By Valerie Baldowski
A property swap has helped lure a Phillips-Van Heusen Corporation distribution center to Henry County.
Phillips-Van Heusen Corporation, one of the world's largest apparel companies, plans to relocate from Lee Industrial Park in Austell, and expand its Georgia operations in Liberty Industrial Park, in McDonough.
An exchange of property between Henry County and the Georgia Department of Transportation will allow the company to relocate and expand its distribution operation, according Henry County Manager James "Butch" Sanders.
The county's board of commissioners approved the swap with GADOT on Thursday.
Phillips-Van Heusen is known for manufacturing shirts and neckwear, and it also markets Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger brands worldwide. The company will move its operations from Austell, to an 852,000-square-foot building in Liberty Industrial Park, off Ga. Highway 155.
In the property swap, the county will give GADOT the right-of-way it acquired on other transportation projects along state routes. Henry County will receive an 8.66-acre tract of land in the Liberty Industrial Park, Sanders said. The exchange is scheduled to take place by Monday morning, he added.
"This resolution allows the county to enter into an exchange with Georgia DOT for a remnant piece of property that they no longer need, that they acquired for Interstate 75 construction years ago," Sanders said. "It was a piece of the agreement that enabled Phillips Van-Heusen to make the decision to come to Henry County. This property will, hopefully, be utilized for Phillips-Van Heusen's expansion, over the course of their 20-year lease, which could, potentially, bring more jobs and more tax digest to Henry County."
He said the land swap will result in new investment in the community by the manufacturer. "It takes creative, innovative approaches when it comes to economic development," Sanders added. "To attract an investment like this in your community, it takes a lot of forward-thinking, and agreements between parties such as this."
The exchange was a joint effort between the county and the state, said Henry County Development Authority Executive Director Bob White. "A major consideration for Phillips-Van Heusen, in selecting Henry County for their new distribution center, was their ability to utilize about eight acres of unused Georgia DOT land adjacent to the building they leased in the Liberty Industrial Park," said White.
"Thanks to the direct involvement of [Henry County Commission] Chairman Elizabeth "B.J." Mathis, the board of commissioners, Department of Economic Development Commissioner Heidi Green, and Georgia DOT, a land swap to the county was negotiated. The action by the board of commissioners, today, was to formalize the transfer of that land.
"The net result will be one of the largest economic development projects in Georgia this year, and will ultimately bring more than 300 jobs to Henry County," he added. "The extraordinary 20-year lease commitment by Phillips-Van Heusen ensures that the company will be an important corporate citizen for years to come."
Henry County Chamber of Commerce President Kay Pippin said the arrival of the company will be a plus. "Phillips-Van Heusen's decision to make Henry County the home of their latest logistics operations is a big economic win for this area," said Pippin. "We are pleased to welcome this American apparel company to our community, and we are grateful for the new jobs they are providing that will help our rebounding economy. We look forward to a long and prosperous relationship with Phillips-Van Heusen in the years ahead."