Officials sign options securing area’s first megasite

HATTIESBURG — Officials have signed options securing a 2,222-acre industrial site in Forrest and Lamar counties.

Area Development Partnership president Chad Newell told the Hattiesburg American it’s the first megasite in southern Mississippi.

The idea is to have a large parcel with good transportation links to market to manufacturers. The land is in unincorporated areas of Forrest and Lamar counties, with 2.8 miles of frontage along Interstate 59 and 1.2 miles of frontage along U.S. 11.

“Before, we did not have a mega-site in our portfolio and we would have to pass on projects because we did not have a large, contiguous industrial site that manufacturers needed,” Newell said.

Forrest County Board of Supervisors President David Hogan said Forrest and Lamar counties will split the costs of feasibility and environmental studies of the site. Officials aren’t releasing how much they could pay for the site if they exercise the options to buy the land, citing confidentiality agreements. The options are good for two years.

Local officials pursued a megasite after the Hattiesburg-Forrest County Industrial Park began to fill up. Hogan said the Forrest County Board of Supervisors asked the industrial park commission to look for new land for industries. After talks with Lamar County and the ADP, the organizations began looking for a potential mega-site location.

“It could be used for a number of things simply because of the sheer size of the site,” Lamar County Board of Supervisors President Joe Bounds said. “We felt, if we could get this on the market, we could attract some major industry.”

Megasites elsewhere in Mississippi have been used to attract the Severstal steel mill and PACCAR engine factory in Columbus and the Toyota assembly plant in Blue Springs.

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