EDGE Fund - DA of Walton County, General Mills Distribution Center
In December 2009, the OneGeorgia Authority awarded a $500,000 EDGE grant to the Development Authority of Walton County to assist with the purchase of machinery and equipment to outfit a new distribution center for General Mills who plans job creation of 112 jobs within two years.
Social Circle is now home to the largest LEED Gold industrial building in the United States. The distribution center for General Mills Operations, LLC is a 1.5 million-square-foot facility and the first of its size to receive the second highest designation a building can receive from the U.S. Green Building Council.Mayor Jim Burgess says the significance of the building isn’t just in its “green” construction. “It’s the largest building being built in the state of Georgia this year and the second largest in the world,” he said. The mayor said getting the plant to build in Walton County was a team effort among city, county and state governments. “We were competing against Macon for it,” he explained. “It was a really good team effort that went really well.” The city annexed the 130-acre site several years ago and obtained a GEFA grant to provide water and sewer infrastructure to the property. The county built a new rail line to the area and a new interchange on the bypass to provide even more access to the plant, and the state government provided training funds for employees. “The impact of this industry is very positive from the standpoint of property taxes, and it’s also great for our schools,” said Burgess. For the Rockefeller Group Development Corporation (RGDC), which constructed the distribution center, building it to Green Building Council Standards was part of the company’s on-going commitment to conservation. “This project represents our dedication to sustainability and our sensitivity to environmental concerns,” said RGDC Executive Vice President for Development Les Smith. “We are proud of all the work that has gone into this magnificent facility and wish our tenant General Mills much success in their new space.” RGDC and General Mills originally sought LEED-Silver certification for the building, however the number of credits accrued in five green categories – sustainability sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources and indoor environmental quality – well exceeded the number of credits needed for LEED-Silver. The site was designed to encourage fuel efficient vehicles by giving these vehicles reserved parking spots. Other innovations included the reduction of heat around the building by the white roof and the use of all concrete paving, rather than asphalt. Site lighting is designed to reduce light pollution. No light is cast beyond the property line and all fixtures point light downward. Also, there is no potable water used for irrigation of landscaping. Water is obtained from the roof and paved areas of the site and is collected in the retention ponds and reused for irrigation.