LAURINBURG — The city, county and the Economic Development Corporation have teamed up to build a turn-key ready industrial complex that they hope will bring much needed jobs to Scotland County.
The ground breaking for the complex was Wednesday.
“This is the next step in us trying to recruit manufacturing firms here,” said Commissioner Guy McCook. “It gives us an inventory of buildings. Most of the inquiries we get are building related, so we’ve filled up most of the buildings that are available in the community.”
The Scotland County Incubator Park will sit on 80 acres of land purchased by the city, county and EDC. The plans call for up to eight buildings across the location just off US 401 behind the Small Business Incubation Center and FCC plant.
“On the first 40 acres we have a design plan for five buildings and with the additional 40 we could probably do seven or eight, and we could probably eliminate one of the smaller buildings and have room for one bigger building,” said Mark Ward, director of the Economic Development Corporation.
The building currently under construction will be 19,300-square feet and will be fully wired for electricity, and have a heating and air system installed. Turn-key buildings for manufacturing usually only have heating systems leaving investors to install air conditioning themselves.
“Once it’s complete somebody will be able to walk in and start work that day,” Ward said. “It could be used for industry or for a warehouse, but our preference is to locate an industry that will be putting people to work in the back, not just storing equipment.”
Turn-key sites for business and industry are the growing trend for companies and the counties hoping to attract them, according to Ward.
“It’s definitely bringing interest to Scotland County having the site here. Having raw land is a good thing, but having a building that is turn-key ready is best,” Ward said. “We’ve had two state projects come look at it already. One was a foreign company, and they were extremely pleased with the site.”
Businesses looking to start up or expand reach out to a state asking what locations there are in the area with 15,000 or more square feet that are ready to move into or that are at least pad ready – ready to build upon. Ready sites reduce the expense of start-up or expansion and the time to start production. This site is also adjacent to a rail line, and the EDC can extend a rail spur onto the property if an industry should need it.
McCook said most industries, once they make a decision to expand, they’re looking to do it in the shortest period of time for the least amount of money possible.
“Timing really for them is more important,” said McCook, who also serves as EDC chairman. “If we’ve got a building ready to go for them, it shortens that time period significantly − shortens the lead time in getting them up and running. If they’ve got to start from scratch its six months before they can do anything.”
Members of the Board of Commissioners and City Council share Ward’s enthusiasm and hopes for the turn-key site.
“We are appreciative we can provide a building to help attract industry to Laurinburg. Mark is doing a good job and we are eager to assist him with recruitment,” said City Council Member Curtis Leak,
The first building will cost the EDC $955,000 to complete. The funding was financed by First Bank, and the cost of construction will be recouped from incoming business.
The project is also using as much local manpower as possible, according to Ward. Precision Contractors Inc., is handling the build, and local subcontractors Earls Electrical Heating, McCarter Electrical, and Starner Plumbing will wire the building for electricity, heat and air, and plumbing.
The city and county helped to purchase the property and the utility extension and road improvements will be financed through grants.
Ward hopes the project will be completed by August.
“Having a new facility like this will help make sure that we continue to attract new inquires and hopefully create new jobs and investment here,” McCook said. “We have continued to try to expand jobs and investment in our community. That’s what the community expects of us, and we’re trying to be as aggressive as possible in doing that.”
Reach Beth Lawrence 910-506-3169