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JDA approves $42 billion in bonds to Morning Hornet
Incentives for the project include 20 years of complete tax abatement
Stanton Springs

SOCIAL CIRCLE, Ga.  — After a unanimous vote by the Joint Development Authority of Jasper, Morgan, Newton and Walton Counties, bonds of $42 billion, tax incentives and a land purchase agreement have been approved for a technology-based company looking to locate a data center at Stanton Springs in Newton County.

The bonds are being issued “to pay or reimburse the costs of acquiring, constructing, equipping and installing a project consisting of land, together with improvements thereto and equipment thereon, to be leased to Morning Hornet, LLC for use as a data center and economic development project,” according to the bond resolution.

A report in the Atlanta Business Chronicle indicated Facebook will build the data center, but local officials have refused to confirm or deny reports until the deal is completed.

The bonds issued are a taxable revenue bond, which is a bond distinguished by its guaranteed repayment from revenues generated by the specified revenue-generating entity, rather than from a tax.

The bonds are now expected to go before a judge in Morgan County Superior Court for final approval Feb. 14.

Included in the inducement agreement of the land sale and bond execution, the JDA has agreed to a 20-year tax abatement of 100 percent starting when the certificate of occupancy is issued on the first phase of the project, which is estimated for Dec. 31, 2023, with an estimated cost of improvements and equipment at $75 million. The first phase of the project is the only phase that is guaranteed by the company.

The company will make PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) payments which will be paid out in April after the certificate of occupancy for each phase, for the first phase that would be April 30, 2024, at the latest. The payment for the first phase is $2 million. Each additional phase PILOT payment is $1 million. There is a total of four phases to the project.

JDA and TPA will sell the land to Morning Hornet LLC at a purchase price of $62,500 per acre. According to the purchase and sale agreement, JDA is selling 262.771 acres and TPA is selling 153.315 acres.

Shane Short, the executive director of the Development Authority of Walton County, issued a statement on behalf of the JDA. The statement reads as follows:

“The Joint Development Authority of Jasper, Morgan, Newton and Walton Counties and JC Flex LLC (also known as TPA, LLC) have approved a contract to sell 416 acres in Stanton Springs to a company that is considering developing a large-scale project by the code name Morning Hornet, an entity representing a major Fortune 250 technology company.

“The JDA and other state and local leaders have been working with the company over the past months. The company is interested in building an enterprise data center in Stanton Springs.

“The bond issuance for this project allows for the completion of a multi-phase development of which the first phase is expected to represent a total of $750 million in capital investment.

“The JDA has been working extensively with this company and lengthy due diligence has been conducted and we have determined that the company is an excellent fit for Stanton Springs and the community.”