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By Mark Wineka
Salisbury Post
Details on a wind tunnel project related to the motorsports industry will be distributed to the Rowan County Board of Commissioners by the end of this week.
A Japanese company, as yet unnamed, proposes an investment of roughly $74 million in Rowan County, according to Randy Harrell, executive director of the Salisbury-Rowan Economic Development Commission.
Harrell confirmed Wednesday that “Project Wind” will be seeking extra incentives from commissioners.
Earlier Post reports said the company wants 80 percent of its taxes rebated for six years, instead of the five specified in the regular incentive grant program.
Commissioners will receive packets of information on the company as early as Friday, so they have a chance to review the information before their Aug. 20 meeting.
A public hearing on the incentives package is expected to be scheduled for Sept. 4.
The company apparently is interested in 89 acres off Peach Orchard Road being developed by Toyota Racing Development.
“This is going to be exciting news for Rowan County,” Harrell said. But he stressed it will be contingent on the incentives package.
Harrell said he was glad commissioners will receive information in advance from consultant John Hunter, who has been helping the company in its search for a site.
In May, Salisbury-Rowan EDC officials were concerned that a published Post story about the project had soured the company on Rowan and led it to look elsewhere. They released a transcript of a telephone message received from Hunter as evidence of how their efforts at confidentiality had been compromised.
Toyota Racing Development received approval from the Rowan County Board of Commissioners Monday for a six-lot planned unit development that will mix industrial, office and research uses.
The tract is divided into lots ranging from 5 to 36 acres.
Officials of Kimley-Horn and Associates, the engineering firm representing Toyota, pointed out a change in the original plan after residents raised safety concerns about the proximity of the entrance to a curve on Peach Orchard Road.
The revised design moves the entrance to the development farther east on Peach Orchard Road.
Commissioners unanimously approved the plan on a motion by Commissioner Jim Sides.
The EDC heard more encouraging news Wednesday from board member Bill Wagoner, who announced that Home Depot Supply would be moving into a 32,000-square-foot building in the Southmark Corporate Center.
The shell building on Automotive Drive was built by Wagoner and has been on the market for several years. Wagoner said the building in the Southmark center (off U.S. 29 South) will be upfitted and leased to Home Depot Supply, a wholesale branch of the well-known national retailer.
Home Depot Supply is currently in the former Hughes Supply location on South Main Street in Salisbury. It serves business customers such as homebuilders, contractors, architects, plumbers, municipalities and maintenance professionals.
Home Depot bought out Orlando, Fla.-based Hughes Supply stores in January 2006.
Wagoner said the company hopes to be in the Southmark building by November. The building will triple Home Depot Supply’s interior space and quadruple its outside area, Wagoner said. The building is on a 5-acre site.
The building also was constructed to be expandable to roughly 60,000 square feet.
The new location will offer space for offices, a distribution center, a “self-pick center” and passive and interactive showrooms, according to Wagoner.
No immediate change in the number of Home Depot Supply employees is anticipated.
Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263 or mwineka@salisburypost.com.

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