Commissioners from two bordering counties will consider moving forward this week with plans for a 3,000-acre industrial complex.
Moore and Montgomery county officials will consider resolutions in support of plans for the site. Half would be located in Moore and the other half in Montgomery. The area is about 10 miles north of the Richmond County line.
The site would be called the “Center of North Carolina,” and accommodate light manufacturing and distribution firms that are environmentally-friendly, said Moore County Economic Developer Ray Ogden.
He was set to present his case to the Moore County Commissioners Monday night, while Montgomery County Commissioners will consider the resolution Tuesday night.
“This is all very preliminary at this point,” Ogden said. “We’ve been talking about it for a few years, and what we’re hoping to do is have both the counties pass a resolution to set the base for the project.”
He said prospective industries haven’t been contacted about locating in the development, but the economic development teams of both counties have looked at what types of businesses they’d like to have.
“The emphasis is going to be in businesses that care about the environment,” Ogden said. “We want businesses who are interested in locating in an eco-friendly, sustainably developed facility. We don’t want any heavy polluters.”
The facility would be located between N.C. 24/27 and Spies Road, about a mile and a half from U.S. 220.
Moore County is also searching for a way to provide water to a proposed 1,650-acre golf development near Richmond and Montgomery counties in the vicinity of West End.
Montgomery County could also partner with Moore on the golf development by selling them the water that will be needed.
The industrial mega-site would have access to the future Interstate 73/74, which runs south through Richmond County.
Richmond County Manager and Economic Development Director Rick Sago said he didn’t have any specific information about the development.
“Obviously, we’d like for everything to be located in Richmond County, but any time there is development in counties adjacent to Richmond County it has the potential to help us,” he said.
Ogden said Richmond County hasn’t been consulted about the development, “but I think we should.”
“The highway is going to go right through Richmond County,” Ogden said. “As 73 and 74 are expanded, there will be more opportunities to capitalize on it.”
The Pilot, a Southern Pines newspaper, reported preliminary estimates show about $540,000 in seed money may be needed to cover the cost of design for a master site plan, the state certification process, long-term marketing and legal services. Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation Director Judy Stevens said she’d rather not discuss the project at length until her county commissioners pass the resolution.
“That’s the initial thing we need to get and move forward from there,” she said. “I think this would be great for Moore and Montgomery counties because of the acreage involved and the proximity to the interstate and the other amenities we would need.”
As well as being accessible to the future Interstate 73/74 and the U.S. 220 Bypass, the land is near the Montgomery County Airport and there is on-site rail service. The development could also be a boom for Moore County because the partnership with Montgomery qualifies the project for more economic development financial assistance from the state, since Montgomery is a Tier I county. The site would only be half in Montgomery, but the entire project would qualify for the enhanced funding. If both county boards approve the resolutions, the economic development teams of the two counties would conduct the project in tandem.
Staff Writer Philip D. Brown can be reached at (910) 997-3111 ext. 32, or by e-mail at email@example.com.