Concord’s dormant Philip Morris plant to be demolished

(Source: City of Concord)
(Source: City of Concord)
Updated: Jan. 16, 2019 at 3:12 PM EST
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CONCORD, NC (WBTV) - A huge plant just off Highway 29 in Concord that once employed thousands, will soon be demolished according to Concord city officials.

“Bootsmead LeaseCo plans to start demolition at the former Philip Morris manufacturing and distribution facility at The Grounds at Concord within the next 30 days,” wrote Will Boye of Yellow Duck Marketing in an email. “In consultation with state and local officials, the owners have opted to clear the site in order to appeal to potential users and economic development prospects interested in Concord and the greater Charlotte region.”

“The demolition of the facility, which totals 3.5 million square feet and covers approximately 500 acres, will take the balance of the year to complete. In total, the site encompasses just over 2,000 acres,” Boye added.

“This is a great day for Concord,” said Concord Mayor Bill Dusch. “While the former Philip Morris plant is a proud chapter in our community’s history, we are excited to move forward and believe a greenfield site of this magnitude will catalyze economic development in Concord for years to come. We are grateful for Bootsmead’s partnership and long-term commitment to our community.”

In 2018, Bootsmead hired JLL Carolinas to market the site, which has interstate access, substantial in-place utility infrastructure, a minimum of 35 megawatts of power, Norfolk Southern rail access and proximity to the Charlotte metro area’s labor pool.

“By making this investment to remove the plant, we believe we will be well positioned to demonstrate the incredible potential of The Grounds at Concord to prospective users and capture the imagination of job creators who want to be part of the region’s growth story,” said Wellford Tabor, managing partner of Bootsmead. “We’re very excited to take this important step and start a new chapter with this phenomenal property and the Concord community.”

“It is critically important that we have available real estate to accommodate the types of industries looking at North Carolina today, and The Grounds at Concord is responding to that demand,” said Chris Chung, CEO of the Economic Development Partnership of N.C. “When demolition is complete, this site will join several other premier megasites across our state and will be an important asset as we recruit new business and economic activity to North Carolina.”

According to the press release, the site can be divided into multiple parcels that would support a variety of uses. The demolition of the plant will not impact economic development efforts.

The configuration of the plant made it a difficult fit for some interested parties, according to Concord City Manager Lloyd Payne, Jr.

“Too many ‘looks’ and possibilities at the site which could not make the current structure work within said organization’s business model.,” Payne said. "This will make the site much more viable moving forward.”

D.H. Griffin Companies will be performing the demolition on the project. Chase Monroe, Pete Pittroff, John Cashion, Louis Stephens and Britten Mathews of JLL Carolinas are marketing The Grounds at Concord and are working closely with the Cabarrus Economic Development team.

The Philip Morris tobacco company closed the cigarette manufacturing plant in 2009. That shutdown came about four years after textile giant Pillowtex closed in Kannapolis, taking out more than 4,600 jobs in Cabarrus and Rowan counties in the state’s largest mass layoff.

In the years following the plant closing, crews from the Homeland television series and the Hunger Games movie temporarily leased space inside the plant.

The most recent occupant, battery energy storage provider Alevo, closed in 2017, idling approximately 200 workers.

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