County Endorses Industrial Mega Site
A proposed industrial mega-site spanning Moore and Montgomery counties won unanimous support from the Moore County Board of Commissioners Monday night.
The board approved a resolution supporting the collaborative effort with the neighboring county. Approval of the resolution carries no financial obligation on the part of the county at this time.
"This is a unique opportunity," said Ray Ogden, executive director of Partners in Progress, the nonprofit that promotes economic development within the county.
The proposed site was describ-ed as about 3,000 contiguous acres at the northwestern corner of Moore County and the eastern corner of Montgomery County. It is bounded by N.C. 24-27 and Spies Road and is not far from the new Interstate 73-74 (U.S. 220).
Ogden said the proposed industrial park has the potential to create thousands of jobs within several years.
He added that there is demand today for "green, sustainable industrial" sites with zoning and covenants in place to protect on-site wetlands and wildlife habitats and preserve natural aesthetics.
Fred Hobbs, chairman of the Partners in Progress board, said that the two primary landowners have expressed willingness to provide an estimated $540,000 in seed money to cover initial design costs for a master site plan and related expenses. The property owners were not identified.
Ogden reviewed the advantages of the location, described as ideally situated within reasonable distance of major airports as well as airports in both counties, of major highways and such amenities as Pinehurst golf, pottery country, the N.C. Zoo and the Uwharries. The area is also close to the Triad and Research Triangle centers.
Ogden said the park will be marketed as the "center of North Carolina."
"The site's central location puts Eastern Seaboard markets well within a day's drive," Ogden said.
The site is served by all utilities except natural gas, which is available within a 25-mile radius of the site. Rail service and fiber optics are on-site, and the Piedmont Triad International Airport is less than an hour away.
An advantage of the partnership with Montgomery County was also mentioned.
The N.C. Department of Commerce categorizes counties into tiers based on economic well-being. Montgo-mery County has a Tier 1 designation, which means that it qualifies for greater state incentives when it comes to economic development. That's because the county is classified as economically distressed and disadvantaged.
On the other hand, Moore County is classified at the other end of the spectrum in Tier 3 and qualifies for meager assistance from the state.
Ogden explained that the Tier 1 classification will apply to the entire site because two-thirds of the acreage lies in Montgomery County.
Commissioners' Chairman Tim Lea asked Ogden and Hobbs a series of questions about such things as speculative buildings and road paving.
Hobbs said there are no plans to erect "spec" buildings, and the N.C. Department of Transportation is in the process of paving one state road running through the property.
"There is demand for such sites, and there are not many available in this part of the state," Hobbs said.
Contact Florence Gilkeson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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