Talk of the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite may have died down since the site was passed over by a Toyota-Mazda project almost exactly one year ago, but there are still high hopes for the site, and area leaders say it remains very attractive to large automotive companies and others.
Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan said this week that, while it was a big disappointment that the Toyota-Mazda project didn’t come to the megasite, she and other area leaders are more optimistic than ever about the site’s prospects.
The mayor said a great deal of work continues to be done to make the site ready for business.
“One of the by-products of that process is that we saw what some of our weaknesses were,” Vaughan said.
She added that, after the megasite was passed over, those supporting the site took action to further enhance it – for instance, by purchasing more right-of-way property for infrastructure needs.
The mayor also said that the question is not “if” a major company will come and fill that site, but “when.”
According to Vaughan, while it was a big disappointment that the site was passed over, the really good news is that the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite came in a close second in a highly competitive nationwide battle for a top-tier project.
She said the megasite will come in number one for some company one day.
“It is a great site,” she said. “It’s gotten global attention and it’s gotten better.”
Greensboro Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Brent Christensen, who’s a staff leader for the Guilford County Economic Development Alliance as well, also said he’s extremely optimistic about the site’s chances of landing a very big fish. He said the loss of the Toyota- Mazda project only helped get the site better prepared.
“I think we did about five years of work on that site in about five months,” Christensen said this week.
He added that, as soon as the site was passed over at the start of the year, everyone involved got right back to work doing even more to make it better.
“You can’t take your foot off the gas,” he said. “You have to make it more ready.”
He said water and sewer plans, and talks with Duke Energy, were further along now than they were in January – and that’s something that reduces the amount of time it would take for a major company to move into the site after choosing it.
He said the site is certainly now on the map as well as the radar for site consultants across the country but added that that doesn’t mean he and other officials aren’t pushing it.
“I don’t want to take that for granted,” Christensen said. “We continue to get it out in front of our site consultants, and we are giving them updates on a regular basis.”
He added that the site is for anyone that needs a large amount of space, not just an auto company. According to Christensen, that could be a consumer electronics business like major Apple supplier Foxconn. He added it could be a company that makes airplane parts or one that manufactures dishwashers or washing machines.
“It can be anybody who’s going to bring thousands of jobs,” he said.