Local economic development officials are teaming with Duke Energy, the town of Davidson and a national site-selection firm to help create a 173-acre industrial park on N.C. 73 near Davidson.
The park would be on land owned by local developer Frank Jacobus a mile or two from Cabarrus County.
Part of the acreage touches Davidson's town limits. Although the land is under Mecklenburg County's zoning control, Davidson someday could consider annexing it at the developer's request, Davidson Town Manager Leamon Brice said.
Last week about 35 Lake Norman area government officials heard a report on the site's strengths and weaknesses by national site-selection firm McCallum Sweeney Consulting of Greenville, S.C. Since its founding in 2000, the firm has advised Boeing, Michelin, Nissan and several dozen other companies in finding sites for new plants.
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McCallum Sweeney cited such strengths as planned road improvements near the "Davidson East" site and the site's proximity to Charlotte/Douglas International Airport.
Weaknesses? N.C. 73 is still a narrow two-lane road with no shoulders, and the acreage isn't zoned for industry, the report says.
"Having the site zoned appropriately becomes a 'must criterion'" for industry to locate there, said Jeannette Goldsmith, a McCallum Sweeney principal.
The site also lacks a development plan. And although the site has access to water and sewer lines, natural gas service isn't in place.
The report also suggests the kind of industry the park should recruit, including makers of advanced materials used in the medical, automotive and aerospace industries.
Tammy Whaley of Duke Energy told the group her company looks forward to sharing information about the park with numerous prospects.
Duke Energy also offers $5,000 matching grants to governments and developers to help fund required environmental and utility studies for such projects.
"It's about more than selling electricity," Whaley said. "It's about creating jobs, bringing capital investment to the county" and its northern towns.
With McCallum Sweeney's recommendations in hand, it's time for everyone "to roll up our sleeves" and work to make the park happen, said Jerry Broadway, executive director of the nonprofit Lake Norman Regional Economic Development Corp., which is helping lead plans for the park.
East Lincoln business park
DENVER Lincoln Economic Development Association announced plans recently for a major new business park in eastern Lincoln County called Airlee Park at Ingleside.
Mooresville-based Boucardon LLC will develop the park on land owned by the Clark family of Lincoln County.
The 231 acres stretch from N.C. 73 to Optimist Club Road along the new four-lane N.C. 16.
Mooresville-based L.B. Builders of Lake Norman will build in the park's four phases.
Grant offered to solar firm
CONCORD City Council agreed Dec. 10 to offer a center-city economic development grant to SBM Solar Inc., which will manufacture solar panels in a leased 22,000-square-foot building at 379 Central Drive.
The company intends to buy the building in two or three years, city officials said. The grant is for manufacturing equipment valued at about $1.3million.
SBM Solar employs four workers and expects to increase to 15 at production startup and to 60 at full production.
On Nov. 18, Gov. Bev Perdue announced a $100,000 grant to the company through the N.C. Green Business Fund. That grant is awarded to develop and market green and alternative energy technologies and products.
SBM Solar requested a three-year, 85percent center-city economic development grant from Concord.
Contractor's Wingate project
Concord-based CM Black Construction Co. Inc. has begun work on a 69,000-square-foot College of Health Sciences building at Wingate University in Wingate.
The three-story building will also house the school of pharmacy and physician assistant studies program. The building is scheduled to be completed by May 2011. The architect is Yates-Chreitzberg-Hughes Architects of Concord.
The building will be environmentally friendly and is expected to earn LEED Certification, city officials said.
CM Black has built at Wingate University for more than a decade, including the Cannon Hall Annex and George A. Batte Fine Arts Building.
Grant for renovations OK'd
CONCORD City Council agreed Dec. 10 to offer a municipal service district economic development grant to 8 Church LLC for building renovations at 8 Church St. and 24 Cabarrus Ave. E. The developer plans to renovate the buildings for offices, city officials said. The building at 8 Church St. is the former York & Wadesworth building. The building at 24 Cabarrus Ave. E. is the former Concord Standard building. The developer requested a three-year, 85percent grant.