STATESVILLE, N.C. - A huge development project in Statesville is expected to create more than 3,000 jobs in the next 10 to 15 years.
City leaders have unveiled plans for Larkin Regional Commerce Park, a 1,000-acre complex with more than 5 million square feet of industrial, commercial and retail space off exit 45 on Interstate 77.
"Larkin will become one of the largest concentrations of Class A industrial development in North Carolina," said Statesville Mayor Pro Tem Michael Johnson.
The project has been 10 years in the making and almost fell through during the Great Recession. But city leaders said growth in the Charlotte region has attracted more investors.
Developers are recruiting manufacturing companies and retail companies that are ready to open for business in 2018.
Developers would not say if any company has committed, but they said they're seeing projects involving tech, auto parts and plastics manufacturers.
"It's not often you build a shell building and just hope someone will come. In a lot of cases, there's a fish on the hook or surrounding the hook," said David Bradley, president of the Statesville Chamber of Commerce.
The announcement comes after Mooresville-based Lowe's had to lay off thousands of workers. Bradley said they've made up for those job losses and will have more jobs than people to fill them.
“We have a great workforce, but now we’re going to need 3,000 to 4,000 more people to choose to call Statesville home or at least to work here, so it’s fantastic,” Bradley said.
The city has invested more than $20 million in infrastructure. It has also spent roughly $40 million to expand utility access to the site.
The project could be entitled to city and county incentives packages as it develops.
Developers are hoping to move forward with building infrastructure for Larkin by the end of 2017 and to be open for business by the end of 2018.
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