Piedmont Triad International Airport is giving a chance for the public to offer input as the Piedmont Triad Airport Authority (PTAA) considers a request to “Co-Brand PTI Megasite with Carolina Core “– an action the authority is expected to undertake at its April meeting. One big issue that’s expected to be determined is the question of what to name the large aerospace megasite that’s being built at the airport but as yet doesn’t have a name.
Other issues involved in the co-branding effort are a little hazier and, at the March 26 meeting of the authority, even some board members had questions about what all exactly was involved.
On Thursday, March 28, the Piedmont Triad Airport Authority sent out a press release stating that that board, which oversees the airport’s operations, is considering a request from the Piedmont Triad Partnership (PTP) to co-brand that 800-plus acre airport megasite with the Carolina Core.
At a meeting of the Airport Authority on Tuesday, March 26, PTAA Board Member Allen Joines, the mayor of Winston-Salem, read a letter out loud from PTP President and CEO, Stan Kelly, one that made the request official.
In that letter, Kelly wrote, “The Aerospace Megasite at Piedmont Triad International Airport is undoubtedly one of our region’s greatest economic development assets and is an integral part of the Carolina Core strategy.”
Also in that letter, Kelly called the co-branding effort “a next step toward regionalism” and he stated that he was officially requesting that the PTAA consider taking the necessary actions “to co-brand the Aerospace Megasite with the Carolina Core.”
Kelly’s letter also stated that the request “is part of a larger regional effort to co-brand several “transformational assets” in central North Carolina under the Carolina Core brand to increase our economic competitiveness on the national and global stage.” Part of the effort also calls for major upgrades to US 421.
Last year, the PTP united with three other megasites in central North Carolina to launch the Carolina Core – an economic development strategy meant to brand and market the four megasites collectively in the hopes that doing so will create business expansion and attract a lot of jobs.
The Carolina Core consists of four megasites of a combined 7,200 acres along the US 421 corridor, one of which is the large aerospace site located at PTI. When the Airport Authority Board met on March 26, there seemed to be a great deal of optimism that officials who control the three other megasites were as gung ho to participate as the PTIA megasite officials are.
When PTAA decided to rename Piedmont Triad International Airport in late 2017 – they did so before informing the public, without allowing public input or even letting some area elected officials know beforehand. The authority got a lot of blowback for that move and the name change never happened; so that may be one reason why, this time, when it comes to naming the high-profile megasite, there’s some forewarning being given to the public.
In addition to the Carolina Core project, the PTAA and PTP have partnered on other important regional economic development initiatives, such as hiring a regional aerospace director and hosting an upcoming aerospace manufacturing conference in May.
On Thursday, PTAA Chairman Steve Showfety praised PTP and its marketing efforts on behalf of the airport.
“The Piedmont Triad Partnership, under the leadership of Stan Kelly, and with a board made up of local business leaders who have selflessly committed their personal and corporate funds to grow our community, has been a great economic development partner of the airport,” Showfety said. “Working together on the Carolina Core is a natural continuation of our ongoing partnership to attract some of the world’s most coveted aerospace projects.”
At the March 26 authority meeting, Showfety said PTAA would take PTP’s request under consideration. He asked airport staff to come back to the board at the April meeting with a recommendation on that request.