Tuesday’s Jacksonville City Council Regular Workshop meeting ushered in a new era in local economic development activities.

At the meeting, JOED Executive Director Mark Sutherland informed the Council on JOED’s challenges in responding to Project Requests that require an existing building. To remedy that shortage, the JOED Building Committee developed a recommendation for product development in Jacksonville Business Park, which was approved by the JOED Board of Directors at their January 2022 meeting. Known as Project Frontier, this partnership will facilitate the construction of a speculative industrial building on New Frontier Way, in Jacksonville Business Park, by a private developer. The City would provide the land for construction, with both entities recouping their costs when the building and land are sold.

Deputy City Manager Ron Massey described the continuing storm water runoff challenges in Jacksonville Business Park, noting that the City would amend the stormwater permit from low to high density and install regional ponds. Funds provided to JOED by the North Carolina’s Southeast Partnership, as well as through other grant funding sources, would pay for the amended storm water permit and the engineering and construction costs of the ponds.

Future development will be expedited by these shared regional ponds. City Manager Richard Woodruff described recent interactions with two prospective businesses. Those businesses determined that the additional cost of storm water remediation was prohibitive, deterring their location in Jacksonville Business Park. These larger ponds would make the park more marketable for future development as land purchases would be of entirely usable land, without storm water remediation costs. He stated, “This would be a great opportunity to get those storm water ponds in without investing any city money.” Mr. Woodruff also stressed that no city funds would be used for building construction, nor was the land to be donated. The City would simply defer the sale of the land until the building is sold. The Council unanimously approved 2 motions to move forward with this private/public partnership.

You can see the workshop video here.