Pittsboro, NC – At its April 18 meeting, the Chatham County Board of Commissioners approved an option for purchase of the Chatham-Siler City Advanced Manufacturing (CAM) site west of Siler City. The county would only be obligated to purchase the land if and when a company chooses the CAM megasite.
“Putting the property under public control is a major enhancement in marketing the site and will ensure that the NC Department of Commerce will give priority to promoting the CAM site to potential industries,” said County Commissioner Chairman James Crawford. “In a very competitive market, we need every advantage we can leverage. This is a huge step.”
Crawford added, “This is our chance to stand up and say that we want jobs in this county. Our megasite is further along in its development than other megasites in the state, but the others are catching up. Public control is another major selling point for our site.”
The NC Department of Commerce has told the Chatham Economic Development Corporation (EDC) that they give top priority to marketing sites that are publicly controlled, because manufacturers making large investments expect that. Kyle Touchstone, EDC president. “Public ownership eases the process of obtaining infrastructure and controls the land sales price.”
County Manager Renee Paschal said, “The county pays the $540,654 up front as part of the option, but does not pay the full land purchase price until a company has decided to locate on the site. The option may be exercised anytime up to June 30, 2017, with the county able to purchase the entire site or a portion no smaller than 500 acres.”
The option would be funded by proceeds of the 2015 sale of property in the Central Carolina Business Campus, which was earmarked for economic development. A financial model developed by the EDC with input from the county shows that the county can repay the cost of the land using additional taxes received from the business investment. The county has also consulted its financial advisors to ensure the purchase will not jeopardize the county’s AAA bond rating.
Crawford said, “While we have no crystal ball to see what impact this investment will have, we do not want to have regrets for what might have been. Attracting a company of this magnitude would have tremendous economic impact for all of Chatham County and the entire state.”
To learn more about the CAM site, visit www.chathamadvancedmanufacturing.com or contact the Chatham EDC at 919-542-8274.