Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 1, 2013
SALISBURY — Do you want to see a 41,800-square-foot building go up in one minute and 37 seconds?
Check out time-lapse photography that shows construction from the ground up of the $3.2 million Integro Technologies headquarters at 301 S. Main St. City and business leaders recently toured the facility.
The video on the Salisbury Business Center’s Facebook page strings together one photograph taken every hour by a camera mounted on top of the Kress Building across the street. A shorter version is available at www.integro-tech.com/Salisbury-Business-Center.aspx .
Integro will occupy the majority of the Salisbury Business Center, the official name of the two-story building under construction at the corner of South Main and East Bank streets. The business center, which has more than 10,000 square feet of office space for lease, just signed its first tenant, Integro President Shawn Campion said.
Charlotte bankruptcy attorney Terry Duncan will relocate to Salisbury with two employees, Campion said, adding that he’s talking to about a dozen other potential tenants. Sharon Baker is the new general manager for the Salisbury Business Center.
As the brick facade goes up four months after the project broke ground, Campion said he expects Integro to move from its current location — a renovated warehouse on North Lee Street — into the new building on Nov. 1. Integro’s manufacturing operations will occupy the backshop at the rear of the building.
The remainder of the Salisbury Business Center should open Jan. 14, Campion said.
Opening day was pushed back a few weeks after difficulty obtaining easements for electrical service, he said. City Council is scheduled to consider a right-of-way agreement with Duke Energy at 4 p.m. today.
The city has agreed to provide 76 parking spaces for Integro, including 24 existing spaces behind City Hall and 52 new parking spaces beside and behind the Salisbury Business Center. The cost of the parking construction has not been discussed by City Council.
Integro has 25 employees, but the headquarters will include state-of-the-art conference rooms and a 90-seat auditorium that Campion expects to draw people from around the region.
He said he’s already fielding inquiries from groups interested in renting the facilities. During the recent tour, Chamber of Commerce President Elaine Spalding listed several organizations that have contacted her about holding meetings in Salisbury and would be interested in the auditorium and conference rooms.
Campion said he expects to have the auditorium booked at least twice a week, with 40 to 90 participants descending on downtown Salisbury for lunch while they’re here. He said he plans to notify local restaurants when they should expect a crowd.
The building has gone up using 95 percent local labor, Campion said.
Integro had to slow down some orders at its current location because it lacks space, he said. With the move-in date only weeks away, the company is now bidding on about $25 million of new projects, he said.
Integro designs quality-control systems for production lines. Clients include Fortune 500 companies like BMW and Kimberly Clark.
The tour, led by Campion and Integro Operations Manager Kevin Mather, included City Manager Doug Paris, Downtown Salisbury Inc. President Mark Lewis, Spalding and others. But the guest of honor was John Leatherman, a local developer and chairman of the Rowan County Republican Party.
Leatherman has been a critic of the proposed downtown school central office, which the city wants to build next door to Integro and lease to Rowan-Salisbury Schools.
City leaders are wooing Leatherman, who’s been a staunch proponent of putting the central office at the Salisbury Mall. The school board voted to build the central office downtown, but Rowan County commissioners declined to fund the project.
Paris asked Leatherman for his help “in resolving this issue.” All of the commissioners are Republicans.
“Your leadership at this moment would be critical and long-lasting,” Paris said in an email.
The central office project stalled after the city said the county interfered with Salisbury’s state application to allow the city to borrow $7.3 million for construction. County officials denied the charge.
During Friday’s tour, Paris asked Leatherman what the city should do about the impasse.
“What’s stopping development on South Main Street is purely political,” Paris said.
Leatherman said better communication would help, but added he would have to think about how the city could specifically improve.
“This is a great start,” he said.
Leatherman told the Post he was impressed with the Integro site, and while he supports a school central office, he is not yet convinced that downtown is the best location.
He said he believes he was invited on the tour because he has expressed concerns about the downtown location. He said he was there as a citizen, not as chairman of the Republican Party.
“There are Republicans on both sides of the central office issue,” he said. “At this point, I’m not taking a side on whether it’s downtown or at the mall or wherever the school board decides. We need more communication, and that’s why I was there.”
Leatherman said he was aware that the school board voted to build the central office downtown.
Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.