Megasites can have mega impact

 In April 2019

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Appeared as a sponsored section in the April 2019 issue

By Kent Bernhard

Whether it’s the 1,000-plus acre sites in central North Carolina now known as Carolina Core or a Person County site where ambitious planners see potential for major growth, the region is ready to serve as a hub for advanced manufacturing.

North Carolina offers several shovel-ready megasites of more than 1,000 acres each, all suitable for large-scale manufacturing. So when a large manufacturer is looking for a place to land, “they can easily find what they’re looking for here in North Carolina,” says Chris Chung, chief executive officer of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina.

Chung says the type of manufacturer attracted to a megasite can have a huge impact on a community.

“These are transformative companies,” Chung says. “That can have positive ripple effects for years to come.”

One major push to attract advanced manufacturing to the state is N.C. Carolina Core, an effort unveiled last year to market megasites and other industrial development from Winston-Salem to Fayetteville.

The megasites of Carolina Core cover a total of 7,200 acres, offering plenty of room for advanced manufacturers to grow, according to the N.C. Carolina Core. The Carolina Core includes the PTI Aerospace megasite at Piedmont Triad International Airport; Greensboro-Randolph Megasite; Chatham-Siler City Advanced Manufacturing Megasite; and the Moncure Megasite.

But they aren’t the only such sites in the state. The Person County Mega Park boasts two nearby power plants and access to a highly educated workforce ideally suited for advanced manufacturing such as semiconductors and pharmaceuticals, says Joe Magno, project manager for the development of the marketing and workforce-development plans for the site.

The Person County site includes about 1,300 acres. “It’s a perfect site for advanced manufacturing,” Magno says.

The Kingsboro CSX Select Megasite in Edgecombe County was the first to land a major tenant when Triangle Tyre, a China-based manufacturer, announced it would build its first U.S. plant there.

Each site listed includes access to four-lane roads, rail and international airports, and has proximity to major ports including the Port of Wilmington, which is undergoing $150 million in infrastructure upgrades. They join megasites in Brunswick County and dozens of smaller industrial sites across the state that boast highway access and other infrastructure.

1.

CHATHAM-SILER CITY ADVANCED MANUFACTURING MEGASITE

Two international airports, Piedmont Triad International in Greensboro and Raleigh-Durham International, are less than an hour’s drive.

Direct access to Norfolk Southern rail line

A proposed interchange on U.S. 421 and a 1.1-mile
connector road will provide truck access from the four-lane divided highway to the site.

The 1,802-acre Chatham-Siler City site includes a 1,214-acre megasite and 588-acre feeder park. Total buildable area is 1,606 acres at the site, which has two owners. Port of Wilmington is 160 miles away, while three other ports are within five hours. A Duke Energy transmission line that crosses the property can be configured to serve a large industrial customer. Less than 20 miles east of the site is Chatham Park, a 7,000-acre planned community that is in the initial stages of development. When fully built, Chatham Park is expected to have 22,000 homes.

 

2.

GREENSBORO-RANDOLPH MEGASITE

All three of the state’s major airports are within 100 miles; Piedmont Triad International in Greensboro is the closest at 30 miles away.

The site is adjacent to a Norfolk Southern rail line.

Interstate 85 is less than 10 miles away via U.S. 421.

The 1,825-acre site offers convenient access to 11 universities and nine community colleges. It is 25 miles from the Greensboro intermodal yard, providing access to Interstates 40, 85 and 73 and the Port of Virginia in Norfolk. The CSX intermodal yard in Charlotte, located about 100 miles from the site, offers access to Interstates 85 and 77 and ports at Charleston, S.C., Savannah, Ga., and Jacksonville, Fla. Port of Wilmington is 210 miles away. All utilities to the site can be constructed within approximately 12 months of a project announcement. In 2018, the Greensboro-Randolph site was the runner-up for a $1.6 billion Toyota-Mazda auto plant.

 

3.

KINGSBORO CSX SELECT MEGASITE

The site is located about 75 miles east of Raleigh-Durham International Airport and 30 miles from the Pitt-Greenville general-aviation airport.

CSX Transportation is adjacent to the site, and a new CSX intermodal facility — expected to be complete in 2020 — is 12 miles west.
The Kingsboro site is located 12 miles east of Interstate 95. An industrial access road that will connect parcels in the central part of the site is under construction and scheduled to be complete in the second quarter of 2019.

Planning for the Kingsboro site near Rocky Mount began more than 15 years ago. Triangle Tyre will occupy 400 of its 1,507 acres, and a new Corning Inc. distribution center will sit on 150 acres. An $8.7 million utility infrastructure upgrade, including water and sewer, is under construction and scheduled to be complete in the third quarter of 2019. The site, which can accommodate water and wastewater needs for heavy manufacturing, was the first in the state to receive CSX Select Site designation. A 416-acre portion of the Mid-Atlantic Industrial Rail Park in Brunswick County near Wilmington also earned the designation.

 

4.

MONCURE MEGASITE

The site is located within a 45-minute drive of Raleigh-Durham International Airport and 5 miles from the Raleigh Executive Jetport in Lee County.

The Moncure site is served by two rail lines, CSX and Norfolk Southern.

Accessible by a four-lane road, the site is 10 miles from N.C. 540 and interstate access, U.S. 421 and U.S. 1. It is served by four complete interchanges.

The 2,500-acre site is the state’s largest. Proximity to Raleigh, which is about 45 minutes away, provides convenient access to major universities, community colleges and Research Triangle Park. The Chatham County site is adjacent to Wake, Lee and Harnett counties and is 7 miles from the southern entrance to Chatham Park, a proposed 7,000-acre live-work-play development. Water is on-site, and sewer is under construction with an expected completion date of 2020. This single-owner site is about 20 miles from Fort Bragg, providing access to thousands of soldiers transitioning back to civilian life.

 

5.

PTI AEROSPACE CENTER

The site is at the Piedmont Triad International Airport.

Immediate highway access is available.

The airport has 1,000 acres immediately available for development, including an 800-acre tract that can be developed as a whole or in parcels. The property is connected to the airport by a taxiway bridge and has received preliminary approval from the EPA for development. The airport is already a major center for aerospace companies. Honda Aircraft Co., manufacturer of small jets, has its world headquarters and manufacturing facility at PTI. The Fed-Ex Mid-Atlantic Air Hub maintains a 500,000-square-foot facility with the capacity to sort 24,000 packages an hour. Cessna Aircraft Company runs a major servicing center for business aircraft at PTI.

 

6.

PERSON COUNTY MEGA PARK

The site is within a 60-minute drive of Raleigh-Durham International Airport and is minutes from Person County Airport.

Rail access is approximately 2 miles from the site.

The site is 4 miles from four-lane U.S. 501.

The 1,300-acre Mega Park is uniquely suited to advanced manufacturing, thanks in part to its access to abundant electricity. It was initially identified as a potential site for semiconductor manufacturing more than five years ago because its Roxboro location is situated between two Duke Energy power plants, with multiple 230kv transmission lines crossing the acreage. The Person County Mega Park is also ideally situated from a workforce standpoint. Within a 50-mile radius of the site are the Research Triangle area, the Piedmont Triad and Southside Virginia. The region is home to 1.2 million workers, numerous Tier 1 universities and community colleges.

 

7.

BRUNSWICK MEGASITE

Wilmington International Airport is about 25 minutes away.

A CSX main rail line runs adjacent to the Mid-Atlantic Industrial Park, with direct access to the Port of Wilmington.

The sites are adjacent to each other in Brunswick County, divided by U.S. 74/76 and accessible to Interstate 140.

The Brunswick Mid-Atlantic Industrial Rail Park and Brunswick Industrial Logistics Park are each a little more than 1,000 acres and are zoned for heavy industrial use. The Brunswick County sites are within 20 minutes of the Port of Wilmington, which can be accessed by rail or highway. Both are North Carolina certified sites and have access to utility services including electricity, gas, water and wastewater.

 

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