DOBSON — Three of the county’s four municipalities will soon have a building site which has been readied for a potential industrial user and certified through a state program.
According to Surry County Economic Development Partnership (EDP) President Todd Tucker, about 40 acres at the corner of Zephyr Road and Twin Oaks Road is being marketed to possible buyers. Until recently, the site, owned by Shelton Vineyards owners Charlie and Ed Shelton, was being held for use by the duo.
Tucker said the site will now undergo a list of studies and surveys, including collecting information like environmental, endangered species, archaeological, and geotechnical data, to provide to potential owners.
The Certified Site program will put the property, which the EDP is now actively marketing, “a leg up on others,” said Tucker. There are 44 certified sites in the state, one of which is in Mount Airy and another of which is in Elkin.
Tucker noted the other Surry County properties have “gotten serious looks” from developers throughout the course of the past five years or so. However, they are still on the market.
The Dobson property would be an excellent property for a light industrial manufacturing facility or a warehouse, according to Tucker.
“The Shelton site is in a good location with easy access to Interstate 77 and has all of the utility services a good site needs,” states an EDP release. “The land is also gently rolling and will lend itself to easy development. We are excited about the opportunity to market this site.”
Tucker said the Dobson property stands out in contrast to the other two sites in the county. In Mount Airy and Elkin, the municipalities had to foot the bills for the certification program. In Dobson, private investment is driving the move.
The Sheltons and Surry-Yadkin Electric Membership Corporation are splitting the cost of the certification process. Though Tucker said costs always vary with such projects, the two groups will invest tens of thousands of dollars in the project.
At a recent meeting of the Dobson Board of Commissioners, Town Manager Josh Smith noted if a manufacturer or other industrial user ends up at the site, the company would become a large water and sewer customer for the town, which is also helping to market the site.
If all goes well, Surry-Yadkin Electric would also land an industrial customer.
The organization’s general manager said, “Surry-Yadkin mostly serves residential consumers, so any industrial growth on our distribution system would have a noticeable economic impact on our membership.”
The Shelton site could also be an ideal location for a shell building, something which Tucker says the county needs to compete in today’s market.
“Still, what we need are buildings,” said Tucker. “The market is moving toward speculative shell buildings.”
Tucker said companies are looking to set up shop and begin making money as quickly as possible. That makes a building which is ready for use an asset to a company looking to expand or relocate.
Tucker said many metropolitan areas already offer shell buildings, as a result of private investors.
“For us it’s a little different,” remarked Tucker.
Tucker explained in rural areas such as Surry County public investment is often needed to get such programs up and running. The site would make an “excellent” location for a shell building. However, Tucker and company are looking for any interested parties.
Noting the fact the property is located only hundreds of yards from the I-77 interchange, Tucker said, “It would be a great site for a warehouse or distribution facility.”
Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.