New Hanover Park Named Among Top NC Industrial Sites

By Emma Dill, posted Jul 10, 2024
The Holly Shelter Business Park in Castle Hayne made a recently released list of the top 15 sites for industrial development under 1,000 acres. (Image courtesy of Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina)
A New Hanover County business park is included in a recently released list of North Carolina’s 15 top industrial sites under 1,000 acres.

Holly Shelter Business Park in Castle Hayne is one of the sites identified in the Selectsite Readiness Program Report from the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina (EDPNC), a statewide economic development agency. The identified sites could receive increased development and marketing support from the state and the economic development partnership.

The approximately 300-acre business park located off of Holly Shelter Road is a joint effort between New Hanover County leaders and private landowners. In December, the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners approved putting nearly $6.7 million toward the design and construction of the park’s first phase. Once completed, the park is expected to accommodate more than 2 million square feet of industrial space.

Last year, the North Carolina General Assembly established a Selectsite Readiness Program to support the development of smaller sites – less than 1,000 acres – for manufacturing in targeted industries projects. The program is a counterpart to the state’s Megasite Readiness Progam, which focuses on sites with an area of at least 1,000 acres.

EDPNC received an initial 64 applications earlier this year for the Selectsite program and worked with national site location consulting firm Site Selection Group and engineering and design firm Thomas & Hutton to narrow the field to 15 sites. 

The analysis took into account a range of factors, including zoning, buildability and infrastructure along with an area’s workforce potential and operational costs for the site’s end user. The process also included a site visit, an engineering assessment and an evaluation of the site’s return on investment.

The final list includes industrial sites that range from an approximately 74-acre public commerce park in Union County to a 672-acre privately-owned industrial park in Richmond County. 

Having a local industrial park designated as a Selectsite could help fuel the area’s continued growth, Wilmington Business Development CEO Scott Satterfield wrote in an email to the Business Journal on Wednesday.

“The significance of the designation has a funding as well as marketing impact,” Satterfield wrote. “In previous programs, like the state’s MegaSite Program, further emphasis at the state and regional level was provided to those specific designated locations. We are confident the same emphasis will be provided here.”

The park is “proactively” being prepared for future recruitment efforts, but Wilmington Business Development is waiting for major infrastructure, including water and sewer, a pump station and roads, before showing the site to prospective companies. The park is expected to see infrastructure in late 2025 or early 2026, Satterfield wrote.

The designation is an exciting prospect for the continued development of local sites, which aim to make the region more competitive for business siting and expansion, according to Satterfield.

“Holly Shelter has tremendous potential,” he wrote, “and we look forward to future marketing efforts here.”
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