Having run out of room at its two longtime industrial parks, Mooresville plans to begin developing another one soon off N.C. 801, across from its Mooresville Business Park.
By this time next year, the first phase of the as-yet unnamed, 476-acre park is expected to have water, sewer and roads in place for industrial prospects, said Robert Carney Jr., executive director of the nonprofit South Iredell Community Development Corp., which recruits industry on behalf of the town. The first phase will include 200 to 250 acres, he said.
Carney said the timing is right for the park because Mooresville Business Park and South Iredell Industrial Park on Mazeppa Road are full.
Among other major employers, South Iredell Industrial Park houses Japan-based NGK Automotive Ceramics. Mooresville Business Park includes Cardinal Glass Industries, Penske Racing South, Carolina Beer and Beverage, Niagara Bottling, Pactiv Corp. and Toyo Seal America.
The new park has more acreage that can be developed than the other two parks because the other parks have tracts that are too hilly or steep to build on or have streams and wetlands on them, Carney said.
Long-range plans for the park call for adding rail access, which the other parks also have, Carney said.
South Iredell Community Development Corp. negotiated a contract recently to buy the 476 acres from Charlotte developer Forest City Southeast, which once planned to build its Cotton Creek subdivision there.
The Mooresville Board of Commissioners on voted 5-to-1 Nov. 5 to loan South Iredell Community Development Corp. $2 million toward the $5 million purchase of the land. The $2 million will be the down payment on the purchase.
South Iredell Community Development Corp. also obtained about $3.2 million in financing from a local consortium of banks. The amount includes up to $125,000 for expenses associated with buying and financing the property.
As part of the economic development agreement that commissioners approved Nov. 5, the town also will pay the expected $695,000 in annual principal and interest on the bank consortium loan for the five years the loan is outstanding.
South Iredell Community Development Corp. will pay the town 75 percent of the final gross sales price of each parcel sold in the park, until the town recoups all of the money it put into helping pay for the land, according to the agreement.
Commissioner Rhett Dusenbury voted against the agreement, saying: “My philosophy of government is, taxpayers aren’t bankers.”
Carney, Mayor Miles Atkins and Ron Johnson, chairman of the Mooresville Travel & Tourism Authority, said the arrangement is similar to the one that started Mooresville Business Park in the late 1980s. “There’s already a track record,” Carney said.
The park will create jobs and more tax revenues for the town, he added. The park will have “extremely competitive” pricing for industry.
“I don’t know how else you create jobs without the product like this,” Atkins said on a tour of the property with Carney and Johnson last week. A farmer grows soybeans on part of the acreage under contract with Forest City.
Towns without much industry “start to become more of a local service economy, a bedroom community to Charlotte,” Carney said. “Parks like this make us an employment center.”