Asheboro City discusses 3 potential development ideas

January 9, 2014

City council members got a brief overview Thursday night of three potential — and potentially significant — economic development projects.

City Manager John Ogburn presented a thumbnail sketch of each project during the council’s regular January meeting. Each of them, along with other job-creating ideas, will be discussed in more detail during a special council meeting on Jan. 30.

Ogburn said the goal is to combine the city’s capital improvement plan, land use plan and strategic plan into an overall plan.

“We’ve got a lot of decisions to make,” he said.

Right now, each project is simply an idea, although city staff have developed cost estimates for each. Ogburn noted that the potential projects were not ranked or presented in any order.

* The first project he discussed involves the site formerly occupied by Goodyear on Pineview Road on the city’s northern end. A driveway splits the odd-shaped parcel of nearly 130 acres, with about 95 acres and the former industrial facility on one side and an undeveloped 35-acre parcel on the other side.

“It is being shown and looked at a lot,” Ogburn said.

If an industrial client wanted to purchase only the 95 acres and building, the other parcel, which has rail access but no road frontage, could be made attractive by extending the drive to connect to an existing street, Commerce Place, on the back side of the property. The estimated cost is $380,224.

“I think that would be a pretty good investment,” Ogburn said. “I’m not saying that’s going to happen.

I’m saying that could happen.”

* The second project, which Mayor David Smith first discussed in the summer of 2012, would be in south Asheboro: Extending New Century Drive — which passes in front of the Randolph County Office Building and leads to the county jail — to Veterans Loop Road and installing 800 feet of water and sewer lines. The 1,500-foot road extension would open up four industrial building lots with easy access to nearby Interstate 73/74. The estimated cost is $531,018.50.

PEMMCO Manufacturing Inc., a precision machining operation that specializes in the automotive, transportation and industrial equipment industries, is on Veterans Loop Road. The PEMMCO project was made possible by $446,405 in infrastructure grants to extend public water and sewer service to the site with a commitment by the company to create 14 new jobs. When the facility opened in the fall of 2011, total employment was 55; 28 of those jobs were new — double the number needed to satisfy grant requirements. Smith said he would not be surprised to see the company expand in the future.

“I think this would be a different type of project,” Ogburn said. “If the council chose to, we could choose this as part of a capital improvement plan.”

Ogburn said that while expensive, the project would provide four lots zoned for industrial development. Mayor Smith said if the city could attract four businesses that each employed 25-50 people, it would be significant.

* The third project would involve building a 2,800-foot road to a 200-acre site on the west side of I-73/74 off of Pineview Road, as well as installing water and sewer lines and a pump station to serve the parcel. The estimated cost: $2.46 million.

The land was eyed as the potential site for a Walmart distribution center that wound up going to Alamance County, Ogburn said. Now Duke Power is looking at the site, he said.

“They are looking for large industrial customers,” he said. “It is one of their preferred sites right now.” Ogburn said he was not asking council members to contemplate funding a multi-million dollar infrastructure upgrade. Grants would be pursued for development of such a huge project, with a potential investment of $300 million-$350 million and the promise of hundreds of jobs. “We’re just saying this is out there on the drawing board,” he said. The special meeting, which is open to the public, is set for 5 p.m. Jan. 30 in second-floor council chambers of city hall at 146 N. Church St. -

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