Breaking ground: Work begins on Hillman Group’s massive distribution building
The first shovelfuls of Georgia red clay symbolized the beginning of what will be a 425,000-square-foot distribution facility by fall 2022.
It took several years, a lot of cooperation and vision to get to this point.
“Phillip (Hight) and I bought the site in 2017,” Hardman Knox of Hight Knox Properties told a small gathering at the groundbreaking of the Hillman Group facility this week.
That vision included a plot of land that had a dilapidated Florida Tile building next to woods in rural Floyd County. Thus far, it has grown into the 330,000-square-foot Balta Home distribution facility. Within a year, it will be home to an even larger building for the Hillman Group.
“We marketed it in partnership with the Rome-Floyd County Development Authority,” Knox said. “With their support, we were able to land Hillman on this site and build a new 425,000-square-foot state-of-the-art facility.”
The Hillman Group will receive a 10-year tax abatement package, with a 100% abatement the first year decreasing by 10% each year. In lieu of property taxes, the company will make a payment of $36,750 per year to the development authority.
Hillman acquired Rome-based Big Time Products in 2018 and has been looking to consolidate and expand since. Currently, the company has an office on Wilbanks Road along with warehouse and manufacturing space at two other sites.
“They chose to stay here in the community that supported them,” Knox said.
The new facility, encompassing up to 450,000 square feet, will consolidate three locations in Rome, as well as retain 144 existing jobs and add more new jobs.
“We’re thrilled they decided to stay put and add jobs,” authority President Jimmy Byars said.
“It’s a great location and I’m just glad to see dirt moving,” Murphy said.
As part of the planning for expansion, Murphy said the company hired a third-party consultant to see if they were placed in the right location.
Their recommendation showed Ga. 53 as a main freight corridor that suited the company’s needs as a distributor.
“It was either here or Nashville,” Murphy laughed. “A large piece of (the decision) is we’ve been here since the beginning.”
Excavators have already removed most of the trees where the building will be located.
Rick Rodman, business development director at Catamount, said the construction company will be in charge of everything from the architectural design all the way through Hillman moving in.
They’d hoped to be able to move more quickly in the construction of the building but expect to run into supply chain issues. The two most likely holdups are the steel framing for the building and the roofing package.
Essentially that means the completion date is set for the fall of 2022 instead of spring or summer.
“Once we had the commitment from Hillman we were able to get the steel package released,” Catamount’s Rodman said. “It’s in the queue.”