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Georgia Ready for Accelerated Development Select Sites Recognized at 2021 Georgia Economic Developers Association Conference

Director of GDEcD's Global Commerce division Ashley Varnum and Jason Chambless of Thomas & Hutton standing in for Chris Thomas of the Development Authority of Polk County

During the 2021 Georgia Economic Developers Association (GEDA) Annual Conference in Savannah, the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) announced new ‘GRAD Certified Select’ sites across the state. Economic developers representing each newly recognized and newly renewed ‘GRAD Certified Select’ property were presented with a special certificate.  

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Completing the GRAD certification program with GDEcD is a proactive way both community planners and land owners can help catalyze economic growth and industrial development in their regions. To qualify for GRAD status, available sites must meet the program’s due diligence standards, be reviewed by a third party and earn the final approval of a board of advisors comprised of public and private sector economic development professionals. The ‘GRAD Certified Select’ status is an indication that a site has met or exceeded more rigorous certification requirements.

“Since starting this program, thousands of Georgia jobs have been created on GRAD Certified sites,” said GDEcD Commissioner Pat Wilson. “I commend all of our communities across the state that have taken the initiative to go through the GRAD Certification process and for achieving the ‘Select’ status. Many thanks to each of them for their partnership and for their commitment to creating jobs for Georgians and spurring economic growth.”

Ralph Forbes of Thomas & Hutton and BJ Walker of the Development Authority of Peach County

Newly announced ‘GRAD Select’ sites that were recognized include: 

  • Dublin-Laurens County Development Authority’s Georgia Highway 257 Rail Served Site in Dublin
  • Development Authority of Peach County’s Robins International Industrial Park in Byron
  • Development Authority of Columbia County’s White Oak Business Park – Phase 2 in Appling
  • Development Authority of Polk County’s Cedartown North Business Park – Phase 3 in Cedartown

Renewed ‘GRAD Select’ sites that were recognized include: 

  • Douglas-Coffee County Economic Development Authority’s Satilla Park in Douglas
  • Worth County Economic Development Authority’s Worth Industrial Complex in Sylvester

For aerial views of each of these sites and property details visit:

“Amazon, Facebook, Starbucks, and Q CELLS are just a few of the companies in Georgia that have benefited from GRAD Certified properties,” said GDEcD Deputy Commissioner, Global Commerce Scott McMurray. “By earning ‘GRAD Certified Select’ status, our communities are not only telling companies they’re ready to work with them on their next big project, they’re showing them. We look forward to seeing the future jobs and companies that these development-ready sites will attract.”

The Georgia Ready for Accelerated Development (GRAD) Program offers more than 68 industrial certified sites that are ready for fast-track industrial projects, thanks to prior diligence. Economic development groups and landowners interested in obtaining GRAD certification for their property are encouraged to visit for additional information.


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