Sunday, March 1, 2015

Local Megasites, A Mega Tour

On Tuesday night the Greensboro City Council will vote to give away over $2 Million Dollars to fund engineering for the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite. They'd like for you to believe they're not giving the money to developers but it's $2 Million the developers won't have to spend so no matter how you cut it they're still giving money away to developers and speculators. At a later date they will vote to spend in excess of $21 Million Dollars in the hopes of attracting an automobile manufacturer to the Piedmont Triad. That too, is giving money away to developers and speculators.

But before they do I'd like to point out to you the size, scale and number of existing sites that are proposed, already exist or are already under construction close by. Of course, I'm leaving out a few hundred smaller sites as the Greensboro-High Point Metropolitan Statistical Area is #4 in the nation for empty industrial properties for MSAs between 200,000 and 1 Million residents.

Of course you've heard of plans to build a 2000 acre project at the old Guilford County Farm in Gibsonville so I start our journey there. Mostly I added this first stop to make the map a little clearer.

Stop number 2 is Chatham Park in Pittsboro:

"Chatham Park covers more than 7,000 acres adjacent to Jordan Lake and downtown Pittsboro. Chatham Park Investors, a private development group, has submitted a Master Plan for the site; a rezoning request was approved by the Town December 8, 2014 which allows the project to move forward.

Sitting a short distance from Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, the Research Triangle Park and the Raleigh-Durham International Airport the property is the next logical extension for a region whose population is expanding by 50,000 new residents each year."

7000 acres was no typo. If North Carolina gets an automaker Chatham Park will be the site as auto makers prefer cluster locations that allow their vendors to locate their facilities within just a few miles radius.

Stop number 3 is the Proposed Greensboro-Randolph Megasite, 2000 acres of fertile land that is currently being farmed setting right slap dab in the middle of everything else I'm showing you.

Stop number 4 is just 8 minutes from the proposed site where DH Griffin has already completed and recieved Megasite Certification for the  Chatham-Siler City Advanced Manufacturing Site.

"The Chatham-Siler City Advanced Manufacturing Site - named one of the top sites in the South for auto assembly by Southern Business & Development - is strategically located near Highway 421 and south of Interstate 85. The 1,800-acre megasite has 5,000 feet of rail frontage and is less than 50 miles from two international airports, Raleigh-Durham International (RDU) and Piedmont-Triad International (GSO). The land is undeveloped and has two owners, both committed to attracting a large industrial user."

That's right, folks, Chatham County alone already has almost 9000 acres of megasites less than 1 hour away grom Greensboro. And that doesn't include all the old poultry farms, feed mills and poultry processing plants that are sitting empty all over Chatham County.

Stop number 5, the Heart of North Carolina MegaPark in Bisco:

"The Heart of North Carolina MegaPark is a joint collaboration between Moore County and neighboring Montgomery County to develop a 3,000-acre corporate/industrial mega-site located in both counties. With its strategic location in central North Carolina and close proximity to U.S Interstate 73/74, the site offers easy access to markets throughout North Carolina and the Eastern Seaboard. "

That's right folks, 3000 acres less than one hour away from Greensboro. And it has Tier 1 State Tax Incentives. So far we're up to almost 16,000 empty acres of industrial parks all located less than 1 hour from Greensboro.

Get back on the bus, folks, we're off to Davidson County where stop number 6 is the Davidson Industrial Park  in Davidson County just outside of Lexington is projected to be 1200 acres when fully built.

I threw in Triad Business Park located in Kernersville (Stop #7) not because of it's demure 360 acres but because Councilman Zack Matheny has been pushing to use Greensboro tax dollars to expand TBP. Oh, and I left out the 600 acre NC Industrial Center located in Mebane. Like I wrote above, I've literally left out hundreds.

Stop number 8 is the North Carolina-Virginia line:

"Commonwealth Crossing Business Centre is set to open soon in Martinsville - Henry County. The new business park will be developed on 726 acres along the North Carolina border, approximately 30 miles north of Greensboro's Piedmont Triad International Airport. The park is rail served, and will have sites up to 280 acres with 200 acres of construction-ready pad.

Located near US 220 South at the Virginia / North Carolina state line
Four-lane access to nearby interstates
Total Acreage: 726 acres
Tract 1: 280 acres (200 pad acres)
Adjacent to the Norfolk Southern Railway Mainline
Only 33 miles to the Piedmont Triad International Airport and the new
FedEx Mid-Atlantic Hub in Greensboro, NC"

Wow, that's closer to Greensboro major facilities like Piedmont Triad International Airport than the proposed Greensboro-Liberty Megasite. And Commonwealth Crossing Business Centre broke ground last year whereas Greensboro is still years away from breaking ground. I don't know about City Council but I don't need to spend over $2 Million Dollars on consultants to tell me this is looking like a really dumb idea.

Stop number 9, for shits and giggles and just to get us home I thought I bring us by 1203 Freeway Dr, Reidsville, NC where former Mayor Robbie Perkins' company NAI Piedmont is trying to sell an abandoned industrial property. Our area is filled with abandoned industrial properties. You see, Robbie Perkins, Sam Simpson and company stand to profit every time these properties change hands. When the properties are sold to the development agencies they get commissions. And if the properties get sold to end users they get commissions. And if the projects go bankrupt and the properties are sold off they still get commissions.

All in all, as of 2013, North Carolina had 18 empty sites claiming to be megasites. Since that time 2 have actually been certified as megasites but hundreds of thousands of acres of farmlands are being wasted all across the state while nationwide as of 2013 there were 180 megasites all of them vying for that one auto plant that has yet to be built.

If I were in charge of Greensboro's economic development dollars I'd be spending every dime inside the Greensboro City Limits. The odds couldn't possibly be as bad as gambling them on a megasite.

If you're a resident of the City of Greensboro, Guilford County or Randolph County I beg you to please contact your elected representatives with the information I've presented here and share this with other residents.