Spotlight On: Steven McCraney, President & CEO, McCraney Property Company

Spotlight On: Steven McCraney, President & CEO, McCraney Property Company

By: Yolanda Rivas

2 min read April 2020 —  The strength of the commercial real estate sector relies on the major roadways that run in and around Orlando, Steven McCraney told Invest:. He also notes that the location of Orlando is a great anchor to position his business as it provides ease of access to everywhere the company needs to be, as well as how the primary growth of his company has clearly been the warehouse and distribution space. 

How connected is the strength of the commercial real estate market to the major roadways in Orlando? 

The strength of the commercial real estate sector relies on the major roadways that run in and around Orlando. The last 50 years in Florida were all about the I-95 corridor, from Jupiter to Coral Gables. If you were to drive that route today there is not an available parcel of land on the roadway. We believe the next 50 years for Florida are going to be primarily focused on the I-4 corridor, from Tampa Bay to Lakeland to Orlando and onto Daytona Beach. While Daytona has not started to pop yet, the thing that we know is that there are two major roadways in Daytona, I-4 and I-95, which leads us to believe that it will be a good market at some point in the near future.

 

Why is Orlando the most ideal location for your operations? 

The Orlando economy continues to thrive. It’s attracting new residents, it’s generating new jobs and the increased interest is driving industrial users into the market because of the ability to distribute out of the state of Florida from the region on a one-day basis. We relocated to Orlando because the area places us right in the middle of the state. We operate throughout the Southeast and Orlando, which anchors us in the middle of everywhere that we need to be. It also provides the ability to move easily throughout the Southeast because of the region’s dynamic airport.

 

In regard to your business operations, where have you seen the most growth?

We are industrial developers. That is our mainstay and focus. This is complemented by third-party property management. As of late, the growth has clearly been the warehouse and distribution space. The total industrial space in Orlando is 123 million square feet, which breaks down into roughly 100 million square feet of warehouse distribution, 13 million square feet of manufacturing and the remainder is made up of office, flex space and distribution product. Here’s what we know: warehouse is the new retail. If a person is ordering online, whether it’s products,  clothing or food, the merchandise is likely not coming from a store, it is almost certainly coming from a warehouse. This is attributed to e-commerce growth and third-party logistics. Over the next few years, we are going to see the markets continuing to change and expand. From an industry perspective, I believe we have a trajectory that is at least 15 years long. While the product may continue to change, that product is coming from somewhere and that somewhere is a warehouse. As social distancing is ever more important and various markets are now under a “shelter in place” order, it is clear that suppliers, like Amazon, are still delivering essentials through package products to each and every home.

 

What market trends have had an effect on your business? 

We are always looking for ways to leverage technology in our business. Whether it’s roofing systems, lighting or super-flat floors, we want a logistics facility to be plug and play for a customer. The biggest challenge in recent years is rising costs. This can be broken down into the rising labor cost and the cost of materials. For example, the cost to build out a 1,500-2,000-square-foot office space within a warehouse space today can easily run around $250,000. That number exceeds $100 per square foot. At the same time, we have seen strong rent growth and because of that we have been able to keep pace. As we presently enter an economic downturn due to this pandemic, one would expect the cost of goods – both labor and material – will correct. Most of us in the industry went through the last recession and we know how debilitating it was. Moving forward, we have to be cautiously optimistic as we enter this challenging economic cycle and be mindful of our leverage, occupancy, quality of tenancy and our construction exposure.  

 

To learn more about our interviewee, visit: 

https://www.mccraneyproperty.com/

Spotlight On: Thomas Jewsbury, Executive Director, St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport

Spotlight On: Thomas Jewsbury, Executive Director, St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport

By: Max Crampton-Thomas

2 min read April 2020 — Prior to the current COVID-19 pandemic that is challenging all sectors of the local economy, the St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport was coming off a record growth year in 2019. Executive Director Thomas Jewbury spoke to Invest: about looking at a slew of new projects to increase its capacity while also looking to attract more traffic via new airlines to the Tampa Bay region.

 

What construction projects are ongoing at the airport and what impact are they expected to have when completed?

 

In 2020, we’ll finish our parking renovation project. It will expand long-term parking to accommodate more passengers. We are also focusing attention on the airfield. We have a $20-million project to rehabilitate the pavement surface of our primary runway. We expect to finish that project by the end of the year. We are also doing improvements to the terminal’s apron, replacing some of the asphalt with concrete, and converting an old runway into a taxiway. Those are projects that are underway.

We are also set to complete our airport master plan this year, defining our capital improvement program for the next five, 10 and 20 years. A big focus of that master plan is the future development of the terminal building. The next phase of terminal development will look at ways to increase efficiencies by consolidating the TSA’s passenger screening checkpoints and possibly the ticketing area.

We have a 130-acre undeveloped site that used to be a golf course. We are looking to develop that site for both aeronautical and non-aeronautical use. Before we can break ground, we had to conduct an environmental assessment. We just received approval from the FAA and received a finding of no significant impact. That sets the stage for us to improve our infrastructure. To develop the aeronautical parcels, we need to build new taxiways, which is included in our capital plan.

Among finished projects, we did an upgrade to our security system, and built part of a $4.5 million maintenance facility for our own airport maintenance workers. The facility is located on the airfield, it gives workers direct access and makes our operation more efficient. 

In addition to what the airport is doing, Allegiant Air invested $4 million to build a new maintenance/operations facility. They lease their space from the airport.

 

What economic impact does the airport have on the region?

Over a year ago, we concluded an economic impact study. At that time, we were doing just over 2 million passengers a year. It showed an economic impact on the community of over $1 billion annually. We’ve had several recent meetings with various airlines to try to attract new service. In addition to that, we are working with Allegiant to expand to additional cities, add more capacity and also try to incorporate international service. That is always an ongoing effort.

 

How does the airport contribute to sustainability in the Clearwater and Tampa Bay Region?

Our master plan has a focus on sustainability. It was important to us that we also championed another master plan that’s on the way, called the Gateway Master Plan. It looks at this area of Pinellas County and how the future infrastructure will be developed, including how other transportation modes will interact with the airport. It also identifies potential areas of the airport that could be converted for other transportation modes. The Gateway Master Plan is being drafted by Forward Pinellas.

 

What challenges is the transportation industry facing in Florida?

Surface transportation is one of the biggest hurdles. The Florida Department of Transportation is constructing the Gateway Express that will result in an elevated toll road to connect to Interstate 275. It will run in front of our airport. This will provide greater connectivity. 

 

To learn more about our interviewee, visit: 

https://www.fly2pie.com/

Spotlight On:  Bill Simerville, Managing Director, Foundry Commercial

Spotlight On: Bill Simerville, Managing Director, Foundry Commercial

By: Felipe Rivas

2 min read March 2020 — Charlotte’s construction industry has boomed in the last few years as evidenced by the cranes that adorn the Queen City’s skyline and the region’s budding headquarter relocation culture. Though capital is a constant in the region, construction firms are pressed to find deals and subcontractors in a tight labor market. In an interview with Invest: Charlotte, Foundry Commercial Managing Director Bill Simerville talks about the challenges facing the region’s construction industry and the growth of Charlotte’s industrial real estate market. 

 

 

How has the industrial real estate sector evolved in the last few years?

WestPark 85 is an example of a development and investment deal. The site was selected around 2008, before the ramp-up of the industrial frenzy that we find ourselves in now. We partnered with Principal Financial and acquired the land from MetLife. The industrial market, and industrial capital appetite, has moved to the Southeast, and particularly to the Charlotte region. WestPark 85 is close to I-85 and I-485, as well as the airport, which gets capital and tenants excited about the location. That capital has poured into Charlotte. There are more development deals and projects in the pipeline than we have seen in years. With the labor markets the way they have been, we are seeing Charlotte turn into a regional distribution center, primarily because of the intersection of I-77 and I-85. You can get to a large percentage of the U.S. population in a day’s drive because of proximity and population concentration. Labor is tight in markets like Atlanta, and as a result, many people are moving up the I-85 corridor. This corridor sits between Raleigh and Atlanta and is called the “mega corridor.” Capital, jobs, people, employers, talent, manufacturers — everyone wants to be here.    

 

What are some challenges facing Charlotte’s business landscape?

The “Bathroom Bill” hurt company relocation in the area. There is no telling where we would be if it were not for that. I think that we have made great strides with our incentive programs. We have to continue to pay attention to infrastructure and continue to diversify our employment base. Our infrastructure is our biggest challenge, in my opinion. Commute times are getting longer, and property taxes are now similar to those in bigger markets. 

 

How are developers navigating the rising costs and a tight labor market?

At one point, we had an unsustainable demand for construction services, both commercial and residential. We had rising labor and material prices. The initial talk of tariffs, and the spike in steel and concrete prices, made new construction very difficult to price. That has now stabilized, and even come back a little bit. However, the labor has not. Fortunately, in the same way that capital has flocked to Charlotte, so has everyone else looking for work, and that is across the board, virtually in all trades. The new general contractors that show up and do not bring subcontractors with them are contributing to the problem. They are aggressively pricing projects based on being able to hire subcontractors that they do not have relationships with, and winning bids and then re-trading them or not being able to execute. This erodes confidence. Then there are the new-to-market general contractors that show up with subcontractors and will complete a project quickly. It is similar to 2007-2008, when the residential housing boom was at its peak and out-of-market subcontractors caused our workforce to spike by tens of thousands of people to perform those trades. When the projects stopped, they all left to find work elsewhere, and it took a long time to get them back. We are there again. The last time it was just residential, now it is residential and commercial. We have more capital, more vendors, and more competition now. But the fundamentals have never been as sound. Lenders remain disciplined. We are not looking at see-through office buildings. It is harder to get deals done and there is a lot of competition, but I have never been as bullish on Charlotte as I am now.    

 

To learn more about our interviewee, visit: https://www.foundrycommercial.com/

 

 

Logistics Expo MODEX Going Ahead Despite Coronavirus Concerns

Logistics Expo MODEX Going Ahead Despite Coronavirus Concerns

By: Sara Warden

2 min read March 2020 — Despite Coronavirus concerns, this year’s MODEX conference is going ahead as scheduled on March 9-12 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. The conference attracts 900 exhibitors and, as logistics companies, all have a stake in the developments currently fragmenting the supply chain.

The Covid-19 outbreak that began in China at the end of January has already shut down national and international borders, but this is one reason why expos such as MODEX are so important. The companies present in Atlanta will be supply chain and logistics optimization companies whose goal is to optimize operations by reducing or even eliminating human involvement. 

One of the technologies to be launched at the expo is the Puck 32MR, a joint venture between California’s Velodyne Lidar and South Korea’s Seoul Robotics. The technology is a lidar sensor that can detect obstacles in a warehouse setting, allowing for safe automated navigation. “Supply chain systems need to continue to become smarter and safer, more efficient and further automated. To address these requirements, companies are turning to lidar to play a key role in enabling the next generation of manufacturing and supply chain solutions,” said Jon Barad, Velodyne’s vice president of business development, in a press release. 

Another company presenting its portfolio will be industrial vehicle automation company Elokon, which has a global presence and U.S. operations headquartered in Atlanta. One notable product that will be presented at the expo is MHI Innovation Award-winning solution ELOshield, which is a sensor that detects proximity and provides collision warning with specific warning and protection zones.

And Atlanta-based Elemica provides a cloud-based supply network that provides tracking transparency and optimizes product shipment. “These enhancements improve use of inventory, streamline onboarding for inter-business connectivity, improve search, including hazardous material (Hazmat) criteria, and allow for more in-depth visualization for track and trace of product safety and knowing where orders and shipments are at all times,” said Arun Samuga, Elemica’s Chief Technology Officer in a press release.

The transportation management system (TMS) market in North America is poised to grow by $1.62 billion during 2020-2024 and Atlanta is at the forefront. American Software, an Atlanta-based supply chain software solutions provider, was recently upgraded to a Strong Buy rating by Zacks. The company’s president, Allan Dow, said in the company’s most recent earnings call that the software will allow customers to be “better positioned to overcome the growing supply chain talent shortage that may impact their profitable growth and ability to respond to rapidly changing market conditions or unanticipated supply chain disruptions.”

And with there being no signs of the Coronavirus slowing down and quarantine numbers growing by the day, more integrated, automated supply chains and logistics systems could be just what the economy needs to boost trade activity. 

 

To learn more, visit:

https://www.gwcca.org/georgia-world-congress-center/

https://velodynelidar.com/

https://www.seoulrobotics.org/

https://www.elokon.com/en-EN/

https://elemica.com/

https://www.amsoftware.com/

A look at American Airlines’ Charlotte operations: 700 daily departures and counting

A look at American Airlines’ Charlotte operations: 700 daily departures and counting

By: Felipe Rivas

2 min read Feb 2020From its strong headquarter relocation culture to its growing population and access to both capital and high-skilled talent, the Queen City has been flying high for several years. Undoubtedly, much of the region’s success can be directly attributed to the Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) and the American Airlines hub that now serves more than 700 daily departures. 

The airport is undergoing a $3 billion makeover, modernizing and expanding its infrastructure with American at the center of the renovation efforts. In this process, the airport and American are helping recruit companies to Charlotte and training the next generation of the aviation workforce.  

This past holiday season, the airport renovation projects began to materialize as American added four gates on Concourse A to its Charlotte operations. “Charlotte 700” refers to American’s growth strategy in the Queen City and aims to serve more than 700 daily flight departures, a figure which Vice President of Operations Dec Lee said the airline surpassed. “Charlotte 700 refers to our original plan to have 700 flight departures a day, but we are actually over 700 departures a day now,” Lee told Invest: Charlotte. “Every time you want to add options for customers, you have to make sure that you can handle that and still have a great operation. We have a great collaboration with our network team and with the airport to build the right flight schedule,” he said.

 

The airport and American have been a vital part of the region’s economic diversification success and thriving headquarter relocation culture. “When you listen to some of the corporate announcements explaining why companies have moved here, you often hear about the ability to fly out of the hub. It is a great experience, particularly for business travelers, to be able to fly out in the morning and come back in the afternoon,” Lee said. Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles echoed Lee’s sentiments. “We have invested heavily to make our airport a transport hub for the region with access to global businesses,” Lyles told Invest: Charlotte. 

Charlotte government officials and business leaders have been working in tandem to promote the Queen City as a business destination to local and international companies. One major target sits across the Atlantic. “This year, we will make a concerted effort to reach out to companies in Europe to let them know that Charlotte, thanks to its strong travel infrastructure, is a viable destination for their U.S. expansion,” Lyles said. 

For those interested in aviation, mechanics and engineering, American could be a potential job destination. The airline is coming to the end of a labor cycle, meaning opportunities will open for young workers. “We have a population of mechanics and pilots who are beginning to reach retirement age. That is unfortunate for us, but it is a fantastic opportunity to bring new folks into an industry that is doing so well compared to the early 2000s,” Lee said.  Overall, the future looks bright for the next generation of pilots, mechanics, and flight attendants. “You are bringing people into an industry that is growing and vibrant, and these jobs are exciting jobs.”

 

To learn more about our interviewees, visit: 

https://www.aa.com/homePage.do https://www.cltairport.com/

https://charlottenc.gov/Pages/Home.aspx

Spotlight On: Danny Jackson, City Manager, City of Mount Holly

Spotlight On: Danny Jackson, City Manager, City of Mount Holly

By: Felipe Rivas

2 min read February 2020 — Situated west of the Catawba River, the city of Mount Holly in Gaston County is known as one of the best bedroom communities in the Charlotte Metro Area. The city is experiencing residential growth as it aims to be a place where families can live, work and play. Its proximity to the Charlotte Douglas International Airport and to I-485 are great assets that will serve as a catalyst for the city’s growth, City Manager Danny Jackson told Invest: Charlotte. As part of its vision plan, the city is expanding its water and sewage systems and preparing its workforce for future tech-based jobs, Jackson said. 

How has Mount Holly grown in the last few years?

Mount Holly is in a great location. It is in proximity to Charlotte and the Charlotte Douglas International Airport. Interstate-485 has spurred development and as a result people have been discovering Mount Holly, as manifested by our population growth. These factors have been the genesis of our growth. We have been seen as a bedroom community for a number of years. Through our vision plan, we have launched efforts to make Mount Holly a place where residents can live, work and play. 

 

How is the city preparing for future growth?

Based on the growth that we are experiencing, people are approaching us for development opportunities, primarily residential and some commercial. Within that process, the infrastructure is constructed by the developers, then they turn it over to us for perpetual management. Sometimes, we add to existing projects to accommodate future growth. Also, we have connected our water and sewage plan to the city of Charlotte across the Catawba River to increase our capacity to accommodate future growth. Additionally, all of our local chambers of commerce have been working together to bring businesses to Mount Holly and boost the economy. It has been a good, collective effort. We believe we have the elements to support businesses. Not everyone wants to have the hustle-and-bustle of the large jurisdiction. We are not that, but yet we are close to one as well.  

 

What does the city’s updated vision plan entail?

In 2019, Mount Holly adopted its updated vision plan for the next 10 to 15 years. At the forefront of that plan is economic development, job growth and a diverse tax base. These are the nuts and bolts of it in terms of growth in the Gaston County region. I think the main sector growing in the region is technology. That is where the emphasis will be for this region, and with that comes the education component that is being addressed in Gaston County. Workforce development is a key component of this. We are making sure that our employee base is prepared for the next level of tech-based jobs that are coming to the area.

 

How is the city preparing itself in the event of a future economic downturn?

We have been working on worst-case scenarios. In 2008, the nation experienced an economic downturn, but Mount Holly continued to grow. Construction was still happening and people were moving to the city. I expect the same in case of another economic downturn. Our infrastructure is such that we are prepared for growth. We have done what we believe we need to do to stay economically sound, such as updating the vision plan and expanding our water and sewage systems. I think we have all of these mechanisms to continue to grow and grow positively.”  

 

To learn more about our interviewee, visit: https://www.mtholly.us/

Small business, commercial and construction lending drive strong growth for South Jersey banks

Small business, commercial and construction lending drive strong growth for South Jersey banks

By: Yolanda Rivas

2 min read February 2020 — The Southern New Jersey region is mainly driven by the healthcare, education and retail sectors, but small businesses remain key cogs in the region’s economic machinery. Their financial needs are among the busiest service areas for lenders along with commercial and construction lending, according to local banking leaders who spoke with Invest: South Jersey.

 

Small businesses represent growth opportunities for South Jersey financial institutions, as evidenced by the robust professional sector in the region that continues to grow rapidly as more individuals start their own businesses. 

WSFS Bank has about 50,000 primary core customers in South Jersey, with millennials being its second-largest demographic. Phil Corradino, Senior Vice President and New Jersey Regional Director at WSFS, is focusing on growing alongside millennials as they launch their own companies, purchase their first properties and start their families. 

“In terms of small business, we feel that we’re in a great growth position. The small-business sector went through a very difficult period from 2008 and onward, even as recently as 2015, but now you see a lot of small business growth and lending, especially in South Jersey. We’ve put dedicated lenders in place at the local level to serve these business owners, and it’s their mission to be there to help educate them, with roundtables, focus groups and networking events.”

Louisville, Kentucky-based Republic Bank has consistently been a top small-business lender in the region over the last few years and is also experiencing growth in that segment. “We focus on small businesses because South Jersey is known for its mom and pop shops. We promote our commercial customers and make donations to help attract consumers to their businesses and support their growth. We don’t limit our services to just one industry or type of business, we try to serve every business and prospect in any industry,” said Joe Tredinnick, market president at Republic Bank.

Financial institutions are positive about the near-term growth outlook for the small-business segment.”The small-business potential and growth that I believe we are going to see over the next three to five years in South Jersey is going to be monumental, and WSFS is excited to be in the middle of it,” Corradino stated.

According to Parke Bank President and CEO Vito S. Pantilione, its construction lending product is enjoying strong demand in the Philadelphia and South Jersey areas. “It is a very attractive product, especially because many banks have discontinued this banking product. Even though the regulations for construction lending have become much more stringent, our structure allows us to handle it because we are well-capitalized and we have the experience and expertise,” said Pantilione.  

Most recently, the bank has also seen an increased demand further north, in the Bronx and Brooklyn areas of New York City. “We carefully entered the Bronx and Brooklyn markets and now have multiple multifamily projects and commercial loans in these areas,” he said. 

Similarly, New Jersey-based OceanFirst Bank is seeing fast growth in its commercial lending activities. Vincent D’Alessandro, OceanFirst’s southern region president, said the bank’s growth has been driven by its talented commercial relationship managers. “Our business customers have a specifically assigned relationship manager who focuses on those businesses. Our expansive growth has enabled our relationship managers to dive deeper into businesses that they may not have been able to tap into before, in providing more sophisticated products and services.” 

 

To learn more about our interviewees, visit:

Parke Bank: https://www.parkebank.com/ 

OceanFirst Bank: https://oceanfirst.com/ 

WSFS Bank: https://www.wsfsbank.com/ 

Republic Bank: https://www.myrepublicbank.com/ 

 

Spotlight On: Diane H. Crews, President & CEO, Orlando Sanford International Airport

Spotlight On: Diane H. Crews, President & CEO, Orlando Sanford International Airport

By: Yolanda Rivas

2 min read February 2020 — Since 1971, the Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB) has been fulfilling its mission to bring convenient air travel to passengers and economic value to Central Florida. Today, SFB is one of the fastest-growing airports in North America, and it’s undergoing an expansion effort that will be completed late this year. SFB’s President and CEO, Diane H. Crews, spoke to the Invest: team about their recent accomplishments. 

What is the status of the renovation project, and what changes are being implemented?

Our terminal expansion project is on schedule for completion in the fourth quarter of 2020. Basically, we are taking the existing footprint of the airport and making it more efficient and user-friendly for passengers and staff alike. Also, we are continuing to grow, and we know that maybe 10 years down the road we will need a new terminal building, but in the meantime, we need to facilitate our ongoing growth so we are adding four new gates and related improvements. For example, we are consolidating screening into one location, creating more way-finding signage and pathways to help passengers get to their destinations with more ease, adding more bathrooms and baggage belts, and even changing the façade of the airport to include an extended canopy to keep people out of the rain. We want our visitors to always feel comfortable while they travel. Our airport code is SFB, which we have adopted as a motto to mean Simpler, Faster, Better. It is important that the changes we’re making reflect this ideology. That’s what sets us apart. 

To what do you attribute the significant passenger growth you have been experiencing?

I attribute the passenger growth to increased public awareness, getting the word out and letting people know we are here and that we offer over 75 nonstop destinations. The growth of the region has had a significant impact as well. We bring our passengers an easy and convenient experience overall, and that is very appealing. The Orlando Sanford International Airport has been used mostly for leisure travel, especially because our flights do not have the frequency that business travelers need. However, that is starting to change. We are seeing more business travel, and we are going to be working toward increasing that component of our operation. 

What has been the impact of your rebranding and new website?

The primary emphasis for the airport’s rebranding and new website was to modernize our appeal and accessibility. Based on the feedback we have received thus far, we have hit a homerun in both areas. The focus on travel convenience and a myriad of affordable and diverse travel opportunities showcased via an updated, mobile-friendly website has proven to be a winning combination. 

 

To learn more about our interviewee, visit:

Orlando Sanford International Airport: https://flysfb.com/ 

Rock Hill crystallizes its future with new development and capital projects

Rock Hill crystallizes its future with new development and capital projects

By: Felipe Rivas

2 min read February 2020 — About an hour south of Charlotte, in South Carolina, a city is experiencing an evolution much like its counterpart in North Carolina. Located in York County, the city of Rock Hill is crystallizing its future by moving past its textile history to make way for new development anchored by education and projects related to sports tourism. According to York County leaders, there are over half a billion dollars worth of projects under construction or in the pipeline, while completed projects have begun to change the landscape of Rock Hill and it’s Downtonw.

Much like Charlotte, the city of Rock Hill is focused on attracting and retaining talent as part of its economic development master plan, leveraging the growth of Winthrop University as the centerpiece of the capital projects happening in the area. The seminal project in the region, University Center, located in the Knowledge Park area, has already seen $100 million of total investment. “It’s a 23-acre former mill site that closed in the 1990s and employed around 5,000 people,” University Center developer Skip Tuttle told Invest: Charlotte. “It links Winthrop University to Downtown Rock Hill on the other side.” When complete, the project will account for about $250 million of development in Downtown Rock Hill. Tuttle, president of the Tuttle Company, is also making way for new office space in the nearby Lowenstein building featuring 225,000 feet of Class-A space, slated to attract new businesses to the region. “We have progressed rapidly on the redevelopment and have leased 70 percent of it. There are 350 people working there now in 10 firms,” he said. 

Another game changer for the region has been the Rock Hill Sports and Event Center. Opened

In January, the center welcomed 13,000 people during its first month in business, Tuttle said. “It has proven to be a phenomenal success, to the point that virtually every week this year it is booked,” he said. The center will serve as a mecca for indoor amateur sports ranging from gymnastics, volleyball, basketball, competitive cheerleading, and even cornhole. “It is going to be a catalyst for the rest of what we are doing in Rock Hill, which includes restaurants, breweries, outdoor entertainment venues, as well as office complexes. It is a true live, work, and play environment,” Tuttle said. 

Much of Rock Hill’s success can be attributed to the flurry of development and economic diversification happening in the Queen City. “There is no question that we are located in an area that is a desirable place to be because we are close to a major metropolitan area with an international airport less than 30 minutes away,” Tuttle said. “We have companies that are here because of the proximity to that airport and the other things that Charlotte has to offer.” Yet, Tuttle believes that Rock Hill has the workforce and infrastructure needed to create its own boom in economic growth and diversification. “About 56,000 people a day commute to Charlotte from York County. The local economic development folks are using that as a tool to recruit businesses by telling leaders that those highly trained, well-qualified individuals who leave York County to work in Charlotte could be working for them in Rock Hill,” he said, “And it is working.” 

To learn more about our interviewees, visit: https://tuttleco.com/