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Next Big Thing: The HOT 5 of 2005

Through the year, The Next Big Thing column spotlighted the Charlotte region’s major trends in commercial real estate and development. Now, it’s time to focus on the hottest of the hot – let’s call them The Big Five of 2005. They’re significant not just for their size but for the ripple effect they’re likely to have far beyond the project boundaries. The Lincoln County Industrial Park is one of 2005’s Top 5. Lincoln County combines marketing strategy and highway access to create what might be the state’s hottest industrial park. The biggest concern at Lincoln County Industrial Park last summer was running out of land for manufacturing and distribution companies. The situation has eased with the acquisition of about 100 acres, pushing the size of the park just off U.S. 321 to about 550 acres. By focusing on its niche – companies interested in large buildings with excellent highway access – the 2.2 million square foot park has grown over the pas five years at the rate of 400,000 square feet annually. About 700,000 square feet of construction is under way now. The 9 year old park’s tenants occupy or soon will occupy nine buildings ranging from 60,650 to 420,000 square feet. In addition to standard state incentives, Lincoln County offers industrial tenants a grant program that increases with local investment and touts property tax rates about half those in Mecklenburg. “If everything goes as planned, we’ll make two announcements totaling about $43 million in investment as the new year kicks off,” said Barry Matherly, executive director of the Lincoln Economic Development Association. “That’s a good way to start 2006,” he said. “It shows the park is going to keep accelerating.”