New Hanover County — New Hanover County commissioners on Monday unanimously approved two additional land sales within the Blue Clay Business Park complex. The 10.5-acre area to be developed will lead to an economic investment of $15 million.
The move comes two months after the commissioners voted on the first real estate sale within the Northern Industrial Area. Francini Inc. has spent $250,000 for 6.25 acres, with a four-year option to purchase another 7 acres.
Read more: NHC commissioners vote on the first land sale at Blue Clay Business Park
At Monday’s meeting, the commissioners approved a $233,750 sale of 5.5 acres to Coastal Millwork Supply Co and a $213,350 sale of 5 acres to FTT Cabinetry.
Both are already established businesses in the county, and have been in business for over 20 years.
The county intends to sell 120 acres of the park, with over 40 buildable acres at the back end of 4101 Blue Clay Road still available for purchase. The land price is $42,500 an acre.
All parcels are being sold in a surprise bidding process, a 10-day procedure required by the Common Law for State-Owned Property Sales. The buyer is required to pay a deposit of 5% of the bid. A person can increase the bid by at least 10% of the first $1,000 and 5% of the rest.
While this move will bring more jobs and economic impact to the area, property closures are all contingent on the installation of water and sewage infrastructure in the northern property.
The goal is to have water and sanitation in place by December 31, 2023, which Commissioner Rob Zabel said at Developer World “Like Tomorrow”.
“Whatever the entity is, we need to get going, we need to light a fire under it and get this water and sewer here,” he said Monday.
In 2024, New Hanover County appropriated $3.6 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds to expand the Cape Fear Public Utilities Authority’s water and sewerage to Blue Clay Business Park. County Superintendent Chris Coudrett said the construction work was finally brought up.
Design plans are being carried out by engineering firm McKim and Creed and ST Wooten will install utilities, roads, handle erosion control, surveying and grading.
According to the request for proposals, the work is expected to be completed within nine months of notice moving forward, which would put it very close to the county’s year-end deadline for infrastructure installation.
Coudrett also came to the defense of the staff and the Cape Fear Public Utilities Authority.
“There have been some changes [NC]DOT asked about the water and sewer situation which resulted in a 180-degree change from the start,” he said. “To be fair, the engineer and county staff had to go back and redesign the plans based on the change in DOT policy.”
However, Franchini plans to close its land purchase deal next May and then build a 100,000-square-foot distribution facility.
“We haven’t even run water and sewage to that park yet, and people are kind of interested in buying it,” said Chief Commissioner Bill Rivenpark.
Coastal Millwork Supply, currently located at 1301 S. 13th Street, is a supply company that builds and sells trim, doors, cabinetry, and cabinetry across the Southeast.
It has outgrown its space and is looking to expand. Wilmington’s chief business development officer, Scott Satterfield, is negotiating terms with future tenants of the land and said the company plans to build a 55,000-square-foot manufacturing facility and 7,000 square feet of office space.
“Our goal is to keep this growing company, with business across the Southeast, here in New Hanover County,” Satterfield told the commissioners.
Coastal Millwork is estimated to make an investment of $7.5 million, with another $3 million potential for future expansion. Plans for additional growth could include the addition of an additional 11,500 square feet of manufacturing space and 3,000 square feet of office space. Coastal Millworks will bring 25 new jobs to the region, increasing its number of employees to 75.
FFT Cabinetry is in a similar industry segment as Coastal, with a focus on kitchens, baths, and custom pieces. Currently located in Dutch Square Industrial Park, they are planning to expand and need more space to do so.
The company will invest $5 to $7.5 million initially to build a 50,000 square foot manufacturing operation, including office space and a showroom. There are plans to add another 25,000 square feet in the future. FFT will double its staff, and create 10 more new jobs in the county.
All three businesses — Francini, Coastal Millwork, and FTT — will create $30 million in community impact, create more than 100 jobs, and 350,000 square feet of Class A industrial space when built.
“One thing I want to make sure with our people is that when finished this park looks as nice as Pender Commerce Park. I want it to look like someone’s front yard,” Rivenpark said.
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