About Beaufort County’s four industrial parks

Published 7:20 am Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Industrial parks are a way of attracting new business and industry. In Beaufort County, we now have four.

The Washington-Beaufort County Industrial Park is the oldest. The main part of the park has several occupants but has available properties to develop. The industrial park road entered from Cherry Run Road has yet to be developed.

There are many tenants in the Beaufort County-Washington Industrial Park. The latest is BTW Global that has leased the Beaufort County Skills Center Building. They appear to be doing well (lots of cars). The former tenant, Beaufort County Economic Development, moved downtown to 108 Union Street in Washington.

The Egret Boat building is for sale and is a desirable building to a potential occupant. There is no business-ready spec building available in the industrial park. There are three previous business-ready spec buildings in the park which are occupied and were constructed by Beaufort County or the Committee of 100.

Chocowinity Industrial Park is our second industrial park. It is a large piece of land south of Chocowinity on the Highway 17 Bypass. The visitor center is across the bypass on a piece of land that was originally in the industrial park. It’s a valuable asset to the county.
The land for Chocowinity Industrial Park was purchased for two potential industries but the 2008 recession/depression resulted in neither coming and economic development dying for a period of time. The park is best suited for larger industries. Over the years there has been several interested parties but no occupant thus far.

Aurora Industrial Park is Beaufort County’s third industrial park. It has come about in the last couple of years. The park represents a $5 million investment in Aurora. Along with business and industry, the Aurora Campus of Beaufort County Community College will be located in the park.
The fourth industrial park is located at the Washington-Warren Airport. It consists of 107 acres and will eventually house business, industry and manufacturing with a focus on Aerospace.

The legislature has provided the Washington-Warren Airport $33.5 million over the last two years. The funds are used for land purchase, ground and building infrastructure. Part of the funds were used to purchase the land to house the industrial park.

Earl Malpass and the Airport Authority are responsible for the marketing and development of the park. The airport Strategic Vision Plan is available and can be linked from the Washington-Warren Airport website homepage under vision.

With four industrial parks, Beaufort County has a variety of properties which should appeal to most potential business and industrial prospects that would want to locate in Beaufort County. In some way, I could say it’s too many, but it’s what we have.

When too many industrial parks exist under more than one authority, the possibility of industrial parks competing against each other exists. A united initiative by the county and municipalities with all stakeholders participating would be the best way to move economic development forward countywide (my opinion).

I’m not an expert; I’m just an old man with an opinion and a little experience.

Al Klemm is a Washington resident and a former Beaufort County Commissioner.