More and more private investors are looking to bring operations to Craven County. Phantom CNC
Here's what we know
By Caramia Valentin The Sun Journal—Sep 13, 2023 Updated Sep 15, 2023
—The last two lots available in CCIP, lots nine and ten, are in the process of being broken up in several smaller lots, one of which Phantom CNC Systems will purchase.
Another locally grown company, Phantom CNC Systems, is expected to move into the Craven County Industrial Park (CCIP) within the next year or two.
In the beginning of September, Craven County Commissioners approved a drafted resolution which allows the county manager to close on the sale of 6.022 acres in the park for $150,550 with Phantom CNC.
Phantom CNC Systems moving operations to New Bern, NC
As previously reported by the Sun Journal, CCIP is filling rapidly with different companies such as Titan Fuels, HDPE, ASI, and others. There are currently only two vacant lots in the park, lots nine and ten, which span about 50 acres in the Northern part of the park.
Craven’s Economic Development Director, Jeff Wood, said the county is currently working on trying to break up lots nine and ten into seven different lots.
“They [Phantom CNC] are going to buy the first lot that’s right beside Industrial Drive,” Wood said. “It’s a great startup company, they’re going to build somewhere between a 15,000 or 20,000 square foot building.”
Phantom CNC is an innovative company that develops useful machinery for their consumers through the use of preprogrammed computer software. CNC, or computer numerical control machines, play an important role in the manufacturing industry, as they help manufacturers produce parts in less time and eliminate the risk of human error.
Phantom CNC started on a farm outside of Vanceboro, in the backyard of the company’s founder, Steve Wallace. Since Wallace got his first CNC table in 2020, the company has grown and launch its second generation of machines nearly three years later.
According to Wood, Phantom CNC currently has about a half dozen employees, but they will at least double in size to employ around 12-15 people by the time the company moves into CCIP.
Once the sale is finalized, Phantom CNC will be responsible for erecting their own facility on the lot, which Wood estimates will take them about a year, possibly one and a half years.
Wood said money from this sale will cover the cost of designing a road and infrastructure going into the remaining property in the Northern part of the park.
“We have an engineer that’s helping us design a road and infrastructure going into the remaining property there, so those costs were covered by the sale of that property,” he said.
“It’ll add taxes to the budget as well, revenue coming into the county.”
According to Wood, Craven County is in need of property development on an ongoing basis. Not only are private investors interested in property within CCIP, but Wood has also seen interest in property near Coastal Carolina Regional Airport (EWN).
Although he is unable to speak on specifically who at this point in time, Wood said an aerospace related private investor is interested in the Corporate Aerospace Development Area of EWN.
Craven County was previously awarded a $750,000 Golden Leaf Grant to extend water and sewer across approximately 90 acres of property along the airport runway. The North Carolina Department of Commerce awarded Craven County $1,077,694 to construct a road to the Corporate Aerospace Development Area of EWN.
Between the Commerce Grant and the Golden Leaf Grant, Wood said there will be enough funds to build out into the 90-acre space near the airport. However, the county is actively looking for funds to clear the property and prepare the ground for construction activity.
“Work on the road and infrastructure should start by the end of this year, and it’ll be done by summer,” Wood said. “Our hope is that we would start looking at private sector companies that are showing interest to start going vertical sometime next year.”
As previously reported by the Sun Journal, the Economic Development Department is in need of additional real estate due to booming success in the current CCIP. Wood said the department will continue their due diligence on site selection for future industrial sites.