Brunswick County has issued a request for qualifications statements for designing additional infrastructure for two industrial megasites at its border with Columbus County.
The county is seeking engineering services to design a 500,000-gallon elevated water storage tank at the Mid-Atlantic Industrial Rail Park and International Logistics Park of North Carolina, according to the scope of work recently released
by the county’s public utility department.
The two megasites off U.S. 74/76, each over 1,000 acres situated on land zoned for heavy industrial use, have been eyed by economic developers on both sides of the county line to bring big business and jobs to the area.
The sites, however, are still in need of some infrastructure to make them more appealing as shovel-ready sites and to reach their full marketing potential, economic developers have previously said
The county, Brunswick Business and Industry Development (Brunswick BID), and the Columbus County Economic Development Commission have been working in tandem to bring more infrastructure to the site and market the properties to the economic benefit of both counties.
“The consultant shall also work with Columbus County and their engineering representative to coordinate the interconnection between the Columbus County water system and the Brunswick County water system,” the scope document states.
Calls to Columbus County for its updates on the site's infrastructure were not immediately returned as of press time.
Responses to Brunswick County’s RFQs are due by June 6.
Meanwhile, a water line is slated to go in to supply the two sites. The county has within its recommended budget for the 2019-20 Fiscal Year nearly $1.5 million earmarked for the project.
The funding is for construction of the water main only and does not include the tank, said John Nichols, Director of Brunswick County Public Utilities, in an email.
"The water main is currently under design by Municipal Engineering Services and scheduled to be ready for bid around the November or December of this year," Nichols said.
Construction could begin in early 2020 and is estimated to take 6 to 9 months, Nichols added.
Steve Stone, deputy county manager, said Tuesday the elevated water tank itself probably would not be built until there was enough customer demand at the industrial parks to actually need it.
"But the county wanted to go ahead and get the design ready… so at the point when the tank was truly needed, it could be built as quickly as possible," Stone said.
The water tank, however, will begin to be designed once the county receives proposals and negotiate a professional services agreement with an engineering firm, Nichols said.
Permitting and design should take less than one year to complete. Nichols reiterated the county's message that construction on the tank would not take place until "it is determined that a tank is needed based on the initial tenant needs."
The two sites "have the ability to attract very large companies," Bill Early, executive director of Brunswick BID, said Tuesday.
The two projects combined could cost around $3 million, Early said, adding that is an estimate on the projects and could change depending on final design and construction. Early said he hopes to apply for federal funding that could support construction of the water tank at a later date.
"The key now is to get the water line in for the waterline extension," Early said.