The Piedmont Triad International Airport is spurring industrial development in Rockingham County.

The airport area has long been promoted as an economic development engine. FedEx and Amazon have already been attracted to the tiny portion of Kernersville that stretches into Guilford County near the airport.

Now with the development of I-73, Greensboro developer Roy Carroll (who owns this publication) is betting that development can go north also.

Carroll has about 300 acres in the triangle where US 68 merges into I-73 in Rockingham County. Carroll says that it’s about a 10-minute trip down I-73 to the airport and he believes this land is prime for industrial development.

Carroll said, “This is a special site and I’m fortunate to be involved in it.”

He said he started acquiring the land about two years ago at the prompting of the economic development folks in Rockingham County who saw the potential for the land and wanted a private developer to come in and take control of it.

Carroll said the county was bringing water and sewer to the site that, when fully built out, could house 2.5 million square feet of industrial space.

Carroll said, “There aren’t too many sites in the triad where you can put a 1 million square foot building and this is one of them.”

He said he saw the buildings on the site ranging from 50,000 square feet up to 1 million square feet.

He said that it would be tough to get the zoning for a project like this in northern Guilford County because Summerfield and Oak Ridge are not big supporters of industrial development.

He also said Rockingham had a lower tax rate than Guilford, and according to the North Carolina Department of Commerce it is in Tier 1, meaning it is one of the most economically distressed counties in the state, which makes more state economic development dollars available.

Carroll said that when the airport megasite is developed, this land would be a good place for off-site manufacturing, noting that airport land is so expensive that typically some of the accessory manufacturing is done offsite, and, being 10 minutes down an interstate from the airport made this a great location.

But Carroll said he wasn’t waiting for the airport megasite to develop and had already had some people express interest.