Category: Business

December 7th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

This map shows Wellons properties including one where developers hope to build a four-story hotel.

The city is considering plans for a four-story, 104-room hotel to be built on 2.82 acres of wooded land off Newman Road, behind New Bern Mall’s back parking lot.

The brand of the hotel has not been named in documents filed with the city.

The developer is East Coast Hospitality, a Washington, N.C. company that has developed 10 Hampton Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Comfort Suites, and Candlewood Suites locations in North Carolina, with single locations in Florida, Ohio and Virginia.

The company’s portfolio includes four hotels in Jacksonville, two hotels in Havelock, and one hotel in Morehead City. This proposed hotel would be its first in New Bern.

The property is owned by CGW Inc. and Jean Elizabeth Wellons Morrice et al of Morehead City.

The Wellons family owned a large swath of land northwest of New Bern Mall and subdivided it. Wellons Boulevard commemorates the Wellons Family’s ties to the area.

The plan will be discussed 9 a.m. Friday, Dec. 14 at the Departmental Review Committee, 303 First St. in the Development Services Conference Room.

Posted in Business, New Bern

November 26th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

The parcel that had been the Strike Zone bowling alley on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard has been acquired by Aldi LLC as shown in this Craven County GIS map.

While there has been no official statement, it sure appears that Aldi, the German grocery chain, has its sights set on New Bern.

Aldi LLC acquired the former Strike Zone bowling alley in New Bern from SZ Properties on Nov. 14 for $1.68 million.

The city approved a site plan for Aldi in early 2017. The plan calls for the 30,600-square-foot bowling alley that’s there now to be removed to make way for the new 20,000-square-foot grocery store.

Strike Zone closed in 2017.

Aldi operates a store in Kinston and two in Jacksonville and two in the Greenville area among about 1,800 stores it operates in 35 states.

A New Bern store would be the first in Craven County. Lidl, another German-owned grocery chain, has opened stores in Havelock and Kinston.

Posted in Business, Economy, Economy and Employment

October 16th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

WHAT: Information session, “Working with the Division of Employment during a Disaster.” Presented by Lockhart Taylor, the Assistant Secretary for Employment Security for the North Carolina Department of Commerce.

WHERE: Bosch Advanced Manufacturing Center (Bosch AMC) Room 102, Craven Community College (Craven CC), 800 College Court, New Bern NC, 28562

WHEN: Monday, Oct. 22, 2018, 6-8 p.m.

WHO: Small business employers, small business owners, self-employed

WHY: Offered by the Small Business Center at Craven CC, the purpose of this information session by the NC Division of Employment is to help business owners and self-employed in understanding Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA). The session will welcome questions about DUA as well as Unemployment Insurance.

HOW: Online registration is requested by visiting www.cravencc.edu/sbc.

This event is free and open to the public. For more information call 252-638-1166 or email sbc@cravencc.edu.

Posted in Business, Craven Community College, Economy and Employment, Hurricane, New Bern

October 10th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

3202 Neuse Blvd., the Howling Dog Saloon. Google Street View photo

The Board of Aldermen gave City Attorney Scott Davis direction to file a lawsuit if necessary that would permanently close down a New Bern bar that has been the location of shootings and fights.

The bar, the Howling Dog Saloon at 3202 Neuse Blvd., was the location of two shooting incidents, one in June that wounded two, and one in May 2017 that left one dead and two injured. A fight in August 2016 left a woman with a severe facial laceration.

ABC recently revoked the bar’s licenses. Davis sought permission to file a lawsuit that would not only permanently close Howling Dog Saloon, but would prevent 3202 Neuse Blvd. from being used as a bar in the future and prevent the operator of the Howling Dog Saloon from operating a bar elsewhere in the city.

Davis said the city has attempted to work with the owner to keep the peace at the location, without success.

The Howling Dog Saloon is also known as Flyers 69. The owner had also owned Flyers 70 at 4310 Highway 70 East (just outside city limits) and Flyers 55 on Highway 55 East in Pamlico County. Both of those bars are no longer in business.

The 3202 Neuse Blvd. location has been a neighborhood bar since it was built in 1965, according to county tax records. Davis said the owner of the building rents it to the bar operator, who he did not identify.

Posted in Aldermen, Beer, Board of Aldermen, Business, Crime, Mayor

October 5th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

The original plan for Craven Thirty included a large, robust area for commercial and light industrial development.

Remember back in  2012, all the buzz about Craven Thirty? All that sweet, sweet new retail space, a multiplex theater, and new neighborhoods? You probably also remember how last year Craven Thirty morphed into West Craven, with less focus on business and more focus on residential.

Now, more than a year later, West Craven has emerged into the public eye again. Its developer, Weyerhaeuser NR Company, is asking for the city to enter into a development agreement. It is on the Board of Aldermen’s agenda for next Tuesday, when the board is expected to set a date for a public hearing.

And this latest version of West Craven looks a lot like the original Craven Thirty, but with even more commercial space.

Zoning codes are: C-3 commercial, R-6 residential, I-2 light industrial, A-5F agriculture district.

The city entered into a development agreement with Weyerhaeuser Real Estate Development Company in September 2010 for what was to become Craven Thirty. The city annexed the 550-acres Craven Thirty property in December 2012.

A ribbon cutting was conducted by then-Gov. Bev Perdue, and construction was announced to begin in spring 2013. Some streets were put in, along with other infrastructure, but nothing else was built during he intervening six years. Blame the economy.

The revised and renamed project would include just under 250 acres for residential development, just under 250 acres of commercial development, just over 47 acres for light industrial, and just over 27 acres of agriculture forestry district with low-density residential uses.

The plan calls for a total of 1,500 residential units phased in over 15 years, 500,000 square feet of non-residential space, a 150-room hotel sometime during the first five years, and 10 acres for a private school, also during the first five years.

The agreement establishes the development phasing sequences for the project, establishes a Master Development Plan and development review process that can accommodate the timing, phasing and flexibility of the project, coordinates the construction and design of infrastructure that will serve the project and the community at large, confirms the dedication and/or provision of public amenities by the developer, and provides assurances to the developer that it may proceed with the project in accordance with the approved original zoning and the terms of this agreement without encountering future changes in ordinances, regulations, technical standards or policies that would affect its ability to develop the relevant parcels under the approved zoning and the terms hereof.

The project will include small neighborhoods, a walkable village area, and connections to open space that will “support and reinforce the City of New Bern as an attractive place to live, work and recreate.” The size and scale of the project requires a long-term commitment of both public and private resources and requires careful integration between the programming of public capital facilities, the phasing of development and the development review and approval process.

The West Craven site is well suited for access from all parts of New Bern, or it will be. It is located at the intersection of U.S. 70 and the N.C. 43 connector. There are plans to extend the N.C. 43 connector from where it now ends just west of U.S. 70, all the way through to U.S. 17.

Posted in Aldermen, Board of Aldermen, Business, Community, Mayor, New Bern, New Bern business and commerce, Planning and Zoning

October 4th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

Pictured are left to right, Ervin Patrick, PIE past president; Millie McLaney Chalk with Duke Energy; Darlene Brown PIE executive director; and Don Brinkley, PIE president.

Craven County Partners In Education won a grant from Duke Energy for $4,500 for the STREAM Lab at Bridgeton Elementary.

The grant demonstrates  Duke Energy Foundation’s continued support of education, environment, economic and workforce development, and community impact. This grant will take Bridgeton Elementary’s STEM Lab to a STREAM Lab (including reading and art) and expand it to include grades K-2.

The mission of Craven County Partners In Education is to support and advance educational experiences within Craven County Schools through collaborative community involvement.  If you would like to learn how your organization can make a difference through Craven County Schools’ local education foundation, PIE, contact Darlene Brown, Executive Director, at 252-514-6321.

Posted in Business, Craven County Schools, Economy, Economy and Employment, New Bern

September 25th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

Weyerhaeuser Company (NYSE: WY) announced it will donate a total of $250,000 to several organizations providing relief efforts in eastern North Carolina in the wake of Hurricane Florence.

The grants will be distributed to disaster-relief and community-service organizations in the company’s operating areas. The Coastal Carolina and Eastern North Carolina chapters of the American Red Cross will receive support for their relief work in Craven, Beaufort and Washington Counties.

Additional donations will be made to the Salvation Army for efforts in Beaufort and Washington Counties; Religious Community Services (RCS) for needs in New Bern; and Disaster Recovery Partner for support in Pitt County.

“We’re pleased to announce donations to our community partners who are providing much-needed relief for the citizens of eastern North Carolina,” said Brian Chaney, Regional Timberlands Manager. “More than 500 Weyerhaeuser employees call this area home including the Timberlands management team based in Vanceboro. The company’s support for local relief organizations will complement all the ways they are helping neighbors and giving back in their communities during this challenging time.”

Alan Sherrington, East Region Manufacturing Vice President, added: “Our employees and communities were significantly impacted by Hurricane Florence. Weyerhaeuser will be part of this long recovery and we are grateful for the critical work our partner organizations do in times like this. We appreciate the close-knit family of Weyerhaeuser employees and the supportive communities near our lumber mills in Vanceboro, Greenville and Plymouth.”

Weyerhaeuser Company is one of the world’s largest private owners of timberlands, with 12.4 million acres under its ownership or control. The company has been in business since 1900.

Posted in Business, Economy, Economy and Employment, Hurricane, New Bern

September 25th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

Governor Cooper announces 33 jobs and $2.25M investment in Craven County

McGuckin & Pyle, Inc., a manufacturer of custom lamination and processing equipment, chose Craven County for its new plant, creating 33 new jobs and investing $2.25 million, N.C. Department of Commerce Secretary Anthony M. Copeland announced today. The company will bring mechanical and electrical control system assembly and machinery services to New Bern.
“Much of our state is hurting after Hurricane Florence. As we continue to support each other and start to recover and rebuild, McGuckin & Pyle’s choice to move to New Bern and belief in this community underscores North Carolina’s resilience,” said Secretary Copeland. “This is a company that picked North Carolina because of our people, and they are committed to rebuilding together with all of us in North Carolina.”
McGuckin & Pyle produces custom processing industrial equipment such as laminators, winding and unwinding machines, carton forming machines and more. Additionally, the company offers mechanical, electrical and automation control system design and engineering along with machining and fabrication services which will also be located at the New Bern facility. McGuckin & Pyle is privately owned with headquarters and only current facility in Downingtown, Pennsylvania.
“Extending our operations into North Carolina is a real game-changer for our company, and we are committed to rebuilding Craven County and helping play a part in getting people back on their feet after Hurricane Florence,” said Keith Connolly, President for McGuckin & Pyle. “Strategically, this growth is a necessity. We have many clients in the Carolinas and this expansion will allow us to broaden our level of support to those businesses. Craven County was integral in navigating the possible incentives that were available for our business.  It was a combination of their efforts and the generous support awarded to us that ultimately convinced us that this was the site for our continued growth.”
“Craven County has the workforce needed for manufacturers to be successful, and McGuckin & Pyle knows that no hurricane can take that away from this strong community,” continued Secretary Copeland. “McGuckin & Pyle will move into Craven County Industrial Park, and the strong transportation and utility infrastructure there will support the company’s growth in the Carolinas and beyond.”
The North Carolina Department of Commerce and the Economic Development Partnership of N.C. (EDPNC) were instrumental in supporting the company’s expansion decision.
Salaries for the new jobs will vary by position but will average $44,304, which is more than the average wage of $37,1746 in Craven County.
A performance-based grant of $70,000 from the One North Carolina Fund will help facilitate McGuckin & Pyle’s move to North Carolina.  The One N.C. Fund provides financial assistance to local governments to help attract economic investment and to create jobs. Companies receive no money upfront and must meet job creation and capital investment targets to qualify for payment.  All One NC grants require a matching grant from local governments and any award is contingent upon that condition being met.
“As we continue to respond and recover from Hurricane Florence, McGuckin & Pyle’s move to New Bern is a welcome bright spot,” said  N.C. Senator Norman W. Sanderson. “Our focus right now is getting people back on their feet, and bringing more good jobs can only help that effort.”
In addition to North Carolina Commerce and the Economic Partnership of North Carolina, other key partners in the project include the North Carolina General Assembly, the North Carolina Community College System, Craven County, the Craven 100 Alliance, North Carolina’s Southeast Regional Economic Development Partnership and Duke Energy.

Posted in Business, Craven County, New Bern, New Bern business and commerce

September 5th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

Location map for a proposed dental office next to Chick-fil-A at New Bern Mall.

Times are tough for brick and mortar retail locations, particularly indoor malls. Just look at Vernon Mall in Kinston (hint: it’s vacant).

New Bern Mall (aka Twin Rivers Mall) has been soldiering on, trying to fill remaining vacant out parcels and upgrade its interior tenants over the past several years.

One such attempt was securing a Cracker Barrel. The mall’s owner, Hull Property Group, filled in a drainage pond and completely re-engineered its drainage system along with part of its parking lot in order to make space for a Cracker Barrel.

The Cracker Barrel was to be located in the southeast corner of the mall, next to Chick-fil-A, a restaurant that is so busy it creates its own traffic jams near the mall entrance.

The deal fell through.

Now Hull Property Group is developing a portion of that location as a dental office.

The site plan describes the facility as a shell building, which usually implies that a tenant will be sought after the building is complete. However, Hull Property Group, on its website, announced back in March that Aspen Dental would be opening a location. The announcement was brief and to the point: “Aspen Dental will be coming to the New Bern Mall and will occupy approximately 3,500 sf.”

Floorplan of the proposed dental office at New Bern Mall.

Now, plans for a dental office are coming before the city Departmental Review Committee on Sept. 14. That’s the stage where the site plan gets reviewed and critiqued by various city departments to make sure it passes muster.

A project plan at this stage is no guarantee that the project will actually happen.

The addition of a dental office to the New Bern Mall footprint is not exactly an exciting addition. It’s maybe even less exciting than the Mattress Firm store that opened there several years ago. Certainly it’s nowhere near as exciting as the Buffalo Wild Wings and Starbucks that opened there during the same timeframe, and the renovation of Belk about eight years ago.

Still, given the congested nature of that portion of the New Bern Mall parking lot, a dental office may be a good fit.

New Bern Mall has faced stiff competition for new tenants since the development of New Bern Marketplace farther west on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. That new shopping center landed an enlarged Harris Teeter, Ross, Hobby Lobby, Academy Sports, and, unofficially, several restaurants.

 

Posted in Business, New Bern, New Bern business and commerce, Planning and Zoning

August 27th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

GateHouse Media, owner of the Sun Journal of New Bern as well as newspapers in Kinston, Havelock, Marine Air Station Cherry Point, Camp Lejeune, Trenton, and Jacksonville, is offering buyouts in an attempt to further trim its payroll.

GateHouse is seeking volunteers to accept a buyout package that offers six days pay for each year of employment. The cut takes effect on Sept. 7. Employees must decide by today, Aug. 27.

Between Kinston and New Bern, staff has gone from a total of more than 30 a decade ago, to 11 now, with perhaps more cuts in the offing. The Post is aware of more than a half dozen GateHouse employees who plan to take the buyouts, scattered across New Bern, Kinston, and Jacksonville locations.

If buyout goals are not met, GateHouse will resort to layoffs.

Buyouts leave GateHouse with the flexibility to fill vacated positions with lower-paid workers, however the company has not shown any desire to fill vacant positions. Layoffs force the company to leave affected positions vacant, or reorganize in order to disguise any old positions that must be filled.

Employees who accept the buyouts or, in cases of layoffs, severance packages, are forced to sign agreements barring them from working for competing companies and from saying anything disparaging about GateHouse for at least a year following termination.

That results not only in smaller newspaper newsrooms, but the departure of experienced local journalists who are knowledgeable about the area.

New Bern is already losing its managing editor, Ken Buday, who is being transferred to be in charge of the Globe, the Camp Lejeune base newspaper GateHouse runs under contract with the Department of Defense.

Meanwhile, the Kinston Free Press, which shares resources with the Sun Journal and is under the management of the same editor, Chris Segal, is down to one reporter following the departure of one reporter within recent weeks. That puts additional strain on New Bern’s staff to fill any gaps in Kinston.

GateHouse already announced plans to shutter its regional pressroom, mail room, and call center in Jacksonville, and move some of those operations to its Fayetteville location. That will affect another 40 jobs.

It leaves one to wonder what GateHouse’s long-term strategy is with its local properties. At current rates, newsrooms will reach zero staffing within five years, outpacing declines in print circulation, which could reach zero within a decade.

Growth in online readers (for both the website and an “e-edition” of the print products) has historically not kept pace with declines in print readers.

GateHouse is not alone in its effort to reduce payroll expenses. McClatchy, which owns the News & Observer in Raleigh, the Charlotte Observer, and the Durham Herald-Sun, is laying off nearly 4 percent of its staff.

 

 

Posted in Business

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