Aerial view of Kroger distribution center, Forest Park, GA

by Robin Kemp

The City of Forest Park and Ocado, which is building a customer fulfillment center at Gillem Logistics Center, will appear before Clayton County Superior Court Judge Robert Mack on December 28 at 9 a.m. for a bond validation hearing.

The bond validation hearing is part of the process for issuing bonds to pay for public projects. Bond validation usually takes about 30 days but can end sooner.

The revenue bond is called “Development Authority of the City of Forest Park, Georgia Economic Development Revenue Bond (Ocado Solutions (US) ProCo LLC Project), Series 2020.” The original principal amount is up to $125,000,000.

The money will be used to “financ(e) the costs of acquiring equipment to be used in logistics and warehouse facilities owned by the Authority,” which will in turn rent out the facility to Ocado Solutions (US) ProCo LLC (the “Tenant”), which is a Delaware corporation. Development authorities offer tax incentives in order to lure new businesses to a location.

By law, any person who has a right to object to the deal has the right to join the proceedings as a party.

Interested parties can find out how to join the hearing by videoconference, by e-mailing ashley.Hammerstone@claytoncountyga.gov or melissa.eastin@claytoncountyga.gov.

The public notice of the bond performance hearing includes a waiver of public accountability, which means that state law prevents a performance audit or performance review of the bond.

However, that law does provide for the state inspector general to review “any claim of fraud, waste, abuse, or mismanagement of funds.”

The case number is 2020CV03202-11.

Ocado Solutions specializes in automated warehouses for groceries, using specialized robots to pick groceries for online customer orders. In 2019, Ocado and Kroger, which already has warehouse facilities at Gillem Logistics Center, announced its partnership would bring 410 jobs to Forest Park. Kroger has an equity investment in Ocado, according to the grocery chain’s latest 10-Q SEC quarterly filing of December 15, 2020.

Learn more about Ocado’s and Kroger’s relationship, which includes several customer fulfillment centers around the United States.

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