In late 2017, North Carolina state officials, including Gov. Roy Cooper, were joined by officials of Triangle Tire at Edgecombe Community College for an announcement unprecedented in rural North Carolina.
Triangle, the 14th-largest tire manufacturer in the world, announced its first manufacturing plant to be built outside China would be located in what was then called the Kingsboro CSX Select Megasite.
Plans were for the first of two plants to open this year and the entire 5-million-square-foot facility fully operational and making 6 million auto and commercial tires, such as for earth-movers, annually.
Triangle projected a minimum of 800 jobs at an average wage of $56,000-plus annually, plus benefits.
Well, here it is. We are midway through 2020, and while the site remains prepped and ready for construction to start, nothing has yet happened.
Norris Tolson, President and CEO of the Carolinas Gateway Partnership, told the Telegram that Triangle still has plans to build here.
“The last time I talked with them, they told me that they are still coming to Kingsboro,” he said. “They said that when the trade issues settle down, they will get (construction) started.”
Tolson pointed out that Triangle had paid their taxes on the 400 acres owned by the company.
“They paid that bill and they’ve requested the county to send them this year’s bill,” he said.
Tolson said he has no reason to doubt Triangle’s plans and noted there was a great deal of interest and activity at the 1,449-acre Kingsboro site, which now is being marketed as the Kingsboro Business Park.
He said he believes the decisions made by Corning (800,000-square-foot warehouse) and Triangle to locate in Kingsboro stems from the success in attracting the CSX Carolina Connector, a 350-acre intermodal facility built on what commonly is known as the CSX A-line north of Rocky Mount in Edgecombe County and capable of handling 100,000 containers annually on three cranes.
“Our phones started ringing off the wall the next day,” he said in a previous interview. “People wanted to know who we were and where we were and why CSX was coming here.”
With the intermodal facility to be located just north of Rocky Mount and the CSX Kingsboro Select located on the CSX Tarboro Subdivision midway between Rocky Mount and Tarboro, opportunities to connect the region to the world multiplied through ports at Wilmington and Norfolk, as well as I-95, U.S. 64 and future I-87.
“We think the future is bright,” Tolson said. “The activity we’ve had and are having at Kingsboro is strong and the consultants we work with tell us that once the current (pandemic) situation eases, there will be a strong move to bring business back on-shore (from overseas).”