County hears marketing plan for Gateway West

Aug. 05, 2014 @ 10:50 AM

Rutherford County lost out on $135 million in potential new business investment and 550 potential new jobs because of a lack of assets available.

Rutherford County Commissioners heard that from Matt Blackwell, Rutherford County Economic Development Commission director Monday during the August meeting of the County Commission.

Blackwell updated commissioners on the marketing strategy for the Gateway West Commerce Park, located on Daniel Road next to Isothermal Community College in Spindale.

Blackwell said the county received inquiries from 13 different projects over the last 24 months and three of those projects provided feedback as to why Rutherford County was not chosen. All three said topography of available land was the primary reason they did not relocate to the county.

“We have to be better prepared so as not to lose any more potential jobs,” Blackwell said.

Commissioners approved spending $650,000 to start developing 25 acres of the nearly 80 acres of county-owned property.

Blackwell said the primary benefit of the property is that Rutherford County owns it.

‘There isn’t the risk of dealing with private owners,” Blackwell said. “We have identified property for sale and for development.”

The county has already done due diligence on the property including a study of wet lands and soil boring.

“We can definitively market this property and say there is no risk involved in moving to the property,” Blackwell said.

Blackwell said marketing of the property includes creating a property brochure, dedicated website, mass mailing to prospects, email blasts to consultants and target marketing at trade shows.

He said the phase one site improvements are tentatively scheduled for an April 2015 completion. There are seven buildings potentially planned for development on the site. 

“We feel that is the best scenario and we will adjust our plans accordingly,” Blackwell said.

Approximately 13 acres of the property can be developed for commercial or retail use. That acreage sits along U.S. 74A.

On Monday, commissioners approved allowing County Manager Carl Classen to start negotiations with Stimmel Associates from Winston-Salem to work on site and civil design services on the property.

In other business, commissioners: 

• approved the appointment of Mary Sandra Costner to the Rutherford County Library Board of Trustees;

• Commission Chairman Bill Eckler appointed Kyle Hankinson to the Economic Development Commission board;

• received an update on the moving of the Rutherford County Board of Elections office;

• approved a reimbursement resolution for the vehicle replacement plan;

• approved carry-forward budget amendments totaling $464,221;

• approved budget amendments not carried forward;

• approved a resolution presenting Rutherford County Sheriff’s Det. Roland Rodriguez, Jr. his service weapon.