The Golden LEAF Foundation announced that Moore County is one of three counties in the state selected to participate in the second round of the Foundation’s SITE Program — Identification phase. This phase of the SITE Program allocates funds to a site development firm contracted by Golden LEAF to help communities identify potential industrial sites for future development.
“Golden LEAF recognizes that rural and economically distressed communities must have sites available for development to attract new businesses and create opportunities for existing businesses to expand,” said Scott T. Hamilton, Golden LEAF President, Chief Executive Officer. “The Golden LEAF Board of Directors established the SITE Program to assist communities in this work. This project will help the Town of Robbins take a critical first step by identifying potential industrial sites.”
In Moore County, site development consultants will work with the Town of Robbins to learn about Robbins’ economic development opportunities, strategies, infrastructure, and assets. They will use this information to conduct a GIS review of properties within the Town and surrounding area to identify potential sites for industrial development and make recommendations on development strategies.
The consultants will conduct site visits and provide recommendations focused on sites that merit further evaluation based on the development potential, strengths, weaknesses, and time frame for potential development of those sites. All of the services Robbins will receive through the SITE Program are valued at $15,000.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for Robbins and northern Moore County,” said Clint Mack, Town Manager of Robbins. “In alignment with the Town’s comprehensive Master Plan, identifying potential industrial sites is a critical step toward building the Town’s capacity to drive economic growth and to creating the favorable conditions essential for successfully recruiting new industry and facilitating existing business expansion.”
As an industrial location, Robbins offers several desirable amenities such as rail access and proximity to an interstate that are advantageous for warehouse, distribution, select manufacturing, and other types of industries. The Town is located in Moore County’s only census tract designated as an Opportunity Zone, and the tract has also been redesignated as a HUBZone through June 30, 2023.
In addition, Robbins has adequate water and wastewater capacity due to recently completed water system upgrades started in 2016 that have greatly improved the town’s water pressure and quality. Using Hurricane Florence related FEMA grants, Robbins has also almost completed a $1.6 million dollar upgrade to its wastewater treatment plant that doubles its previous capacity.
“We are so excited about how transformational the SITE Program could be for Robbins and northern Moore County,” said Natalie Hawkins, Executive Director of Partners in Progress, the nonprofit public/private economic development organization serving all of Moore County.
Partners in Progress continues to see a significant increase in the number of businesses seeking sites in Moore County, including an uptick in suppliers to the electric vehicle (EV) market who could help support the $1.3 billion Toyota Battery Manufacturing North Carolina facility and the $4 billion VinFast facility. Both industries are locating in the NC Carolina Core megasite corridor north of Moore County along US Highway 421 in Liberty and Moncure respectively.
“Being less than an hour’s drive to the Toyota Battery and VinFast sites puts Robbins and northern Moore within the radar of this unprecedented activity coming in the near future,” said Hawkins. “Identifying prospective industrial sites through the SITE Program can help position northern Moore to possibly capture some of those supplier industries and reap the benefits from the capital investment, new job creation, and general economic ripple effect they will generate.”
Partners in Progress assisted the Town of Robbins in preparing the SITE Program application and will continue participating as a key partner in the project.
“Robbins looks forward to working with the Golden LEAF Foundation, their site development consultants, and Partners in Progress, and we appreciate the opportunity to participate in the SITE Program to move our community toward a brighter economic future,” said Mack.
Feature photo: Robbins town sign by Sandhills Sentinel Photographer Melissa Schaub.