The Georgia Department of Economic Development, in cooperation with the Fitzgerald and Ben Hill County Development Authority, today announced that the Forward Fitzgerald site has earned a “Georgia Ready for Accelerated Development” (GRAD) certification with “Select” status. The site’s new “GRAD Select” status provides an additional seal of approval that makes it especially attractive for future industrial development.
“From manufacturing to food processing, speed to market is a top priority during the site selection process, and the GRAD program is a way for local partners to proactively pursue opportunities for their community,” said Georgia Department of Economic Development Commissioner Pat Wilson. “The Fitzgerald and Ben Hill County Development Authority has successfully created jobs through sustainable industry development, earning the Georgia Economic Developers Association’s 2022 Deal of the Year Award for a small community. We are excited to add another asset to Georgia’s portfolio, and we look forward to continuing to work with the City of Fitzgerald and Ben Hill County!”
The 54-acre Forward Fitzgerald site is located at 351 Jacksonville Highway in Fitzgerald, a South Georgia community between Tifton and the Georgia Ports in Savannah and Brunswick, which are an estimated two hours from the site. The site is approximately 30 minutes from Interstate 75 and fronts U.S. Route 319. In addition, Forward Fitzgerald is less than 10 minutes from the Fitzgerald Municipal Airport. Within the next 12 months, the site will experience nearly $6 million in infrastructure enhancements, giving it some of the most modern infrastructure in South Georgia.
“The site’s GRAD certification is a boost to the wave of momentum that our community is riding from nearly $250 million in ongoing industrial investment. Major developments in wood products, plastics, and food and beverage processing have sparked our regional economy,” said Jason Dunn, Executive Director Fitzgerald and Ben Hill County Development Authority. “Furthermore, the pursuit of GRAD certification on the Forward Fitzgerald tract is an advancement for our rural community and reinforces our commitment to ensuring Georgia remains the No. 1 state for business.”
Completing the GRAD certification program with GDEcD is a proactive way for both community planners and landowners to help catalyze economic growth and industrial development in their regions. To qualify for GRAD status, available sites must meet the program’s due diligence standards, be reviewed by a third party, and earn the final approval of a board of advisors comprised of public and private sector economic development professionals. The GRAD Select status is an indication that a site has met or exceeded more rigorous certification requirements. Additional site information can be found at developfitzgeraldbenhill.com/infrastructure/sites-and-buildings/.
The Georgia Ready for Accelerated Development (GRAD) Program offers more than 60 industrial certified sites that are ready for fast-track industrial projects, thanks to prior diligence. Economic development groups and landowners interested in obtaining GRAD certification for their property are encouraged to visit www.georgia.org/grad-certified-sites/application for additional information.
For aerial views of GRAD certified sites and property details visit: www.georgia.org/site-selector.
The Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) is the state’s sales and marketing arm, the lead agency for attracting new business investment, encouraging the expansion of existing industry and small businesses, locating new markets for Georgia products, attracting tourists to Georgia, and promoting the state as a destination for arts and location for film and digital entertainment projects, as well as planning and mobilizing state resources for economic development. Visit www.georgia.org for more information.