Data center could be development prospect for Guilford prison farm site [Times-News, Burlington, N.C.]
(Times-News (Burlington, NC) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Oct. 19--The Guilford County Prison Farm site north of Gibsonville might be best suited for a data center, Alamance County Area Chamber of Commerce President Mac Williams said.
Williams said Friday that there are "different ideas floating around" on how the site could be developed. Williams said a data center makes sense since most are found in rural settings and don't require a lot of traffic. He acknowledged that it could also be a good site for manufacturing.
"The idea of using the site as a data center has merit," Williams said.
Williams said the prison farm at 7315 Howerton Road has potential, but a lot of work remains to make it a ready made site to attract business.
Officials from Alamance and Guilford counties met on Oct. 2 in Raleigh with N.C. Secretary of Commerce Sharon Decker to discuss preliminary plans on how the site's infrastructure could be developed to attract business. The prison farm, on the Alamance-Guilford border, was passed over last year by a prospective company.
The potential regional partnership plan to develop the Guilford County Prison Farm is being called the Haystack Project.
Williams said after a company decided not to develop Project Swordfish at the site officials continued to work to determine how the land's infrastructure could be developed. Williams said discussions on how the property could be used are "not going away."
Williams said the site would also be ideal for manufacturing. How to develop the site's infrastructure remains a challenge for local officials.
Alamance County Manager Craig Honeycutt said Friday there are currently no meetings planned with Guilford County or the state for further discussion on the matter. Honeycutt was one of several local officials who attended the Oct. 2 meeting in Raleigh which included Burlington City Manager Harold Owen and Gibsonville Mayor Lenny Williams.
Guilford County jail inmates do landscaping and maintenance projects at the prison farm. Last year, the Guilford County Sheriff's Office said it was willing to move some of its operations away from the prison farm to another location just south of the existing site to make way for future development.
Williams declined to comment about Project Swordfish on Friday. After eliminating the Guilford County Prison Farm as a potential site in September 2012, the unnamed company continued to consider Hawfields for Project Swordfish, a project large enough to mean 450 new jobs and a $96 million investment. Local officials expect a decision later this year on whether Hawfields will be selected.
Graham City Manager Frankie Maness said Friday that the company is still considering Hawfields for Project Swordfish and that he last spoke with a company representative last week.
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