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Highlands Business Park: Four Years Later

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader

150 of the 224 acres at the Highlands Business Park remain available for development.

The park located along Cookeville’s I-40 opened four years ago. Highlands Economic Partnership Vice President Stephen Crook said despite COVID-19 slowing business, outside and local employers are highly interested in the park’s potential.

“We do feel that from new project leads as well as from the overall growth in the community and what that presents is an opportunity for companies to come in and existing companies to expand,” Crook said. “We’re very bullish on the position of the business park as well as the future of the community.”

A total of 11 plots have been developed. Crook said one change is the park was designed to house small businesses requiring five to ten acres each. Now the park’s industry has shifted to larger businesses needing 30 to 100 acres.

“The thing about the business park as it stands is it’s certified as a singular plot,” Crook said. “If an individual prospect sees a couple of outlines properties that may suit better together for their purposes, then we can combine them and reposition the configuration of the park.”

Crook said since the properties are considered a mid-to-long term investment, it can take up to ten years to build out a business.

“It’s really based on economic conditions and circumstances, but the last thing you need is a community to have an opportunity to solicit a high paying employer,” Crook said. “But the moons do not align because you do not have the right inventory to provide a place for them to locate.”

The business park has bioswales, utility infrastructure, telecommunications, a 10-mega-watt substation, and on-site renewable energy. Crook said these amenities combined with the strong local community makes the park’s assets marketable. He said Putnam County has aggressive and comprehensive workforce development education initiatives, collaborative K-12 to Ph.D. academic institutions, and a plethora of employer variety.


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