Be careful what you ask for.
For decades, Greensboro, High Point and Guilford County sought to attract major companies and large projects to the area – and that’s happened.
In the last few years, private companies have announced new and expanded operations in Guilford County and the surrounding area, and local governments have undertaken massive building plans as well.
That’s all well and good, but there are only so many workers and construction companies in the market, and the strain is beginning to show.
It became crystal clear during a presentation that Guilford County Facilities and Property Management Director Eric Hilton made to the Guilford County Board of Commissioners in a Thursday, Jan. 5 work session.
Large projects in the Piedmont are consuming labor and materials, Hilton stated in his presentation. He then provided some rough estimates of the demands those projects have placed on the local workforce.
There are of course giant projects such as the Toyota battery plant at the Greensboro Randolph Megasite in Randolph County and Boom Supersonic coming jet factory at Piedmont Triad International Airport. But Hilton pointed out that currently there are also plenty of other major projects underway.
Guilford County Schools has about $450 million in projects planned from the $2 billion in bond money voters have approved. NC A&T University has about $215 million in projects, while the University of North Carolina at Greensboro has about $100 million in renovation and construction going on right now. The City of Greensboro has the Windsor Chavis Nocho Community Center project. Throw on top of that major health facility construction projects in Winston-Salem, and it’s easy to see why it’s very hard to get bidders.
“Let’s just say there’s a lot of work out there right now, and this is just in our little area,” Hilton told the board. “If you go to Chatham County, if you go to Research Triangle if you go to Charlotte – it’s the same story. The point of this is – there’s enough work to keep the people busy.”
Hilton said that, in this environment, Guilford County must make its bid packages clear and attractive for bidders.
Hilton said it’s been tough getting takers for the Sheriff’s Department’s new administrative headquarters.
Bids for Phases 2 and 3 of the project were due just before Christmas, Hilton told the board, and, of 28 total bid packages, only 15 had a sufficient number of bidders to even open bids.