Sunday, November 27, 2022

200K-square-foot commercial building breaks ground in Navassa next month

The site plan for Samet’s planned speculative building on Cedar Hill Road. The 34 acres currently sit vacant and are zoned for light industrial use.

NAVASSA — A major project is coming to one of Brunswick County’s smallest towns.

Samet Corporation, a builder of commercial and industrial facilities, expects to start building a 200,000-square-foot facility on Cedar Hill Road, just south of Royster Road, early next month. Exactly what will be housed in the building is up in the air.

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Samet typically constructs speculative properties, meaning it identifies ideal locations with the goal of finding corporate tenants for the space. In the case of the new Navassa facility, it could house anything from food manufacturing to warehousing.

Every use the company would consider for the building was already allowed by-right in its light industrial zoning classification. Still, Samet requested a hearing to get a special-use permit so the facility can be used for warehousing as well.

During a hearing before the council’s Thursday meeting, Mayor Eulis Willis asked planner Sam Shore for clarity as to whether the facility would be built if the town did not sign off on the special-use permit. Shore confirmed warehousing was the only reason for the permit — a logical ask on the part of Samet because of the project’s proximity to I-140.

After closing the hearing, the board unanimously voted for the permit with no discussion.

Samet regional manager David Bollenbacher told Port City Daily the company would have moved forward with the building with or without the town’s issuance. He said already a few companies are interested in the site.

“This type of project is kind of suited for a wide variety of tenants,” Bollenbacher said. “A couple that we’re speaking with already are electricians and mechanical contractors, but it could be anyone.”

Bollenbacher noted Samet has worked with companies such as Amazon and Blue Bell Creameries. The Navassa project will break ground Dec. 5 and is expected to wrap construction in mid-October next year.

The town planning board signed off on the special-use permit this month as well. To apply, Samet had to establish it deserved the special use based on 10 points outlined in town zoning ordinances with regard to impact on the site and surrounding properties.

Notably, Samet’s application states the plans are fully compliant with town ordinances, and the proposed use is similar to the intensity of other light industrial uses allowed by-right on the land.

The property will have an access road that loops through with two exits and will be flanked by stormwater retention ponds on three sides.

The property is being created through the combination of two 16.5-acre parcels, creating one lot totaling 33.24 acres. Samet has tentative plans to build a second, 80,000-square-foot building on the site in the future, if all goes well with the first building. Bollenbacher said there is no timeline for the second project.

Willis said the town of 2,000 is expecting growth, especially with its proximity and access to the I-140 corridor.

This is the latest in a series of industrial projects that have looked to Navassa since 2019. Notably, Pacon Manufacturing, which manufactures wholesale paper products, moved into a 350,000-square-foot building and promised almost 300 jobs as a condition for a $700,000 grant from the North Carolina Department of Commerce. WECT reported it has fallen short of that goal as of October.

The town also has several housing developments under construction, posed to add thousands of new units.

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