The proposed industrial park in south Bradley County is a departure from past developments in that it is in traditionally agricultural and open space areas, but is also in a good location.
“It fronts the interstate. That’s one of the motives for being there,” he said. “It puts us about 13 miles from Enterprise South and the Volkswagen operation and about 13 miles from Wacker and that anchor. It’s a good, centralized location to reach into both of those markets and hopefully attract some of the supply chains for these companies.”
He said the industrial park was laid out with a soft environmental footprint after having discussions with concerned residents and interested parties.
“We are trying to stay sensitive to those concerns,” he said. “I don’t know if we can address all of them and have a functional industrial park that has adjoining commercial, but we will certainly try our best to be respectful and do the right thing for the community long term.”
The commercial area is about 200 acres in the southeast quadrant of Interstate 75 and Exit 20. The proposed industrial park site lies south of Johnston Woods. About 75 acres of wooded ridgeline has been set aside as a buffer between the industrial park and Johnston Woods recreational area.
Early designs depict nine buildings representing about 2 million square feet under roof. The buildings range in size from 30,000 square feet to 600,000 square feet.
“We are not trying to push the envelope on pad area,” he said. “We are trying to let the land guide us. I’m a big believer in letting the site dictate to you how you approach the development.”
Berry said he believes development should leave as soft a footprint as is possible in order to maintain proper ecological balance.
“We’ve respected the creek corridor and left them as open spaces,” he said.
Spring Branch Road would not be connected to the site. The proposed interstate connector is intended to connect to Harriman Road. There are no plans to upgrade Harriman Road.
“It’s our intention to build a truck turnaround to restrict truck traffic and commercial traffic from going on Harriman to Bancroft,” he said. “It’s our desire that it be local traffic only.”
The property, formerly known as the Bob Zeige Farm, is owned by Jones Lakeland LLC. Berry said there is grant assistance to do long-range land use planning around the 343-acre site; in the Mouse Creek corridor, where there is residential growth; and in the inner city, where Whirlpool is currently located. The appliance maker is expected to fully vacate its 90 acres downtown by 2015.
“What those efforts will do is help us facilitate community dialogue and get a strategy to protect everybody’s long-term interests and accommodate our growth needs,” he said.
Berry said there are about three years to discuss future uses of the vacated Whirlpool site in downtown Cleveland. He expects to begin dialogue with Whirlpool officials in the fall and has asked to participate in the Southside Redevelopment Task Force established by the city.
There are about 90 acres in three distinct plant sites. There are 11 different floor elevations and it is not suitable, from what he has seen, for future manufacturing applications, since most want to be on one level. Some of the parts were moved seven miles before they became an assembled stove, which was one of the motivations for moving to the new facility on Benton Pike.
“I think the old Hardwick Stove plant site is the building most likely to remain based on my initial inspections and looks,” he said. “The other two buildings might be obsolete once they are vacated.”