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How Cabarrus put spotlight on spec building programs and incentives

Published Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Why do Cabarrus County and its communities along Interstate 85 have more than 3 million square feet in speculative industrial space proposed or ready for tenants?

The reasons range from location — the Interstate 85 corridor is more widely known for industrial operations than Interstate 77 — to incentives that reward developers for building as well as bringing jobs.

Cabarrus, along with at least two of its cities, Concord and Kannapolis, have incentive programs that encourage developers to build speculative industrial space. Most of York County’s incentives are based only on bringing jobs.

Chris Skibinski, principal at Avison Young in Charlotte, who has been successful in filling space along I-85 north of Charlotte, discounts the importance of Cabarrus incentives. It’s about available industrial land, he says.

“Historically, industrial developers have competed with residential builders and now office developments in York County, resulting in relatively high land prices,” he says.

Take Riverwalk Business Park for example, Skibinski says. The 315-acre park, which is a part of the 1,000-acre mixed-use development, is quickly filling. And Riverwalk developer Assured Group hasn’t had to build speculative space as its industrial land has been bought up for specific projects.

Skibinski is working with The Silverman Group in developing Concord Airport Business Park and an extension of the park on the west side of Derita Road to bring at least 2 million square feet of distribution and industrial space in Concord.

Other industrial developers are active in Cabarrus County, including Beacon Partners; Trinity Capital Advisors; Nolim Group, which owns International Business Park in Concord; and Childress Klein Properties.

Many of those industrial developers aren’t as active in York County or have no presence there at all.

Higher real estate taxes could be holding York County back when compared with Cabarrus County, says David Swenson, director of the York County Development Board. Swenson, whose former job was a recruiter with the Charlotte Regional Partnership, which also represents Cabarrus County, believes completion of road improvements along I-85 have caused the county to see a burst of projects.

Bill Linville, partner with Scannell Properties of Indianapolis, says the need for industrial shell space is an element that drew him to the Rock Hill area.

“York County is dramatically undersupplied for space,” he says.

Scannell Properties is developing Legacy West and Legacy East, which combined could bring 3.7 million square feet of industrial shell space to southeast Rock Hill.

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