Fayetteville, Cumberland leaders chip in $1.25 million toward proposed distribution center

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Thursday, November 4, 2021
Distribution center plans could bring 500 jobs to Cumberland County
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The plans call for the unidentified company to create 500 new jobs with wages starting at $15 an hour in Cumberland County.

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C (WTVD) -- Fayetteville and Cumberland County commissioners have each committed up to $1.25 million to help offset construction costs for a site a developer is preparing for a distribution center. The commitment is based on construction costs exceeding $5 million.

In public meetings and paperwork, the proposal is referred to as "Project Bronco," though the specific company that would use the distribution center is not identified.

"We're seeing sometimes even permits being submitted prior to a contract for purchase being signed. Everyone is operating under extremely condensed timelines for development. This was not the way it was, but it is the way it's starting to be," said Robert Van Geons, the President and CEO of Fayetteville Cumberland County Economic Development Corporation.

It calls for the company to create 500 new jobs with wages starting at $15 an hour, and to make a capital investment in the community of more than $100 million in real estate and equipment value.

"That ripples throughout the community in terms of goods, services, childcare, truck drivers, contract developers, and people doing maintenance work," said Van Geons.

The site is located in Military Business Park, right next to Fayetteville Tech's Collision Center.

Junior Ortiz, a student and veteran, is finishing his final semester at Fayetteville Tech.

"There's a lot of opportunities (in Fayetteville). The community has grown immensely since I came here in 2014, and I don't think it's going to slow down with the stuff we see going around here next door," said Ortiz.

He plans to open up a body shop nearby once he completes his program.

"Very exciting. I want to expand, be able to open other businesses to provide the community a service," Ortiz said.

Ortiz and instructor Quintin Patterson, who is also a veteran, said they believe continued population growth and projects of this magnitude could aid other businesses.

"It is going to be a boon for a lot of the people in our industry because our industry is primarily customer-based. So the more people that we have here, the more insurance companies are going to have clientele here, the more collision repair facilities are going to have vehicles to work on," said Patterson.

Fayetteville Tech is hoping to capitalize on the growth and is offering a Vehicle Restoration Program for students to work on their own cars on Tuesday and Thursday nights beginning Nov. 9.

Off-camera, one resident expressed potential traffic concerns with the project, though believed it would be a plus for the local economy.

A potential timeline for when a company could announce plans is not clear at this time, as Van Geons notes there are still two outstanding items on the site regarding easements, right of way and property development that need to be addressed.