County Commissioners will consider spec buildings deal

Published 12:10 am Sunday, January 31, 2016

Rowan County Commissioners hope to minimize risk and reap rewards of private development in a deal to construct speculative buildings in Granite Quarry’s industrial park.

As part of their regularly scheduled meeting, commissioners on Monday will hold a public hearing for a speculative buildings deal that would initially result in two speculative buildings in Granite Quarry. The deal also has potential for a few more buildings, according to County Commissioners Chairman Greg Edds. Commissioners are expected to vote on, and likely approve, the deal after having a public hearing.

The meeting and public hearing will be at 3 p.m. in the Rowan County Administration Building — 130 West Innes Street.

A January memo from Rowan Works Economic Development Director Robert Van Geons to county officials lays out the proposal, which has been discussed in closed session for multiple months. Van Geons in the memo writes that an unnamed company, with approval of commissioners, would construct two speculative buildings on a 35-acre tract of land adjacent to Gildan’s Heilig Road plant. County leaders have designated the land as an industrial park, and contracted with Triad Commercial Properties, a company with offices in Winston-Salem and Greensboro, to find developers.

“The critical part is getting the spec buildings, then Robert Van Geons and Triad Commercial can actually go to work doing what they do,” Edds said. “What they actually do is match up companies from around North America and in this region to available space.”

The unnamed company would purchase approximately 35 acres from Rowan County in a Heilig Road industrial park — located inside the city limits of Granite Quarry. Van Geons’ memo states the purchase price would be $15,000 per acre for an estimated total of $525,000. The planned speculative buildings would be 100,000 and 150,000 square feet. Van Geons estimated the buildings would be worth a combined $12.5 million.

County Manager Aaron Church said the unnamed company’s name would be released during Monday’s meeting. Representatives from the company would also be present, Church said.

County Commissioners aren’t simply considering a straight forward sale. By approving the deal on Monday, commissioners would also OK a tax incentive package that could reduce the company’s purchase price to zero and provide $82,813 in annual tax incentives until the speculative buildings are sold. Rowan also won’t be responsible for any construction-associated costs as part of the speculative building deal, according Church.

For the unnamed company to reduce its $525,000 purchase price to zero, it would need to meet four conditions.

The first condition is to purchase the 35 acres of county-owned property. Step two requires the company to completely grade the phase one lot and two other adjacent tracts of land in the industrial park. The third condition requires Rowan County’s Building Inspections Department to issue certificates of occupancy for completed buildings. The final conditions requires the company secure a tenant or buyer for one speculative building. At steps two, three and four, the unnamed company would receive a decrease in the purchase price.

The deal — Edds described it as a private partnership — would be less expensive than if Rowan County government paid for two speculative buildings.

“These folks, (Triad Commercial), came to the table in a huge way,” Edds said. “We were hoping to land one building and we may have several.”

As part of Monday’s deal, commissioners at a later date would give the unnamed company the option to purchase other tracts of land. Speculative buildings on the other tracts may be smaller sizes than the two that are already planned, Edds said.

Other business items on Monday’s agenda include:

• A presentation from Victus Advisors and Ramsay, Burgin, Smith Architects relating to the county’s sports complex feasibility study

• Changing the name of the Gold Hill Township Fire District to the Rockwell Rural Fire District

• Eliminating one dental assistant position in the Rowan County Dental Clinic because of financial issues.

In a memo to County Commissioners, Health Director Nina Oliver states the clinic has been unable to increase clients, which would increase revenue.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.