Originally created 01/27/99

Authority seeks marketer for building



An international industrial real estate agency is seeking to market the Columbia County Development Authority's speculative building.

Hart Corporation, of Southampton, Pa., asked authority members Tuesday for a $15,000 marketing fee and 6 percent commission on the sale. The authority agreed to contact references before enlisting the agency.

"We specialize in selling big buildings in small towns," said James Belcher, Hart vice president. "We have international relationships throughout the world, and we sell 90 percent of all the buildings we list as exclusive agents."

"It's an inexpensive insurance policy when you've got a speculative building out there as a financial risk," added Thomas Turner, a Hart representative.

Completed last spring, the county's 128,000-square-foot speculative building -- an investment of $1.9 million -- is located in Horizon South Industrial Park off Horizon South Parkway near Grovetown. A speculative building is a shell of a building constructed for use as a marketing tool to attract an industry wanting to buy or lease an existing building. The building is then finished to meet the specific needs of that industry.

There are 81 speculative buildings currently on the market in Georgia, according to statistics from the Georgia Department of Industry, Trade & Tourism. Hart Corporation research shows there are 443 available buildings of comparable size throughout the southeast region.

A speculative building stays on the market an average of 18 months before it is sold, said Kent Mason of Hart, citing industry statistics. However, just last year, Macon sold its 203,000-square-foot speculative building, which had been on the market for eight years.

In December the Development Authority spent $1,300 to print a speculative building brochure, which was mailed to 500 national economic development consultants.

Also at the meeting, the authority elected Ron Thigpen as its new chairman, Ron Patterson as vice chairman and Linda Crowell as secretary/treasurer.

Melissa Hall can be reached at 868-1222, Ext. 113, or ccchron@augustachronicle.com.