North Carolina Economic Development Guide


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Case studies Once the Pittsburgh Glass Works plant in Elkin becomes fully operational in 2014, it will have an annual payroll of about $15 million for its 260 employees. small-business community offers part-time work to many residents. "A lot of people in this area are waiting for things to open up and get better," Johnson says. The arrival of Pittsburgh Glass Works Elkin's proximity to key thoroughfares, including Interstate 77, combined with its capacity to generate electricity, helps it attract businesses. LLC could indicate that manufacturing in Surry County is poised for a renais- sance. In April 2011, the global producer of automotive glass unveiled plans to launch a 260-worker manufacturing outpost in Elkin, investing $85 million in a plant that will be driven by robotics and other advanced technologies. When fully operational in 2014, the factory will churn $15 million in annual payroll through the county's economy. "It's going to mean a lot for Surry County," says Johnson, who has been a commissioner since 1996. While the financial benefits of Pittsburgh Glass Works' arrival may be a few years away, the personal impact of its announcement has been immediate. "Based on what I'm hearing from residents across the county, it's giving us a big boost emotionally. Everyone's excited." Locals hope the news will attract automotive suppliers and advanced manufacturers. Elkin had much to offer Pittsburgh Glass Works as a business destination. Interstate 77 skirts the town, and several 52 North Carolina Economic Development Guide other key interstates are not far away. Its manufacturing heritage left behind the capacity to generate a surplus of electricity. Several fast-moving streams are not only appealing scenery, they're a water source for industry and residents. Its population of about 4,000 includes a large number of retirees, whose arrival in recent years has sparked a surge in new restaurants and arts organizations. The town also had another asset: a vacant, 416,000-square-foot industrial building a stone's throw from the intersec- tion of I-77 and U.S. 21. The massive structure was built in 1996 as a distribu- tion center for Candle Corp. But that unit of Charleston, S.C.-based MVP Group International Inc. vacated the property a decade later. Sitting on 37 acres, its size, shape and high ceilings made the building an appealing listing for Philadelphia-based Binswanger Management Corp., the industrial real-estate broker that marketed the property. "The traffic we had on this building was disproportionately manufac- turing," says Doug Faris, a senior vice president at Binswanger. The design of the building — "a plain vanilla box" with dock doors along one wall — made it less enticing for distribution operations,

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