'Up Front' Talks with EDC About What Cabarrus Will Look Like in the 2020's
Mar 10, 2020 01:20PM
By Jason Huddle
Episode 49: Cabarrus in the 20's
Welcome to Upfront with Cabarrus Magazine, sponsored by Atlantic Bay Mortgage, Cabarrus Arena and Events Center, Cabarrus Eye Center, Certec Automotive, The Circle: A World of Wellness for Women, Code Ninjas, Concord Downtown Development Corporation, Family Wealth Partners, New Hope Worship Center and Walk Cabarrus. I'm your host Jason Huddle. Hello, everyone, welcome to March and a new addition of upfront with Cabrera's magazine. As you are listening to this, I'm actually down in Orlando, Florida attending pod fest. As it turns out, I was invited by Buzzsprout, which is the medium that we used to broadcast the podcast. They invited me down and are paying my registration to be a part of this national convention for podcasters, so I'm very honored to do that. So I'm looking forward to being down there and getting lots of great information on how we can keep this show fresh and interesting for you, the listeners and of course, for our sponsors as well, and we certainly appreciate them. So wish me luck while I'm down there, but in the meantime, I still have a episode for you. It's one I've been trying to bring to you for a couple of months now, Cabarrus in the twenties. What is Cabarrus county going toe look like? Over the next decade, I could think of no better person to invite into studio then Robbie Carney from the Cabarrus County Economic Development Corporation. And he is going to talk about some current projects they have going as well as the future of Cabarrus County and what our industry is going to look like 10 years from now. So I'm looking forward to bringing that interview to you, but not before we do! Shameless plug time. The March issue of Cabarrus magazine is online, and is hitting stands this week. It's all about a Cabarrus spring. We have lots of things happening in Cabarrus county over the next few months as far as festivals and the arts community, and we wanted to let you know about some of those things, give you some great knowledge so you could start planning your calendars because it won't be long before we're able to get outside and enjoy the nice warm weather before it gets too humid. So about two weeks that we get that weather, so look forward to that. In addition to that, we know a lot of you out there are gardeners or aspiring gardeners, and so we've got a great article about things you can plant in your garden not only to look beautiful, but also to help the surrounding wildlife that is in our area. So make sure you pick up the March edition of Cabarrus magazine in stands or online. And if you want to know how to find this out in Cabarrus County, we have over 250 locations countywide. Just go to Cabarrus Magazine dot com. Click on the tab that says, Where to find us and you'll see a map with all our locations of where you can locate an addition of Cabarrus magazine. And that is this week's shameless plug time. Alright, when we come back, we will have Robbie Carney, director of the Cabarrus Economic Development Corporation in Studio, so stick around.
Welcome back to this very interesting episode of Upfront with Cabarrus magazine. I'm joined in studio today by Robbie Carney. He is the director of the Cabarrus Economic development Corporation. So anything coming into the county from a business standpoint, he pretty much knows about it and his intricately involved in making that happen. So, first of all, Robbie, thank you for Finally finally got you on the show. Thank you. It only took me a year to do it, so
Yeah, sorry about the delay, Jason. Thank you so much for for having me on the show. I'm excited, to, get the opportunity to sit with you and talk about all the all the fun things that we get to work on together.
So let's get right down to it. Let's talk about the a couple of projects that have been in the news lately. First of all, carvana. There's been a little bit of confusion as to what exactly they're going to be doing. Are they putting in a vending machine? Are they uh, is It just a quality control check point. So what is going on with that? And what's it going to be? How many jobs are we talking? I'm giving you a lot of questions that I think I'm just talked forever. And then, of course, uh when. Do they expect it to be open?
Sure, okay, so, um, Carvana first, they specialize in what are late model vehicle sales. So they don't do any type of new vehicle sales, anything like that. But this is supposed to be one of the largest auto restoration facilities in the Southeast. So basically, all the vehicles that their purchasing from wherever they're purchasing potentially across the country, those vehicles, if they have any types of problems issues, you know, dense nics chips, any type of functional issues with the vehicle, this will be the place where all of those items get repaired. And so they basically are building what would be a assembly line type restoration facility for these vehicles. So no direct vehicle sales will take place there. Nobody's gonna be walking the lot. It's really bringing vehicles in getting them up to tip top shape so that they can be sold.
So no vending machine.
No, no vending machine the vending machine, at least the closest one I understand is in Charlotte, and that's that's kind of that's good, at least in our mind. From a job's perspective when you were talking about individuals that are focused on auto restoration, there's a higher quality of job demand that that's going on there. So we we like to see that there's gonna be this many individuals employed at the facility that are working on it, making sure that that car's air in top shape over there.
How many people they expect to employ?
So forgive me because we tossed around a lot of numbers working with these guys they're talking about at Max capacity being somewhere to the magnitude of 8 to 900 full time jobs, off those jobs they, you know, span a spectrum of quality that go all the way from entry level two individuals that are highly specialized. And so what Cabarrus county and the city of Concord. What we really looked at and wanted to measure was how many of those jobs air ah, caliber and quality that are very, very desirable for us. And so, um, I can`t tell you right now as we sit here, they've had to job fairs within the last month, and I believe they've had they have 500 plus applicants that showed up for their own site job fair. So it was onside interviews, drug testing. I mean, they took them through the entire shebang, and so 500 plus applicants showed up to there to job fairs, and of that they've already hired on. I think the latest number I have is 317 full time employees that they've got working for them right now and they plan to open. If my dates aren't wrong within the next couple weeks, they're going to go ahead and start production. They've actually said they had such a good development experience, both with the project as well as hiring on that. This will be the first facility they've ever opened up. Two lines off for their restoration lines. They actually were originally projecting to do a single line at first and then grow there now planning to do two lines open, and eventually they're planning to expand that all the way out to eight lines.
You took my next question away is their plans for expansion?
Yeah, So the way in which they planned it currently is that max capacity. They'll be operating a restoration lines.
Wow. So you're talking about if you're talking about I think you said 900 people employed,
That's I mean, that's that's projecting out kind of long term demand of what they could be.
So that would be 900 if eight lines were open.
We believe so, yes. So right now we're talking about, I mean it. That's still maybe a conservative number. Once again, it goes based on the skill sets in region in community, how many people it takes to do certain practices and processes. But, you know, they're opening up two lines, and it's taking approximately 300 full time workers full time. One of the things that makes we're excited about these guys is they do have entry level positions, but whether entry level or highly skilled from day one, the moment walking into the company, they pay 100% of employee benefits as well as I believe, like 70% of family members benefits. So not only are they, you know they're conference spending conversation wages or something that we hope is desirable, but also the fact that they're providing 100% of health care costs. We thought it would be something that would certainly resonate with the market.
So let's talk about the other thing that's been in the news real quick. I know you can't say a whole lot about it. But the furniture manufacturer that is also coming onto the Philip Morris plant, or at least allegedly, is coming on to to share some space with Carvava at the old Philip Morris sight. What can you tell us about that? I know you're limited, but what can you tell us?
Yeah, the first thing I'll say, especially for your listeners. It's never the fact that we don't want to talk about the things that we're working on, because the the honest truth is, you know, there's a team of people that are working tirelessly on projects like this that we literally. This project has been a year and 1/2 in the works that we've been working on this so we would love nothing more than to talk about all the details of project. But because of non disclosure agreements because of competition because of other communities there still competing for a project. We're pretty limited on what we can provide until the company actually makes their location decision. So at this point time, I can say there is a large furniture manufacturing company. That's a you know, international company that is looking to potentially locate at the grounds at Concord. They're scoping multiple facilities as well as the North American headquarters that would be located there. And they're expecting somewhere, conservatively speaking, approximately 250 full time jobs to begin. So we think we're in a very, very good position on that project. And we're hoping that, you know, it's it's something that we can we can kind of announced to the public here very, very soon.
Very good alright. I have to pay a few bills, so I'm gonna cut to break real quick when we get back. I want to talk to you about the future. What is the next decade gonna look like for Cabarrus county and hoping you can shed some light on that. So if you'll stick around, I really appreciate it.
Okay, you guys stay tuned. We'll be back with Robbie Carney from the economic development corporation in just a moment.
Hello, welcome back, we are sitting here in studio with Robbie Carney. He is the president and CEO of the Cabarrus Economic Development Corporation. Those of you that don't know what the EDC Is, go to the website. Go look it up. You should You should know that. No, they basically their job is to bring in industry and help those that are here expand, is that pretty much it in a nutshell?
Yeah, that's that's a really, really good way of putting it. We um, our corporation focuses on really answering too. What we see is problems that we see on a daily basis. Try to solve one is generating the necessary tax revenue for a city and county government to be able to operate and provide the types of service is and demands that that the residents in the community wants. Many people don't realize that that as well, as you know, a resident paying their taxes is a good thing. Ah, lot of the service's they demand police, fire, schools, roads, parks, et cetera. The bulk of those things were paid from a healthy and thriving business community, the taxes that businesses pay vastly outweigh what was residents paying. So therefore, we're constantly focusing on balancing those scales of development to keep the health of the community intact. And then the second thing is focusing on jobs and job quality. We always want to make sure that a step one is everybody in community that is trying to get on the employment ladder is on the employment letter and then trying to constantly give them growth opportunities. To grow their skills, grow themselves by giving new opportunities for employment throughout the community. So those are the two main focus is that we operate with.
Well, while we're on the subject of industries here, it was recently announced by a S&D coffee that they had been purchased, but they're assuring everybody they're not going anywhere. They're just they just have a new owner. Is that pretty accurate? As far as you know?
Yeah, that's that's accurate. Everything that from all of our discussions and things that we've we've talked about that has absolutely been reflected. And once again it's just it's more of a They took this portion of the business and it was sold off to a very focused entity that will focus on how they can continue operating at a high level here locally and then potentially. You know, our hope is that when you re focus, you give, you know, absolute clarity on efforts. Sometimes it it really gives opportunities to to continue to expand and grow your market. So that's our hope for S and D moving forward.
So let's talk about the gist of what my theme is this week, which is Cabarrus county in the twenties. I want to look ahead. You know, if we're sitting here in studio 10 years older and looking back at the past decade, that was the 2000 twenties. What does Cabarrus County look like in your mind? Where we heading?
Sure, Yeah, that's Ah, that's a really good question. Let me try to impact that because there's so many. We're in such a place right now. This is not just Cabarrus County. We're not alone in this. This is This is a nationwide and almost a worldwide phenomenon where there are so many different models that are changing and adapting very rapidly that that the key is trying to understand what is taking place, how those changes are approaching. So I'm gonna try to keep this simple and helpful and meaningful to your audience as I possibly can. But when you think about you know, education standards are changing and education demands of tomorrow are changing. You know, we talk about, you know, there are students that are in school for jobs that are vastly changing and their new jobs that will be created tomorrow, that don't even exist today, that people don't even know that they need to be getting themselves educated for when you talk about the place as it pertains to retail and how the retail demands and markets are changing. Like you know, the emphasis of companies like that are doing e commerce based business. Even residential housing and the housing demands of populations are changing transportation and how people move from point A to point B. What the resident is demanding from a quality of life standpoint. It used to be they didn't mind driving, you know, or commuting in 20-30 minutes. Right now, everybody wants to live here. They walk their dog across the street. They do their shopping right next door. They have, you know, outdoor dining. They have the entire, Entire model is changing very, very rapidly. And so we're constantly focused on what? What does what is Cabarrus counties place in that? Okay, so the one thing that we know is that consumer demand for physical products probably isn't going to change any time soon. We see that and we wanna have a very real place in that. We're very focused on what we consider advanced manipulation, advanced manufacturing, individuals that demand high skill to make manufacturer or build things. And then, at the same time, I want to start talking about engaging our community about small business incubation acceleration because we are seeing that the standard job model of you graduate from college or high school or trade school or whatever that is. And then you go into your standard 9 to 5 work capacity. That model itself is changing to where we're seeing individuals that are now uh telecommuting or working from home. We're seeing individuals that are contracting with multiple industries providing very, very specific skill set. And so we're trying to adapt ourselves as a community to make sure that that we are a very fertile ground for individuals that want that type of lifestyle to live and work in the prosperous here in the area. So that was a lot of layers that I threw at you. I'm sorry about it.
I don't want to make sure the question. That I'm trying to cover the bases with.
With the time that we have 10 years from now, here's what I think you're going to see frankly. You're going to see a retail model that is dramatically shifted. You're going to see the onset of transportation models that are going to continue to dramatically shift as far as how an individual, the decisions they make as it pertains to getting from point A to point B, whether that be to work or shopping or other things you're going to see, I think to some extent you're going to see education. How we educate our youth and create career pathways is going to change. We are already starting to see that we're kind of coming to some places where that's becoming very real and relevant. But as far as a community, you know, simply put from the state of North Carolina there are 100 counties and my understanding, at least with our latest data, is 20 of those counties are growing and the other 80 of them are shrinking. We so happen to be in the fortune position of a growing county. And right now my hope if I had my one wish, is that we've certainly diversified to a lot of other industries that we serve. I would like to see us in more office, high density office development in community software, technology's advanced manufacturing, automotive aerospace, these are all what I think or key and critical areas that we would like to see a much greater presence and Cabarrus county moving forward.
Do you see much less rural land in Cabarrus county 10 years from now, then we have?
Yeah, well, I mean, thats a really good question. What's funny is our organization is constantly focused on where do we have fertile ground for good jobs and industrial opportunities, and really, in some ways we're competing against whether it be commercial and or residential pressures because when you have that rural property that you're talking about, the market will almost indefinitely drive a residential presence or commercial presence before it does an industrial presence. And the simplest way to explain that is because there is more private sector profitability in residential development and commercial development. Whereas industrial development there is more profitability to the city, the county into the individual to, the actual the person that works there, that families. So it's all about where value is really generated. And so our office is almost on active pressure of trying to take properties that would be developed in a residential capacity of commercial capacity. And we're trying to bring them on is industrial because we know that creates the highest and best benefit at times for the community and for the residents of the community. So simple Answer, Yes.
How do you think the marriage of all this manufacturing industry that we want to come in and our thriving tourism? How do you think that that marriage works? Or does it?
It does had actually worked really well. So we've been you know, the CVB Convention and Visitors Bureau has been such a phenomenal partner to our organization on what we're working on. We worked really closely with them, so a lot of times you know they're creating Cabarrus county has a destination. And so if it's a destination to a tourist, ah, lot of times the qualities that have been developed and put in place are also make it a quality of life asset to somebody that may be moving a business or a family that's moving into the area. So there's definitely some overlapping, some synergy there, and that's another area that's I see is continuing to grow as far as, the 49 corridor and what we've got going on across there. I think that we're going to see continued diversification of other destination focused entertainment options, and that's that's something. I think it basically pays a lot of revenue and generates a lot of revenue for the county in the community that I don't know that that the the average resident is always familiar with sometimes and I can,I can certainly empathize the resident and we're all concerned about, you know, traffic and you know, whenever there's a big event, I'm stuck in traffic. Yes, that is, that is something that we need to be conscious of. We need to be focused on. We have to always try to balance and provide. The resource is to make that work the same time. You have to understand the values that is generating in terms off the taxes that we`re not paying as residents of the community, because other people are paying it through the sales tax, property tax and all those other things.
Sure, there's a lot more that we could cover, and we just simply don't have the time to do it. So I have to have you back in another time, but real quick before I let you go. If somebody is interested in more information about what you guys do or some upcoming projects that's going on, where can they find your information on the Web?
Yeah, so we try to be very open, inclusive. We want people to understand what we're working on, what we're seeing in the marketplace. So, um, you go to our website, which is Cabarrus EDC. you can do I think typing dot com, dot org, dot biz any one of them will direct you to our website. We do a monthly newsletter that details direct activity. We have a blog that we put out on a regular basis. There's a lot of different ways to see what are corporations working on, what we're focused on, what we're seeing in the marketplace on. And then at the same time, if you sign up for newsletters and things like that, you'll get any time we're announcing new projects, you'll be one of the first to know. So check us out and reach out to our corporation if there's anything we could ever help with.
Robbie Carney with the Cabarrus Economic Development Corporation, thank you so much for coming in studio today.
Jason has been a pleasure man. I really appreciate it.
All right, you guys stay tuned. We'll be back in just a minute.
Once again, I want to thank Robbie Carney for coming in studio with us today. It was a great conversation and I'd like to know what you think. Don't forget to go on to Facebook, join our upfront with Cabarrus magazine podcast page and let us know what you think. Where do you think Cabarrus County is headed over the next 10 years? What do you think we're gonna look like in 2030? Just curious. Robby has said that he will be happy to be part of that discussion so you can ask him questions directly. So make sure that you go on to Facebook, join that podcast group page and continue that conversation as far as what I think. Well, I'm glad you asked. I think Cabarrus county is sort of an anomaly when it comes to other, like county's usually counties so close to a large metro region like Charlotte or Atlanta. They kind of get swallowed up and just become that area and Cabarrus county to a large extent was exactly that. Even 20 years ago, when we started the magazine, it was largely considered a bedroom community of Charlotte, nothing more. And then Concord Mills came, and then people started to take notice of the area and that in combination with Charlotte Motor Speedway and all the things that have happened there, it's all gone to create a county that is its own identity. And I'm very proud of that fact being from here. I'm very proud of that fact. But in order to keep that, we have to be smart about the businesses that we're bringing in. We have to be smart about the infrastructure to make sure we're not like other areas that are close by who I will not name. But I think we all know who I'm talking about, where you have lots of people living in an area and you still have two lane roads and there happens to be a lake nearby. But I'm not saying where I'm talking about anyway. I don't want to be like that. I want us to keep growing, But in order to do that as Robbie touched on. We've got to pay attention to infrastructure as well, and it's a delicate balance. I know I'm not sitting here with all the answers, but if we're going to bring an industry, that means we're going to bring in population. If you're going to bring in population, you've got to find a way to keep the infrastructure current. You gotta find a way to build schools without continuing to tax the property owners. We could only afford so much, but that's just my two cents. Speaking of property taxes next week, you want to be right here listening to upfront with Cabarrus magazine because I am going to look into these property tax evaluations. I have some real questions for the county about how these re evaluations went down. What is the justification for doing them now? And from what I understand, many people's property valuations went up by 30 or 40%. That's a lot, and it seems to me that there's a bit of a conflict of interest when the county is basically evaluating properties which directly affect their tax revenue. So I'm going to digress for the moment. But these are questions that I have for the County next week on upfront with Cabarrus magazine. Until then, I would like to thank our sponsors. Atlantic Bay Mortgage, Cabarrus Arena and Events Center, Cabarrus Eye Center, Certec Automotive, The Circle: A World of Wellness for Women, Code Ninjas, Concord Downtown Development Corporation, Family Wealth Partners, New Hope Worship Center and Walk Cabarrus, always remember to support those that support us. I'm your host, Jason Huddle until next week, look to the future.