New industrial park on the way

Published 11:08 am Thursday, January 24, 2019

By Jeanna Baxter White

For the Enterprise

“You can’t sell cornfields anymore,” says Terry Bralley, president of the Davie County Economic Development Commission.

“There’s too much red tape, hoopla, and time involved. Companies today are looking for a building shell that can be customized and up and running in 90-120 days.”

Fortunately, Davie County is in the enviable position of having a high-quality building inventory in the right location – just off of I-40, within 30 miles of four additional interstates, and centrally located between the Triad and Charlotte Metros.

And the new Davie Industrial Center at Interstate Drive and Gildan Drive in Mocksville will soon add to that inventory. The first of its three industrial spaces, a 324,000 SF precast concrete industrial building, is under construction and will be available as early as May.  When completed, the center will offer 920,678 SF of manufacturing/warehouse space.

“This is an advantage that every small community and every economic developer would love to have,” said Bralley.

While some communities have taken public funds to compete with other developers, Davie County has taken the opposite approach of supporting private sector efforts and partnering with private developers rather than competing.

For the past 22 years, the SouthPoint Industrial Park, just north of I-40 on US 601 North, has been an example of this approach. Founded in 1998 by the Hollingsworth Companies, SouthPoint has brought jobs and millions of dollars of investment to Davie County.

The park consists of 10 buildings from 72,480 to 253,180 square feet and has two additional buildings planned for 2019.

Bralley believes that Davie Industrial Center’s larger spaces will attract a different manufacturing clientele enhancing the county’s ability to continue to expand and grow its industrial base.

“Bigger buildings widen our potential to attract larger clients,” he said. “Larger buildings also have less competition in state-wide project searches which will increase our odds of securing a deal.”

Davie Industrial Center is the vision of Bill Junker, owner of Trailers of the East Coast. He had often heard Bralley talk about running out of inventory of industrial buildings and he knew that he had the perfect piece of property with a great location off of  I-40 that already had most of the necessary utilities, a road, and a stoplight. He simply needed help developing it, so he turned to Bralley for advice.

“I told Terry that if I could find some people that I could trust, that knew how to build buildings, who knew how to market them, and knew how to go through the deal, I would love to be a part of that because it’s something I’ve never done,” said Junker. “I’m sort of an entrepreneur, I love to take on new challenges.”

Together they went to Greensboro to talk with developers experienced in creating and marketing large industrial projects. Their first meeting was with John Reece of Commercial Realty Advisors who offers commercial real estate development experience in the Winston-Salem, Greensboro, and Charlotte markets. He connected them with Buddy Seymour, president-manager of Windsor Commercial, which specializes in industrial development and construction. At the time, Windsor was working on the McConnell Center, a 145-acre mixed-use business park in East Greensboro at the split of I-85 and I-40.

Junker and Bralley liked what they saw at the McConnell Center. “We were really excited about what they could do in building such quality buildings and at a marketable price,” Junker said.

Seymour took a look at Junker’s site and agreed that it was the perfect place for that type of industrial complex and a partnership was born. Reece joined the team as the marketing partner.

Near the end of the project, a friend of Reece’s, Louis DeJoy, president of LDJ Global Strategies, a strategic real estate investment and consulting company based in Greensboro, joined the group as an investor and provided the remaining needed capital.

“It has impressed me that they were all willing to get involved,” Junker said. “I saw the value, but I’m a rookie and this is all new to me. I continue to grow in confidence in my partners and what we are accomplishing. We are already looking at other opportunities in Davie County.”

Bralley agreed, saying, “A speculative project of this magnitude involves a tremendous amount of risk but we have a great community here and the ability to assist with getting state and federal grants to help put deals together. They see that as an asset. Securing partners of this caliber says a lot about this project and this community’s reputation for knowing how to win big deals. He’s (Junker) put together a winning combination of talent, capital, know-how, and marketing with the right location and the right infrastructure.

“The ability to attract outside investors that believe in your economy and want to participate is how you develop a community. You bring outside dollars in,” he said.

Junker gave much of the credit for Davie County’s success to Bralley, calling him a “visionary who is always looking at what is coming over the horizon.” “Terry had the vision 30 some years ago that this corridor between Hwy 601 and Hwy 64 would be the lifeline future of Mocksville. What he and the economic development commission are doing every day of the week is the lifeline of the citizens of Davie County to bring better-paying jobs to our county so that our children and grandchildren can come back here to live and have a better way of life. This is our future”

Embarrassed by the praise, Bralley smiled and said: “It’s all about relationships, developing relationships, and making connections. Those relationships can be worth millions”