Amazon’s decision to build two facilities in Fayetteville has caught the attention of other companies looking for a place to expand their business, said the head of economic development.
But after the big natural gas pipeline project was canceled, even bigger projects evaporated, according to Robert Van Geons, president and CEO of the Fayetteville Cumberland County Economic Development Corporation.
Van Geons said Amazon’s project follows several other economic development achievements in the region, which will likely lead to more positive news. Fayetteville also benefits from major projects in other parts of North Carolina, he said.
Pipeline is a big loss for Fayetteville
But larger projects were underway before the world’s largest retailer finalized its Fayetteville decision. It derailed when it announced it would not build the Transatlantic Pipeline due to “increased cost uncertainty.”
“We lost $2 billion on projects ready for signature the day the Atlantic Coast Pipeline was cancelled,” said Van Geons.
For comparison, Amazon’s 1.3 million square foot warehouse and distribution center at Military Business Park on Bragg Boulevard is a $100 million project.
read:Duke, Dominion Cancel Controversial Transatlantic Pipeline
The 600-mile Atlantic coastal pipeline was expected to carry natural gas from West Virginia through Virginia to North Carolina, where it would end near Pembroke. The proposed 36-inch pipeline route would pass through the northwest corner of Sampson County, Godwin, Wade, Eastover, Cedar Creek, Grays Creek in Cumberland County, and near St. Paul in Robson County. .
The pipeline faced fierce opposition and legal setbacks, but the land had been cleared before the project was cancelled.
The pipeline was expected to aid economic development as it would increase the reliability and capacity of natural gas in the region.
Van Geons said the project will likely bring more than $100 million in additional tax revenue to the city and county.
“That’s the reality,” he said.
The county may have missed another $3 billion in projects since then, he said.
Fayetteville Mayor Mitch Colvin said it was disappointing to lose potential projects due to pipeline cancellations. He said some businesses may decide to base themselves in other parts of the state because of the situation.
“Ultimately, we need natural gas to stay competitive,” he said.
Colvin and Van Geons said local officials are working on other ways to increase natural gas production in the region.
“It’s better, but it’s never the same,” says Van Geons.
Instead, officials in Fayetteville and Cumberland counties are highlighting the advantages the area still has for potential projects, such as the excellent talent pool and abundant water resources of the Cape Fear River, he said. Van Johns said.
Amazon project grabs developer attention
Colvin said Amazon’s new facilities and other recent economic development projects show that companies want to locate in the city.
In February 2022, Amazon announced that it was building a warehouse and fulfillment center. The building is scheduled to open next year and will create more than 500 full-time jobs and hundreds of part-time jobs.
The company announced in May 2021 that it plans to set up a delivery station in Fayetteville. The Dunn Road facility will create hundreds of jobs and strengthen Amazon’s ability to serve the Fayetteville area.
Before:Amazon confirms it will build a new fulfillment center in Fayetteville. Over 500 jobs expected
The two projects have “opened the eyes” of developers who are considering Fayetteville and Cumberland County as possible candidates for future projects, Van Geons said.
“I think it says a lot,” he said.
But before Amazon’s announcement, the region had secured other important projects, Van Johns said.
In December 2017, Campbell Soup Supply Company and DHL Supply Chain announced they would invest more than $40 million in a new 700,000 square foot state-of-the-art distribution facility at the Cedar Creek Business Center, creating a 140-percent facility. did. time work.
In August 2020, another economic development took off when Dansons, a manufacturer of BBQ pellet grills and products, decided to install a new distribution and customer service facility in its Technology Drive building, which had been vacant since 2014. Victory has come. Prior to the new project at the site, the Maidenform distribution facility involved an investment of over $10 million.
“This shows that Fayetteville and Cumberland County are moving in a positive direction in terms of economic development,” Van Johns said.
VinFast, Toyota’s supplier may show interest
Major projects in other parts of the state could also benefit the Fayetteville area, he said.
In July, VinFast announced it was building an electric vehicle manufacturing plant in Chatham County with an initial investment of about $2 billion. The following month, Toyota announced that he would expand an initial $1.29 billion investment in an automotive battery manufacturing plant at the Greensboro Randolph Megasite to $3.8 billion.
Van Geons said several companies associated with these projects have expressed interest in locating in the Fayetteville area.
“Businesses want their suppliers to be close enough for efficiency, but not so close as to compete directly with the labor market,” he said.
The Fayetteville area has several potential locations for these projects, Van Johns said.
According to the Economic Development Commission’s website, the 618-acre site behind the Goodyear tire and rubber plant off US 401 North had “industrial-level utilities.” The county owns 159 acres of land at the Cumberland Industrial Center on Sand Hill Road near Walmart’s distribution facility, the website said.
Mr Van Geons said local officials should be proactive and proactive in preparing to attract economic development projects in the future.
Colvin said he recently facilitated a group of city, county and public works commission officials to discuss long-term growth in the area.
“It’s time to look 10 years ahead and make sure the next site is shovel-ready,” he said.
Van Johns said he feels optimistic about the future.
“We are heading in the right direction, but we have great opportunities to improve.
Staff Writer Steve DeVane can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.