Williams Development Group Invests in Iredell County
For well more than 250 years, Iredell County and its county seat, Statesville, North Carolina have been considered a veritable crossroads, a position firmly solidified in the 1960s when two major interstates, I-40 and I-77, intersected in what is considered the center point of the state, giving the area sole claim to the slogan “Crossroads to the Future.” As the leading economic development organization, Iredell County Economic Development Corporation has been assisting businesses and industries navigate this crossroads with the sole goal of ensuring economic growth and stability for Iredell County. When Taylor Williams of Williams Development Company found himself at this same crossroads in 2021, he turned to the Iredell Economic Development Corporation and their partners to choose the wisest course.
Williams Development Group is based in Winston Salem with a growing list of successful industrial developments throughout the Carolinas. When a site near the intersection of Barkley Road and Salisbury Highway was presented, Williams’ interest was sparked. “We have been developing industrial real estate for the better part of six or seven years now,” he shares. “One of our playbook strategies is looking at the interchange of two major highways. We’ve done a lot near I-40 and I-85 in Greensboro or eastern Guilford County. With the confluence of I-40 and I-77, there was an initial draw to the area.”
With a father-in-law from Statesville who still owns a house on Lake Norman, Williams is very familiar with that part of Iredell County. “So, I come that way for family gatherings,” he says. “We take Exit 45 to Old Murdock Road, and that’s where the Walmart facility went. That started my wheels turning there.”
Once the wheels started turning, Williams Development Group confronted this crossroads head-on. “We were really looking at where does the Charlotte market stop,” Williams explains. “At one point, Charlotte stopped at Huntersville, and then it was Mooresville. Then it was Troutman. We felt it was a natural continuation to include Statesville in that perspective.”
“So, we homed in on this site. Did it make sense? Did the market have enough demand to support investing in the community? As we continued validating the market, we had conversations with Chad Thomas, Vice President for the Iredell Economic Development Corporation as well as other brokers in the area. We felt like while there had not been much speculative industrial in Statesville, the market conditions were ripe for investment to go vertical on that site.”
As wisdom dictates whenever one comes to a crossroads, Williams sought direction from those most familiar with the area, particularly the brokerage team at Colliers International and the Iredell EDC team. “You know, it takes a village,” he admits. “Our brokers, Colliers International, and Grant Miller were very impactful. Grant lives in Statesville, so he has that hat he wears as a resident, but the Iredell EDC was really great for us. Chad Thomas helped us navigate through some entitlements and permitting based on the rezoning and annexation as well as some incentive conversations and permitting.”
Williams continues, “I think with Statesville not having a lot of speculative industrial space, there was a little bit of a learning curve to understand how this product fits in the community. Chad was critical there to help be a line of communication between us and the city on some design and entitlements. He and the Iredell EDC team have done a great job, and I think it’s not just on the investment in the building. It’s recruiting tenants and users to the building as well. So, we’re cautiously optimistic that we’re going to have success, and we feel good about our decision.”
Confident in their path, Williams Development purchased approximately 70 acres for $2.2 million in October 2021. In April 2022, they broke ground on a 263,701 square foot building with another valued partner, Landmark Builders. “We’ve been engaged with Landmark I would say exclusively,” Williams shares. “We’ve been very fortunate to have been courted by a lot of different, very capable general contractors, but our relationship of trust and experience with Landmark, along with the quality they put on the ground, certainly gives us an edge.”
The first of two projected buildings is expected to be completed in early 2023, and Williams expects this to be the first of more projects in Iredell County. “You need a pretty good crystal ball, but we’ve certainly seen a few headwinds on the horizon on a macro level. Locally, with the tenant demand and the overall regionalism of the Carolinas, the Triad, and Charlotte, we’re very bullish on the area and are excited to deliver this building hopefully in April.”
“I think it’s a good story to tell,” he adds. “As I mentioned we do a lot in the Triad which is Forsyth and Guilford counties and stretching into Alamance and Orange County as well, but now that we have boots on the ground in Iredell, we continue to receive great feedback from tenant prospects regarding the labor supply, the opportunity to retain skilled and semi-skilled labor, and the highway and infrastructure system. Fingers crossed, we find a user for our building, and we have no reason not to come back and do more.”
With the completion of his first project now in sight, Williams is thrilled to be a part of Iredell County. He shares, “We’re a local developer. We’re very mindful of our reputation. We are a family-oriented business; therefore, we’re mindful of our relationships and people we meet. We see the impact on a local level of jobs, investments, and tax dollars going to school systems, and we’re very mindful of that as well. We hope the projects we deliver in Iredell County pay dividends for the community. We’re excited for this building and for others. We’re happy to be part of the community.”
Crossroads are inevitably a point of decision. For Taylor Williams and Williams Development the decision is to continue to develop at this crossroads furthering the goals of the Iredell EDC for economic growth and stability for Iredell County.