Wilkes Economic Development Corp. President LeeAnn Nixon spoke about several available buildings in North Wilkesboro owned by businessman Scott Nafe, and two in Wilkesboro that Nafe is buying, during the Wilkes EDC board meeting on March 13.
Nixon said she recently toured the buildings with Nafe to assist with marketing them.
The buildings in Wilkesboro are the former Brushy Mountain Bee Farm manufacturing facilities off Industrial Park Road and within view of U.S. 421 Bypass. Nafe has the main building, with approximately 23,500 square feet of floor space, under contract for purchase and plans to make it available for lease. An adjacent additional building, with about 8,800 square feet of floor space, is also under contract and is available for lease.
Nafe recently leased the top floor of the former Key City Furniture factory’s administrative office building on C Street, North Wilkesboro, to attorney Brandon York, who increased recreational opportunities for youths by opening a baseball batting cage facility there.
Nixon noted that the second floor of the C Street Building, with about 7,000 square feet of floor space, is still available for lease.
Nixon said Nafe owns and is talking about different possible uses for the 40,000+/- square-foot Town Square (former Melody Square), bordered by Main, Sixth and Seventh streets and the Central Business District Loop in downtown North Wilkesboro.
Nafe recently talked to the Wilkes Journal-Patriot about the possibility of leasing out a large portion of Town Square for a skating rink and for other recreational uses to help address this local need.
“If kids have a reason to come downtown, their parents would drop them off, then eat and patronize shops and service businesses downtown. Wow. That would help make our downtown work,” said Nafe.
“I came to Wilkes County a dozen years or so ago. I love living here. It’s easy. Larry Stone (retired Lowe’s Companies president and CEO) and others have wondered why our downtown isn’t as lively as West Jefferson’s downtown. It can be!”
Nafe also recently bought the former Wells Fargo drive-through bank facility at the far western end of Main Street, North Wilkesboro. “That would be a great place for an entrepreneur who needs a pickup window,” said Nixon. Nafe said he would also consider a build to suit at that location.
She said Nafe stated that manufacturing equipment in the 117,000 square-foot Heritage Cabinets building (former American Drew Facility) on N.C. 268 East, North Wilkesboro, will soon be auctioned off. She said that of the 15 jobs lost when Heritage Cabinets closed, two were people who retired and the others found other work.
Nixon said the availability of that well-located facility should help attract new or expanding local businesses.