Albemarle city council receives update on business center project

ALBEMARLE — At its Monday night meeting, the Albemarle City Council received an update on the construction timeline for the Albemarle Business Center, the largest project currently taking place within the city. 

The 287-acre business park — located between U.S. Highway 52 and N.C. Highway 24-27 — is projected to contain over 2.5 million square feet of warehouse space. 

Albemarle Economic Director Keith Tunnel addressed the council last month on the industrial park project, estimating that the completion will occur by the third quarter of 2022 and that it could create 2,800 manufacturing jobs while generating under $1 billion in total new investment. 

Albemarle City Manager Michael Ferris presented the latest information at Monday’s meeting. 

“Our crews have completed the electric work to serve the property from the Highway 52 side of the project,” Ferris told the council members. “The work will begin soon on the Hinson Street side by our crews and then we’ll begin seeking contract services for the construction inside. We have held discussions with the water, sewer and road contractor — the NJR Group — about the coordination of their work as it relates to the city entering the property for contractors to install the electric.” 

A year ago, the council awarded the New London-based NJR Group a bid to handle the ABC’s infrastructure construction. The group held a preconstruction meeting among their subcontractors on Feb. 1 and will hold regular construction progress meetings with the city going forward. 

“Several months ago, they ordered much of the materials and supplies they’re going to need for the project and they anticipated potentially being on site at the end of last week to begin clear-cutting,” Ferris said. “I don’t know if that took place on Friday or not but if it hasn’t, that will begin very shortly.” 

Back on Feb. 7, the council approved the electric budget that designated all the electric work that’s being performed or overseen by the city to be fully paid with retained earnings so that there won’t be any borrowing.  

Ferris continued on with the topic of sewer easement acquisitions, stating that all the easements have been secured although there are some procedural matters left in the easements to finalize.  

As the project goes forward, the council will receive a monthly status report or updated progress report on the ABC, with the next one likely to occur in April after construction by the subcontractor begins. 

The Albemarle City Council is scheduled to meet again in the city hall council chambers on March 21 at 6:30 p.m.