The entrances to the future state Division of Motor Vehicles headquarters on Church Street are ribboned off from public entry because crews are inside upfitting buildings on the property, more commonly known locally as the former Hardee’s corporate headquarters complex.
Information to the Telegram provided by DMV Commissioner Torre Jessup’s office last week said the work began on Feb. 10 and said business units are going to be moving in when their respective workspaces are complete.
The information from the DMV said the first move-in is anticipated this summer.
The General Assembly requires a process for relocating the DMV from the present headquarters along New Bern Avenue in Raleigh because of health and safety issues beyond the state’s control.
Gov. Roy Cooper, as North Carolina’s top official, on Dec. 18 signed a 15-year lease with the landlord for the Rocky Mount location, sealing the deal on what had been the most competitive of 10 site proposals.
Information provided to the Telegram from the DMV said the plan is to occupy five of the six buildings at the Rocky Mount location.
The information from the DMV said $4 million has been appropriated for the move, including for upgrading information technology, upgrading security at the complex, furniture and the cost of moving computer printers and documents.
The information said that due to higher than anticipated costs in connection with information technology, the DMV is projecting a $2.3 million funding gap.
The information said the landlord is responsible for the costs related to upfitting the buildings, including carpeting, drywall work and painting.
As for the matter of human resources, the information from the DMV said as with any large-scale move, employees are going to have to decide whether they are going to remain with the DMV and said the DMV anticipates the loss of some staff.
The information said there are limited comparable examples to determine a reasonable loss estimate.
The information said the DMV presently has a 22 percent vacancy rate at the present headquarters in Raleigh and said the rate could be caused by attrition, the change in location, uncertainty and a strong job market.
As for the matter of retention, the information from the DMV said there is a “DMV On The Move” team in place to help.
The information said the DMV is communicating updates with the present staff about the relocation and said the DMV is compiling a list of available housing and local services in Rocky Mount.
And regarding recruitment, the information from the DMV said job fairs are going to be held in the Rocky Mount area and said there is an outreach effort to local recruitment and job training firms to identify talent.
The information from the DMV also said the recruitment effort includes working with the local faith-based community to spread awareness.
The information from DMV was based on a PowerPoint-like document the DMV created to present to a legislative committee, but the presentation was postponed due to time reasons.
A DMV spokesman told the Telegram an update about the relocation is anticipated next month.
Prior to the Telegram being provided the latest information from the DMV, Rocky Mount Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO David Farris told the newspaper the plan is to host a job fair probably later this summer.
“We were initially going to do one earlier with DMV and made the decision to delay it a little bit because in certain cases, those positions aren’t available to be filled yet,” Farris said.
Farris said the hope is in the summertime to invite the present DMV staffers and their families to come to Rocky Mount on a Saturday, see the future DMV headquarters and provide a tour of the city so they will know what is where and become somewhat familiar with the area.
The DMV must vacate the headquarters in Raleigh by the start of October.
“We anticipate having a celebration shortly after everybody’s here,” Farris said. “Afterwards, when the staff is in and settled, we’re going to go out and really welcome their DMV team here. We’ll provide lunch for ‘em one day and possibly breakfast another day — and really roll out the red carpet and let ‘em know just how happy we are to have them here.”
The securing of the future DMV headquarters has been quite an economic development and public relations coup for a Rocky Mount area already scoring big in landing future business and industrial commitments.
And Carolinas Gateway Partnership President and CEO Norris Tolson has the distinction, as part of his recruiting, to be able to tell a prospect the city he works in is going to be the relocated headquarters of a key state agency.
Tolson told the Telegram a client was in his office and said he advised the client, “It should not go unnoticed on your part that the state of North Carolina chose to move one of its major customer service-related agencies to Rocky Mount.”
Asked about the client’s response, Tolson said, “He was impressed.”
The Telegram asked Tolson where he places the future DMV headquarters in his statements to prospects.
Tolson said that would depend on who the prospect is, but he said he and his team always speak about the Rocky Mount area being quite welcoming to new businesses.
“We try to explain to a potential client that we are a service-beyond-the-sale organization and community,” he said.