PENDER COUNTY — A Winston-Salem developer has submitted plans for a 126,000-square-foot industrial building — just larger than two football fields — on a 15-acre site in the center of the Pender Commerce Park.
The industrial park is strategically located between the Cape Fear River and the Northeast Cape Fear River off U.S. 421, just north of the New Hanover-Pender county line.
Chris Ramm of Taylor Development Group submitted a major site development plan for what he called a “126,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art spec building” to Pender planners on Monday. The developer plans to build it out as a speculative project to attract industrial companies to either lease or purchase the property.
“We’re excited about entering the Wilmington market with a new industrial product,” Ramm said Thursday afternoon. “And we’re looking forward to further investing in the community. We believe in it, and believe there’s a pent up demand.”
Ramm submitted the plans under a company called Mobrix LLC but said that will change when partnership agreements are finalized in coming weeks. Ramm is the Chief Operating Officer of Taylor Development Group, which bought the office buildings of Landfall Park on Eastwood Drive in 2017 for $10.2 million, according to Wilmington Business Journal.
In early August, county commissioners approved offers from Mobrix and Polyhose Inc. — an Indian-based manufacturer and distributor of industrial hoses — to purchase properties in the industrial park for $634,400 and $410,000, respectively. Following a 10-day upset bid period, Mobrix was given 120 days to perform due diligence before closing on the property; Polyhose was given a 60-day due diligence period for a 9-acre lot in the park.
According to Chairman George Brown, an extension for the 60-day Polyhose deadline to December 17 was approved in recent weeks while the 120-day Mobrix deadline remains the same, also sometime in mid-December. The Indian firm Polyhose is expected to bring approximately 50 employees during the first phase of the project.
The commerce park is the product of a partnership between Wilmington Business Development (WBD) and the county to recruit manufacturers, distribution companies, food processing companies, and company headquarters to the area. The two companies would bring the total number at the commerce park to six, joining Acme Smoked Fish, Empire Distributors, FedEd Freight, and Coastal Beverage Company.
Head of WBD Scott Satterfield said both companies are still performing due diligence on the properties but is hopeful for closings in the near future. He said the Mobrix proposal is for a distribution, warehousing, and manufacturing facility — one that would help meet demand in a region where land for such construction is growing more scarce.
“It will go a long ways in satisfying the imminent need that we have in southeastern North Carolina for space that is built to today’s industry demands,” Satterfield said. “We’re very short on space in the region for larger buildings that are built to today’s standards and needs for distribution and manufacturing and the like.”
He said that as a proposed speculative building, a buyer or leaser may have the ability to “establish its own footprint in the building and determine how it is ultimately finished out,” and that WBD has already been marketing the planned building to interested prospective clients.
“It’s something we’ve spent a lot of time and energy on trying to attract key investors to southeastern North Carolina to take a chance and put this type of space up,” Satterfield said.
The site plans submitted to the county’s planning department earlier in the week, before a closing on the property has taken place, is part of the due diligence process in which size, layout, property boundaries and other proposals meet county specifications, according to Satterfield.
According to the submitted plans, Mobrix is eyeing Lot 2 at the Pender Commerce Park, near the Acme Smoked Fish plant. The proposal is scheduled to go before the county’s Technical Review Committee on November 6.
Mark Darrough can be reached at Mark@Localvoicemedia.com