A long simmering economic development plan will come to fruition this year, transforming hundreds of acres of land in Gastonia and Lowell into what should be one of Gaston’s hottest industrial sites.
Missouri-based NorthPoint Development closed late last month on more than 300-acres just east of Cox Road, bounded to the north by N.C. 7 and Interstate 85 to the south. It’s also just north of the Franklin Square area. The more than $22.7 million land purchase had been under contract for months, with NorthPoint closing on the deal just before Christmas.
Here’s what you need to know.
NorthPoint aims to transform the vacant land, long owned by the Lineberger family, into millions of square feet of warehouse space that will in turn be leased to end users, according to Gaston County Economic Development Director Donny Hicks.
In total the project, dubbed Gateway85, will ultimately produce 10 or 11 industrial warehouse buildings containing some 3.6 million square feet.
Dirt is already moving
Grading work, visible from Aberdeen Boulevard, is already underway.
NorthPoint will likely have approximately a quarter, or about 900,000-square-feet spread over two buildings, completed by the end of 2021, Hicks said.
“It won’t sit right on the interstate, but the short sides of two building will face I-85,” Hicks said. “It’s going to come together fast.”
Part of a warehousing boom
Developers have for years focused on building warehouse and storage sites for major corporations in areas north and south of Charlotte along Interstate 77. Hicks said some of that development action is now focused on Gaston County.
Last fall, Hicks said developers were at some stage of development for more than 7 million square feet of warehousing space across seven projects scattered across the county. NorthPoint’s build is projected to be the largest once completed.
“This site has everything,” Hicks said. “For a long time it was a difficult sell to get companies to cross the river and consider projects like these. Many of the sites closest to Charlotte and the airport have been developed and companies are turning their attention elsewhere.”
Why should you care about a warehouse project?
The projects could ultimately bring thousands of jobs to Gaston County. Hicks said estimates for Gateway85 could see as many as 3,000-jobs supported by end users of those facilities. Those projects will ultimately bolster county tax coffers as well, with the initial two buildings valued around $50 million, Hicks said.
A personal victory
The work to develop the land purchased by NorthPoint has been in the works for decades.
“I’ve been here 36 years and five months and somebody was literally working on this before me,” Hicks laughed. “It’s been a long time coming and there’s been a lot of developers who have walked this thing over and considered everything from multi-family properties to medical space. NorthPoint brought the right kind of resources and vision to the effort. I’m glad it’s coming together.”