By Jennifer Woodford
Economic development is many times designated to city and county governments. Lynne Scott Safrit, president of Castle and Cooke, LLC North Carolina, knows that local business also hold the keys to ensuring a prosperous economy.
As one of the leading business women in the area, Safrit has ridden the ups-and-downs of the local economy for over 30 years. A native of Kannapolis, she graduated from South Rowan High School and Catawba College in Salisbury. Her career began at Cannon Mills in the 1980s. Throughout her career, she has managed real estate for David H. Murdock, including the development of the NC Research Campus (NCRC) in Kannapolis.
“People think of the NCRC as if it is going to be a driver of the local economy,” said Safrit, who holds an MBA from UNC Charlotte and is finishing her doctorate in Public Health Leadership at UNC Chapel Hill. “I know the vision isn’t complete, but we are an economic driver already.”
Over one million square feet of Class A laboratory and office space has been constructed. More than 600 jobs are already associated with the campus. The amount of space and the number of jobs is increasing with the opening of the NCRC Medical Plaza last August that houses Carolinas Healthcare System, and the upcoming construction of the DataChambers data center and Kannapolis City Hall.
“Space and jobs are only the beginning of our impact,” Safrit insisted. Leases are up downtown by 30 percent.”
Windcourse Technologies and Kosmic Kicks are two businesses that recently located in downtown Kannapolis along side campus partners the MURDOCK Study, NC State University Industrial Extension and Sensory Spectrum.
Year-round events are another downtown draw. They include conferences like the Kannapolis Scholars seminar on lifespan nutrition, annual concerts in the park, festivals and a new farmers market on Thursdays through October at 4 pm at Vance Street and Dale Earnhardt Boulevard.
“Choosing to anchor our local economy in modern technology and science is a key to spurring new business and jobs. We are and will continue to reap the benefits from that investment,” Safrit said, “But another key is the investment in our small businesses and cultural events. I’m thankful that the NCRC is helping to unlock those economic opportunities as well.”
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Jennifer Woodford is with NCRC Marketing.