HAMLET — With the McLaurin Vocational Training Center now officially defunct, a new tenant has leased the building.
County Manager Bryan Land said the tenant is Suncasual, LLC — an out-of-state furniture manufacturing company that plans to hire “around a dozen” employees — but could not provide any more details on the economic impact the company would have on the city. Land notified the Board of Commissioners of the change at its monthly meeting Tuesday.
Representatives with Suncasual signed the lease Monday, Land said.
Land said he was “thrilled” to have a new occupant in the building, which was vacated following the McLaurin Center’s failure to renew its state license on time. The property was donated to the county in March.
Zoning Administrator and City Clerk Gail Strickland said the company had not yet contacted the city to fill out zoning compliance paperwork as of Wednesday.
Mayor Bill Bayless said he was not aware the space had been filled, but said he appreciated the county’s help in bringing in business.
“I’m excited about it,” Bayless said. “We’re always looking for business over here.”
Land said in an email that the company would likely hold a grand opening this summer.
The McLaurin Center provided social and job training to mentally and physically disabled adults in Richmond and the surrounding counties for 50 years.
A spokesperson for the North Carolina Department of Health and Humans Services said the center lost its license and was issued a “close notice” Jan. 5, after the center failed to send in renewal documentation. DHHS said it had sent the center email reminders about the renewal deadline on both Nov. 20 and Dec. 18.
In an interview with the Daily Journal on Feb. 14, Holleigh McLaurin, director of the center, said the center never received the reminders and that she could not find them in six months of back emails. The center stayed open beyond the initial “close notice” to give the Sandhills Center time to help refer its clients to other service providers.
Reach Gavin Stone at 910-817-2674 or [email protected]