Economic Development

The Town of Forest City, North Carolina has prepared a presentation for your review concerning the availability for new development at the former Florence Mill. A game changing venue has been built 15 minutes from the Town of Forest City---the Tryon International Equestrian Center. This venue will become a focal point of the equestrian world in September 2018 when it hosts the FEI World Equestrian Games. However, there are many other reasons to develop the former Florence Mill. This presentation features a few of those reasons.

Attachment One, "Get Ready or Get Trampled!" shows the expected economic impact of the equestrian center with an anticipated room night need of 180,000 per year based on this 2014 study. This additional 180,000 room nights is on top of the fact that our local Chamber of Commerce identified from a survey that local business and industry sent 1709 customers/employees outside of the County in 2014 because of the lack of hotel room availability. Please note that slide 12 mentions up to 30 weeks of shows. In just two years, that number has increased to at least 40 weeks and is open 364 days a year. This economic impact report on the Equestrian Center was prepared prior to the announcement of the World Equestrian Games. Expectation of room night requirements for future years beyond 2018 should greatly increase.

Attachment Two, "Tryon International Equestrian Center," has developed an extensive web presence.

Under Attachment Three, "Scenes Around Forest City," we have highlighted a few special events from in and around Forest City that we would like to share: our Christmas village atmosphere with over 1,000,000 lights, our award winning McNair Field baseball stadium and other slices of life around Town. As a special addition for Christmas 2016, we have added drone footage that highlights downtown during the season. This video can be found on Youtube or by searching "Christmas in the Forest" by Scenic Over Sights.

Under Attachment Four, "Regional Attractions," we have placed regional images of major attractions within one hour of Forest City that generate considerable hotel traffic.

Attachment Five, "Florence Mill Re-Development," provides information on the site immediately adjacent to the Downtown called Florence Mill. At the end of this tab a narrative is included that explains how the Town has taken the necessary steps to grandfather up to 60% state and federal tax credits for the property's redevelopment. The Town owns this site and has spent over $3 million dollars on the Florence Mill complex. The Town would welcome development opportunities whereby it could transfer this property for a hotel, condominiums or commercial development.

Attachment Six, "Florence Mill Park," will become a major focal point for downtown. This site is immediately adjacent to the Florence Mill. Park construction is scheduled to be completed in the spring of 2018. The site will house an amphitheater, splash pads, outdoor plaza and water features.

Attachment Seven, "Rails to Trails," highlights some information on a former railroad that is being converted into a trail. The 13.5 mile rail trail will be completed in the fall of 2018. The trail and a trail head will be located immediately in front of the mill.

Attachment Eight, "Downtown Streetscape," highlights a downtown Streetscape plan that the Town will be considering in the future.

Attachment Nine, "History and Development of Florence Mill Site," explains the history of the Florence Mill site. "Florence Mill Photos" are also included in this attachment showing current photos in and around the Florence Mill property.

Attachment Ten, "Rutherford County Information," from the Rutherford County's Economic Development Department provides an overview of the County from the perspective of generally marketing toward business and industry. In addition, the Rutherford County Tourism Development Authority is working on developing a new strategic plan. We have provided some information on some local tourism numbers that reflect the positive nature of tourism in Rutherford County.

There are other businesses and events that drive room nights in Forest City. For example a Facebook official recently stated "we typically have at least 10 Facebook employee visitors onsite every week. This does not include contractors. Depending on the project, we can have 30+ onsite regularly. Average stay for our visitors is 3-4 nights. Construction is a totally different animal with 500+ construction workers from near and far on campus. Those far away may have rooms Monday-Friday for months at a time."

The Forest City Owls are a collegiate All-Star team that plays at McNair Field every summer from late May to early August. The owner of the Forest City Owls also stated "The Owls bring 30 players. The majority of whose parents visit for a 3 day minimum at least once. I would say we have 100 room nights covered."

The Town of Forest City would welcome your questions or request for additional information. In addition, we would welcome your visit to our community. Please contact Amy Bridges, Community and Downtown Development Manager,, 828-248-5200 or Janet Mason, City Manager,, 828-245-4747.