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Development Authority loses money on cryptocurrency land deal

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The Habersham County Development Authority lost money on the land sale of Pad 10 in the industrial park in Baldwin. The Authority not only spent the proceeds from the sale but spent an additional $181,257.75 on the deal.

Pad 10 was sold to Precision Digital last year so the company could build a facility for high-performance computing, establish a data center, and operate a cryptocurrency mining venture. The property is located across from the Habersham County Airport Terminal in the industrial park.

The 14.46 acre tract was sold based on the buildable acreage of the site. The final amended agreement was signed on August 31, 2023. The buildable acreage for the site was agreed at 3.83 acres at a price of $45,000 per acre. The Development Authority sold the property for $172,350. The deal was brokered through real estate agent Wade Rhodes with the Norton Agency.

The sale had a caveat as part of the agreement. The Development Authority would be responsible and pay for the rough grading of the 3.83 acres and construction of a retention pond on the property.

Project cost

The county put the project out to bid last summer. They received four responses after the closing on the property. International Waste Services, LLC of Atlanta, GA presented a bid of $579,000. T. Frady Hauling, LLC of Mt. Airy, GA presented a bid for $361,265.08. HD Construction of Lincolnton, GA presented a bid price of $353,607.75. The lowest bid was from Square Deal out of Sautee, GA for $330.495.

The selected contractor was HD Construction out of Lincolnton, GA. The company’s bid price was $353,607.75 and the project could be completed within 90 days. HD Construction received a notice to proceed on October 3, 2023.

The lowest bidder was not selected due to the urgency of the grading. Square Deal’s completion date was not until March 2024. According to the sale contract, grading would begin within 90 days of closing on the property. Once the rough grading was completed, the property owner could move forward with construction of their facility while the contractor constructed the retention pond.

According to documents obtained from the county, the county lent Public Works Director Jerry Baggett to be the liaison for project management. The contractor was advised to coordinate all activities related to the project through him. The documents also state that Economic Development Director Charlie Fiveash would be available to assist as necessary.

Habersham County Chief Financial Officer Tim Sims confirmed that the final cost of the project was $353,607.75. He also added that, “Those funds were paid out of the Development Authority account – not county funds.”

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2024-06-22 03:53:00

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