Here We Grow Again: Commercial Development Updates

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Plus a look at upcoming developments in Chatham County, NC

Compiled by Sinclair Holian

Gov. Roy Cooper, center, joins VinFast executives and local leaders at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Vietnamese electric vehicle manufacturer’s new plant in Moncure.

Electric vehicle manufacturer VinFast broke ground on its $4 billion facility in Moncure July 28. VinFast Global CEO Le Thi Thu Thuy, Gov. Roy Cooper and Rep. Robert Reives spoke at an event welcoming VinFast to the state; Sen. Natalie Murdock was also in attendance. The event coincided with news that the Securities and Exchange Commission approved the company’s registration statement combining the business with acquisition company Black Spade.

VinFast also announced its plans to donate up to 3 acres of private land on Christian Chapel Church Road to save Merry Oaks Baptist Church from a planned demolition by the North Carolina Department of Transportation to implement a long-planned transportation improvement upgrade for Chatham County. The donation of land on the VinFast site in Moncure will allow the church to relocate from its current location on the border between Moncure and New Hill to a new, permanent home.

Other Updates

Wolfspeed’s Chatham County project was named the Large Market Deal of the Year for 2023 by the North Carolina Economic Development Association at its annual conference in Wilmington. Chatham County Economic Development Corporation President Michael Smith accepted the award, which recognized the EDC as a driving force behind the deal. The distinction is awarded annually to three NCEDA members from different sized communities for their contribution to economic development.

The award follows Wolfspeed’s January announcement that its multibillion-dollar facility in Siler City will officially be named the John Palmour Manufacturing Center for Silicon Carbide. The name honors the company’s cofounder, John Palmour, who passed away at 62 in November 2022. The company, founded in North Carolina and headed by CEO Gregg Lowe, is the global leader in silicon carbide technology. Housed at the Chatham-Siler City Advanced Manufacturing Site, the upcoming 445- acre plant will produce large silicon carbide wafers, which are used in renewable energy products like electric vehicle charging systems and converters.

In June, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality issued the company an air quality permit under the Clean Air Act, which will allow the site to move forward with construction. The first phase of construction is anticipated to be complete by 2024. The company’s expansion in Chatham County is expected to increase the company’s Durham campus materials capacity – which currently produces more than 60% of the world’s silicon carbide materials – by more than 10 times. By 2030, the company intends to have created about 1,800 new jobs.

Construction began on the grounds of the Farm at Penny Lane for the Tiny Homes Village, a project aimed at developing affordable housing for people with mental illnesses and other health conditions who live on a fixed income. The project is being developed through a public-private partnership that is led by local nonprofit Cross Disability Services and the UNC School of Social Work. The village is slated to include 15 tiny homes at about 400 square feet each and community amenities aimed to foster community interaction.

The Siler City Board of Commissioners voted unanimously in May to approve the rezoning request for Everest Park, a residential and commercial mixed-use development which would be located between Old U.S. 421 and Glosson Road. The proposed development would include nearly 430 single-family homes with buffer and park space, as well as a senior living community. Additionally, 18 acres are slated for a commercial district.

A new Lowes Foods store opened its doors in late June at 65 Ramseur Rd. in Pittsboro, near Northwood High School and across from Mosaic at Chatham Park. The North Carolina-based grocer was the first tenant to open at the mixed-use development Northwood Landing, with a lot that spans 6.39 acres.

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