“By this time next year, we will have 800 working here and a $90 million investment,” Tony Normand, COMtech’s chief executive officer, said. “Things are going well.”
The CEO said there are now 43 businesses in the park, which includes 620 acres off N.C. 711, just outside Pembroke. Normand told the commissioners that his nonprofit is successfully meeting its objective of “creating jobs.”
At Normand’s request, the commissioners on Monday voted to allow COMtech to sell the remainder of county-owned land in the park — which County Manager Ken Windley said is about 400 acres — for $8,000 an acre. The current selling price of land within the commercial, educational and industrial park is $5,000 an acre.
COMtech now manages all county-owned land within the park for the county, Windley said, as well as makes infrastructure and other improvements to the land that makes it inviting to businesses wanting to locate in the area.
Normand told the commissioners that $8,000 an acre is a low price to pay and would still serve as an incentive for businesses to locate in COMtech. Within two to three years, he said, the price of land should increase to $10,000 an acre with the county and COMtech each receiving half of the revenue.
Both Normand and county officials agreed that increasing the price of land by $3,000 would allow the county to recover its investment in the park quicker. COMtech would also receive additional funds to be used for park upkeep.
According to Windley, the county in 2003 purchased 480 acres at a price of $2.4 million. Windley, who was hired in 2002, said the county had already purchased 140 acres for COMtech when he arrived.
Commissioner Roger Oxendine spoke in favor of increasing the price of land, noting that the quicker the county recoups its investment, the better it will be for the county’s tax base.
“We have enough businesses now to raise the price of land,” he said.