Bi-County Industrial Project Gets Nod from North Carolina

Seeking a larger share of North Carolina’s industrial market, an unusual joint venture wants to prove that two counties are better than one. This week, Pitt and Martin Counties took a major step toward putting their sparsely populated jurisdictions on North Carolina’s industrial map. The counties won approval from the state commerce department for LandsEast Industrial Park, a 788-acre site that straddles both counties. The project marks at least two North Carolina firsts, according to county officials. LandsEast is the first multi-county collaboration of its kind in the state. In addition, it will be the first industrial project to straddle two North Carolina regions. Martin County is located in the state’s northeastern section, while Pitt County is considered part of Eastern North Carolina. LandsEast will be more than double the size of the largest industrial park in either county, the 300-acre Farmville Industrial park in Farmville, a Pitt County community. County officials could not be reached for comment today, but Pitt and Martin’s economic development agencies may be eyeing the growth potential stemming from the region’s ports. The project site is within two hours’ drive of North Carolina’s ports in Morehead City and Wilmington as well as Norfolk in Virginia. In a report this week, state ports authority CEO Thomas Eagar noted expansion plans at ports in Wilmington and Morehead, as well as a 600-acre terminal planned for a site four miles from the mouth of Cape Fear River. LandsEast is also located about 90 minutes from Raleigh-Durham International Airport and half an hour from Pitt-Greeneville Airport. Although LandsEast is some distance from the Raleigh-Durham region, the nearest major industrial market, some recent trends may be telling. During the third quarter, the Raleigh-Durham warehouse market gained 106,600 square feet of positive absorption, reversing a negative trend in the first half of the year, according to Colliers Pinkard. Flex space in Raleigh Durham absorbed 72,500 square feet in the third quarter, the fourth straight positive tally. Colliers Pinkard’s report speculates that a scarcity of developable industrial land in the Raleigh-Durham region will benefit submarkets during the next few years. .