Greensboro: Please provide all documents and communications involving Robbie Perkins, and/or Andy Scott and Zack Matheny, with Mike Solomon since the beginning of 2012.
Guilford County: Please provide all documents and communications involving any members of Guilford County's commissioners or employees with Mike Solomon since the beginning of 2012.
Greensboro: Please provide the contract for the study on Guilford County's Prison Farm paid for by the City of Greensboro.
Greensboro and Guilford County: Please provide what Realtors who have any contracts to buy or sell any of the privately owned properties identified in the proposal.
Greensboro and Guilford County: Please provide documentation of whether or not any of the privately owned properties are under contract.
Greensboro and Guilford County: Please provide documentation of any communications between Greensboro and Guilford County and the identified properties Realtors or owners.
Please provide the economic feasability study cited below.
Remember David Hagan walking with $590,000 of taxpayer money on a deal like this?
Billy Jones: Public Information Request: Project Haystack
"Project Haystack: Hard to keep a straight face
N&R front-pager on the history of Project Haystack, the effort to transform the Guilford County prison farm into taxpayer-funded data center park.
Interesting the N&R —surely someone down there remembers— (the Rhino’s John Hammer sure did) — didn’t mention that consultant Mike Solomon was also a front on the effort to bring Major League Baseball (the Twins supposedly would bail out of Minneapolis) to Greensboro, an effort that “went down in flames when the tax to pay for the stadium went before voters,” a factoid that might call into question the N&R’s description of Solomon as a “hard-nosed realist.”
"...the City of Greensboro hired Richmond-based site development consulting firm Timmons Group Inc., and paid the company $53,000 to study the Prison Farm area – land which is about 10 miles outside of the Greensboro city limits.
Michael Solomon, who’s heading up the project for Timmons Group, spoke at the meeting, as did, Michael Fahey of CBRE, one of the world’s largest real estate companies.
Greensboro Assistant City Manager Andy Scott, who had been working with Timmons Group on the matter, also spoke at the meeting.
...the only known money spent on it is the $53,000 the City of Greensboro has paid without the knowledge or approval of the Greensboro City Council..."
‘Project Haystack’ gaining speed after 2-year journey
"Mike Solomon first took a hard look at the land more than two years ago.
Solomon was a consultant for the region’s economic development group, the Piedmont Triad Partnership, and is a project manager for Timmons Group, a Richmond, Va.-based company that provides engineering services to evaluate and plan developments of all sizes.
...During an interview earlier this week, Solomon said he couldn’t let his presentation to Powell end without mentioning one more thing: “Look what I found at the prison farm.”
Solomon had one thought: data centers. Lots of data centers.
“On his own nickel, he started going up and down the East Coast,” Greensboro Mayor Robbie Perkins said. “The more people he talked to, the more he realized what we could put there.”
In 2012, Andy Scott, the assistant Greensboro city manager for economic development, began taking a key role in coordinating the research.
He began tentative talks with officials in Alamance and Burlington about sharing utilities.
As Guilford County Manager Marty Lawing puts it, Greensboro has excess sewage capacity and Burlington has excess water capacity — the perfect combination of cooperation.
At the same time, Solomon quietly was shopping Sellers’ ideas to other experts in the data-center development business.
A hard-nosed realist, Solomon asked each contact to shoot straight. He wanted one of two statements from each: “Mike, you’re crazy. Don’t waste your time,” or “This has real merit.”
With unanimous support, Solomon, Scott, Perkins, Guilford County commissioners Chairwoman Linda Shaw and others started setting things in motion.
With Shaw’s leadership, Solomon said, they asked Gensler to create a master plan.
Timmons assessed the quality of utilities on the site, and Greensboro prepared an economic impact statement along with two development lawyers from Womble Carlyle.
The “visioning session” in 2013 was a part of that work, Solomon said.
Shaw, Lawing, Perkins, Greensboro City Councilman Zack Matheny, a representative of Gov. Pat McCrory’s office, representatives of Sheriff BJ Barnes, officials from Burlington, Alamance County, Gibsonville and other towns joined the four-hour meeting led by Sellers.
Within a month of that meeting, Shaw and Lawing met with McCrory in the county offices to explain the plan.
In early October, a smaller group that included Shaw and Perkins drove to Raleigh to brief Sharon Decker, the state secretary of commerce.
During that meeting, Solomon said the most important thing Decker said was this: “We want this region to be the technology corridor of the state.”
Greensboro identifies four prime sites for economic development projects
"Assistant City Manger Andy Scott said that the city needs to adopt a “front desk” philosophy, so that everyone working for the city takes economic development into consideration as they do their jobs and promote the city.
From a site development standpoint, the city has narrowed a list of 70 sites down to 16, and then identified the top four sites. The city has $4.5 million in economic development bond funding that the Greensboro City Council is considering using to create a “shovel-ready site” that’s ready for development.
The sites were analyzed by Mike Solomon of The Timmons Group of Greensboro, who also used developers from outside the area to analyze the sites."
"We will set aside individual interests for the interests of the clients and communities that we serve. We will look beyond short-term personal interests in deference to the long-term best interests of our organizations. We will stretch across organizational lines to bring the resources of the firm at large to bear on the challenges entrusted to us by our clients."
Mike Solomon is not a member of the leadership group of Timmons
"Solomon with The Timmons Group said the Project Haystack team has been in conversations with Burlington and Greensboro regarding an estimated $15 million water supply line extension from Burlington that would create a 5 million gallon per day capacity and a $20.1 million sewer line extension from Greensboro that would generate a 7 million gallon per day capacity.
And the economic feasibility study shows that, if Project Haystack is fully built out, it could generate $39.1 million in state and local tax revenue.
Now that the Guilford County Commissioners have voted to move forward, Solomon said the Project Haystack team can begin conversations with landowners, which should take about six months, as well as start the work to form a nonprofit entity and an interlocal agreement."