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Lobbying food industry's business
Regional team pushes for suppliers
Published Wednesday, April 2, 2014 11:46 am
by Ronnie Bryant, Charlotte Regional Partnership

Key members of the Partnership’s economic development team are traveling to Florida next week for the annual Food Automation and Manufacturing Conference and Expo. The two-day event is a great opportunity for the Partnership to network with food and beverage processors and suppliers and to showcase Charlotte USA’s many assets.

The food industry is one of the region’s fastest-growing sectors, with nearly 50 companies relocating or expanding here since 2009. We’re well positioned to take advantage of that growth. From our expanding population base to a convenient eastern seaboard location to a great rail and highway infrastructure, we’re a desirable location for a variety of food-related companies.

This includes Fancy Pokket, a Canada-based bakery that’s building a $13 million facility in the new Lancaster Air-Rail Business Park. There’s also Snyder’s-Lance, which recently invested $75 million at its Charlotte plant for automation and production-line improvements. And we have wonderful resources like the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis, a $1 billion, 350-acre biotech facility with world-renowned nutrition, agriculture and human health research facilities.

The local food industry sector also includes companies like A.M. King Construction Company LLC, which designs and builds facilities for the food processing and cold storage sectors. The Charlotte company recently started work on an expansion project, including adding freezer and dry-storage space, for the Baltimore, Md.-based Mid Atlantic Bakery. Moreover, the Partnership helped recruit the Brazil-based World Quality Services, which provides certification and inspection services to suppliers in the food industry. The company is investing $1.5 million in a new Charlotte location and will create 24 jobs over the next five years.

This is only a sampling of what’s happening in the region’s food industry sector, one we continue to grow through economic development efforts like next week’s Florida conference. These mission trips are an effective way for the Partnership to show important decision makers why Charlotte USA is the premier location for expanding and relocating businesses.

Locations, expansions, contractions

Hendrix Business Systems Inc. is expanding into a 1,800-square-foot showroom in uptown Charlotte's Founders Hall. The expansion brings five new jobs. Based in Matthews, Hendrix is a document management and distribution technologies firm that offers an array of high-volume copiers and printers.

The new showroom will serve as a technology lab and feature Canon’s state-of-the-art digital imaging solutions. “Charlotte is the best city in the country to work and live. We are ecstatic to be in the middle of the action in Uptown,” said company president and CEO Roger Hendrix in a press release.

Crescent Communitieshas big development plans for uptown Charlotte, including a mixed-use project on a 3-acre site at Tryon and Stonewall streets that includes a 450-room hotel, 70,000 square feet of retail, and 600 apartments. 

In addition, Charlotte City Council recently approved the firm’s $10.3 million bid to buy a city-owned, 3.6-acre parcel near the NASCAR Hall of Fame. This project calls for up to 1 million square feet of office space. These projects point to a growing confidence among real estate developers and the market’s increased need for office space. 

The expansive Riverwalk district in Rock Hill is moving forward with several new development projects, including a 36,000-square-foot mixed-use building with office, retail and residential space. Construction on the $4.5 million building is scheduled to start in the late spring. Other projects in the 1,000-acre River District area include a 300-apartment complex scheduled for completion by the end of the year, and plans are being discussed for a new $28 million distribution center in Riverwalk Business Park. 

Ronnie Bryant is president and CEO of Charlotte Regional Partnership.



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