Pender County’s commerce park attracts nationwide, abroad tenants

After a vitamin producer packed its baggage, officers from Pender County noticed an financial growth for a commerce park.

Now county supervisor Chad McEwen and officers aren’t planning to decelerate.

The concept began when the previous BASF/Tadeka plant closed leaving a chance for Pender officers to buy the property for the redevelopment of a 330 acre industrial park. Within the late 2000s, the plan was put in place to have shovel-ready websites. About six corporations are utilizing the house and using greater than 700 folks.

“We acquired property beneath contract proper now to broaden these numbers significantly,” McEwen mentioned. “These industries pay numerous of us they usually pay numerous taxes.”

A water and sewer plant can also be within the space and is a profit for the companies and serves the entire county. McEwen mentioned the county is choices to broaden the park, which hugs a part of the Pender/New Hanover county line, by working with property house owners within the U.S. 421 hall.

“The problem now could be that we’ve run out of house,” McEwen mentioned. “The mannequin that we created 10 to fifteen years in the past labored and has been an enormous financial growth driver and enchancment device for the county. Its success has precipitated us to must look additional down that hall for extra obtainable house. We’re actively engaged on that.”

Knocking on Pender’s door

In 2013, Acme Smoked Fish was the primary tenant. The Brooklyn, N.Y.-based firm specializing in making seafood merchandise employs about 300 folks on the 100-square-foot facility.

Felipe Espinosa, director of producing, mentioned the park is a handy location logistically due to Freeway 421. 

“We get our uncooked supplies from the Port of Wilmington, so transportation from the port could be very environment friendly,” Espinosa mentioned. 

Extra corporations adopted – Empire Distributors, a wine and beer producer (109 workers); FedEx Freight, a distribution middle (30 workers); and Colony Tire (15 workers), utilizing the park as a warehouse and distribution facility.

Coastal Beverage, a beer, wine and non-alcoholic beverage distributor, employs greater than 200. 

The previous facility was situated in Wilmington on Harley Highway since 1976. The enterprise went by way of a number of expansions and continued to develop. Whereas choices a number of years in the past, they realized there was limits in Wilmington once they might solely add 30,000 sq. ft.

“That might have been a short-term strategic transfer,” mentioned Tee Nunnelee, president of the Coastal Beverage Firm. “We felt like we would have liked to go forward and realizing how our enterprise was working and the place the trade was heading, we had been going to want extra than simply 30,000 sq. ft for progress.”

Earlier protection: Pender approves land sale for brand new constructing in commerce park

With the assistance of brokers, Nunnelee looked for a 12 months and finally got here to the commerce park in 2019. A brand new warehouse was developed that allowed the enterprise to satisfy their present calls for, whereas giving them loads of house to broaden for the longer term. 

Nunnelee mentioned it was an incredible choice.

“Pender County couldn’t have been any higher or simpler to work with,” he mentioned. “They actually handled us with open arms.”

Help from the Wilmington Enterprise Improvement was additionally supplied for infrastructure growth. Nunnelee mentioned it was a seamless transition.

“It couldn’t have been a extra seamless course of for us,” he mentioned. “We had been more than happy with how Pender County and Wilmington Enterprise Improvement supported our transfer into the park.”

The closeness of a 15 minute drive to downtown Wilmington, town’s ports, and Interstate 40 offers a significant profit for corporations.

“That 421 hall and its proximity to Wilmington and the port is a big attribute to the park by way of worldwide commerce,” McEwen mentioned. “It’s not only a regional park or a location for home industries to return. Worldwide companies have checked out that park and bought land.”  

Polyhose, a manufacture and distribution of hydraulic parts, can also be doing enterprise in Pender County. The India-based producer make use of greater than 50 folks.

Rising 421

With water and sewer growth within the space, the Pender Commerce Park might function a future catalyst for progress by way of the U.S. 421 hall. It’s not solely an enormous profit for trade and financial growth, however it will possibly carry extra houses to the world, too.

“Though the water and sewer plant are within the industrial park, we’re not precluding in any means these companies to residential progress alongside that 421 hall,” he mentioned.  

McEwen mentioned a drive to downtown Wilmington from the park is about quarter-hour.

“That very same logic applies to residential progress,” he mentioned. “That hall has numerous appeals. I don’t see the event curiosity in that 421 hall, moderately it’s industrial or residential altering. I’m truthfully shocked it hasn’t been extra residential growth on that 421 hall.”

‘Bottleneck’: With Hampstead dealing with inevitable progress, residents say it is coming too quick

Commissioner David Williams shared the identical sentiments whereas speaking about progress over the many years and the potential addition of homes.

“You’re only a quick drive all the way down to Wilmington, down a pleasant four-lane highway,” he mentioned. “Straight all the way down to the bridges.”

Water and sewer growth might assist transfer issues sooner.

Financial progress: Wilmington, Hampstead companies see potential in Holly Ridge ‘increase’

What’s subsequent?

Pender County officers should lengthen water and sewer to areas south of the developed space to broaden. They want to develop within the north as effectively.

“These plans have been mentioned and are identified, we now have not moved ahead with design, engineering, or building associated to that,” McEwen mentioned.

These challenges include points resembling shopping for land and coping with deserted railbeds and gasoline strains.

To proceed growth, the Pender County Board of Commissioners reviewed a proposal from Wooden Atmosphere & Infrastructure Options, Inc. to take away deserted wells related to the  North Carolina Division of Environmental High quality and the previous BASF/Tadeka.

“There shall be logistical challenges of extending the water and sewer up 421, however nothing that we envision is insurmountable that can stop the expansion and enlargement from taking place,” he mentioned.

Reporter Chase Jordan may be reached at

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