A state-of-the-art arena and convention center is getting closer to being a reality in Henry County through a public/private partnership with Forest Development Group, Inc. who is redeveloping pristine property located in the area of I-75 and I-675 and donating 80 acres to be used by Henry County to build a world-class convention center, as part of a major mixed-use development that is set to transform the Southside.

According to District V Commissioner Bruce Holmes, a Memorandum of Understanding and a feasibility study are already in process to begin moving the project forward. Details of the new Arena and Convention Center include creating four-lane roads and a trail infrastructure that will connect to Reeves Creek Trail. Originally slated as a warehouse development, the property developer is currently amending its Development of Regional Impact (DRI) with the Atlanta Regional Commission.

Developer Gary Furrow said that the major mixed-use development will be the premier destination on this side of Atlanta.

Holmes said he is excited about the possibilities that this new development will bring to Henry County and its potential for cultural and economic growth.

“This new site is the perfect location for the convention center and arena. We’ve created an incredible public/ private partnership where 80 acres will be donated to the county while the developer will cover the cost of building out the entire road infrastructure,” said Holmes. “This project will have a powerful impact on the region and will create an entirely new I-75 skyline which will brand Henry County throughout the world.  This will be a regional project that will have a tremendous direct and indirect impact creating an entirely new cultural atmosphere and sense of place that will attract talent to our communities.” 

Holmes also spoke about the plan being revised from a warehouse community to a high-end mixed-use development.

“This site was recently slated to be a warehouse community, however in an effort to diversify and pivot away from those types of developments, we were able to convince the developer to come up with a plan better suited for Stockbridge and citizens along the I-75 corridor ensuring best use and benefit for all Henry County citizens. Based on its proximity to Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson International Airport and Downtown Atlanta, Henry County will become a player in the region and a destination location for events such as sports tournaments, conventions, dog shows, rodeos, auto shows, high school graduations and benefit from major events frequently hosted by the City of Atlanta such as the Super Bowl and next year’s Final Four.”

District IV Commissioner Vivian Thomas echoed Holmes’ sentiments and lauded this as a progressive step for Henry County.

“Building a progressive and innovative Henry County requires vision and planning, followed with implementation. With this public/private partnership, building a convention center and arena in Henry County is a giant step in the right direction for a progressively growing county. We have the perfect site, at the intersection of I-75 and I-675, allowing for maximum exposure and easy access. Commissioners are adding new descriptors to the profile of Henry County with this development.”

She also extolled the potential for economic development and employment opportunities with high-paying jobs.

“A convention and arena center, inclusive of an entertainment venue means jobs; upscale dinning and accommodations, jobs; innovative office space, jobs; fashionable shopping, jobs; medical center, jobs; art center, and yes, jobs!” said Thomas. “I welcome this development for the positive economic impact it will have for the entire county. The green space, parks and walking trails added, provide for the high quality of life enjoyed by our citizens. The developer did a great job listening and by providing a mixture of housing throughout the development. This is an astounding achievement for Henry County and it is a springboard to attracting similar developments to the county. We are moving Henry County forward!”

The new project is scheduled to be heard at the May 9 Zoning Advisory Board meeting for approval of the zoning. After a notice of decision regarding the DRI is made, it will go to the Henry County Board of Commissioners for a final decision.