Construction is expected to begin this fall on the first facility inside the International Logistics Park of North Carolina (ILP) on the Columbus-Brunswick county line.
An artist’s rendering shows the first building planned for development at the International Logistics Park of North Carolina (Courtesy of Cameron Management Group)
The International Commerce Center will be an $8.5 million industrial “spec” building owned by Cameron Management Group of Wilmington. Developers hope that the building will be ready for occupancy in the near future and that an industrial tenant will be quickly identified. Jeff Earp of Cameron Management Group said Thursday that he is unable to discuss potential tenants.
The 1,100-acre industrial park is a joint venture of the Columbus and Brunswick county governments. Columbus County commissioners agreed in February to fund the $250,000 extension of a 16-inch water main from the county line for a short distance inside the park to serve the new shell building.
More than $2 million, mostly from state economic development grant funds, has already been spent for sewer infrastructure in the ILP. In addition to the 16-inch water line Columbus County has run to the site, Brunswick County has constructed an eight-inch sewer force main. A $2.15 million grant was received for construction of the sewer system.
ILP, about 17 miles from Wilmington, is the first “at-port” distribution park in the state. The industrial park is fronted by U.S. 74-76. In addition to commitments from Columbus County for water service and Brunswick County for sewer service (also involving state grants for both counties), other partners developing the park include Duke Energy and Piedmont Natural Gas for energy and ATMC and AT&T for fiber optic broadband services.
Columbus and Brunswick counties have also joined forces — along with Pender and New Hanover counties — in the Wilmington Micro-Region Marketing Initiative headed by North Carolina’s Southeast (NCSE), a public-private partnership focused on economic development.
The goal is to take advantage of assets like the Port of Wilmington and U.S. 74 that benefit the entire area.
“Successful economic development is based in large part on strong collaboration these days and leveraging resources,” Steve Yost, president of NCSE, said in a story last year about the marketing project.
Logistics and distribution — the target of ILP — is an industry ripe for growth in the Wilmington region, Yost said, pointing to the numerous distribution facilities that have sprung up within a 20-mile radius of the ports in Savannah, Ga., and Charleston, S.C.
Gary Lanier, Columbus County’s economic development director, said Cameron Management Group agreed to construct the shell building after seeing local and state government invest in the project.
“[They] said that if the two counties and the state are willing to spend almost $2.5 million to get water and sewer there, then they’re willing to step up and put in a shell building to get development going,” Lanier said after the commissioners’ action in February.
The entire park is eligible for Tier 1 incentives, which are generally reserved for the state’s most economically distressed communities. The site is also located in a designated qualified opportunity zone providing significant Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax incentives through the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Tax Cuts and Job Act. —Justin Smith contributed to this reporting