The North Carolina Railroad Company (NCRR) awarded approximately $2.92 million to rail-served sites in six counties across North Carolina through its new Build Ready Sites initiative.
Alexander, Burke, Johnston, Montgomery, Moore, and Pitt counties will each make improvements to available rail-served sites to prepare for future industrial development with the goal of spurring growth in their local communities.
Aberdeen will receive nearly $168,000 for Iron Horse Industrial Park.
A film presentation at the Aberdeen Town Council meeting in May showed the availability of approximately 128 acres of Iron Horse Industrial Park, located off N.C. 211, near Kolfcraft. Available utilities on the property include electricity with Duke Energy, Town of Aberdeen water and wastewater, Piedmont Natural Gas, and Windstream Communications. The town wants a company to see the availability for industrial use, build on the land, and hire for good-paying jobs.
“Each of these recipients underwent a rigorous application and site-review process overseen by Global Location Strategies, a consultant based in Greenville, S.C.,” said NCRR President and CEO Carl Warren. “We’re honored to launch an innovative program that not only fosters growth in our local communities, but also creates opportunities for meaningful partnerships that expand our state’s competitive advantage.”
North Carolina needs build-ready (or construction-ready) rail sites, but there are few existing resources for development without significant interest from a client in a specific land site.
“Funding from many programs, like the Rail Industrial Access Program and NCRR Invests, require a company to be actively interested in expanding or opening a facility in North Carolina,” said North Carolina Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders. “The Build Ready Sites program uniquely prepares rail-served sites to be more attractive to companies looking to locate or expand in our state.”
NCRR has a demonstrated history of increasing the state’s competitive advantage through investments in the freight rail infrastructure needs of companies considering location or expansion in North Carolina. Build Ready Sites is the beginning of an ongoing initiative to partner with communities and railroads across the state to combine resources and leverage funds for site readiness. Through this program, NCRR acts as a catalyst to increase the number of rail-served sites that are ready for use by a manufacturer or similar employer, boosting the opportunity for community and job growth through rail.
“Companies are on tight construction timelines and cannot afford unnecessary risk,” said Emily Cox, NCRR’s Economic Development and Strategic Projects Manager. “Our goal is for communities to use these funds to remove development barriers and improve time-to-construction predictability around rail sites that can be developed in 18 months or less.”
Build Ready Sites funds can be used for land preparation (clearing/grading), critical water/sewer extension, and speculative buildings (within specific ownership/lease scenarios beneficial to a community).
“It is impossible to overstate the economic significance of the funding we are going to receive through the Build Ready Sites program,” said David Icenhour, Executive Director of Alexander County Economic Development Corporation. “NCRR is a great partner to have in developing and promoting interest in our planned rail site in the Alexander Industrial Park. We’re extremely appreciative of the grant award from the North Carolina Railroad Company and look forward to seeing this project result in new jobs and investment for Alexander County.”
NCRR will begin accepting Build Ready Sites applications this summer for 2022. Selection criteria prioritize proposals from both rural and economically distressed communities as well as those sites with demonstrated community backing and support from infrastructure partners, such as railroads and other key utility providers. The extent to which NCRR’s funding can make a significant impact in accomplishing overall site-improvement goals is also a key consideration. For more information on Build Ready Sites application criteria and deadlines, please visit NCRR.com/ED.
Other 2021 Build Ready Sites Award Recipients are:
• Alexander County EDC Site in Taylorsville, N.C. (Alexander County)
• Butler Hill Site in Drexel, N.C. (Burke County)
• Eastfield Business Park in Selma, N.C. (Johnston County)
• Candor Property in Candor, N.C. (Montgomery County)
• Ayden Rail Site in Ayden, N.C. (Pitt County)
ABOUT THE NORTH CAROLINA RAILROAD COMPANY:
The North Carolina Railroad Company (NCRR) is a private corporation whose stock is owned by the State of North Carolina. The NCRR manages the use of 317 miles of track stretching from Charlotte to the Port of Morehead City. The company’s mission is to benefit the people of North Carolina by aggressively leveraging the unique strengths and capabilities of the North Carolina Railroad Company. Its vision is to offer a modernized railroad that meets the needs of the future, expanding North Carolina’s competitive advantage. For more information, please visit www.ncrr.com.
Feature photo: A still image from Moore County Partners in Progress’ video when they presented at the May 10, 2021 Aberdeen Town Council meeting on Iron Horse Industrial Park.