Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Pender County accepts $1 million in property purchase offers for two companies to join commerce park

An open lot at Pender Commerce Park adjacent to the Acme Smoked Fish building. (Port City Daily photo/Mark Darrough)
An open lot at Pender Commerce Park adjacent to the Acme Smoked Fish building. (Port City Daily photo/Mark Darrough)

PENDER COUNTY — County commissioners have accepted offers from two companies to purchase properties in the Pender Commerce Park priced at just over $1 million.

The park, less than a mile north of the New Hanover County line on U.S. 421, is the product of a contractual partnership between Wilmington Business Development (WBD) and Pender County to recruit large-scale companies like manufacturers, distribution companies, food processing companies, and company headquarters to the county.

Pending a 10-day ‘upset bid’ period and an ensuing 60 days of due diligence, a 9-acre lot will be sold for $410,000 to Polyhose Incorporated, an Indian-based manufacturer of industrial hoses and other fluid conveyance equipment. 

According to Scott Satterfield, head of the WBD, the first phase of the project expects to bring approximately 50 employees. He said the Indian firm’s operations could include the assembly, manufacturing, and distribution of industrial hoses. 

“Hopefully, if this project continues to move forward, and all boxes are checked and all the necessary involvement at the local and state level come together, then we’d like to believe we have a good chance of landing an operation with this company in Pender Commerce Park,” Satterfield said.

Another 12 acres would be sold to Mobrix, LLC for $634,400. Labeled ‘Project Ramm,’ both Satterfield and Pender Chairman George Brown declined to comment on the specifics of the company until certain criteria is met during a 10-day upset period and 120 days of due diligence.

“If it comes to fruition, it would bring a significant investment to the commerce park and hopefully major job creation and further tax base enhancement,” Satterfield said. “We have criteria that has to be met before we are at liberty to discuss what they’re going to be doing.”

The North Carolina Secretary of State lists the manager and principal agent of Mobrix, LLC as Chris Ramm, a portfolio manager for Taylor Development Group based in Winston-Salem. Last summer the company purchased two office buildings on Eastwood Road in Wilmington for $10.2 million, according to Wilmington Business Journal.

A truck exits the Pender Commerce Park onto U.S. 421. The park's proximity to the highway and to the Cape Fear River, which connects to the Port of Wilmington, is a draw to companies relocating to the area. (Port City Daily photo/Mark Darrough)
A truck exits the Pender Commerce Park onto U.S. 421. The park’s proximity to the highway and to the Cape Fear River, which connects to the Port of Wilmington, is a draw to companies relocating to the area. (Port City Daily photo/Mark Darrough)

Commissioners voted to approve the two purchase offers at Monday’s Board of County Commissioners meeting. If both purchases are finalized, the two companies would join Acme Smoked Fish, Empire Distributors, FedEx Freight, and Coastal Beverage Company at the commerce park, bringing the total number of companies to six. 

“It is a very good day for the county,” Assistant County Manager Chad McEwen said. “I think it’s just more market reflection of the wisdom the county had in creating that park along 421 and the need to continue that growth and build on it at Pender Commerce Park.”

McEwen said a good problem the county now has is increasingly limited available land at the park, with approximately four “shovel-ready sites” remaining on the property. There are also some wetland issues the county is trying to resolve, due to the property’s location between the Cape Fear River and the Northeast Cape Fear River, according to McEwen. 

“These are prime industrial, shovel-ready sites with full infrastructure available along a major highway corridor with access to the ports and access to other connector highways and interstate systems,” McEwen said. “So it’s prime location in terms of industrial sites.”

He said no county incentives have been offered to either company for the purchases, nor were any offered to Coastal Beverage and FedEx Freight. Another piece of land, once occupied by a BASF chemical plant before it closed in 2008, still has buildings on it and is therefore not market-ready, according to McEwen.

Chairman Brown said the companies have asked officials not to share any further specifics about the deals until the process is further along, but he was excited about the prospects.

“[I]t’s always great having new business coming to our park,” Chairman Brown said. “That’s the whole intent of having the park — to fill it up, bring industry and jobs to the county.”


Mark Darrough can be reached at Mark@Localvoicemedia.com or (970) 413-3815

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