Person County has joined the hunt for a major industry by offering a newly certified “megasite” to accommodate a large-scale operation.
Person, which is north of Durham County and borders Virginia, has the fifth megasite in North Carolina. The sites are designated by the state because they have enough acreage, potential workers and access to roads and utilities to attract big industrial companies.
The 1,394-acre site puts Person County in contention with other rural areas of the state where land has been set aside for manufacturing operations that take up a lot of space.
A site in Randolph County near Greensboro was seen as the state’s most likely candidate for the Toyota-Mazda joint car manufacturing plant. But it was the runner-up earlier this month when the companies chose Alabama instead.
At the Person County site, geotechnical studies have been done, wetlands and stream issues have been cleared by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and environmental, archeological and wildlife studies have been completed.
State transportation officials have approved a long-term traffic study.
Stuart Gilbert, the county’s economic development director, says the site will provide extensive electrical supply thanks to nearby steam power plants. He said the county isn’t in a position yet to talk about potential tenants.
“We don’t have an industry we’re announcing,” Gilbert said Thursday. “We’re working closely with the state Department of Commerce and the Economic Development Partnership of N.C. There have been a number of large projects and our sites have been submitted on some of those.”
He said county leaders would like to attract clean, advanced manufacturing.
“That would allow us to have better jobs for the community and a clean environment,” Gilbert said.
There are two megasites in Chatham County, one in Edgecombe County, and the Randolph County site. The Person County site, located in the northern part of the county, has been in the works since 2013.
Person County megasite officials have drawn their own “triangle” map, showing that Raleigh and Greensboro are just over an hour drive from Roxboro.