More details on history, future of Charlotte Pipe

Published 1:53 pm Friday, May 15, 2020

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

What had been talked about in code names and in closed sessions of economic development discussions by commissioners and others in Stanly became reality Tuesday.

Charlotte Pipe and Foundry issued a press release this week stating the company’s intentions to relocate its main foundry located in uptown Charlotte to a new location in Oakboro.

“Charlotte Pipe has always been committed to investments that will benefit our associates, our customers and our shareholders,” said Roddey Dowd, Jr., CEO of Charlotte Pipe in a prepared statement. “While our current location is providing all stakeholders with a solid platform to deliver outstanding results, a new foundry will allow a more efficient layout of our plant and equipment and give us the flexibility to expand to meet future needs. Our current site simply does not afford the opportunities for growth that we envision for Charlotte Pipe.”

The new business joining the Oakboro community has a long history of producing metal and plastic products dating back to the earliest days of the 20th century.

Charlotte Pipe and Foundry first opened in Charlotte in 1901 with 25 employees making cast iron soil pipe and fittings. Much of the factory became mechanized in the 1950s and added a plastics division in the following decade. The company also added an industrial plastics division in 1992.

Charlotte Pipe started on a 55-acre plot at 1128 S. Clarkson St., but eventually grew to include six more factories across the country, including 4210 Old Charlotte Highway in Monroe, Cameron (Texas), Wildwood (Florida), Muncy (Pennsylvania), Huntsville (Alabama) and Cedar City (Utah).

The uptown plot is located near Bank of America Stadium, home of the NFL’s Carolina Panthers. In a November 2019 press conference, Panthers owner David Tepper mentioned the possibility of building a new stadium on the site of the Charlotte Pipe factory.

The statement read in part, “As plant relocation details are finalized, senior management is evaluating a wide variety of options related to the 55 acres that comprise the current foundry location in uptown Charlotte.”

Hooper Hardison, president of Charlotte Pipe, addressed via written statement, the future of the land in Charlotte.

“We feel fortunate that the land area constitutes one of the largest contiguous tracts of land in an urban center in the nation and we see many exciting possibilities for the property,” Hardison said.

According to information on the company’s website, Charlotte Pipe is the only company making cast iron and plastic pipe and fittings, all made in the U.S.A. The company continues to produce the same products along with plumbing systems and other commercial castings.

Charlotte Pipe is finishing design and engineering work on the new plant along with finalizing contracts and permit applications.

“Site work could begin later this year and the new plant could be operating as early as the third quarter of 2023,” a press release read.

Stanly Reacts

The county office issued a press release as well regarding Charlotte Pipe’s announcement.

In the statement, Oakboro Mayor Joyce Little said the town was “extremely happy” to welcome Charlotte Pipe.

“We look forward to working with them as they transition to Oakboro and to the years going forward. This is such an exciting time for us. I am sure we will have a great working relationship as we both want what is best for the Town and Charlotte Pipe and Foundry,” Little said in the statement.

Matthew Swain, chairman of the Stanly County Board of Commissioners, expressed the board’s reaction to the company’s announcement.

“Charlotte Pipe’s investment and job creation will transform our local economy,” Swain said. “The multiplying effect of this investment will spur more private sector investments and further grow our economy. On behalf of the Board, we sincerely appreciate Charlotte Pipe’s decision and look forward to forging a strong public-private partnership to strengthen Stanly County’s economic position and workforce for many years to come.”

The commissioners and the county’s Economic Development Commission joined with Oakboro to extend gratitude to the state assembly, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, Secretary Anthony (Tony) Copeland and the North Carolina Department of Commerce, Rural Infrastructure Authority, the North Carolina Railroad, the North Carolina Community College System, Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, Duke Energy, Aberdeen Carolina & Western Railway, Golden Leaf Foundation, For Stanly, Inc., Piedmont Natural Gas and the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

EDC Chairman Cindy Beane said it was exciting for the EDC board to see the project come to fruition after the process of bringing the company to Stanly began several years ago.

“This will provide a huge boost to the economy of our community and surrounding counties, and will definitely improve our community pride and confidence,” Beane said. “It is an honor to welcome such a well-respected company to Stanly County.”

Daniel Furr, a Stanly resident who has worked at Charlotte Pipe for 27 years, said having a new factory in Oakboro “will be uplifting for our local economy while allowing growth for the company.”

Furr said many of the associates he works with at the company travel from Stanly, adding Charlotte Pipe is a family-oriented company.

“Since the 1940s most of my family has worked there and still do. After 27 years in myself, I’m looking forward to the much shorter trip,” Furr said.

About Charles Curcio

Charles Curcio has served as the sports editor of the Stanly News & Press for more than 16 years and has written numerous news and feature storeis as well. He was awarded the NCHSAA Tim Stevens Media Representative of the Year and named CNHI Sports Editor of the Year in 2014. He has also won an award from Boone Newspapers, and has won four North Carolina Press Association awards.

email author More by Charles