Timing, terms issues in Cascades transfer to Wagram

Editor’s note: This letter received by Richmond County Manager Rich Sago is run, in its entirety, as received on Friday. It summarizes the county’s two-year effort to retain and help Cascades Tissue expand in Richmond County.

Previous coverage
* Aug. 18 – Cascades finalizes transfer to Wagram
* June 25 – ‘No decision’ on Cascades Tissue move

Begin summary

Richmond County started working with local Cascades officials in the spring of 2012 and showed them the UCO building and the Hanesbrands building in the Rockingham West IP for a possible expansion.  I know we toured both facilities at least twice and if I remember correctly we may have toured them in 2011.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com The Cascades Tissue Group converting facility at Midway Road in Rockingham will begin to transfer to a new location in Wagram.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
The Cascades Tissue Group converting facility at Midway Road in Rockingham will begin to transfer to a new location in Wagram.

In December 2012 we received an RFI from an economic development consultant through the N.C. Department of Commerce under the name Project Smiley asking for buildings of at least 250,000-400,000 square feet with rail and green field sites also with rail.  The company name was not mentioned and it was not until later that we found out that Cascades was the company that was looking to expand.  The existing building requirement eventually went to a building between 500,000-1 million sq. ft. and rail went from required to optional.  Only one building in Richmond County fit that requirement and it was the former UCO Fabrics building on 74 West which is a little over 500,000 square feet with room to expand to 1 million square feet.

Cascades began focusing on the UCO Building in the early summer of 2013. Richmond County’s incentive proposal for Cascades for just county incentives for them to move into the UCO Building was $2.5 million over five years (state incentives in the end amounted to $575,000 for the existing building or the industrial park option).  This included a property tax grant and a job creation grant.

During a July trip to Richmond County by the company’s executive team, we offered Cascades 35 acres of land at no cost and other incentives, including the incentives offered for the UCO Building option at the Richmond County Industrial Park on the 74 Bypass, with a total value of about $3.3 million over 5 years.  Their response was their timeline wouldn’t allow it, they had to be in a building early 2014.  Therefore we continued to work with them on the UCO building.  As part of this, Richmond County paid $7500 towards the cost of a building inspecting company (chosen by Cascades economic development consultant) to evaluate the physical integrity of the UCO Building.

In January 2014 the company and the UCO Building owner Joe Everett were not able to come to an agreement on the building so the UCO building was no longer an option.  Since no other buildings in Richmond County fit the company’s size requirements we again offered the land and incentives for the company to build a new building in the industrial park.  Unfortunately again, timing was an issue.

The bottom line is a lot of people including the Board of Commissioners, Richmond County Economic Development, Sen. Gene McLaurin, Rep. Ken Goodman, and Richmond Community College worked very hard on this project for over two years and in the end they couldn’t come to an agreement for the building that fit their needs and they didn’t have time to build a new building.

“Richmond County has a reputation of being very aggressive when it comes to working with and offering incentives for new and expanding industries and we were very aggressive on this project as well,” said Board of Commissioner’s Chairman Kenneth Robinette. “Unfortunately in this instance factors outside of our control steered this project to another location.”

Filed in: Business, Latest Headlines, News

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