Thursday, May 23, 2024

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Cambro Manufacturing plans to expand in Mebane, doubling square footage – to 856,529 square feet

Cambro Manufacturing has filed plans with the city of Mebane to build a second, 379,672-square foot manufacturing facility that would nearly double the company’s footprint, to almost 1 million square feet, within the North Carolina Industrial Center in Mebane.

Completion of a second facility for Cambro would bring the company’s total square footage within the N.C. Industrial Center (NCIC) to a total of 856,529 square feet, based on the plans that have been filed with the city by Greensboro-based Triad Design Group.   Cambro’s first facility opened in 2014 and spans 476,857 square feet, according to Alamance County tax records.

Cambro’s proposed expansion does not require city council approval, as the property is already zoned for the proposed industrial uses, Mebane officials have confirmed for The Alamance News.

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Cambro describes itself as a family-owned manufacturing company that produces more than 14,000 products used in the food and beverage industry.

The new facility will be built by Samet Corporation and is targeted to open in the fall of 2025, Cambro director of logistics Michael Ortiz told The Alamance News Wednesday.

The proposed new facility would be built on 25.4 acres along N.C. Highway 119, near the intersection with West Holt Street and across from the existing Cambro plant at 1268 Holt Street, based on the preliminary plans that have been filed with the city.

Cambro’s existing facility is located near a planned “transload facility” and a rail loop that Samet hopes to establish on four acres at the corner of West Holt Street and Lake Latham Road in Mebane to serve the NCIC.

“The current location is a combined facility of both manufacturing and logistics,” Ortiz explained in a phone interview Wednesday.  “We are expanding on the manufacturing side, which means we need more room.  [Cambro CEO and president] Argyle Campbell owns that land, so that is the property we’re going to [expand on].  The new building is going to be used for 100 percent storage.”

Cambro’s parent company, A Campbell Holdings of Huntington Beach, California, purchased the 25.4-acre property, now targeted for the expansion, for approximately $1.3 million in January 2020, based on documents on file with Alamance County’s Register of Deeds.

The proposed 379,672-square foot second facility would be built on 14 acres within the overall site, based on based on preliminary plans that have been developed for the Cambro expansion.  The facility would be surrounded on three sides by a 40-foot buffer with opaque fencing ranging between four and eight feet high that would be built on top of retaining walls.

Shrubs and trees would be planted along the eastern side of the property to provide a vegetative buffer between the manufacturing facility and approximately half a dozen adjacent residential properties, the plans show.  Any existing vegetation also will remain in place, according to the plans that Triad Design Group has submitted to the city for the Cambro expansion.   The site plans shows that a 26-foot wide gravel access road for emergency vehicles also would be built along one edge of the property.

The preliminary plans – which include a note stating that they’re not final construction or architectural drawings – for Cambro’s proposed expansion show that one entrance would be built along West Holt Street and two exits would be built along N.C. 119, including one near the intersection with West Holt Street.

Triad Design Group developed the plans for Cambro’s expansion, as well as its first facility in Mebane, which was also built by Samet.

The existing facility is located near the rail line, but the new facility will not be, Ortiz told the newspaper Wednesday.

The promise of a future rail spur beside Cambro’s plant was one of the things that lured the company to build in Mebane 10 years ago.

The existing Cambro facility has a rail spur running up beside the plant.
A train pulls away from the Cambro rail spur that will serve as the rail line for the new transload rail facility.

Alamance County’s commissioners agreed last year to provide $300,843 for the transload facility that had been planned for nearly a decade but only became viable when the North Carolina General Assembly earmarked $2.6 million for a new transload facility in the biennial state budget passed in late 2021.

The latest estimated cost to build the transload facility was $3.2 million as of early 2023, prompting Alamance County chamber officials to seek addition funding from the city of Mebane and Alamance County government to cover the construction costs.

David Putnam, economic development director for the Alamance County Area Chamber of Commerce told the county commissioners in the spring of 2023 that the transload facility “would open up opportunities for manufacturers, farmers, everybody” to have direct rail access to ship and receive rail cargo.

The new facility isn’t expected to add new jobs prior to its fall 2025 opening, Ortiz said.  “Our goal,” he explained, “is to continue to grow the customers on the East Coast, and as we grow, we’ll add the appropriate headcount.”

Mebane’s technical review committee conducted a second review of the plans in late April.  City officials recently told the newspaper that the plans are still under review and are subject to change.

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