Salisbury-Rowan EDC takes stock of its available space

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Mark Wineka
The Salisbury-Rowan Economic Development Commission took stock Wednesday.
EDC Project Manager Stuart Hair ran down a list of some 31 available industrial buildings in Rowan County.
Of those, one is still in the planning stages ó a 62,500-square-foot shell that the Keith Corp. plans to build in the county-owned Summit Corporate Center.
The 30 other available buildings include eight that could be considered “very good”; 19, “fair”; and three, needing total restorations, according to the EDC report.
A dozen of the buildings are between 4,400 and 10,800 square feet, 10 between 18,116 and 50,000 square feet, four between 62,500 and 111,000 square feet and five from 175,628 on up.
Hair said nothing on the county’s list is new and would be considered a marquee building.
About half of the available industrial buildings are for lease, while the rest are for sale or lease.
Here are the eight that fit into the EDC’s “very good” category:
– Spencer Shoppes, 35,000 square feet, for lease.
– West Market Square, 36,500 square feet, for lease or sale.
– RPM Facility, 42,800 square feet, for sale at $1.2 million.
– Southmark II Building, 48,957 square feet, for lease.
– Woodard Building, 90,000 square feet, for lease.
– Gamewell Building, 175,628 square feet, for lease.
– Performance Fibers Building, 500,000 square feet, sublease.
– American Century Home Building, 566,418, for sale at $7,750,000.
A drawback for existing buildings is the low height of their ceilings. Many times prospects are looking for ceilings at least 25 feet high.
“That often has been the deal killer,” said Robert Van Geons, the EDC’s executive director.
Of the 31 industrial buildings listed, 22 are in Salisbury.
Van Geons sent out a call to all of the EDC’s municipal partners and business and property owners in general.
“If you have a building (available), make sure you have it with us,” he said.
The EDC board members said they were energized by site selection consultant Mark Sweeney’s visit and presentation Tuesday night at Catawba College. Several sponsors covered virtually the entire costs of the Sweeney event, EDC Chairman Jeanie Moore reported.
Van Geons and others said Sweeney, who also toured some sites and had lunch with several community leaders, brought focus to the economic development efforts and reinforced many of the things the EDC already is doing.
It was good to see the community through a site consultant’s eyes, they said.
EDC Board member Phil Kirk said Sweeney was particularly impressed with downtown Salisbury and seemed to mention it about 10 times. A good byproduct also was that the EDC was able to educate an influential site selection consultant about Rowan County, Kirk said.
Moore agreed that Sweeney seemed to be leaving Rowan County with a positive view of the community’s resources.
Van Geons said Sweeney liked Summit Corporate Center and the potential of what’s known as the Platinum site, several hundred acres south of Salisbury between Interstate 85 and U.S. 29.
Sweeney offered some ideas on what could be done to enhance Summit Corporate Center from an appearance standpoint and how the EDC could market the industrial park to different segments.
“I think all of us came away enriched,” Moore said.
Moore liked Sweeney’s wide definition of “product” and how it included a community’s leadership. She said another thing she took away from Sweeney’s presentation was a mantra to “continue your march.”
The economic development efforts to improve product and identify and correct weaknesses should never stop, she said.
EDC Board member Randy Gettys said he was struck by the fast speed at which the site selection process apparently moves forward.
Gettys also noted Sweeney’s comment that his clients often assume smaller communities don’t have amenities such as a hospital, symphony and theater ó all things Salisbury has ó unless those things are emphasized as part of a whole package.