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Q&A: Shane Short answers press questions about Morning Hornet project
Stanton Springs

SOCIAL CIRCLE, Ga. - Shane Short, the executive director of the Development Authority of Walton County, spoke to the press on the behalf of the Joint Development Authority of Jasper, Morgan, Newton and Walton Counties Tuesday evening to answer questions about the technology-based company looking to locate a data center at Stanton Springs in Newton County.

The company, Morning Hornet LLC, is a subsidiary of a Fortune 250 company.

See Short’s comments to the press transcribed below:

Q: Can you tell us anything about tax abatements or incentives at this point?

A: Not at this moment. Until those are filed in court, all of that will be open records, but anything we have done tonight will be in the documents you’ve requested. Editor’s note: The Covington News has requested copies of the bonds and purchase agreement. Information will be shared as it is received.

Q: So there was a pretty big announcement speculating that Facebook is the parent company for Morning Hornet, LLC, can you comment on that at all or confirm that any of that was accurate?

A: We don’t comment on ongoing projects and activity.

Q: Can you tell us anything about how many jobs this will bring or anything like that?

A: Yeah, on the first phase which is guaranteed from the company, they’ll have about 100 jobs to start with.

Q: How many phases?

A: Five.

Q: So, would that, with easy math, be 500 jobs total?

A: No. The first phase is bigger than the rest of the phases. The company is only guaranteeing the first phase.

Q: What is going to be required by the JDA to make this happen at the park?

A: Sell the land. That’s the beauty of this JDA, they had already put in the infrastructure to attract businesses and that infrastructure exists today and it’s not for just what may or may not happen with the company that’s looking there now, but for future companies. We’ve got the infrastructure already there. We’ve got some great activity right now in addition to this company that’s considering locating there, we have other companies that are looking to move out there as well. They’re pretty substantial companies. They vary in industry type, but they’re all related to pharmaceutical and high-tech. What we have going out there right now, is the type of industry we want to continue out there.

Q: In relation to Shire, where would you say this project is in the park?

A: Well, there are only two areas in that park that are available right now. One side belongs to a company and the other doesn’t. Take a drive through there tomorrow.

Q: Does it happen to be the side that is losing trees right now?

Stanton Springs
Trees are coming down in the Stanton Springs industrial park. - photo by Tory Bouchillon

A: Probably.

Q: Does the abandonment of that road have anything to do with it?

A: Yes.

Q: What percentage of the park will be vacant after the 416 acres is taken?

A: There was 1,600 acres of regional land in the entire development, with Shire having about 160 and then if we do a deal on another 400, we still have quite a bit of land to develop out there.

Q: Is it fair to say the deal is done as long as the bond is validated?

A: There are lots of conditions that could happen before a deal would ever take place. There are a lot of things that could take place that could cause a deal not to happen. In my experience, I was actually on the way to a closing one time when the deal was called off, so you never know until the deal is signed.

Q: The next step is for it to go to court, correct?

A: Yes, once we pass a bond resolution it must be filed in superior court and then all of the legal arms are notified immediately after that’s filed.

Q: The five phases are over how many years?

A: We’re not at liberty to discuss details with the company right now.

Q: So what does this investment mean for all of the counties involved in the JDA?

A: Well, it’s not just the JDA, if this company does locate in our area it’s a great win for our communities and the state of Georgia. It is a Fortune 250 company, American owned. Everybody would recognize its name.

Q: Is that because they log on every day and “like” and “share”?

A: No comment.

Q: Is Morning Hornet, LLC the project codename, or is it an actual company?

A: No, that’s a true LLC subsidiary of this company. It’s not a codename.