City names opportunity zone task force [The High Point Enterprise, N.C.]

June 07– Jun. 7HIGH POINT — Build your team. Ready your product. And then market it.

That’s how High Point Economic Development Corp. Executive Vice President Sandy Dunbeck described the city’s strategy in trying to draw investment to three so-called opportunity zones.

The federal program offers tax incentives for investors who finance projects within distressed U.S. Census tracts. Dunbeck and others recently formed a local task force to try to draw the attention of investors.

“We’ve assembled a blue-ribbon team here of people with experience across multiple fields so we can really brainstorm and have good conversations about these opportunity zones,” Dunbeck told the EDC board of directors Wednesday.

The task force will market projects like the proposed Main Street Station, where Forward High Point has assembled three vacant tracts near BB&T Point stadium that could be redeveloped with a mix of residential and commercial space.

The 18-person task force includes eight people who either work for or represent the city as elected officials.

The other members are Rick Callicutt of Pinnacle Bank, Tony Collins of the Southwest Renewal Foundation, Chip Culler of CJP Realtors, Chris Dunbar of Blue Ridge Cos., Joanna Easter of MarketPlace Management, Inc., Brian Gavigan, an attorney with Wyatt Early Harris Wheeler, Ray Gibbs of Forward High Point, Jack Hendrix of Hendrix Barney CPAs, Cyril Jefferson with Communities in Schools of High Point and Mark Norcross of Norcross Consulting.

EDC President Loren Hill told the board that his office is awaiting a decision from Ox BodiesInc., a company that’s looking to set up a dump truck assembly operation in part of the former Hatteras Yachts facility on E. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.

High Point is competing for the project with other areas of North Carolina and one location in South Carolina. The City Council has tentatively approved $87,600 in incentives for Ox Bodies if it comes here.

“We’re very hopeful they will pick High Point,” Hill said. “The former Hatteras Yachts facility has had some limited occupancy, but it’s woefully underutilized.”

Hopes are also high, he said, about the proposed Oasis Center clinical drug trial research park on 80 acres on Gallimore Dairy Road that just obtained zoning and annexation approvals.

“Our office has been working that project for several months. Presumably, things are full gallop for that park,” Hill said. “If this falls into place, it will be quite a feather in High Point’s cap to have this research park.”

Oasis Center Founder Adnan Mjalli has worked with the EDC on several projects involving other pharmaceutical companies going back 20 years.

pkimbrough@hpenews.com — 336-888-3531

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