County keeps growing despite economy

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 1, 2009

By Mark Wineka
For more than five years, Walser Technology Group Inc. has worked out of its Salisbury headquarters on the third floor of The Plaza, the city-owned landmark on the Square.
Owner Brad Walser has enjoyed being able to walk to restaurants, the post office and the bank.
“We’ve enjoyed the downtown,” Walser says. “We’re partial to it.”
Walser’s business has reached a critical growth point, however, and Walser contracted with Sullivan Builders to renovate the building at 108 S. Main St. He hopes to move his three full-time and four part-time employees into the new location by the end of March.
Walser Technology Group counts itself among several building projects that are under way, despite the tightening economy.
Construction activity remains slow, but it has not come to a grinding halt.
The Post looked at commercial building permits issued since November, and some $14.2 million in projects ó new buildings, upfits or remodelings ó are in the works or even completed.
Some other projects, which were bid out before November, are progressing well, such as a strip of retail shops next to Kohl’s off Klumac Road and the new Sacred Heart Catholic Church and School off Jake Alexander Boulevard North.
Both are multi-million-dollar projects.
In addition, Salisbury Housing Authority’s $2.8 million Carpenter’s Corner at South Long and Shaver streets continues to make progress. The housing project for low- and moderate-income elderly will include 11 single-story duplex buildings, where Lincoln Park Apartments once stood.
The project is named for Julian W. “Sonny” Carpenter, a longtime member of the authority’s board of commissioners.
On 2009’s construction horizon is the city of Salisbury’s $4 million Customer Service Center, a new 26,000-square-foot facility designed by Salisbury architect Karen Alexander.
It will house the city’s fiber-optic cable facility and provide a home for the Technology Services Division and the city’s overall customer service operations.
A building permit has yet to be issued. The city’s Technical Review Committee will look at the site plan Feb. 19. Salisbury City Council gave its nod to the plans last Tuesday.
Before council, Alexander shared her design for the modern-looking facility and described it as pragmatic, energy-efficient and “a salt-of-the-earth building” with lots of flexible space.
“It has been a tremendous challenge,” Alexander said. “We’re working on it at the speed of light.”
Significant construction permits issued in Rowan County since November include the $5.8 million remodeling of offices at the Food Lion headquarters off Executive Drive.
The other major project recently started is the $3.1 million Department of Social Services addition to the Rowan County Health Department building between East Innes Street and Faith Road.
Walser and his business set things in motion for a relocation to 108 S. Main St. months ago.
“We’re doing OK, knock on wood,” Walser says, reflecting on the current economic conditions.
The location at 108 S. Main St. once was home to the original Ruby’s dress shop. It most recently had been a store for Piedmont Medical Supply. The renovations are costing $289,940, according to the building permit.
The former store takes up 3,815 square feet, but Walser says he will be leaving about 1,600 square feet upstairs unfinished, allowing room for future growth.
Walser Technology Group is a technology services company specializing in system integration and contract support services for small- to medium-sized businesses.
Here’s a brief summary of some other building projects in the county:
– R.L. Casey Inc. of Greensboro is the general contractor for the new Rowan County Department of Social Services building at 1811 E. Innes St. The project has a valuation of $3,192,608 and covers some 27,056 square feet.
– Food Lion is remodeling some 49,479 square feet of offices at 2110 Executive Drive. Two building permits were issued to R.T. Dooley Construction Co. for a total valuation of $5,838,522.
Piedmont Eye Physicians has a $1,005,550 commercial upfit planned for 530 Corporate Drive. The project encompasses 11,050 square feet, and A.L. Miller Construction is the contractor.
– Carolina Building Group is the contractor on a 9,440-square-foot building erected for Reawad LLC at 1073 Speedway Blvd., located in the county’s Speedway Business Park.
The new facility is valued at $859,040. Russell Waddell, Mark Shores and Brady Reavis are listed as agents for Reawad.
– East Coast Wings and Grill is doing a $503,440 commercial upfit of a store building in the Innes Street Market at 211 Faith Road. The work takes in 4,340 square feet. The restaurant looks to open by late March or early April and will be located next to Lowe’s.
– A new convenience store/chicken and pizza restaurant is being built on an outparcel at Third Creek Station in Cleveland. The location will sell gas and cover 4,671 square feet. The project is valued at $392,364, and MCT General Contractors of Monroe is the builder.
H&B Realty of Glen Mills, Pa., is listed as the owner.
– Cecil Perry obtained a building permit for an 8,000-square-foot commercial storage building at 6070 N.C. 152 Highway. The building is valued at $376,000.
– Grove Supply at 1600 N. Main St., China Grove, is doing a $359,000 commercial remodeling. Speck Builders Inc. is the contractor.
– Kannapolis Construction is the contractor for $372,244 of work at the Pizza Hut at 430 U.S. 29 Highway.
– A&H Investments took out a building permit Nov. 20 for a $286,832 commercial upfit of 3,152 square feet at 130 Arlington St. Summit Developers is the contractor.
– Grasshopper Communication spent $140,420 on a 1,190-square-foot store at 475 W. Jake Alexander Blvd., according to a Nov. 10 building permit The store is in the retail strip that includes the Five Guys restaurant at Salisbury Village.
– Southern Spirit Gallery at 102 S. Main St. is renovating 1,600 square feet at 102 S. Main St., Salisbury. The project is valued at $134,400.
– Doug Shell is the owner/contractor for the commercial assembly of a 3,317-square-foot building at 2290 S. U.S. 29 Highway. The project is valued at $371,504.
– Solomon Plumbing at 665 Timber Trail took out a building permit in November for a new 1,472-square-foot building valued at $94,208.
– Lyerly Funeral Home at 523 S. Main St. is building a 960-square-foot crematorium, valued at $65,280. Jeffrey Moore is the contractor.