Plastics manufacturer moving Greensboro operations to Reidsville
An Ohio-based plastics manufacturer will move its Greensboro operations to Reidsville, where it expects to invest $1.7 million and create 10 new jobs following a site-search precipitated by an April tornado.
Speedline Corp., which manufactures PVC fitting covers and jacketing systems for mechanical piping and equipment for industrial and commercial applications, received a $125,000 grant from the N.C. Rural Infrastructure Authority to reuse a 120,600-square-foot building at 109 Sands Road.
Jeff Garstka, Reidsville's director of economic development, told Triad Business Journal that Speedline began its search for another facility after its location at 501 W. Camel St. in Greensboro sustained damage during the April tornado that swept through east and northeast Greensboro.
The Reidsville facility was formerly occupied by Toledo Molding and Dye, another plastics manufacturer. The building was on the market for about 15 months, Garstka said.
Speedline will move 29 employees from its Greensboro facility in addition to adding 10 new jobs, he said.
The company must create the jobs over two years, according to the grant agreement. The grant also requires a 5 percent local match split between the city and Rockingham County.
The split – $3,125 each – will be considered at the January meetings of the city council and county commissioners, Garstka said.
"We're excited to welcome them here but it's unfortunate that the circumstances forced them to look for other options," Garstka said. "We don't actively recruit companies from our neighbor counties. We're excited to have another vacant building off the market."
TBJ has discussed the issue of available industrial space with many Rockingham economic developers. In April, Israel-based wet wipes and feminine hygiene products manufacturer Albaad announced its intention to purchase the 450,000-square-foot facility in Reidsville formerly occupied by Ball Corp.
The removal from the market of one of the county's most attractive industrial spaces, though a positive for the area, further emphasized the diminishing lack of available space in Rockingham, Garstka said.
Still available is the 1.3 million-square-foot vacant MillerCoors brewery in Eden. The location of the brewery and MillerCoors' reluctance to disclose an asking price has posed challenges to economic developers looking to land a tenant, however.
In August, county commissioners approved the purchase of 204 acres in Eden owned by Duke Energy.
Mike Dougherty, Eden's director of economic development, previously told TBJ that he would like to propose to commissioners and the Eden City Council a 50,000-square-foot spec building expandable to 100,000 square feet. It has been about 15 years since Rockingham County has developed a spec project.
Garstka said one of the challenges is arriving at a risk-sharing public-private partnership with a developer, where the county or city purchases the building if no tenant emerges.
"In a smaller market, (private developers) would entertain a deal, but it would have to be in a 50-50 deal with the public sector," Garstka said.
A more feasible project in the short-term, Garstka said, could be using a 5-acre plot in Reidsville Industrial Park for a small-scale industrial facility.
Garstka said about a year ago, Reidsville's planning department drew up the concept for a multi-tenant flex building at the site. He presented the plan to the city council a year ago, and he will take it before the council again in the next few weeks.
The idea is to start off with a 10,000-square-foot facility that could be subdivided for multiple tenants. And the facility could be expanded, or other buildings could be added to the site capable of hosting up to 150,000 square feet of space.
Garstka said he has been approached numerous times by businesses looking for extra space – between 3,500 square feet and 7,000 square feet. He said a "mini-park within the industrial park" could satisfy those demands.
It's possible that the county releases requests for proposals in the near future, Garstka said.
"I'm pretty confident we will (release an RFP)," he said. "I'm going to present it again in a couple of weeks. I don't know if we would have to take as much risk as we would on a bigger spec building. Maybe we could find someone to do it themselves."
*Information provided by the Triad Biusiness Journal: https://www.bizjournals.com/triad/news/2018/12/18/plastics-manufacturer-moving-greensboro-operations.html