Project involving ”lots of new jobs” planned for city
The city plans to partner with a real estate firm in a project to develop a 350-acre corporate park northwest of High Point.
The City Council on Monday agreed to spend an estimated $5 million to provide water and sewer service to the site, which is at the northeast corner of Interstate 74 and N.C. 66.
The land is in Forsyth County but would be annexed by the city if the project goes forward.
Carolina Investment Properties of Lexington plans to develop the first 100 acres of the site in a $50 million to $70 million investment. Company President Robin Team said a business that he declined to name plans to locate there.
“We’ve got a project that has made a commitment to a good part of that land, and we’re looking forward to bringing that out of the ground and supporting the community with lots of new jobs and tax base,” Team said after the council vote. “It’s a real exciting project.”
He said he has a “strict confidentiality agreement with an out-of-state company” that prevents him from revealing anything about the project.
“Our company will be building a facility for a to-be-named corporation,” said Team. “This water and sewer is going to open up a whole section of area that will probably be annexed into the city.”
His firm has some of the tracts eyed for the initial phase of the park under contract to purchase, he said. The goal is for the park to grow to more than 350 acres over time.
The council approved a resolution to finance the water and sewer improvements with revenue bonds, which don’t require voter approval. The bonds would be issued next year and would be paid back with city water and sewer fund revenues.
The council approved the resolution by a vote of 6-1. Councilman Foster Douglas voted against the resolution. Councilman Jason Ewing was absent and Councilman Jim Davis recused himself from the discussion and the vote on the matter to avoid a potential conflict of interest because he owns land near site.
City Manager Strib Boynton said the opportunity to create the corporate park is on a very tight time schedule, with completion of the water and sewer lines required by April 2015.
Design and engineering agreements for the lines will be on the council’s agenda next month, with annexation and rezoning requests for the site expected at some point in the future.
The site is seen as prime growth territory because of its location at an interstate interchange. It’s one of the last large undeveloped sites within High Point’s annexation area.
“We were talking 10 years ago about trying to get this quadrant developed,” said Boynton. “All of the pieces have come together that are necessary to get the first 100 acres going.”
Earlier this year, the city annexed a 510-acre site off Sandy Ridge Road where Greensboro developer D.H. Griffin Sr. plans to build an industrial park.
The city plans to extend sewer lines to that site at a cost of about $800,000.
Supporters of the Forsyth project compared the council’s action Monday to similar moves undertaken by the city in the 1980s, when it provided water and sewer service to what became the Piedmont Centre industrial park, which has grown to include more than 170 companies.
“We are all well awere that that investment has paid for itself, in terms of capital improvements, tax revenues and jobs provided,” said Councilwoman Judy Mendenhall. “I think this investment will pay for itself.”