Savannah's Crossroads Business Center: Developing Wetland Property
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When the federal government changed its definition of what constituted a wetland during the 1980s, it significantly impacted coastal communities such as Savannah, assigning wetland status to greater portions of developable land. The Savannah Economic Development Agency (SEDA) realized that the lengthy environmental permitting process required by The Clean Air Act for wetland property would be a barrier for some companies seeking to locate in Savannah. SEDA worked closely with several environmental groups and related experts to create a development plan and strategy for developing 1,784 acres of land now known as the Crossroads Business Center. In doing so, SEDA has effectively reconciled environmental interests with economic development goals, and has maintained local development control over wetland property. Crossroads Business Center was the first large-scale industrial park to receive a 404 permit. The pre-permit allows companies to locate in Crossroads without incurring the time and expense associated with seeking a permit to cover their individual properties. Once SEDA obtained the permit, it proceeded to develop Crossroads into an environmentally sensitive industrial park that has also enabled coastal Savannah to attract significant investments for corporate headquarters, warehouse and distribution, and manufacturing operations.