Strong effort desired by EDC on marketing Triangle North
Ronnie Goswick, the director of economic development in Franklin County, offered some new ideas for marketing Triangle North, but some say the ideas are too similar to the strategies used unsuccessfully in the past.
At the Henderson-Vance Economic Development Commission meeting Wednesday, Goswick presented recommendations from the marketing committee to attract business to Triangle North. The four-county park network is tax-advantaged for Vance, Granville, Warren and Franklin counties but has not seen much interest since they opening.
The total cost of the new strategies would not exceed $36,300.
Triangle North Franklin, smallest of the three, is a 252-acre park located next to the Triangle North Executive Airport that offers sites for high-tech and aviation services.
Triangle North Granville is a 527-ace park adjacent to Vance-Granville Community College and offers sites for life sciences and technology.
Triangle North Vance is a 422-acre park off of Interstate 85 at exit 209, across the interstate from Vance-Granville Community College. It offers flexible sites for offices and manufacturing.
Triangle North Warren is the largest park with 860 acres located off of I-85 and U.S. 158 in Manson. The park offers sites for distribution, logistics and manufacturing.
The marketing committee recommended contracting with a consulting firm to identify 250 companies nationwide interested in relocating or expanding to a greenfield site in a rural area. Goswick said the firm would narrow the list of 250 companies down to 50.
“We hope to end up with between five or 10 companies that we can visit and show them what we have, and maybe get them to consider relocating or expanding here,” Goswick said.
The recommendations also included plans to create a liaison design group to revamp the Triangle North website, which has some outdated maps, and develop a program to raise awareness about the parks.
“We will do that directly with someone who knows the area around Research Triangle Park and has contacts with businesses in and around the Raleigh/Durham area,” Goswick said of the awareness program. “This person will visit companies that are looking to expand or looking to do manufacturing in the area.”
He added that this person would be hired part-time. Goswick said there is a $15,000 budget allocated for this program.
But some board members expressed concern that the marketing strategy should be more aggressive.
“This, to me, is pretty much what we’ve done for years,” said Dennis Tharrington. “I don’t see a whole lot of change.”
Tharrington is the president of Innovative Green Builders, Inc. and WDT Development, LLC.
Tharrington said the parks could gain businesses with the help of someone who has strong connections in the RTP area.
“In a sense, I’ve been a salesman all my life. And you’ve got to sell people on the idea of coming to Vance County,” Tharrington said. “It’s just hard to do. And I hate to say this, but most sales happen around relationships, developing relationships.”
Sam Watkins Jr., board chairman, said he wanted to see a full-time position responsible for seeking out and connecting with potential Triangle North businesses.
“We passed a motion approved by the City Council and county commissioners because we thought we needed to make a change and I don’t see much change,” Watkins said. “You do have a recommendation from our City Council and county commissioners that we consider putting somebody on the ground. I believe we can put something together that can compete incentive-wise and salesmanship-wise with anybody but if they don’t have someone to talk to it isn’t going to work. And if somebody has to get up every morning, and try to make sure they prove their worth by bringing us somebody, we think we’d be better off.”
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