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Winston-Salem Airport Business Park

Danny 4 Peace

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I remember when they first got grants in 1998 to clean these brownfield sites near the airport for this office park. Now its progressed to the point of breaking ground on an office building or high tech research center. I read that this site is one of the sites being considered by Dell Computers. It will create a wall of low rise buildings for drivers on I-74/US-52. It also cleans up and increases value of forgotten property near the CBD and in the noise path of the airport.

Saturday, September 4, 2004

City says county-owned parcel key to project

Development would be built near Liberty Street, U.S. 52

By Michael Hewlett


The idea for a business park near Smith Reynolds Airport has been around since the 1980s, but the idea is much closer to reality now that the city has acquired nearly all the land it needs, Winston-Salem city officials said.

A piece of county-owned land is the missing link in the project. This week, Derwick Paige, the assistant city manager for economic development, told Forsyth County commissioners that the city needs the land for a road that would provide access to the park and link its eastern and western sections.

The park will be built on land off Liberty Street and U.S. 52.

County Manager Graham Pervier said that the city will probably have to acquire an easement for the road. The Smith Reynolds Airport Commission would consider the request and make a recommendation to the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners, he said.

The city scaled back its plan for the park after the Winston-Salem City Council decided not to buy a 16-acre vacant parcel from Ogburn Investments Inc. The company was asking $537,400 for the property, said Kirk Bjorling, the real-estate administrator for the city.

Council members said they thought that the asking price was too high, Bjorling said.

The park has had a long history. Paige said that it is mentioned in several area plans. It was revived several years ago when the city got a $3 million federal grant and loan package under a program to redevelop urban areas.

Voters approved $4 million for the project in 2000 as part of the $71 million bond referendum. The city has invested about $8 million in the project, Paige said.

The park is meant to attract businesses in search of land to build corporate offices or space for light-industrial uses, he said. When it is fully developed, it will cover between 55 and 60 acres, Paige said. In addition, the park could benefit from businesses attracted to the area because of the proposed FedEx hub at the Piedmont Triad International Airport, which is scheduled to open in mid-2009.

Paige said that the city is working to demolish roads and take out the residential water and sewer lines to make way for the park. The city had either bought or condemned many of the homes for the park.

There has been lots of interest from businesses. Officials say they hope to start marketing the park when the land is ready for development, Paige said.

Commissioner Walter Marshall expressed concerns about plans to close the northbound ramp to Liberty Street near Smith Reynolds Airport.

He said he was worried that the closure would hurt efforts to revitalize the Liberty Street area.

The N.C. Department of Transportation is planning to close that ramp permanently so it can widen and replace the Liberty Street bridge, said Pat Ivey, a DOT division engineer.

Improvements are planned for the interchange at 25th and 28th streets. Liberty Street from 28th to 30th streets would be widened, Ivey said. The DOT is planning to hold a final public hearing early next year for the Liberty Street project, he said.

Marshall said he also had environmental concerns. Paige said that the park will not have any industrial uses that would cause pollution.

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I would like to see our old airport return to greatness again but only if the runways are moved. We still have a height restriction from our downtown airport. As long as the airport is what it is now they can grant waivers to build taller. I'm mixed on what I would like to see happen with it.

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It's too close to downtown for a lot of reasons (also that's why W-S lost out to Greensboro on the location of the TRIAD'S AIRPORT - it should have straddled the Forsyth/Guilford line in the northern part of the two counties). Anyway, I do like INT, but think another airport should be built as an auxilliary to PTI. It should be in the far northwest of the county, perhaps in Forsyth/Stokes or better Forsyth/Surry (the Smith Reynolds Terminal should also be moved to this hypothetical new location to preserve history).

I do think that eventually the Triad along with Northwestern NC will be able to support two airports, but propbaly that is decades from now. I know this is a pipe dream, and ain't gonna happen, but on the other hand, why not?

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