Gadsden moves forward with IDA lease on site expansion project

Actions taken by the City of Gadsden over the past two weeks will continue work to develop unused space at the Coosa Landing site – and, as city leaders envision, support development efforts local economics, entrepreneurship and innovation in Gadsden and Etowah County.

City Council approved a $1.4 million bid to develop 7,000 square feet of undeveloped space at The Venue, and this week voted to lease that part of the building to the Gadsden-Etowah Industrial Development Authority for 4 000 dollars per month.

“We are thrilled to continue our waterfront development with an investment that will encourage the growth of the local economy,” said Gadsden Mayor Sherman Guyton.

Describing the renovation at this week’s council meeting, Gadsden-Etowah Industrial Development Authority Director David Hooks described the project as Phase 4 of the town’s waterfront development.

The first, he said, was the bait shop; second, the development of the riverside path; and the third, the construction of The Venue. The fourth phase, Hooks said, will use one-third of the facility’s remaining 21,000 square feet.

The plan is to divide The Venue’s renovated space into four parts: 25% as offices for the Gadsden-Etowah Industrial Development Authority, 25% as offices for the East Central Alabama Area Health Education Council, 25% as as a coworking space and 25% as a common space.

The purpose of the coworking space is to provide a place for people wanting to set up a start-up as well as people who currently work from home but need office space with a physical address, according to a statement. of the town of Gadsden. .

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One of the main goals of the space will be to focus on the development of healthcare as an industry sector in the city and county. IDA added healthcare as a targeted industry for development in 2019, Hooks said.

The focus on health care provides another area of ​​cooperation between the City of Gadsden, Gadsden State Community College, and IDA.

IDA is working with Gadsden State to identify potential users of the new development’s coworking space, and is working with the GSCC and local healthcare providers to determine the classes needed to provide a workforce. skilled and qualified work to meet the needs of the future.

IDA will pay the city $4,000 per month in rent for the space. Its offices will move out of the Gadsden & Etowah County Chamber building, where rent last year fell from $125 a month to $4,500 a month.

Hooks said the rent increase was not the main reason for the move; he said that IDA must have its own identity, and that its location in this space, with its purpose, is a good decision.

All rent from the facility will go to the city and IDA will administer its operation, except for rental costs, which will be part of the responsibility of current site staff.

Development is paid for with tax increment funding funds, which can only be spent on infrastructure improvements in the designated TIF district.

Contact Gadsden Times reporter Donna Thornton at 256-393-3284 or [email protected]

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