380-acre Platinum site faces foreclosure

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 28, 2012

SALISBURY – One of Rowan County’s largest available industrial sites faces foreclosure and may be sold next month on the courthouse steps.
The vacant 380-acre Platinum site, owned by Platinum Construction Corp. in Winston-Salem, is bordered by Interstate 85, Webb Road, Peeler Road and U.S. 29. The public auction is set for Dec. 10.
Platinum owner and president Andrew “Flip” Filipowski, a software entrepreneur, owed $3.38 million in principal, interest and attorney’s fees as of May 24, according to a letter in the court file from an attorney representing Southern Community Bank.
Platinum owes $18,265 in 2012 property taxes to Rowan County.
Filipowski, who could not be reached for comment, made his career and fortune in technology. He is the top executive for SilkRoad Equity, a private investment firm, and founded several software companies.
The Platinum site in Rowan County contains many parcels formerly owned by farmers and churches. In early 2001, Platinum Construction Corp. had plans to build a NASCAR-style practice track on the site.
However the project ran into difficulties that included access to I-85, county officials said at the time.
Platinum put the property up for sale, and local economic developers have been working to find a buyer ever since. Prices start at $18,750 per acre.
The foreclosure should not dissuade potential buyers and could make the site more attractive, said Robert Van Geons, executive director for RowanWorks Economic Development Commission.
“It could draw a lot of additional interest in the property,” Van Geons said.
While some investors may hope to get a good deal on foreclosed land, the EDC does not want the property to remain idle.
“Our goal is to see job creation happen on that site,” he said. “Our hope is to see it put to active use.”
Van Geons said he’s showing the property more often and to larger potential projects, including two recent showings. While zoned industrial, the land could host anything from manufacturing to distribution to retail, he said.
“It’s a great site,” he said. “One of the best in Rowan County.”
Regardless of who owns the property, the EDC will work with the owner to market and sell the site, Van Geons said.
Salisbury and Rowan County ran water and sewer lines through the property a few years ago, and the site has been certified by the state as shovel-ready – one of four certified sites in Rowan.
That means the first phase of environmental testing has been done and an owner “could buy it with good confidence that it would not have unforeseen surprises,” Van Geons said.
Recent conversations have included the possibility of two large users sharing the site, or subdividing the property into a business park with multiple users.
“We’re going to continue to market it,” Van Geons said. “This is nothing that would stop a project from considering it.”
Filipowski co-owned the Winston-Salem Dash, a minor league baseball team, with his former business partner, Billy Prim. Filipowski’s high-profile 2009 divorce helped lead to the end of the business relationship.
The sister of his ex-wife, Veronica Filipowski, is married to Prim.
Construction on the new baseball stadium in Winston-Salem was delayed for months as Prim and Filipowski dissolved their partnership.
Filipowski has faced foreclosure proceedings on commercial and resort properties he owns around North Myrtle Beach, S.C., including Barefoot Landing.
Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.