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April 23, 2021

Two major economic development projects planned for southern Rowan County

SALISBURY — With more companies eyeing Rowan as a possible foothold in the Charlotte region, two major economic projects could be coming to the southern portion of the county.

During a meeting on Monday, the Rowan County Board of Commissioners scheduled a public hearing for April 19 regarding a rezoning request from NorthPoint Development for a 44.85-acre property at the 400 block of Webb Road. The Missouri-based company has plans to construct a roughly 650,000-square-foot speculative industrial building on the property that will house a tenant that’s not yet been named.

This wouldn’t be the first time the company has completed a project in Rowan county. NorthPoint constructed the 609,301-square-foot Chewy distribution center in 2020.

“They developed the Chewy facility here in Rowan County and had a good experience and would like to do some more projects here,” said Rod Crider, president of the Rowan Economic Development Commission. “We’re pleased that NorthPoint is here and continuing to invest in Rowan County.”

NorthPoint has not yet identified a tenant for the project, but NorthPoint Project Manager Michael Johnston said the facility will be perfect for a wholesale distribution company.

“We have a long list of warehouse distribution clients that we work with across the country,” Johnston said. “It might be a national tenant. It might be somebody locally that needs space for expanding operations or things of that nature.”

Crider doesn’t expect NorthPoint’s facility to be on the market long.

“What you’ve seen in the market is people are wanting to move very fast. So spec buildings are, at least from our observation, not staying on the market long,” Crider said. “Especially when you get to buildings that are that large.”

NorthPoint is requesting a rezoning of the property from 85-ED-2 to commercial, business and industrial, a move that Johnston said would make the land more comprehensive with surrounding uses. The Rowan County Planning Board unanimously recommended approval of the request at a meeting last month.

Pending approval of the rezoning, Johnston said construction on the facility could begin as early as late summer or early fall. Once ground is broken, Johnston said it would likely take 9-12 months for the facility to be built.

NorthPoint isn’t the only national company with its eyes on the southern end of the county. 

The Silverman Group, a New Jersey-based developer, is planning to build what is being called the 85 North Logistics Center just off exit 68, not far from Carson High School. 

Silverman intends to build a roughly 1.4 million-square-foot facility on the property, in addition to a smaller, 414,000-square-foot facility. Between the two buildings, the site is planned to feature about 1,000 trailer parking spaces, 840 car parking spots and 300 dock doors. The 200-acre property where the site will go is under contract and Silverman hopes to close on it in the summer.

Even though ground hasn’t yet been broken on the massive complex, it is already being marketed to potential tenants by global real estate company Avison Young.

Chris Loyd, Avison Young’s Charlotte-based broker for the property, said Silverman was attracted to the site for the same reasons that brought NorthPoint to Rowan County — location.

“This is a large land opportunity that can’t necessarily get in Mecklenburg or Cabarrus,” Loyd said. “It’s close to the interstate and it’s one of the few opportunities to put up a larger building and draw users from the Southeast, like we’re seeing in Atlanta and Savannah, markets like that.”

China Grove Mayor Charles Seaford said he heard about Silverman’s planned project only a few days ago. He’s still waiting for more details before he celebrates the economic win.

“I’m the kind of person who doesn’t like to get excited until I have seen something in black and white and then you’ll hear me shout it from the highest building in this town, from the rooftop,” Seaford said.

Seaford said it’s not surprising that companies are starting to stake claims in land near China Grove, one of the county’s southernmost towns.

“I know Charlotte’s coming this way,” Seaford said. “Every night it gets a little closer.”

Impending development near China Grove is why Seaford said he is trying to find a solution to bring national homebuilder Lennar and its plans for a major subdivision back to the town. The town council in the fall stymied plans for a 373-home development planned by Lennar on Shue Road. Council members were concerned about small lot sizes of the subdivision.

Seaford said he’s had discussions with representatives from Lennar and plans to talk to the owners of the land to determine how the project can move forward. Having homes to support the jobs that a project like Silverman’s would bring to the area is important, Seaford said.

As Charlotte’s stratosphere encroaches up Interstate 85, Crider said Rowan County will be ready. With distribution companies in search of easy interstate access in the region, the previous widening project that expanded Rowan County’s stretch of I-85 to four lanes is paying dividends now.

“Since that construction project was completed, we have seen more developer interest,” Crider said. “We knew that I-85 not being widened was hampering our ability to recruit business because people that were flying to Charlotte to come up here and visit would come through a construction zone and depending on traffic, if there was a bottleneck it could tie them up and it would seem like it was further away than it was.”

Crider said he is not aware of either the NorthPoint or Silverman projects being related to “Project Popcorn,” a potential economic development deal that could bring 1,200 jobs and a $127.5 million investment to the county.

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