8/9/2017 – Caldwell EDC proposes plan to spur industrial construction

Posted on: August 9th, 2017 by admin

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August 9, 2017

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With Caldwell County limited to the number of readily available buildings suitable for industrial recruitment targets, economic development officials are developing a proposal for a program to spur new construction.

 

According to Caldwell County Economic Development Commission Executive Director Deborah Murray, the proposal calls for the county to create a program to offer a loan to developers for the construction of at least 50,000 square feet with 25-30-foot ceiling height needed for manufacturing uses.

 

Details of the proposal, which would have to go before the Caldwell County Board of Commissioners for consideration and approval, are still being developed, but the current draft calls for the loan to cover no more than 20 percent of the construction costs, up to a maximum of $500,000. The county would require repayment when the developer sold or leased the building, or within no more than five years.

 

Members of the Caldwell EDC Board of Directors reacted positively to the draft Murray presented.

 

Board Vice Chairman Marty Waters – president of Marlin Co., Inc. – said there is a clear need for more industrial space, so any new building should fill quickly.

 

“It’s like, ‘If we build it, will they come?’ We already have teams lined up,” Waters said.

 

Board member William Howard, Bernhardt Furniture’s vice president of human resources, agreed.

 

“The speed of business is so different today,” Howard said. “Anything we could do … to respond to immediate needs is what we need to do.”

 

Murray said no new industrial buildings have been built in Caldwell County “in literally decades.”

 

At the height of the Great Recession, there was 6 million square feet of vacant industrial space, but those buildings have been filled. Meanwhile, industrial recruitment targets tend to want to see existing buildings first, not vacant lots.

 

“If we had two of these (industrial buildings) under construction, we would have a string of folks interested in looking at them,” Murray said.

 

Murray added that she hopes a formal proposal can be presented to the county commissioners in the fall.

 

By Guy Lucas, (Lenoir) News-Topic

 

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