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Business park a smart investment

Linbrook Business Park is no longer empty, though there’s no business located there yet.

On Thursday, officials had a ribbon cutting for a spec building in the park. The idea is that the spec building — which was partially paid for with public funds — will help attract the park’s first tenant.

The 50,000-foot-building is just an empty shell, but for the right business it can cut months off their start-up time. And the dirt work has been completed to allow an expansion up to 200,000 square feet.

“Speed-to-market has elevated on companies’ must-have lists steadily over the last 10 years,” Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Garrick Combs said. “When a business identifies an opportunity in the market they want to make sure they can capitalize on that. To cut 12 months off their timeline is a very attractive selling point.”

Linbrook Business Park has sat empty for years, but not because officials haven’t worked hard to attract businesses. That job will be easier now with a spec building. Having a structure to show potential businesses should increase the odds of landing a tenant.

And officials hope that first tenant will help get the ball rolling for the park and more will soon follow.

It’s easy — but shortsighted — to point to the park as an unsuccessful gamble. At the time the park was conceived, the other business park was basically full. So officials smartly planned for future growth.

The Great Recession derailed economic development plans everywhere, and Linbrook was no different. But with a rebounding economy, the business park and spec building should prove to be a wise investment.