Economic developers see potential catalyst for 120 acres on Blue Clay Road

Economic development officials say $ 3.6 million earmarked for expanding water and sewage infrastructure to 120 acres owned by New Hanover County will benefit investment growth and jobs in New Hanover County. the count.

The Blue Clay Road site, although no longer in use, has been dubbed Blue Clay Business Park.

The $ 3.6 million is part of the $ 45.4 million the county is expected to receive from the US bailout, enacted on March 11. County officials on Wednesday announced a preliminary spending plan for the money.

“Essential public services are needed to attract new investment and new jobs. The recognition of this by New Hanover County and the resulting decision to invest in infrastructure, reinforces the fact that Blue Clay Business Park is a business destination, ”said Scott Satterfield, CEO of Wilmington Business Development , in an email this week.

The Blue Clay Business Park infrastructure is one of two water and sewer projects that would be funded under the county plan. Also included is $ 4 million in water and sewer extensions for Sidbury Road to reduce the cost of developing affordable housing in northern New Hanover County.

County manager Chris Coudriet said this week that the region must be able to cope with housing and job growth.

“As a community, we need to prepare for this. This means that we have to have water and sewage in the ground so that the builders, the developers can set up the housing stock, and we have to have the sites that the future entrepreneurs, future business leaders are going to have. need. . . to put their facilities on the line, as their new workforce moves in, while their existing workforce here retools, ”Coudriet said earlier this week.

The water and sewer extension to Sidbury Road and Blue Clay Business Park would not have happened in the near future, at least not in the next two to five years, without US bailout funds, did he declare.

The county contracted with Wilmington Business Development (WBD) to complete a site survey and due diligence work on the property, providing funding to WBD to carry out the work.

The site in 2019 was also selected for Duke Energy’s site preparation program, which includes an initial assessment of industrial sites from a site selection consultant’s perspective and a more detailed constructability assessment, as well as the development of conceptual plans for the sites by a field expert. use and site planners.

WBD officials said its due diligence reports are now being used to market the site. Investing in infrastructure will make the site more attractive to employers.

“Preliminary development highlights a 120-acre site (85 of which is buildable) where more than 875,000 square feet can be developed. Another interesting differentiator is the rail’s ability to service the location, Satterfield said.

The County’s Blue Clay Road property is close to Interstate 40 and Wilmington International Airport.

Satterfield said, “Recent announcements of product development in our region position Greater Wilmington well for job creation and future investment opportunities. ”

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