Alternate business incubator locations considered (Aug. 27, 2011)
Conyers unveils plans for a new business incubator (Sept. 28, 2010)
IN BRIEF: The business incubator will not be located in the Acuity Brands property that sparked the idea, but local leaders will still pursue the program.
Conyers Mayor Randy Mills said after two years of due diligence, city had decided against the site, which Acuity Brands had planned to donate to the city. The property, located on Rockdale Industrial Boulevard, is 42 acres and has 500,000 square feet of structure space, 50,000 of which is office space.
“It’s too big. That’s really what it is,” said Mills on Wednesday. “Even though it’s a gift, it still was going to cost us a lot of money. It got us off track of what we were trying to do.”
There were environmental concerns raised about the site, which had served as a manufacturing space and corporate office for Lithonia Lighting in the past. There were also concerns about how much a facility of that size would cost to maintain, even if it were not being used. The incubator would likely need only a fraction of the 500,000 square feet available.
“We tried to put a square peg in a round hole,” he said.
Mills emphasized the city was still going forward with the incubator project and was considering several buildings. “That’s one of the tasks Marty’s going to chair,” he said, referring to Councilman Marty Jones, who will be stepping down at the end of the year after more than two decades on city council.
Mills had previously described the effect of the project as "bigger than the Olympics coming to Conyers" if all the pieces could be put in place.
The incubator would provide low-cost facilities to startups and proposed businesses, along with the rigorous screening and guidance of industry and business experts.
The incubator would be the final component of a comprehensive facility that would also include an economic development center with the Conyers-Rockdale Economic Development Council's offices and the presence of a post-secondary educational institution, not yet officially named.
Check back for more information later on www.rockdalenews.com.