08 May Undeveloped property in Goldsboro becomes site of new business park
Wayne County, North Carolina, can sum up its claims to fame with 4 Ps: pigs, pickles, planes, and poultry. Today, it’s adding a fifth P to its repertoire: progress. Wayne County, of which Goldsboro is the county seat, and the Wayne County Development Alliance (WCDA) are exercising their option to develop a business park on a 118-acre site bounded by the City of Goldsboro. WithersRavenel’s economic development team is guiding the project through a comprehensive due diligence, funding, and design process.
The property, known as the Goldsboro Business Campus, is in the northern part of Goldsboro. As a greenfield site, it lacks basic infrastructure like water, sewer, and roads. Therefore, the first step in the process of preparing it for development had to be understanding the existing conditions. The economic development team performed due diligence by reviewing existing records research provided by the Duke Energy Site Readiness program and WithersRavenel field investigations to determine whether there were any adverse conditions that would affect construction.
At the same time, the County, WCDA, and the economic development team evaluated appropriate development standards for the business park. The economic development team reviewed Conditions, Covenants, and Restrictions (CCRs) in force at other business parks and the City of Goldsboro’s zoning ordinance to determine which standards would enable the County and WCDA to promote an environment whereby small businesses could expand by moving into the business park. The CCRs for the Goldsboro Business Campus are meant to shape the aesthetics of the park without requiring expensive and onerous development standards.
The next step involved applying for Certified Site status with the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina. The team assembled existing studies and developed site plans, construction budgets, and several more due diligence items required for the application.
The purpose of the Certified Sites Program is to provide a statewide inventory of industrial sites that have undergone a rigorous pre-qualification process to ensure they meet a consistent set of standards. The certification process results in detailed and current information about a site, including price, availability, utilities, access, environmental concerns, and potential site development costs. A Certified Site is more likely to be selected for development than a site that isn’t certified, because many of the uncertainties typically present in the development process are eliminated or significantly reduced.
The Goldsboro Business Campus site application was submitted and approved as a Certified Site in a record 60 days.
The economic development team also submitted the site for the North Carolina Department of Commerce’s Rural ReadySites program. This grant program provides funding to help communities prepare potential industrial sites for development. Key criteria for eligibility in the program include evidence of appropriate and proportionate local financial support for site development and evidence of a well-thought-out strategy to identify and market the site to appropriate private sector businesses.
With WithersRavenel’s guidance, Wayne County secured financial support for the project, netting $1.785 million in grant funding to construct public infrastructure, with priority given to water, sewer, and industrial access improvements.
“Having WithersRavenel’s team working with us to prepare the [Goldsboro Business Campus] for marketing has been a great experience,” said Mark Pope, president of the Wayne County Development Alliance and current president of the North Carolina Economic Development Association.” Not only do they understand economic development, but they also have all the engineering capabilities needed to fully explore and present the site’s amenities.”
With the site vetted and positioned for success, WithersRavenel’s engineers and designers are hard at work on conceptual master plans for the business park, including stormwater design, design drawings for utility extensions into the park, and entrance monument design. The economic development team will support the County and WCDA as the Goldsboro Business Campus is actively marketed to prospective developers and future tenants.