AVERAGE SEX – SinnovaTek, the Raleigh-based food processing company that provides entrepreneurs and established businesses with access to a manufacturing line using technology licensed from North Carolina State University, is building a 100,000-foot facility squares in Middlesex.
The company is just one of the businesses Nash County plans to relocate or expand to the area as the space race continues in the Triangle.
And in preparation for future economic expansion, the Nash County Board of Commissioners this week announced plans for the construction of a 62,500 square foot shell building in the Middlesex Corporate Center along with the 100,000 square foot building squares that SinnovaTek will not only occupy, but own, as it purchased the property earlier this year.
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Demand for industrial space remains high
The SinnovaTek building is located on a 142-acre industrial site immediately accessible from Interstate 95, a Nash County news release said.
“The industrial segment of the real estate market currently has demands for high-quality existing properties that are easily customizable to meet specific needs and uses,” said Andy Hagy, Nash County Director of Economic Development.
In the Triangle, demand for industrial space is high, supply is low, and companies are looking for space where they can select a facility and quickly ramp up operations, Al Williams, senior vice president, industrial, and Mehtab Randhawa, senior director of industrial research, at commercial real estate company JLL, explained during a recent WRAL TechWire LinkedIn Live broadcast as part of the WRAL TechWire “Future of Work” series.
Take SinnovaTek installation. The company planned its expansion last fall, then acquired the land earlier this year, inaugurated the facility in early April and expects the facility to open as early as the third quarter, Amanda Vargochik, co-founder and director of innovation for SinnovaTek told WRAL TechWire in an interview earlier this year.
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According to Michael Druga, President and CEO of SinnovaTek, the company will invest around $12 million to prepare the facility, which will help the company “level up”.
And the expansion comes at the right time, as the company’s existing product lines are “essentially sold out,” Druga said.
“There’s a lot of pent-up demand in the industry,” Druga said. “Even Fortune 500 companies struggle to bring their new products to market.”
This is where the company sees an opportunity. “There’s no one else doing this on a large scale,” Druga said. And, if Fortune 500 companies are unable to establish product manufacturing cycles, it leaves many smaller, newer companies squeezed out. What SinnovaTek hopes to change, using its technology and facilities.
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Consumer trends are changing the industry
Still, it appears demand is high as a trend in the consumer packaged goods market is that people are looking for healthier snacks, meal replacements and are tired of shelf-stable foods, Druga said.
“With trade being so difficult across continents, people in general think a lot more nationally, regionally and locally,” Vargochik said. “It’s also on the ingredient sourcing side, people are thinking about what’s near, what’s around and how to source in the area.”
And since North Carolina is a great place for agriculture, SinnovaTek is betting that it will also be a great place for food innovations.
So far, that seems like a good bet. Even before the field business closed, they had pre-sold about half of their operational capacity to three customers, Druga noted.
“The new facility, we’re focusing more on adult-oriented products, so things like smoothies, cold brew coffee, protein shakes, and other plant-based proteins,” Druga said. “We will put in place the rest of the capacity to fulfill our mission of helping people enter the market.”
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Future growth to come
And these two new buildings in Nash County put the area in what Hagy called a “competitive position to meet industrial prospects that offer tremendous opportunities for the growth of quality jobs, innovation and the expansion of the tax base”.
This could generate additional economic investment in the county, Robbie Davis, chairman of the Nash County Board of Commissioners, said in a statement.
“Shell Industrial Buildings allow us to respond immediately to businesses and projects looking to land in eastern North Carolina and the Research Triangle region, as we strive to bring in projects, investments and quality jobs to our community,” Davis said. The county officially joined the Research Triangle Regional Partnership in August 2020.
Last year, Crumps Nationals chose Nash County for a facility that could employ up to 160 workers to make pet treats.
SinnovaTek received $400,000 in economic incentives from the state of North Carolina, Vargochik said. The company plans to hire some 25 jobs in 2023 and 55 jobs by the end of 2025 that would be site-based. Local economic incentives were also included, Vargochik noted, through a tax refund that would be tied to investment in the facility.
Nash County creates 160 jobs as site for new pet treats factory