Transylvania County, NC- On April 12, 2016, community stakeholders from Transylvania County, the City of Brevard, Heart of Brevard, and utility partners joined the Transylvania Economic Alliance on a driving tour of three different industrial sites throughout the Carolinas including Henderson County, NC, Cleveland County, NC, and York County, SC. Participants met with economic development practitioners and elected leadership who successfully implemented product development best practices in their perspective communities.
Executive Director Josh Hallingse said the Alliance organized the initiative as part of their ongoing mission to create and execute a viable product development strategy in Transylvania County. “This tour was a great opportunity for our stakeholders to see three very different properties. Each community we visited had their unique set of challenges and strengths and collaborated to create a product development strategy that suited their needs. Although these properties and communities are very different than Transylvania County, I think we can adopt the best practices and modify them to create our own path forward.”
The first stop on the tour was Ferncliff Business Park located in Mills River. Andrew Tate and Brittany Jones Brady from Henderson County Partnership for Economic Development joined the group to discuss how they worked collaboratively with landowners, utility providers, and elected officials to advance the location from a raw piece of property to an NC Certified Industrial Park. Ferncliff Industrial Park is currently home to Sierra Neveda Brewing Company, and, most recently announced, GF Linamar.
The second stop was the Job Ready Shell Building located in the Foothills Commerce Center in Cleveland County, NC. The building was constructed and marketed for sale/ lease in 2014 and was recently leased to IVAR's Cabinet Shop, Inc. a California-based furniture manufacturer. Transylvania County participants toured the building and spoke with Rick Howell, the city manager of the City of Shelby, and David Dear, former county manager, about the collaborative effort to execute the shell building project. Howell credits the success to the good working relationships and trust shared between community leadership. The Job Ready Shell Building is the second shell building collaboration between Cleveland County and the City of Shelby.
The last stop on the tour was Riverwalk Community in York County, SC. The park is part of a 1,008 acre master planned community that includes 850 homes, 250 townhomes, 1,250 apartments and a 400-acre business park. Development amenities include shopping and dining alongside world-class cycling venues (velodrome/BMX track), a canoe/kayak launch, nature trails, green spaces and athletics fields. The light industrial business park portion of the development includes 1.7 million square feet of light industrial facilities for sale.
Alliance Chairman Mark Tooley said, “The tour included a great cross section of sites, each with important lessons to be learned for our situation, and the presenters at each stop provided information that I found invaluable.”
Hallingse said we recognize one of the biggest challenges Transylvania County faces is the lack of sites and buildings available for job creators. “Our existing businesses looking to expand have limited real estate options and in order for us to recruit a new business to the area, we need somewhere for them to go. The product development task will be difficult but I believe it is necessary.”