The North Carolina Railroad Company (NCRR) announced yesterday that the Town of Aberdeen is one of six (6) recipients in the state to be awarded a Build-Ready Sites grant. The $167,670 grant will be used to prepare a portion of the Iron Horse Industrial Park in Aberdeen for industrial development.

The NCRR Build-Ready Sites Program targets rail-served sites in North Carolina ranging from 50 to 100 acres and aims to increase the number of those sites that can be developed in 18 months for rail-using industries. The Build-Ready Sites grant covers 60% of land preparation costs. Other public and/or private sources such as the local government or landowner must provide the remaining 40% of the project cost.

“We’re honored to launch an innovative program that not only fosters growth in our local communities, but also creates opportunities for meaningful partnerships that expand our state’s competitive advantage,” said NCRR President and CEO Carl Warren.

The 128-acre Iron Horse Industrial Park is located on Carolina Road, just off NC Highway 211 East in Aberdeen near the Moore-Hoke County line. The NCRR grant will be used to clear, grub, and grade 40-acres of land in the park.

The Iron Horse Industrial Park is served by rail and all utilities, including natural gas. Efforts to market the property and attract an industrial tenant have so far been unsuccessful primarily because the Park is raw, forested land that is not shovel-ready for construction.

“The Park’s current condition, without a cleared site, any curb appeal, or an access road, makes it difficult for a prospective client to picture themselves and their facility located in the Park,” explained Natalie Hawkins, Executive Director of Partners in Progress, the nonprofit public/private economic development corporation serving Moore County. “In addition, companies today have very accelerated timelines for selecting a site, constructing a facility, and starting operations. They want a site that is ready to go.”

Once cleared, the 40-acre site can support the construction of a 600,000 square foot industrial building that could house one large tenant or multiple smaller ones.

“The Town of Aberdeen is thrilled that after nearly 20 years of hoping for some kind of activity at Iron Horse, some dirt will finally be moved,” said Robbie Farrell, Mayor of Aberdeen. “This grant clears the way to creating quality jobs for the Town of Aberdeen and Moore County. We’re grateful to the NCRR for this grant and we appreciate the support we’ve received from Partners in Progress.”

“Having 40-acres of land cleared will make our industrial park more competitive and will remove the single largest barrier to marketing the site,” Hawkins said. “We look forward to working with the NCRR and others to get this well-positioned, rail-served site construction-ready.”

Partners in Progress prepared the NCRR Build Ready Sites grant application on behalf of the Town of Aberdeen and coordinated with NCRR staff, Town of Aberdeen officials, representatives from utility providers, and property owners over several months to obtain the information required for the grant. To help make the Iron Horse Industrial Park marketable, Partners in Progress has also completed a significant amount of due diligence on the property to fast track the construction timeline.

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Moore County Partners in Progress is the nonprofit 501(c)(3) public/private economic development corporation that serves all of Moore County, N.C. Our mission is to increase economic prosperity and improve the quality of life for Moore County’s citizens through the creation of quality jobs and capital investment in our communities. For more information, visit www.moorebusiness.org.

The North Carolina Railroad Company (NCRR) is a private corporation whose stock is owned by the State of North Carolina. The NCRR manages the use of 317 miles of track stretching from Charlotte to the Port of Morehead City. The company’s mission is to benefit the people of North Carolina by aggressively leveraging the unique strengths and capabilities of the North Carolina Railroad Company. Its vision is to offer a modernized railroad that meets the needs of the future, expanding North Carolina’s competitive advantage. For more information, please visit www.ncrr.com.