Developer looking at business park Plan is to bring retailer to county-owned site; $40,000 per acre offered

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 6, 2013

SALISBURY — The developer who brought Belk to Wallace Commons wants to build another retail development at Summit Corporate Center.
Hutton Growth One is asking commissioners to reserve property at the county-owned business park for 18 months. It plans to use that time to court retailers, including a “well-known” anchor store, for a new shopping center.
The Rowan County Board of Commissioners will hold a public hearing about the proposed agreement at 3 p.m. Monday on the second floor of the J. Newton Cohen Sr. Rowan County Administration Building.
Robert Van Geons, director of RowanWorks Economic Development, said the project is expected to create at least 250 new jobs and expand the tax base by more than $20 million. It also would generate a substantial amount of new sales tax revenue for the local community, Van Geons said.
“The company is currently searching for high-visibility sites in North Carolina to acquire for commercial and retail development,” he wrote. “Once the land is under option, the company would seek a well-known retailer to anchor a new commercial development on the site.”
Hutton Growth Salisbury LLC, based in Chattanooga, Tenn., is building the expansion of the Wallace Commons shopping center at Klumac Road and Interstate 85. Planned tenants include Michaels Craft, Shoe Carnival, Ulta Beauty and a redesigned Belk, which is moving from the Salisbury Mall.
The developer is offering a purchase price of $40,000 per acre for up to 54.4 acres of land. On behalf of the county, RowanWorks Economic Development has been marketing the Summit property for industrial development at $39,700 per acre. The current per-acre tax value of the property is $27,800.
If Hutton buys all of the optioned land, it would generate more than $2.17 million in revenue for Rowan County, in addition to potential property tax and sales tax revenue, Van Geons said.
“A major commercial development would also help prevent ‘leakage’ of commercial spending dollars from Rowan County into other nearby communities,” Van Geons wrote. “It is estimated that Rowan County loses between $80 million to $110 million a year in retail sales (including food and beverage, and personal service) to other counties.”
The company would make a $55,000 deposit. After 12 months, the county would keep $25,000, regardless of the final outcome of the project. The county would keep an additional $5,000 of the deposit for each of the next six months.
If after one year, the company does not have a letter of interest from a retail anchor considering a project larger than 55,000 square feet, Rowan County can choose to end the option agreement.
Hutton is asking for no incentives from the county other than the land option.
Also at Monday’s meeting, commissioners plan to:
• Consider a request from Rockwell Rural Volunteer Fire Department for the refinancing of an old loan for a fire engine, along with the financing of a new loan for a budgeted tanker.
• Consider a date and time for their budget work session.
• Authorize Rowan Transit Services fleet conversion to a dual fuel system of propane and gasoline.
In a memo to County Manager Gary Page, director Gary Price said the alternative fuel would be cheaper and burn cleaner than gasoline. If 10 vehicles are converted, a propane pump could be placed on site.
The cost of each conversion system installed is either $5,800 or $6,200, depending on chassis and engine configuration. There is no out-of-pocket expense to Rowan County, Price said, and the department would lease the systems until they are paid for and become county property.
• Authorize Rowan Transit Services to apply for a fiscal year 2013 mobile source emission reduction grant from the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Division of Air Quality. The $30,000 grant would support half of the cost of converting 10 vehicles to a dual fuel system.
• Accept Community Services Block Grant documentation for an anti-poverty plan.
• Authorize the transfer of property located near Forney Street and Old Wilkesboro Road to Salisbury Housing Authority. The authority is in the process of expanding the Civic Park Apartments, and the property (a tax foreclosure) would aid public access to the project.
• Authorize the purchase of seven vehicles for the sheriff’s office for nearly $172,000.
• Authorize the removal of an asset, a 1990 Chevrolet van with a 2005 Haulmark trailer, from the EMS division and the transfer of that vehicle to Safe-Kids Rowan.
• Agree to participate in the statewide misdemeanant confinement program to house state inmates. The daily fees would be used to offset current expenses at the satellite jail.
• Approve a revised ambulance fee schedule, which adds a convalescent transport fee of $280. Franchised ambulance provider Quality Care will use the fee to bill its patients for the new service to Rowan County residents.
• Change the administration of the county’s current property and liability insurance program to the N.C. Association of County Commissioners.
• Approve an amendment to the John C. Schofield lease to provide office space for six to eight new N.C. probation and parole officers.
• Approve a resolution to support a bond, stamp and coin program to benefit American warriors and their families.
• Proclaim Jan. 21, 2013, as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Rowan County.
• Consider several budget amendments and board appointments, including appointments to the airport advisory board and the planning board.

Contact reporter Karissa Minn at 704-797-4222.