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Spec Building an Investment of Faith

Ron Leach with the North Carolina Department of Commerce is changing his business cards. At a groundbreaking ceremony for a new shell building in the Lincoln County Industrial Park Thursday, Leach said he’s bombarded with questions about Lincoln County’s success in attracting new industry. Tired of giving the long explanation, Leach joked that he was going to print the answer on the back of his cards and just pass them around. He said three factors play roles in the county’s recruitment of industries and economic success – the foresight previous leaders had in regards to the industrial park and infrastructure; the Lincoln Economic Development Association; and the great public and private partnership the county has with The Keith Corporation. Leach joined county and city officials and community members Thursday to break ground on the new building, the second to be planned for the industrial park since September. The first shell building was filled before the foundation was poured. Tortilla chip maker R.W. Garcia Co. has announced plans to open a manufacturing facility in Lincoln County. The new building will be located on a 5.5 acre site at the corner of Finger Mill and Hatchett roads. The Keith Corp. is expected to make a $1.88 to $2.25 million investment in the 60,650 square foot speculative manufacturing and distribution facility. Darrell Gettys, LEDA’s chairman, said the shell building was a good sign considering the state of the economy. “It’s great,” Gettys said. “The economy has not been the best, but here in Lincolnton and Lincoln County it seems to be at least stable and going forward.” Alan Lewis with The Keith Corp. lauded the local economic development efforts and praised LEDA Executive Director Barry Matherly. “It’s like having Michael Jordan as a player-coach,” he said. “He comes in the game and makes big plays, but he’s also over there coaching.” Lewis listed Lincoln’s recent activities including several expansions and announcements. The Keith Corp. currently has 700,000 square feet of vacant land in its own portfolio, Lewis said. And the company’s decision to invest in the shell building shows the faith it has in Lincoln County, he said. “For us to have the faith to go forward with that much space vacant. . .it just shows how much faith we have in Lincoln County,” he said.