Business

Managers: Global TransPark has 'promising future'

Posted February 11, 2011 11:51 a.m. EST
Updated February 15, 2011 10:11 p.m. EST

— Spirit AeroSystems could do for the North Carolina Global TransPark in Kinston what IBM did for the Research Triangle Park, managers there said Friday.

Park managers touted the opening of Spirit's 500,000-square-foot manufacturing facility last May as "a catalyst for the TransPark's promising future." Spirit is the world's largest independent supplier of commercial airplane components.

The comments were contained a response to an audit of the state agency by the State Auditor's Office.

The auditor's report found that Global TransPark posted an operating loss of nearly $4 million in the fiscal year that ended in June 2010 but also increased its net assets by $58 million to nearly $200 million. Park managers attributed much of the operating loss to project costs such as $1 million to install an 8-inch gas line for a tenant.

The report also states that the park could be challenged to repay a $38 million loan to the North Carolina Escheat Fund due in October.

The Global TransPark, which has received more than $80 million in state and federal funding over two decades, has been criticized as a failed venture with 23 other small tenants, including some state agencies.

Managers said that the TransPark experienced a "busy year" in 2010.

About 97 percent of the park is leased and investments have been made in infrastructure, managers there said. It's on schedule to complete a rail spur in November, in addition to existing road, air and sea transit options.

Along with adding Spirit as its major anchor, the park attracted Schenker Logistics Inc. as its newest tenant in 2010, managers said.

Managers pointed to a recent analysis by the state Department of Commerce that the park's tenants contribute $27.5 million to the region's gross domestic product each year. The DOC analysis expects that contribution to grow to $142 million in the next three years.