Hyundai Motor Group’s decision to open an electric vehicle assembly plant in Bryan County marks a watershed moment in the region’s history. It means the end of a 20-year search for a major automaker to locate in the region and the start of explosive growth to be expected in the decades to come.
The electric vehicle maker’s operations will be the state’s largest economic development project, promising more people and more traffic in the area near factories in northern Bryan County.
Business crush? :As Hyundai factory expands, services and suppliers rush to be nearby
These people – and their cars – will need services, from restaurants and gas stations to medical care and groceries. While the 8,100-worker factory is expected to begin production in early 2025, commercial property developers and service-sector businesses plan to build and open retail outlets to meet the demand for new business.
The wave of anticipation for future growth comes after years of preparing for such a project. The wetlands permit for the megasite was filed in 2015 and followed the development of a nearby industrial park, Interstate Centre, a 1,100-acre development that opened in 2006 and is now home to several tenants, including Daniel Defense, Blue Bell Creameries and Dorel Home. Furnishing.
Preparing for Hyundai: Infrastructure
Hyundai is building an 11-building, 16 million square foot electric vehicle assembly plant in rural Bryan County. The plant is to sit on a 3,000 acre site and is expected to employ 8,100 workers when it reaches full capacity. The opening date is January 2025, an aggressive schedule that reflects the growing demand for electric vehicles. The schedule also emphasizes the development of infrastructure on and around the site.
This week, Savannah Morning News reporters will explore key infrastructure challenges ahead.
Tuesday: Roads, bridges and traffic issues
Wednesday: Water and Sewer
Today: services and suppliers
Site preparations for Hyundai officially began on August 1. Several operators have already announced plans to set up facilities around the megasite to support incoming workers, as well as the growing resident population in the northern part of the county. Dozens of suppliers are also expected to set up near the megasite and in neighboring counties as well.
However, the larger ripple effect of this growth will become clearer as more earth and concrete turn and the megasite takes shape.
Here’s what’s happening so far in Bryan County and the surrounding area:
St. Joseph’s/Candler Health Care System, the region’s largest health care provider, announced plans to build two new medical facilities in Bryan County, including one down the street from the megasite. St. Joseph’s/Candler also plans to expand its existing Pooler Micro-Hospital, located 10 miles east of the Hyundai plant, to better serve the incoming population.
Asked about the importance of health care in community planning, Paul Hinchey, CEO of St. Joseph’s/Candler, answered bluntly, “It’s important.
“It’s one of the things people ask when they walk into a room like this. They’ll ask about schools, they’ll ask about Quickstart, they’ll ask about sewage, and they’ll ask about health care,” Hinchey said.
Hyundai factory:What you need to know about roads, bridges and traffic changes near the megasite
Traffic in the middle of nowhere? :Residents near the future Hyundai factory prepare for road changes
Hyundai infrastructure:What you need to know about water and sewer related to the megasite
It all comes down to poo:Fixing water and sewer issues key to attracting Hyundai
After:Hyundai agreement in Bryan County terminated. Here are three takeaways from the incentive package.
Three St. Joseph facilities currently operate in Richmond Hill and Pembroke, the two incorporated towns of Bryan County. Their services include emergency care, primary care, oncology and cardiology. The closest full-service facility is located in Savannah.
Before:St. Joseph’s/Candler Announces Plans for New Regional Medical Center Near Bryan County Megasite
St. Joseph’s/Candler is building a six-acre medical complex near the Interstate 16/US 280 interchange. The project will eventually cover 40,000 square feet and house primary health care services such as primary care physicians, nursing emergency, occupational therapy and in-demand diagnostic and clinical services.
Hinchey says the North Bryan facility will initially focus on labor needs there, as the residential population isn’t quite as robust yet, but “eventually will be.”
“It will be primary care, extended hours, heavy on workers’ pay and heavy on [occupational medicine]said Hinchey.
The site is expected to open in July 2024.
In 2019, St. Joseph’s / Candler opened a 50,000 square foot micro-hospital in Pooler. Located on Pooler Parkway just off I-16, it sits on a 31-acre site with plenty of room for expansion, according to Hinchey. The expansion will eventually lead to more sophisticated services and night beds across 220,000 square feet of space. Construction will take place over the next 15 to 20 years.
After:St. Joseph’s/Candler partners with Raydient for 27-acre campus at Heartwood in Richmond Hill
In South Bryan County, St. Joseph’s/Candler recently announced a 27-acre campus to be developed as part of Heartwood in Richmond Hill, a 10,000-unit housing development on Belfast Keller Road near Interchange I -95. The master plan for the SJC/Heartwood Medical Campus calls for five buildings, starting with a $15 million, 15,000 square foot facility for primary and urgent care.
The first phase of the project is expected to be completed in February 2024.
Fuel and food
Parker convenience stores have had a presence near what is now Bryan’s megasite since 2008. The Savannah-based gas station and convenience store chain opened the location two miles north of the Hyundai site to serve traffic along from US 80.
The company plans to build a new Parker Kitchen in late 2023 or early 2024 on an 18-acre site on US 280 closer to the entrance to the Bryan County megasite. The new location will be a hybrid truck stop and convenience store.
Greg Parker, Founder and CEO of Parker’s, said the company has been strategically acquiring sites in key growth areas along I-95 and I-16 for years, the main thoroughfares that lead to the operations of the Georgia Port Authority. Parker described the Bryan County megasite in particular as a “rural acupuncture point”.
“Development will radiate out from this particular location,” Parker said, “I expect to see a number of new residential communities, restaurants, stores and services open in Bryan County to accommodate new residents. who will move to the area in the future.
Another major gasoline retailer, Love’s Travel Stop, also has a location at the I-16/US 290 interchange. Love opened in 2020.
At the I-16/US 280 junction, a commercial site called Interstate Exchange is currently under development. The 41.9-acre site will be located directly adjacent to the megasite and is intended for amenities such as restaurants, hotels and convenience stores as well as flexible warehouses.
Six of the 11 plots are currently listed for sale or lease, and four are already under contract, according to Harvey Gilbert, the property’s real estate broker.
The Interstate Exchange development will serve the needs of surrounding residents, employees and travelers of I-16 as well as two distribution parks located on the north and south sides of the commercial development.
Gilbert could not disclose those specific businesses, but said there would potentially be a hotel, motel, quick service and fast food restaurants; a travel center, consisting of a convenience store, gas pumps for cars, trucks and 18-wheelers; and a full-service truck stop with overnight repairs and parking.
Gilbert called the development a team effort between property owner Zeke Gaines, Bryan County and the Bryan County Development Authority.
“I would stress that development these days is a collaborative effort,” Gilbert said. “And you have to keep the lines of communication open.”
The Savannah Harbor-Interstate 16 Joint Development Authority (JDA) said it is already fielding many calls from vendors looking to locate near the megasite. According to the JDA, some are looking to locate nearby and others are looking up to 30 miles away, an indication of how far the growth will radiate from the main site.
“Hyundai picks suppliers,” said Trip Tollison, CEO of the Savannah Economic Development Authority, “As soon as they get the go-ahead, that’s where our funds go.”
As an original equipment manufacturer, the Hyundai operation will use all types of suppliers – everything that needs to go into making an electric car, from motors to bumpers to mirrors, door handles and seats.
Nancy Guan is the general assignment reporter covering Chatham County municipalities. Reach her at [email protected] or on Twitter @nancyguann.