City continues demolition on South Main Street, this time for Integro headquarters

  • Posted: Tuesday, May 21, 2013 1:09 a.m.
Demolition equipment pulls a tree from the ground Monday at the former GX Fitness site, where the city is clearing the way for Integro Technologies to build a new headquarters.
Demolition equipment pulls a tree from the ground Monday at the former GX Fitness site, where the city is clearing the way for Integro Technologies to build a new headquarters.

SALISBURY — Heavy equipment ripped trees from the ground and pulverized pavement Monday as the city started demolishing the former GX Fitness site to make way for Integro Technologies’ $3.2 million headquarters.

Demolition at the corner of South Main and East Bank streets should take about two weeks, depending on weather, said Chris Branham, the city’s Code Services Division manager, who is overseeing the project.

Asbestos removal, which occurred last week, and demolition of the parking lot and buildings will cost the city $81,500, Branham said.

Carolina Envirotech Inc. of Mooresville completed the abatement, and Richard Abernathy Grading of Mount Ulla is doing the demolition.

When the work is done, likely by June 5, the city and Integro will complete the sale of the property, Branham said. Integro is buying the land for $250,000 and is expected to start construction about a week after demolition.

Integro, currently located on North Lee Street in a renovated warehouse, has hired KMD Construction of Salisbury to build the 41,800-square-foot facility, which will include the headquarters and a business center with space for lease. Local architect Gray Stout designed the facility.

The demolition follows a tear-down at the other end of the block, where the city recently removed a former service station to make way for the planned school central office. That project included a massive contamination cleanup, after the city discovered seven orphan underground storage tanks.

City Council will appropriate a $430,000 grant from the state Tuesday to pay for the cleanup. The state had given the site a clean bill of health when the city bought the land in 2007.

City leaders, meeting with school officials last week to discuss the $8 million central office, said Salisbury has the rare opportunity to redevelop an entire downtown block.

“This is huge for our downtown and huge for our community,” City Manager Doug Paris said.

Together, the central office and Integro projects will bring up to 190 jobs to downtown, Paris said.

City Council has yet to vote on borrowing the money on behalf of the Rowan-Salisbury School System, and the state Local Government Commission must give its blessing. City staff are working on a document that will outline financing and lease details.

Shawn Campion, vice president of Integro, said he watched some of the demolition Monday.

“I’m excited,” he said. “I’m ready to go.”

Campion said he expects to move into the back half of the building — primarily the shop area — by September. The rest of the building should be done by December, he said.

Integro designs systems to ensure quality on production lines. Clients include Fortune 500 companies like BMW, Bausch & Lomb and Kimberly-Clark.

In addition to the company headquarters, Integro’s new building will include the Salisbury Business Center, with more than 10,000 square feet for lease.

Campion said the unique office space with access to Integro’s planned 90-seat auditorium has generated a good deal of interest among companies in the automation industry.

“People are looking for space,” he said. “We’ve had lots of feedback about our plans and layout.”

Campion is marketing the business center at a new website, He said he expects the auditorium to draw 40 to 90 people on a regular basis for high-tech training classes and professional seminars.

He said he hasn’t signed a lease yet but expects several companies to sign on after the building is complete.

With sufficient interest, the business center also could house an incubator to help launch start-up companies, according to the website. The incubator would offer a pool of shared resources for entrepreneurs and small business owners to save money and focus on their core business, accelerating their growth.

Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.

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