Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The region's next happening spot: Kannapolis

Enough about uptown Charlotte. Let’s talk about another mega-development sparking huge change in the region: The North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis.

Growing up here, I never thought I’d see small mill town Kannapolis become one of our area’s most happening spots. As recently as three years ago, when Pillowtex shut down and created the largest mass layoff in North Carolina’s history, the town’s future was in doubt.

Last night, I heard Clyde Higgs, vice president for business development for developer Castle & Cooke, give an overview of the research campus to the European-American Business Forum’s meeting near SouthPark.

A typical research campus is about 75 acres, with maybe one or two universities and a few dozen entrepreneurial companies feeding off of it, Higgs noted.

This one is 350 acres, with eight universities and a goal of luring upwards of 100 companies. It is expected to create at least 5,000 jobs directly, with more coming from support roles ranging from landscapers to accountants. A lot of them will be newcomers who relocate with their companies from other cities or states.

The biotechnology hub is meant to be in collaboration, not competition, with the behemoth Research Triangle Park near Raleigh-Durham.

Higgs called it “a reboot of an entire city.” It’s shaping up to be even more than that – perhaps a reboot of this region or even the state.

Some questions remain about how much public money should be required to pull the project off.

What do you think? How important do you think this project will be to the region’s future? Let me know.

UPDATE: I'm looking for newcomers to the Kannapolis area to interview for an article about this. Please send me an e-mail with your contact information.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

So far they's been lots of demolition, big talk, and foreshadowing of problems to come as the developers drop hints that they want public money to complete the projects.

My take so far is that the Music Man has come to town...all hat and no cattle...as they say.

I'll belieive it when I see it.

10:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Great Products & Services! I Send my friends here to Shop

8:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My husband owns a business around the corner from the new campus, and everyone in the area is very optimistic about the future. Change is hard, and it's going to take a long time to see the real effect of this new venture, but with UNC and NC State signing on this week and the plans that the city has already approved, it's going to be the best shot for this community to reinvent itself. You can piss and moan about what happened here, or you can take the opportunity given to this town and run with it. I am glad they have chosen to attempt a new future.

11:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am optimistic and wish the best for my hometown. It was always known as a milltown...those days are over...it's time for a change.

10:41 PM  
Blogger Uncle Dennis said...

What a positive future! It is exciting to see all the dynamics of society change to target the Southeastern US as the growth for the future.
We current environs will benefit as people and businesses from across the country realize that North Carolina is the new California.
As industries go, textiles, furniture, and hopefully tobacco, they will be replaced by banking, insurance and biomed.
The whole region is ablaze with potential.

11:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

NC will NEVER be Cali unless we get a HUGE influx of people from other regions. I'm talking where 50% of the NC population is from the North or West Coast. Otherwise it will still be "The South"......Biz as usual.

12:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am shocked when I hear reporters and many more in North Carolina who say" I have lived here all my life and didnt think this or that town would go anywhere from what it was". I do believe there are People in North Carolina who dont know that the World is round. Kannapolis is the most wonderful town I have ever been in and has great potential. I was there when they closed the plant down and was shocked how long it took for people to discover its charm. Kannapolis is one of a kind in the South and is a treasure. But I do give "liegh Dyer" a learning curve because if you have not traveled much or lived anywhere other than N.C. you would not know how to percieve Kannapolis. Many think its an old Hick town and its not by far. Kannapolis always had great potential for something greater than a Textile MILL.

9:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem is with the North Carolinas in general is the under confidence I see in People . I am shocked how People here except their fate and just crash and burn ; This is just what Politics want here "SILENCE". I still think a Toyota or Honda plant would have made a huge diffrent outcome there. Most of North Carolina Politics talk a good card game but are never serious about People have stability here.

9:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I recently relocated to Kannapolis from Florida. Murdock is going to milk the town for all public money he can and threaten to pull out at every turn. The town has no choice but to give in at this point He stands to get rich as he owns tons of property and has for decades. Rightfully he should as he has taken all the risk. However taxes are going to rise far quicker then property values. This isn't New York City so why pay a preieum to be close to the hub, when you can live five miles away for way less money. Kannapolis is lucky to have this but if anyone really thinks there won't be a price they are naive.

3:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I recently moved to Charlotte and I have lived in areas that have a high concentration of high tech jobs.

This project is so smart, because it is expensive as heck to live in San Diego or Boston. The suits at my company has looked at NC as a potential site for its expansion because of the quality of life and low cost of living.

I drove up to Kannapolis a week ago just to see if there is really anything happening. It is!! There is one building almost finished (brick is being set) and the construction site is gigantic. Go see yourself.

3:09 PM  

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