A three-phase project at Bright Star and Wood roads with more than 570,000-square-feet of industrial buildings — known as Bright Star Logistics Center — is making strides.
Phase I of the project and on the north side of Wood Road, a 247,500-square-foot facility for Andersen Windows and Doors is within a couple of months being completed, according to Ordner Construction Superintendent Buddy Cornelius.
About 50 percent of the roofing, 90 percent of the concrete and 95 percent of the site work is finished, Cornelius said. A substantial completion of the facility is expected to be done sometime in February for Phase I. Phase II is planned to be worked on and completed in a couple of years, according to Mayor Pro Tem Richard Segal. One phase is focused on distribution and the other phase is focused on manufacturing.
The facility is expected to employ 90-120 jobs once Phase I is completed and 1,100 total when both phases are completed, Douglasville Building Official Mike Mettler told the Sentinel last September.
Phase III of the project is the land south of Wood Road, which is currently just dirt piles on the site. If the Douglasville City Council approves a land disturbance permit early next month, then Phase III would be built as a 330,000-square-foot speculative building that could lease ideally to four industrial businesses and e-commerce companies, according to Industrial Agency Managing Director Pat Murphy.
“Douglasville is a very pro-business community,” Murphy said. “We think that a company would be very attracted to the city of Douglasville and how they welcome business. The building itself is going to be state of the art, so anybody who wants an efficient building located very close to the interstate, this is a great opportunity for them.”
There is one official in the city, however, who doesn’t welcome the new facilities. Ward 2, Post 1 Councilman Mike Miller, whose district borders the property, has openly expressed concerns in the past about the traffic that trucks are going to bring to the Bright Star Road area.
“Our roads just can’t handle that,” Mike Miller said. “We’re funneling that into an intersection that is not under city control, it's under Georgia DOT control. In my opinion, it’s going to be a problem with traffic. The problem’s already there, it’s just going to exacerbate it.”
Mike Miller was the only member of the city council who voted against changing the zoning to allow Andersen Windows and Doors last fall.
During the city council’s Legislative work session on Thursday night, Ward 1 Councilman Terry Miller echoed Mike Miller’s concerns.
“Every morning, I take my son to school on that road and just over the last year it’s been getting progressively worse,” Terry Miller said. “The city police department has been cracking down on people who are ‘parked in the box’ as they call it. With that Bright Star Interchange, I’m not looking forward to seeing tractor trailers parked in the box.”
HRC Engineers representative Howard Ray asked the city council if they could reduce the required amount of parking spaces at the spec building in Phase III from 397 to 181, so they could make more room for 255 trucks to park. Fewer people need to work at a distribution center, which requires less parking spaces, Ward 2, Post 2 Councilman Mark Adams said.
“What is Plan B if the council denies this variance application?” Segal asked Ray.
“To be honest, I’m not sure, sir,” Ray said.
Last year, Segal told the Sentinel that while he understands the traffic problem the project is likely to bring, the positives outweigh the negatives in this situation.
“The 1,000 jobs right there is a positive,” Segal said. “It wasn’t an easy decision because definitely there is a traffic impact, but you try to weigh and hope you made the right decision.”
Segal also highlighted, as a positive, that the construction site is an industrial area as opposed to many commercial and industrial facilities located next to residential areas in the ward he represents on the far eastern side of the city.
Murphy said he didn't think the traffic would be much worse with the project, but he also said that traffic always comes with businesses.
“I don’t think the traffic is going to impact residents at all,” Murphy said. “I would also suggest that areas with no traffic, [are areas where] there’s probably no jobs. I think most of us who are living in the Atlanta metropolitan area would prefer a little bit of traffic and a strong economy and the ability to make a good living for our families as opposed to no opportunity and no traffic.”
Andersen is the largest window and door manufacturer in North America. The corporation has four brands: Andersen Windows and Doors, Renewal By Andersen, Silver Line Building Products, and American Craftsman. The corporation is headquartered in Bayport, Minnesota and was founded in 1903. It now employs more than 11,000 people across North America.