RowanWorks analysis: Integro, school central office will have positive economic impact

SALISBURY — RowanWorks says a new central school office and Integro Technologies have the potential for adding $1.25 million in local retail and increasing the city and county tax base by about $4 million.

Robert VanGeons, executive director of Rowan Works, gave Salisbury City Council updated economic impact estimates Tuesday for both projects in the 300 block of South Main Street.

Council took another step Tuesday toward building a central office next to Integro for Rowan-Salisbury Schools. Council voted 4-0 to adopt a lease-purchase resolution to finance construction and equipping of a schools office.

The 62,000-square-foot building, if constructed at 329 S. Main St., has an estimated price tag now of $8.37 million.

Council also set a public hearing for July 16 on the lease-purchase financing for the school office. Integro Technologies already has started construction on its new $4 million headquarters.

Council members greeted the RowanWorks report and comments from Assistant City Manager John Sofley with enthusiasm.

To have two beautiful buildings on South Main Street will be “a really good start,” Mayor Paul Woodson said.

“We’re just full-steam ahead,” he added.

Woodson said he hopes the public will show up at the July 16 hearing and give the council its input on the school financing plan. He said he has not heard one negative comment about Salisbury’s role with the central office.

Councilman William “Pete” Kennedy said it was exciting to be part of council’s thinking outside the box in redeveloping the 300 block of South Main Street. It reminded Kennedy, who is in his 20th year on the council, with the city’s efforts in redeveloping the Towne Mall site, Flowers Bakery area and The Plaza.

As a former educator, Kennedy said it also was “exciting for us to take a stand to help our school system.” As with school merger, it was another way to give back and support the schools, Kennedy said.

Sofley, who has been working at putting the financing together for the central office project, said the redevelopment shows Salisbury as a vibrant, progressive community.

The school system would be allowed to enter lease purchase agreements without approval from the Rowan County Board of Commissioners, which earlier rejected the same South Main Street site and withdrew $6 million toward funding a central office.

The city would pass through its debt costs and any facility operating costs to the schools, Sofley said.

Councilman Brian Miller expressed thanks for the information from RowanWorks and city staff Tuesday and said he looked forward to the conversation and public input July 16.

Councilwoman Karen Alexander said the redevelopment project is an exciting example of the power of collaboration. A more than $11 million investment in a town of 33,000 with a budget of $36 million is pretty impressive, she said.

RowanWorks had previously given council an economic impact analysis for Integro Technologies alone. Its updated report, given to council only a short time before its Tuesday meeting, looks at the total impact of both Integro and the central office.

In summary, the report said 123 temporary construction jobs would be created and 260 full-time jobs would be supported. The development would capture about $1.25 million in local retail service and entertainment expenditures, while increasing the city and county tax base by approximately $4 million.

The RowanWorks report said the development will provide sales and property tax revenue in excess of $60,000 per year.

It also would create new opportunities for entrepreneurial development and collaborative public/private educational partnerships, according to RowanWorks. The Integro project includes a Salisbury Business Center providing key-man space, individual offices or office condominiums to companies or employees who telecommute.

Part of the SBC will have a 90-seat auditorium, expected to draw 40 to 90 people on a regular basis for high-tech training and professional seminars.

“When completed, these projects will reflect positively on our community, highlighting successful public-private partnerships, further advancing the city of Salisbury’s reputation as a business-friendly community,” the RowanWorks analysis said.

Sofley noted the city’s partnership in other projects not mentioned by Kennedy that included Easy Street, the Gateway building, the Fisher Street entertainment district and North Lee Street/Railwalk.

Council members seemed to agree Tuesday that the South Main Street projects will represent a major transformation.

“It’s going to change the city,” Kennedy said.

Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263.

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