Home Local News Richmond County’s Energy Way makes list of top 15 industrial sites in...

Richmond County’s Energy Way makes list of top 15 industrial sites in North Carolina

The Energy Way Industrial Park on Airport Road in southeastern Richmond County. Photo by Charlie Melvin - Richmond Observer

HAMLET — Richmond County is being recognized for having one of the best potential industrial sites in the state.

The Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina on Wednesday released the Selectsite Readiness Program Report from the Dallas, Texas-based Site Selection Group with technical support from engineering firm Thomas and Hutton — and Energy Way made the list.

According to the cover letter by Gene McLaurin, chairman of the EDPNC board, the purpose of the Selectsite Readiness program is “to support the development of sites that would increase North Carolina’s competitiveness for the siting or expansion of major manufacturing projects in key industry sectors.”

McLaurin is a former Rockingham mayor and represented Richmond County for one term in the N.C. Senate.

Energy Way and the other sites named in the report are considered “best positioned to successfully serve major advanced manufacturing projects with the goal that these selectsites would receive increased development and marketing support from the state and the EDPNC,” McLaurin said.

These sites differ from megasites, which are at least 1,000 acres.

The report started with 64 sites, with eight failing an initial review. The next 12 were eliminated due to concerns of buildability, as well as infrastructure and the ability to provide services within 24 months.

The remaining sites were judged on technical site suitability (which accounted for 50% of the score), workforce and operational cost, which led to 30 being selected for site visits.

“It is important to note that the sites not recommended for inclusion in the Program may be competitive for the right project but were not as good a fit compared to the 15 selected under the guidance of the legislation, their value proposition was currently not as strong,” said McLaurin. “Sites not selected will receive feedback to help improve competitiveness.”

The other 14 sites listed in the report are:

  • Claremont International Rail Park – Catawba County
  • Triangle Innovation Point West – Chatham County
  • Triangle North Granville Industrial Park – Granville County
  • Crown Industrial Site – Guilford County
  • Reedy Fork Industrial Site – Guilford County
  • US 301 Industrial Site – Halifax County
  • Ferncliff Park – Henderson County
  • N.C. Global TransPark – Lenoir County
  • Holly Shelter Business Park – New Hanover County
  • Farmville Corporate Park – Pitt County
  • Expressway Commerce Park – Union County
  • Camp Helix – Wake County
  • Park East Ivey Site – Wayne County
  • Carolinian Innovation Park – Wilson County

“We recognize that site development is the foundation of industrial economic development growth,” said McLaurin. “Not every site is a perfect fit for every opportunity but North Carolina as a state is positioned well for continued investment by our targeted industries and needs to be able to provide the critical product and infrastructure to meet these demands.”

At 672 acres, Energy Way is the largest site on the list. While Energy Way is still in development, the Global Transpark has been around for three decades.

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Energy Way appears to have one of the highest overall scores of the 15 sites. It is the only site to be listed as most favorable for operating costs, with the Wake County site being the least favorable.

Richmond County Economic Development started working on the nearly 700-acre site, located on Airport Road south of Hamlet, in 2019.

Economic Developer Martie Butler has previously stated that Energy Way has the potential to bring nearly a dozen new industries to the county.

“Martie and I are very eager about the opportunities that lie ahead with this designation of our newest industrial park, Energy Way, being named as one of the top 15 large manufacturing sites in the state by industry experts,” County Manager Bryan Land told the RO in an email Friday.

“We are very fortunate to have leaders that have had the foresight to provide all of the necessary building blocks for a first-class industrial park,” Land added. “Our infrastructure at EWIP is second to none in the region. Being adjacent to the Smith Energy complex, we have (a) considerable amount of available power. Additionally water and gas availability is substantial … with rail, roadway, and wastewater infrastructure being adequate as well.”

The city of Rockingham entered into a 40-year interlocal agreement with the county government in 2023 to provide wastewater service for Energy Way.

Earlier this year, the county was awarded $500,000 for site prep and grading for a rail spur at Energy Way.

“This is just another great accolade that will help keep Richmond County on the forefront of economic development in our great state,” Land said.