Why can't they build it somewhere else?

Dec. 13, 2012 @ 05:00 PM

The upset residents of southwest Guilford County who oppose a business park proposed near their community pose a question that seems simple on its face ­— why not build it somewhere else?
After all, parts of southern, western and eastern High Point, starved for development and jobs, most likely would welcome a proposal such as the 431-acre business park now slated for a tract near the Colfax community. Residents who don’t want the intrusion of High Point North Industrial Center in their rural area have asked city leaders why the development can’t find a home where it would draw cheers, not jeers.
But the economics of locating major commercial developments typically aren’t driven by the political will of the population, but the market motive of businesses.
In the past 25 years, new business park developments have gravitated toward north High Point because of the proximity to Interstate 40 and Piedmont Triad International Airport, a central location near other major cities in the Triad and the availability of large, flat tracts, say local commercial land brokers.
Indeed, the popularity of north High Point business parks reflects an adage of the real estate profession: What are the three most important factors that determine the fate of a piece of property? Location, location, location.
“Developers don’t come in and do a poll, polling the citizens on where we should build an industrial park,” said Ed Price, president of Ed Price & Associates Realtors. “If it doesn’t make economic sense, they aren’t going to build it there. It’s not necessarily where the city leaders or the public want it to go. If you’re making tens of millions of dollars in investments, you’re going to build it where you think you can make a profit.”
Price said that he would like to see more opportunity for underused buildings and land in eastern, southern and western High Point. But the businesses that could be enticed to other parts of the city might not be the same ones who eye locations in north High Point.
“If you’re up in north High Point, you can serve High Point, Greensboro and Winston-Salem and be a Triad business a lot easier than if you’re in south High Point,” Price said.
High Point North Industrial Center, which would be the second-largest business park in the city, would be on land bracketed by I-40, S. Bunker Hill Road, Sandy Ridge Road and Boylston Road.   
Of 18 business parks listed in the city by the High Point Economic Development Corp., half are in north High Point. And the northern business parks are among the largest – Piedmont Centre, Eagle Hill Business Park, Premier Centre and Piedmont Corporate Park.
The demographics of north High Point, which feature middle-class neighborhoods and a variety of retail centers, make the area attractive for commercial business development, said Hal Craven, president of Craven Commercial Properties.
“It’s seen as a growth area,” Craven said.
Also, north High Point, Kernersville and western Greensboro are seen as a distribution hub because of easy access to I-40 and Interstate 40 Business Loop, as well as the airport, Craven said.
“That would be a big plus in my eye as far as development versus the southern or other areas of High Point,” Craven said.
pjohnson@hpe.com | 888-3528