In addition to the number of direct industrial property employees, direct employment for commercial property is projected at 2,200.

Berry noted that at present, there are 20 leads on prospective activity in the area in 2016.

The Chamber official said there are No Trespassing signs posted on the property, but if any Rotarians want to get together and be taken to the site, they should contact him and he will attempt to set up a time to visit that area.

The Rotary Club of Cleveland meets every Tuesday at noon, at the Museum Center at Five Points.

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