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IDA approves deal with cold storage firm on I-16 south tract
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The Effingham Industrial Development Authority has agreed to a land sale with a cold storage operation that hopes to start quickly.

Savannah Cold Storage LLC will buy 20 acres from the IDA’s holdings on the south side of Interstate 16. The IDA has 183 acres on that tract, which it has named the Coastline site.

“It is a great deal for the area with a lot of potential for future growth,” said IDA CEO John Henry.

The company will build a 100,000 square foot cold storage facility with an initial investment of more than $12.1 million. The starting workforce is projected to be 35 jobs, with an average salary of $39,000 a year, and the company plans to boost the employment rolls to 74 jobs by 2020.

“Our plan is to move very quickly,” said Brian Kastick, CEO of Savannah Cold Storage. “We have customers lined up.”

Construction of the facility could be completed within eight months of its start date.

County commissioners also have approved a letter of intent to provide water service to the project. There is a well and storage tank on the north side of I-16 on the IDA’s adjacent property, and the company will pay to get the water line constructed under the interstate and to its facility.

Savannah Cold Storage is asking for 45,000 gallons per day of the county’s groundwater capacity, with 25,000 gallons per day for the first phase and the remaining 20,000 GPD for future expansion. Reuse water can be used if it is available, and 85 percent of the water needed will be used in refrigeration.

County officials calculate there will be 145,000 gallons per day of excess capacity after 2020, and approximately 110,000 GPD in excess after 2025.

Design and engineering work for the facility is under way, and the project has funding and is ready to start construction, according to the company.

“I want you there. I want you to build it,” commission Chairman Wendall Kessler said.

Savannah Cold Storage commissioned engineering firm Hussey, Gay and Bell to research potential sources of water for the site, and no viable options other than connecting to the county system were found, according to the company.

Commissioners and company representatives discussed what an appropriate amount of time would be for the water to revert back to county should the company not start up operation. C.R. Chance of Hussey, Gay and Bell engineers said a time limit of 24 months is acceptable.

Also, a power source for the well needs to be installed. The county has not taken title to the well because there is no permanent power source, County Administrator Toss Allen said.