The Gastonia City Council approved three economic development agreements at its October 6 meeting with a potential for private investment worth $96 million. “These projects have been in the making for many years and are now coming to fruition with the hard work of our City Council, City staff, investors, and community partners,” said Mayor Walker Reid, III. The agreements are a major milestone towards achieving the City’s economic development goals as part of its 2020-2022 Strategic Plan. “We are proud that access to transportation, community development, a ripe labor force, and job creation were some of the driving factors for these investors to choose our city,” said City Manager Michael Peoples.
The three projects approved by Gastonia City Council are:
Agreement Between the City of Gastonia and Kuester Development
In July 2019, Gastonia City Council approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Kuester Development, LLC to purchase a building located at 147 W. Main Avenue in Downtown Gastonia to develop a multi-family apartment complex. The six-story building will feature 90 apartment units located where the previous Center Theater had to be condemned and removed for safety. The project has an estimated investment of $21.5 million. The approval allows Kuester to move forward with the Center City Crossing project that they estimate will take 16 months to complete. “We think this city is on fire,” said John Allen, director of development for Kuester Development. “We love Gastonia and we are proud to be part of the FUSE District and this project.”
Agreement Between City of Gastonia and Lansing Melbourne Group, LLC
The City of Gastonia has been working with Lansing Melbourne Group (LMG) to acquire and redevelop the previous Trenton Mill property located at 612 W. Main Avenue. The City Council approved an MOU in October 2018, a Master Development Agreement in August 2019, and a First Amendment to the Master Development Agreement in January 2020. The proposed plan for the Trenton Mill site includes 84 apartment units, repurposing a 1,800 square foot outbuilding, and construction of 140 on-site parking spaces. The project has an estimated investment of $25 million. The approval allows LMG to begin breaking ground for construction to begin within the next month and residents moving into the building by the end of December 2021. “This will be a curated building, as we preserve the important history of working people in this city,” said Peter Flotz, Managing Member for LMG. “The FUSE District was also a huge factor in our decision to transform this property into The Trenton Mill Lofts.”
Agreement to Offer a Level Four Investment Grant to Project NORTH POINT
The Gastonia City Council voted unanimously to offer a Level Four Investment Grant to Project NORTH POINT. The Level Four Investment Grant will mirror the grant offered by Gaston County and will provide a financial incentive over 10 years. For about 20 years, a joint effort has been made to study and plan for the development of 361 acres of property owned by the Lineberger north of I-85 that is contained within the cities of Gastonia and Lowell. Project NORTH POINT plans to invest $50 million to establish multiple warehouse and distribution facilities eventually resulting in one million square feet of warehouse space.
The project is in its early stages and will provide long-term economic development growth, job creation, and increase the tax base for Gastonia, Lowell, and Gaston County as it attracts profitable light manufacturers locally, regionally, and nationally. “There is a lot of interest in this type of land development,” said Donny Hicks, director of the Gaston County EDC. “This project will allow Gastonia, Lowell, and Gaston County to successfully compete in the industrial warehouse market.”