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IDA courting two new prospects
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The Effingham Industrial Development Authority is courting a few prospects, even in the current economic climate.

The IDA is working two prospects, one named Project Big Boy and another named Project Green Buffalo. Green Buffalo is a $100 million project and could result in 20-25 jobs. It needs about 50 acres, IDA CEO John Henry said.

“They will need a lot of water,” he said of Green Buffalo, “but it could be reuse.”

While the IDA currently doesn’t have a lot of land that would be suitable for Green Buffalo, Henry said the IDA point prospects to property zoned for industrial use elsewhere in the county.

In Green Buffalo’s case, the IDA showed two tracts that are not part of the development authority’s holdings.

“He is looking all the way up the Savannah River Parkway,” Henry said of Green Buffalo. “He did like the sites we showed.”

“We’ve got plenty of property available for industrial use in the county,” IDA Chairman Chap Bennett said. “We’re not biased to where they land.”

Henry said the current mode of operations is, rather than have the state court potential businesses and then find suitable counties is for the counties to do the legwork and then bring in the state when it’s time to talk about a deal.

Norfolk Southern officials have discussed the Research Forest Tract with IDA officials. Norfolk Southern serves the western side of Research Forest and is interested in helping market the tract, according to Henry.

“They love the idea of Research Forest Tract being a potential megasite,” he said.

The IDA’s Web site has gotten considerably more activity on its Web site over the last year.

“A lot of big projects are looking at Chatham County,” Henry said. “And they’re looking at us. I’m very encouraged by the prospects of this year.”

The IDA also awarded the bid for rail work for the EFACEC site to Ellis Wood. An EIP grant for $500,000 is expected to help cover most of the cost, and the IDA expects to receive the grant funding within 60 days.

The rail work involves a spur from the existing rail line into the loading dock of the Portuguese electrical transformer producer.