Monday, March 20, 2017

Chatam County Megasite Remains Empty

I had a chance encounter and pleasant conversation with Chatham County Sheriff Mike Robinson while picking up the best cheeseburgers you've ever tasted at Johnson's in Siler City on Saturday. With our shop being west of Ramseur, Siler City is as close as anywhere to pick up a burger, and in this case, a 220 VAC outlet to wire in a new machine.

In route we pass by the Chatham-Siler City Advanced Manufacturing Site so I asked Sheriff Robinson if anyone has yet to locate into the site.

His answer. None. Not one company has located there despite claims by the Chatham County Economic Development Commission that,

"Choose CAM for access

The site has direct access to a mile of Norfolk Southern Railway. Its strategic location is less than 50 miles from two international airports and within a five hour drive of four major East Coast port terminals. The site's proximity to Greensboro and Raleigh - including the globally-renowned Research Triangle - puts metro amenities and services close at hand.

Traffic engineers are engaged in the planning and preliminary design for a proposed interchange on four-lane, divided US 421 north of Siler City, as well as a new 1.1 mile connector road from the site to the interchange. On its southern border, the site is adjacent to US 64, a four-lane, divided highway.

Choose CAM for infrastructure

High-capacity utilities offer customer choice power, water, and wastewater to site signed and permitted, fiber available within 90 days of request.

Choose CAM for readiness

This is the top megasite in the southeast, and it's ready for your business.

The State of North Carolina certified the site through its stringent NC Certified Sites program, guaranteeing necessary infrastructure and engineering in place to be construction-ready in a year. McCallum Sweeney Consulting assessed the site through the Duke Energy Site Readiness Program and found it a potential good fit for automotive manufacturing."

Of course, Sheriff Roberson didn't comment on the actions of the Chatham County Economic Development Commission. he simply answered my question and confirmed the megasite remains empty. I'd never put words in the sheriff's mouth as I'm often in his county.

And the worst part? These two, 2,000 acre megasites are only 8 miles apart. Are we going to be able to attract not one, but 2 automobile manufacturers to sites only 8 miles from each other. And are we willing to risk $200 Million or more in State, County, and City tax dollars from throughout the Piedmont Triad that could be put to more pressing needs to compete with a project that is just 8 miles away and already built but still empty?