The Albemarle Business Center (ABC) has taken another significant step in being positioned as a premier site in North Carolina for attracting business and industry. ElectriCities of North Carolina Inc. has designated a 282-acre City of Albemarle owned property as Smart Site. This prestigious designation guarantees that the site has met stringent requirements and will be shovel-ready for new development.
The ABC is located in the regional business and industry center of Albemarle and is accessible from both Henson Street and U.S. Highway 52 Business. The City of Albemarle supplies the site’s utility services, including electricity, water, and sewer. Natural gas and broadband fiber are also available to the Business Center. The site is also conveniently located just 30 minutes from I-485 and is only one hour from Charlotte Douglas International Airport.
The site will now be marketed to growing businesses as a prime site for development in Stanly County and the Charlotte Region. Mayor Ronnie Michael recognized Albemarle Economic Development Director Mark Donham and ElectriCities Economic Development Director Brenda Daniels and her staff for their work on this project. “Mark has been instrumental in implementing the vision for the Albemarle Business Center established by the City Council, and community. The resources and relationship with ElectriCities of North Carolina has always been a tremendous advantage and benefit to our community. This relationship has never been more valuable than it is today, as is evident with the announcement of the Smart Site designation.” Mayor Michael also notes “Albemarle routinely receives interest from business from the region and around the State. Having a certified development site and facilities to be available when interest is expressed is something that is currently lacking within the immediate region.” City Manager Michael Ferris, also championing the ABC, credits the City Council with the vision to become leaders in economic development. “The Mayor and City Council saw the need to take control of Albemarle’s economic future to provide jobs to sustain our community and residents, and providing shovel-ready sites is significant step toward that goal.” It is estimated that the businesses that will located in the ABC will employ between 2,000 and 4,000 people.
ElectriCities created the Smart Sites program in 2014 to help member communities prepare shovel-ready sites for economic development. “In today’s competitive environment, it’s rare for a company to locate on an undeveloped property,” explains Daniels. “New and expanding companies expect existing buildings or a prepared, shovel-ready site to shorten the amount of time needed for construction. We created Smart Sites to expedite economic development in NC Public Power communities.”
Earning the Smart Sites designation is challenging. Potential sites must meet specific requirements and undergo an extensive review process by site selection experts, including Engineering Consulting Services and Creative Economic Development Consulting. Each site must have municipal electric service, have water and sewer access within 500 feet, and be within five miles of an interstate or interstate-quality highway.
Chambers Engineering is master planning the ABC and within a few months installation of infrastructure will begin. This will include utilities and roads.
ElectriCities markets Smart Sites at trade shows and industry events around the world. Other Smart Sites are in Farmville, Greenville, Kinston, Laurinburg, New Bern, Shelby, Statesville, Tarboro, Washington and Wilson.