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Integro could break ground Monday on new headquarters

SALISBURY — The city has completed demolition of the old GX Fitness center in the 300 block of South Main Street and could close on the sale of the property to Integro Technologies as early as Friday, officials said.
Integro, which is buying the land for $250,000, hopes to break ground on the $3.2 million headquarters on Monday, Vice President Shawn Campion told City Council Tuesday.
Council members agreed to provide 76 parking spaces for Integro, including 24 existing spaces behind City Hall and 52 new parking spaces to be constructed by Nov. 1 beside and behind the headquarters, which will stand at the corner of South Main and East Bank streets.
The cost of the parking construction was not discussed, and plans are not complete.
Integro has 25 employees, but the company is building a business center within the two-story headquarters with more than 10,000 square feet for lease. The company also will have a 90-seat auditorium, expected to draw 40 to 90 people on a regular basis for high-tech training classes and professional seminars.
City Manager Doug Paris gave City Council a schematic drawing showing 32 parking spaces between the Integro building and the proposed $8 million Rowan-Salisbury Schools central office, which the city plans to build at the other end of the block, as well as 25 parking spaces behind the Integro building.
The parking spaces would be restricted for Integro’s use from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., then available to the public.
That’s phase one of the parking construction. The city also has agreed to build at least 160 parking spaces for the school central office.
Councilman Brian Miller asked if the city can fulfill its parking pledge to the school system if it builds 52 spaces for Integro.
“We’ve got a plethora of parking for the development,” Paris said.
Paris said staff soon will present to City Council several parking options and costs for phase two, including surface-level spaces as well as a second layer of parking over the Integro spaces behind the new headquarters.
There are also 12 on-street parking spaces in front of and beside the future Integro building, which would not be restricted.
Together, the central office and Integro projects will bring up to 190 jobs to downtown, Paris has said.
Integro designs systems to ensure quality on production lines. Clients include Fortune 500 companies like BMW, Bausch & Lomb and Kimberly-Clark.
The demolition of GX Fitness follows a massive contamination cleanup at the other end of the block, after the city demolished a former service station and discovered seven orphan underground storage tanks. The state reimbursed the city $430,000 to pay for the cleanup.
The city and school system are working on an interlocal agreement that would outline financing and lease of the building. The state Local Government Commission would have to approve the plan before the city borrows $8 million on behalf of the school system.
Last week, City Council agreed to exempt Salisbury from the bid process for design of the school building and the parking lots because extensive work has been done on the projects by two local architects.
The city is expected to approve contracts on June 18 with Bill Burgin for design of the central office and Gray Stout for parking design. Stout is the architect for the Integro project.
Taking the exemption from the bid requirement saves about 60 days, Assistant City Manager John Sofley told City Council.
There is some sense of urgency to begin construction on the school building. A proposed state law would allow the Rowan County Board of Commissioners, which pulled the plug on the downtown central office before the city agreed to consider borrowing the money, to take ownership of all school property.
The city has said the legislation would not affect the central office project, but school officials have said they want to “get a shovel in the ground.”
Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.

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