By LEVI PASCHER
Fulton County Express
PERTH — The leaders of Fulton County government are looking to let potential employers know the Tryon Technology Park is officially open for business.
After months of demolition, construction and infrastructure improvements the county is currently marketing the 515-acre site to potential businesses that may consider expanding their operations into Fulton County’s newest industrial park.
The county previously established the Tryon Technology Park as a way to attract modern technology industries to the county. The park features 260 acres of shovel-ready sites and includes plans for a Regional Business Training & Incubator Center.
Fulton County Planning Director Jim Mraz and other planning officials led local media on a tour of the former youth detention center located on Route 107, in the town of Perth, last week.
He said the Fulton County Industrial Development Agency and county government have been working together to prepare the new business space since the FCIDA took ownership in 2014.
Mraz said the two are working together as part of an economic development strategy to bring new businesses into the region and further reduce the taxes for local residents. He said the two have been looking to redevelop the property to replace the numerous jobs that were lost when the former detention center closed in 2011.
The Fulton County Demolition Team spent a portion of the summer razing a former cottage on the property and Mraz said in the coming months they will be working on the demolition of five others to create over 100 acres of shovel-ready property.
“Our goal is to take these buildings down because the value of this property is the available land,” Mraz said about the ongoing demolition projects. “The land is already available but we are looking to remove the buildings and make them shovel-ready.”
The county has also improved accessibility within the facility by constructing a looped roadway to reach 260 acres of developable land within the park. They have also improved water infrastructure at the facility to meet any of the water pressure requirements of potential new businesses.
Mraz said the county is also currently working with C.T. Male Associates to explore the possibility of reusing the previous Midas building located on the property to create the Regional Business Training and Incubator Center. He said they are looking to renovate the 16,000-square-foot facility into startup space for new businesses.
Mraz said money has already been secured for the potential project including a $185,000 grant from the Northern Borders Regional Commission, $150,000 from the 2016 county budget, and $65,000 through the FCIDA.
“We have about $400,000 to complete this project,” Mraz said. “We are hoping to create space for businesses to train their employees and also provide the space for new start-up companies.”
Fulton County officials also previously launched a website for the Tryon Technology Park to attract more businesses to the potential development site. DCG Corplan previously prepared a target industry analysis for Tryon which stated the top five industry clusters for the new business park would be biomedical research and development; food and beverage industries; headquarters and business services; healthcare products and services; and electronics manufacturing.
Mraz said the county and IDA are also looking to generate potential housing and retail development on the 30 acres of land located across from the entrance of the Tryon facility.
“We are looking at housing, retail and other types of development that could support and supplement the manufacturing and high-tech businesses we are hoping to attract here within the park,” Mraz said.
County officials said they were happy with the progress made at the Tryon Technology Park in 2015, which included getting their first business and they are hoping to continue that trend in the future.
Medial marijuana manufacturer, Vireo Health, has been busy cultivating and harvesting hundreds of cannabis plants to create state-of-the-art medication within the Tryon Technology park since last year.
The company has completely renovated an existing building at the park to create various growing facilities, harvesting spaces and laboratories to create the cannabis based medications for there dispensaries across the state.
Mraz said he believes Tryon was an ideal fit for Vireo Health and has the potential to meet the needs of other businesses looking to start or expand in Fulton County.
“It was a good start but we are looking to expand on that,” Mraz said.
He said although no businesses have came forward to date he believes having the various sites ready for development will put the county in a prime position when potential businesses start exploring the available market.
“One thing we’ve learned over the years is we don’t control the market place,” Mraz said. “We have to instead be positioned to react to the market place. We don’t know when someone will knock on our door but we now have both the land and flexibility to meet those needs.”