• 52°

EDC’s main focus now on the need for industrial buildings

SALISBURY — Economic developers will focus on the county’s lack of available industrial buildings as a top priority this year.
Board members for RowanWorks Economic Development Commission agreed during their annual retreat this past week to form a work group to study the building issue and come up with possible solutions.
Earlier this year, the economic development services team for the Charlotte Regional Partnership told Rowan leaders that the county’s biggest obstacle to attracting new industry is the lack of for-sale industrial buildings.
While the entire region has a lack of available class A property because the private sector stopped construction during the recession, the shortage of buildings is especially noticeable in Rowan, where 1 million square feet of industrial space was sold or leased in the past 12 months, RowanWorks Executive Director Robert Van Geons said.
Van Geons said he’s had to pass on a dozen requests for proposals in the past month because the companies looking to relocate or expand wanted to buy, not build.
“We don’t have the property,” he said.
The only freestanding, available building larger than 20,000 square feet in the county is the Coca-Cola building on South Main Street in Salisbury, Van Geons said. The former Cone Mills plant has several tenants, he said.
To meet the need, some communities are constructing large, vacant industrial buildings to lure companies. Statesville recently put up a speculative building and landed a manufacturer.
Rowan County Commission Vice Chairman Craig Pierce said the EDC should not count on the county to fix the problem.
“We will not build a spec building,” Pierce said during the retreat.
County Commissioner Chad Mitchell also has expressed doubt about a publicly funded spec building, saying in February the county does not have a high tolerance for risk. The last time Rowan constructed a spec building in Summit Corporate Center, it took years to sell, he said.
Rowan still has plenty of vacant space in Summit to locate a spec building.
EDC board member Jim Greene said the community needs to get the word out to developers and contractors that Rowan is getting calls from potential new companies but has no buildings left.
“We need to get the word to folks who have the resources to build a shell,” Greene said. “They need to know how much interest there is month to month.”
Board member Dr. Carol Spalding suggested the EDC host a seminar with area developers to detail the types of industry looking for a home in Rowan and what kind of buildings companies desire.
“The timing has been bad for something like this, but I think maybe it’s turned,” Spalding said.
She suggested investigating whether the N.C. Department of Commerce or Gov. Pat McCrory, who graduated from Catawba College and has friends in the area, could help identify loans or grants to help pay for a spec building in Rowan.
Chairman Pete Teague said the EDC needs to let developers know specifically what prospective companies want in a building. Teague suggested creating the work group and mentioned including the Rowan County Chamber of Commerce in the effort.
New Chamber of Commerce President Elaine Spalding attended the retreat.
Van Geons said four existing industries in Rowan have contacted the EDC about expanding. While they are all considering new construction or adding on to their existing facilities, Van Geons said Rowan runs the risk of losing them if the companies decide they would rather buy a standing building.
“When we have no product for them, they start looking elsewhere,” he said.

Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.

Comments

Comments closed.

Education

Superintendent talks first 100 days, dives into district data

Business

‘It was an answer to a call:’ TenderHearted Home Care celebrates 10 years of providing care at home

News

Political Notebook: Local polls find increasing number of North Carolinians want COVID-19 vaccine

News

Trial begins on challenge to latest NC voter ID law

Local

Burch, Fisher, Marsh honored as 2021 recipients of Elizabeth Duncan Koontz Humanitarian Award

Landis

Landis board talks revenues, budget planning, department updates

College

College baseball: Catawba rolls 7-1 and 24-1

Nation/World

Student fires at officers at Tennessee school, is killed

Nation/World

Police: Minnesota officer meant to draw Taser, not handgun

Crime

Man receives consecutive prison sentences for sex offenses

BREAKING NEWS

RSS Board of Education approves Faith Elementary sale

Coronavirus

Rowan Health Department receives 400 Pfizer, 800 Johnson & Johnson vaccines for week

Crime

Blotter: Accident in Food Lion only weekend shooting to produce injuries

Crime

Salisbury man charged with felony drug crimes

Crime

Second person charged in thefts from house near county line

Crime

Police use tear gas to end robbery stand off, arrest suspect

Local

Ask Us: When will Rowan Public Library’s West Branch open?

Nation/World

Prosecution case nears end in ex-cop’s trial in Floyd death

Nation/World

Officer accused of force in stop of Black Army officer fired

Crime

Blotter: Man charged with hitting man with car, fleeing while intoxicated

Local

‘Meet the need’: Rowan County Health Department looks to add to vaccination options

Local

Seaford is first woman in county hired for town manager position since the ’90s

Local

Colonial Spring Frolic makes a comeback to kick off museum’s year

Local

Concord City Council wants to name bridge for fallen officer, Rowan native