The Carolinas: No Boundary To Growth

North and South Carolina recently adjusted the 334-mile border between them, but the growth potential of both states has no boundary.

By the BF Staff
From the July/August 2018 Issue

The original border between North Carolina and South Carolina was established in the 1700s; three centuries later, the landmarks (stone markers) for the original boundary have disappeared or decayed beyond recognition. What people thought was the state line in some counties wasn’t the actual state line. People had developed, conveyed and improved properties based on an erroneous assumption of the location of the legal boundary.

When issues arose regarding the state boundary between York County, SC and Gaston County, NC in the early 1990s, the SC Geodetic Survey and the NC Geodetic Survey signed a Memorandum of Agreement in April 1993 to cooperatively re-establish the border between the states. In 1995, North and South Carolina created a Joint Boundary Commission to research and tweak the border between them.

Carolinas North Carolina South Carolina

After 20 years of negotiations, surveys, and research, the governments of the two states reached an agreement at the end of 2016 about where the state border lies. The boundary had been re-surveyed based on historical monumentation and research back to original colonial records.

Gary Thompson, the chief of the North Carolina Geodetic Survey, said that the change in the border between North Carolina and South Carolina was not a shift at all, but rather a re-establishment of the original border between the two states, which had deteriorated over time.

In Gaston County, the land was surveyed in 1700s, and the border was established with stones at each end and a series of marked trees in between. In order to determine where those trees once stood, Thompson and his team relied on the original survey materials and legal documents such as land transaction records that referenced the line of trees. “Then we traced the surveys up to today to find what had replaced those trees,” Thompson said.

Carolinas North Carolina South Carolina
Stone markers delineated the border between NC and SC in the 1700s.

The border legislation passed in both states and enacted on Jan. 1, 2017 said that residents who moved from North Carolina to South Carolina will remain eligible for North Carolina in-state tuition for 10 years after the change, provided that they remain on the same property that was formerly in North Carolina. Residents whose homes moved from South Carolina to North Carolina are eligible for South Carolina in-state tuition for two years after the change.

Both states worked hard to adjudicate every contested parcel, but the surveyors could avoid placing adjusted border in the middle of some smaller properties, including residential neighborhoods. Here’s a sample from a local newspaper: “Even though he’s only a few inches away, Angie Ingold wakes up in a different state from her husband Jericho every morning. She opens her eyes in North Carolina, brushes her teeth in South Carolina, and crosses back over North Carolina to make breakfast in the kitchen. Her kids, just feet down the hall, slumber soundly in South Carolina each night.”


Winston-Salem has always been a city of progress. From its origins as an early Moravian settlement nearly 250 years ago and the merger of the towns of Winston and Salem over 100 years ago, the community has grown to be a center for business and technology in North Carolina and the Southeast.

Winston-Salem was founded on tobacco and textiles, with 20th century manufacturing giants RJ Reynolds Tobacco and Hanesbrands leading Winston-Salem on the path of progress and growth with both major manufacturing operations as well as headquarters operations located here in Winston-Salem. As times have moved forward, automation and new technology coupled with new tobacco research have driven the workforce and space requirements of RJ Reynolds down from where they once stood in the late 20th century employing 13,000 at numerous facilities across Winston-Salem and Forsyth County.

While Winton-Salem has traditionally been a city of progress, it has also become a city of revitalization. Left with old tobacco warehouses, empty tobacco bidding squares, and abandoned power plant facilities, Winston-Salem has reimagined a downtown area that has been revitalized to attract the young and upcoming workforce of the future.

A downtown that was once declining no less than 10 years ago is now a lifestyle center for people of all ages. Five breweries have opened in the downtown area, offering a great pairing to the numerous restaurants that have opened along every street downtown. More than 200,000 people visit Winston-Salem for various events and conferences that take place here year round, spurred by the redevelopment of the Benton Convention Center.

Winston-Salem has also seen exponential growth in the community’s life science and healthcare sectors. Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and Forsyth Medical Center, Winston-Salem’s two local hospitals, are the city’s major employers with over 26,000 employees between them. In addition, the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter, a 240 acre research park in downtown Winston-Salem, is one of the fastest growing urban-based research parks in the U.S. and continues to attract a talented workforce of scientists, engineers, and other professionals to the area. Inmar, a data analytics and services company, moved its headquarters with close to 1,000 employees into a 240,000 square foot, four story former tobacco processing building that they renovated for a cost of $75 million. Wake Forest has also relocated their School of Medicine’s main campus into the Innovation Quarter. This $100 million project completed the third phase of redevelopment of the former R.J. Reynolds buildings and brought hundreds of new employees and students into downtown Winston-Salem each day. Forsyth Technical Community College has also opened a satellite campus and training center in the Innovation Quarter. In all, the Innovation Quarter encompasses 2.5 million square feet of office, laboratory, and classroom space and currently has over 3,000 people employed among its various companies and educational institutions.

The newest project to be completed within the Innovation Quarter is the renovated Bailey Power Plant. This once shuttered power facility used to be the home for the power generation needs of RJ Reynolds Tobacco operations in the downtown area. This redevelopment, representing $40 million of investment, now houses several floors of office space and mixed-use areas that have undergone significant upfit yet still hold the character and feel that an older building can impart on its tenants. With several companies already announcing their presence in the building, the Bailey Power Plant has 15,000 square feet of office space left on the third floor for interested tenants. The Innovation Quarter’s vision of becoming a leading hub for innovation in biomedical science and information technology is well within reach with a plethora of existing facilities and sites totaling over 80 acres still available for future businesses to utilize.

R.J. Reynolds recently donated their former tobacco manufacturing campus to the city; Whitaker Park consists of 120 acres and 1.8 million square feet of existing industrial buildings in what can be separated into two campuses, west and east, and is located less than a mile from US Highway 52 supplying access to the Triad region’s vast transportation network. Business leaders throughout the community are confident these properties will play a key role in the economic development and transformational growth of Winston-Salem and the greater Triad region.


In more than 70 cities and towns across North Carolina, homes and businesses are powered by municipally owned utilities. These public power communities have a well-earned reputation for providing safe, reliable electric service and outstanding customer service to more than 1.2 million people in North Carolina—more than the populations of Raleigh and Charlotte combined. In fact, a statewide survey of 3,000 customers in North Carolina conducted in 2017 found that 86 percent of residents are satisfied with public power.

“Time and time again, public power communities throughout North Carolina have demonstrated the value that comes with owning and operating their own electric system,” said Roy Jones, CEO of ElectriCities, a non-profit organization that serves public power communities in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. “A number of our member communities have seen a direct economic development benefit from being locally owned. Being a public power community means you provide exceptional reliability and superior service. Corporations from across the globe recognize the value in that.”

Public power providers in North Carolina—and across the nation—consistently outperform investor-owned utilities when it comes to reliability. In fact, public power experiences fewer power outages, and gets the power restored more quickly than others.

At ElectriCities, we’re proud to be the energy behind public power. ElectriCities is a not-for-profit membership organization that consolidates many of the administrative, technical, legal, and legislative services needed by 70 municipally owned electric utilities operating in North Carolina. ElectriCities was formed to protect the interests of North Carolina public power communities and to provide a unified voice on state and federal issues affecting public power.

In addition, ElectriCities provides customer service and safety training, emergency and technical assistance, communications, economic development, government affairs and legal services. Through consolidation of these services, members save their customers the expense of administering these functions locally.

Economic development is a huge driver in North Carolina public power communities. The benefits of public power have helped our communities attract and retain businesses, adding a growing workforce throughout North Carolina.

Throughout North Carolina, public power communities saw some big economic development wins during the second quarter of 2018. The first phase of the Bryton Commerce Center, a 48-acre light industrial park in Huntersville, is under construction. The center will consist of six concrete tilt-up buildings of varying sizes with a combined total of 700,000 square feet. It’s the area’s largest development of its kind. Additionally, Edgecombe County started 2018 with two big wins under its belt: an $86 million investment by Corning and a $580 million investment by Triangle Tyre. Both projects are expected to create more than 900 jobs—excellent news for a county whose unemployment rate was 7.5 percent back in December, one of the highest in the state.


Companies across the nation struggle to find locations for manufacturing and distribution facilities due to increasingly high real estate costs along major logistics corridors and a lack of available workforce. With a workforce of nearly one million within an hour’s drive of the region’s center, a strategic location at the intersections of I-95 and I-20 and home to an inland port terminal and major CSX railyard, the NESA Region in Northeastern South Carolina is a location that has proven to be successful for many companies.

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Inland Port Dillon officially opened in April 2018 and has driven activity to the entire region.

Generations of manufacturing experience has led the region to develop the educational infrastructure needed to recruit and train a workforce for most any kind of manufacturing or warehousing operation. Major facilities for well-known companies like Honda, Otis Elevator, INA Schaeffler Group, Nestle Waters, Sonoco, Nucor, Wyman Gordon, AVM, Harbor Freight Tools, Mohawk, DSM, Nan Ya Plastics, and others dot the landscape and provide evidence that a quality workforce is here supporting these companies.

NESA, a non-profit economic development group, provides a one-stop shop for site selection assistance, connection to workforce training and staffing services, connection to state and local incentives granting entities, and other technical support services that companies would normally spend a lot of time attempting to find. Additionally, NESA maintains a comprehensive database of available industrial real estate and engineering due diligence documents to further expedite a site search.


Not unlike many regions across the country, the NESA region has several shovel-ready sites that have already had engineering due diligence completed. And much like other places, NESA checks all the boxes when it comes to major interstate and railroad accessibility.

But unlike some of our competitors, our region is now home to an inland port facility that has direct rail access to one the country’s largest and fastest growing ports, the deep water Port of Charleston, via Class A CSX rail.

With Inland Port Dillon, the NESA region offers companies a resource that is unmatched anywhere else in the county. Shippers to the inland port will enjoy the convenience of scheduling shipping to and from the inland port in the same manner that they schedule shipping to and from major seaports. It is also located just off I-95 and strategically located at a railroad “T” with mainline access north/south and west and will be able to service markets in the Northeastern and Midwestern sections of the country.

This gives NESA the unique ability to offer prospects port side property at a fraction of the cost you can find anywhere else. The average industrial land price near Inland Port Dillon is $17,000 per acre and if you are not looking for something next door to the port, the NESA region has 128 available industrial properties and buildings that can fit your needs.


If an experienced, well-trained, skilled and available workforce are what your seeking, look no farther than the NESA region. Employers use this region’s productive workforce to churn out all-terrain vehicles, pharmaceuticals, food additives, frozen meals, steel, packaging products, and much more. The region is home to companies that engage in world-wide distribution, refurbish airplanes, and are on the cutting edge of their highly specialized fields. With a population of nearly 2.2 million and an available workforce of nearly 1 million within 60 miles of the region’s geographical center, the region has a very robust labor pool to draw from.

The region also offers a variety of workforce training resources to companies. One such resource is the state’s premiere workforce training program, ReadySC. Working together with the South Carolina Technical College System, ReadySC develops, implements, and manages custom workforce training programs to support smooth, rapid start-up operations. ReadySC works with companies to screen, recruit, and train employees to meet their demands and ensures that companies have a ready-to-work workforce the day business opens. The training is done at no cost to companies that commit to creating at least 10 new jobs.

Another unique resource is the Southeastern Institute of Manufacturing and Technology (SiMT). It is the first facility of its kind in the United States and is located on the campus of Florence-Darlington Technical College. SiMT is an advanced manufacturing center that provides the support needed by area and future industries, advancing the region’s ability to provide a highly trained workforce. SiMT exists to partner with businesses to provide training and manufacturing technology solutions. The facility contains an Advanced Manufacturing Center, 3-D/Virtual reality Center, 3-D printing lab, and National Robotics Center. SiMT offers open-enrollment, onsite, and customized training.

Learn today how you can Put Success In Your Corner by joining the NESA region. Contact NESA Director of Business Development John Sweeney at 843-661-1665 or by email at