by LEE SULLIVAN
MOORESVILLE – Aligned with the long-expressed goal of creating a technology focused corporate campus in the Langtree area, town commissioners unanimously approved a rezoning clearing the path for construction of a high-tech manufacturing facility.
At its Jan. 16 meeting, the town board – with Mayor Chris Carney recused from the discussion because of his role in the industry recruiting efforts – approved a planning staff-generated request to rezone more than 87 acres along Transco Road and Langtree Campus Drive around the existing Corvid Technologies operation to Hybrid Light Industrial. The new zoning, according to information shared by Carney, correlates with Corvid’s plans to build a 200,000-square-foot plant for the production of items primarily for the defense industry.
The rezoned parcels – at 256 Transco Road and 153 Langtree Campus Dr. – surround the Corvid office building, include lakefront property and abut the Williams- Transcontinental Gas Pipeline site. The rezoning, based on staff presentations at the meeting, provides the company added flexibility in designing plans for the building and campus.
In addition to the rezoning, on a follow- up agenda item, the town board approved an economic development tax incentive linked to Corvid’s plans, providing up to $740,114 in municipal property tax rebates over seven years.
Incentive terms, according to the outline presented by Iredell County Economic Development Corporation President and CEO Jenn Boser, are based on Corvid’s proposal indicating a $30 million investment in the new facility, the preservation of 367 jobs affiliated with its current operation and the creation of at least 27 new jobs (a number that could double), with average annual salaries in the $70,000 range.
E-W, fire talk
At the meeting, Corvid’s rezoning came after board decisions approving a $29.75 million construction contract along with utility-relocation expenditures for the East-West Connector, a roadway through open acreage creating a new link between Langtree Road and N.C. 115.
The E-W Connector would include connector roads, including a tie-in with Transco Road and the Corvid campus. The need for more funding for the E-W Connector and the desire for a new municipal fire station –
Fire Station #7 – to serve ripe-for-development areas around Langtree had been referenced during 2023 board meetings as hurdles for new projects in that area, especially LIV Development’s proposal for a mixed-use project with more than 500 residential units on 96 Langtree Development Co. acres bordering the rezoned Corvid campus.
Last April, the town board approved rezoning for LIV’s proposal, but subsequently rejected annexation, stalling the project.
But the acquisition of new road-project grants in recent months filled the funding gap for the E-W Connector, and discussion at recent board sessions has indicated progress in the fire station site search. That status was not missed by Cindy Reid, an attorney with the Irvin Law Firm that represents LIV and Langtree Development. During public comment at the meeting, Reid, emphasizing no opposition to the Corvid rezoning, told commissioners the new situation should, in terms of “fairness and equal protection” for property owners, clear the path for LIV’s annexation.
Reid said reasons given for annexation denial were lack of fire access and E-W Connector funding uncertainty.
“It appears both of those have been resolved sufficiently enough for the town to initiate rezoning for Corvid,” she said.
“It does not seem fair,” she continued, “that if LIV comes back to request annexation again that that annexation would be denied, because the fire station is happening ... or Corvid wouldn’t be able to more forward with its expansion, as well as the East-West Connector has been resolved tonight.”
Board members did not respond to Reid’s comments, but Mooresville Fire Chief Curt Deaton did clarify the fire station search status.
“The Town has been looking at options for a fire station location in the southern part of our jurisdiction for a few years,” Deaton wrote in response to an inquiry. “We have not decided on a particular location as this is still fluid, however I feel that we will be closer as the East-West Connector gets started and development continues in the area. Our goal is to place the station in a location that can serve this area of town for years to come. I do hope that we can finalize plans soon.”