Our current inventory of industrial sites is deficient and does not allow our community to effectively retain and/or grow a critical sector of our economy. Without a coordinated plan to address our lack of industrial sites and align public policy/land use with our community’s current circumstances it is very difficult to be successful in our pursuits of quality job creation and investment. If left unaddressed this situation will continue to cause issues when working to retain/attract industry.
WHY SHOULD OUR COMMUNITY CARE ABOUT MANUFACTURING? SHORT ANSWER- JOBS
- Over the past 5 years manufacturing employment in Transylvania County increased by 68.6%, greatly outpacing the 8.4%increase among all industries in the county.
- Over the past 5 years manufacturing has been responsible for 41.7% of all net new jobs in the county.
- The manufacturing sector currently employs approximately 700 workers in Transylvania County.
- In 2017 average monthly earning in local manufacturing equaled $3,596; 21% or $618 above the average for all industries in the county.
THE SOLUTION: EXPAND THE CURRENT BUSINESS PARK
In June 2016 the Alliance initiated a comprehensive search to identify properties that with reasonable costs could be used to create a new business park. The Alliance engaged the services of Greenfield and Benchmark Planning. Together the team worked to identify land tracts with the appropriate mix of topography, proximity to transportation routes, workforce assets and public and private utilities. Given our mountainous topography and the location of water and sewer utilities the team quickly recognized that the best opportunity for traditional industrial development are properties located in established communities with infrastructure.
WHY NOT USE DAVIDSON RIVER VILLAGE/ECUSTA MILL SITE?
In 2017 McCallum Sweeney Consulting worked to evaluate the Davidson River Village (DRV) property as part of the Duke Energy Site Readiness Program. While DRV holds unique value and incredible amounts of history for our community the complexities associated with developing a brownfield property of this scale significantly narrows the likely end-user to a developer or business that has experience managing and operating brownfields. While we believe our economic development program should include continued relationship building with this landowner and marketing the site, the recommendation from this evaluation process was to diversify our site offerings.
Challenges to developing the DRV site for a traditional industrial park:
- The adopted master plan and zoning designations are tailored to commercial/residential uses with very limited amounts of industrial applications. Modification to the existing development agreement in place is complicated and must be initiated by the landowner and approved by the City.
- The current landowner would like to sell the entire +500 tract (not subdivide).
- A large percentage of the property is undevelopable (roughly 70% is undevelopable)
- Developing brownfield properties is complex and requires a purchaser who has the ability to navigate relevant land use restrictions and deal with environmental issues.
The most effective option for the development of a new business park is to expand the existing Jennings Business Park and utilize land already owned by Transylvania County (+/-30 acres). (This concept does not include the indoor sports complex or fields located immediately adjacent to Pisgah Forest Elementary.)
MOVE THE COUNTY’S RECREATION AMENITIES TO A LESS DEVELOPABLE PROPERTY
This concept suggests using developable properties for job creation activities and using less developable properties for recreational amenities. In a community with more than 41% of the total land mass designated for perpetual public recreation 1) Pisgah National Forest, DuPont State Forest, Gorges State Park, Headwaters State Forest (new) this is an especially important concept. Using flood prone areas for recreational purposes is done in other communities. The figures below illustrate how parks have been developed in other locations in areas that are prone to flooding.
Fletcher Park (Town of Fletcher, NC)
Twin City Soccer Complex (Davie County, NC)
Carrier Park (City of Asheville, NC)
Rosman Park (Transylvania County, NC)
BUSINESS PARK CONCEPT PLANNING
The proposed business park includes both larger and smaller acreage tracts to accommodate the Alliance’s target markets. Sites range from 2-11 acres and can accommodate a variety of building sizes.
This plan incorporates the existing greenway section as an amenity to the new business park. The existing trail will continue to serve an important role in the city and residences while also allowing future employees in this expanded business park to bike to work.
To determine the expected benefits of the project the Alliance utilized IMPLAN Economic Development impact software to forecast the various benefits of the concept plan:
+170 new direct jobs (25% increase)
+$7,000,000 in direct annual wages
+$16,000,000 in real property improvements
+$16,000,000 in business property improvements
+$1,000,000 in net new taxable land
+$330,000 (Net new direct annual property tax revenue City/County)
PARK CONCEPT PLAN
In an effort to help understand the potential of a park on the proposed property near Brevard Elementary School and Brevard High School the Alliance worked with a landscape architect and civil engineer to understand how amenities could be programmed or located on the site, while also leveraging stream bank restoration credits to help offset the purchase price. The graphic below illustrates one potenital layout. This graphic also represents a fully developed site. The community should expect that this could be done over time in phases. This concept plan emphasis a heavier concentration of active recreation amenities (baseball fields, tennis courts and basketball courts). The concept could be revised, if desired, to focus on passive recreation amenities. If the property was selected as a park, our local parks and recreation committee and local stakeholders would be in a position to evaluate options and further refine the plan.
Appraised Value of Land: $460,000
Transylvania County Tax Assessor Value: $515,750
Contract Purchase Price: $440,000
Value of Stream & Wetand Banking Credits: $150,000
Net Purchase Price if credits incorporated into park plan: $290,000