SAS building

SAS Industries, a New York-based seal and gasket manufacturer, recently started production in the last unoccupied building at the Pasquotank Commerce Park. SAS purchased the 41,000-square-foot building in March for almost $1.6 million.

A New York-based seal and gasket manufacturer recently started production in the last unoccupied building at the Pasquotank Commerce Park.

SAS Industries purchased the 41,000-square-foot building in March for almost $1.6 million, according to county officials. The building, which sits on seven acres, was formerly occupied by security services training company Blackwater, which is now known as Academi and based in Moyock.

“This is really good for the community,” said Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Economic Development Commission Director Christian Lockamy of SAS’ move to the Commerce Park. “It’s a new company with new jobs and new taxes that saw our assets here.”

Board of Commissioners Vice-Chairman Lloyd Griffin, who chairs the Economic Development Commission, said SAS fits the profile of businesses that the commission seeks to attract.

“This fits our target sector which is aviation,” Griffin said. “It’s great when we have companies willing to move to northeastern North Carolina and hopefully more will follow.”

SAS Industries employs five people at the facility. The building features 33,500 square feet of manufacturing space and six office spaces.

“It occupies a building that had been vacant for a very long time out there,” said Board of Commissioners Chairman Jeff Dixon said. “I think that business can grow.”

A statement on SAS’ website posted in June said the company has invested “heavily” in new equipment for the facility.

“Our new facility is four times larger than our Manorville, N.Y. facility,” the statement said. “Since its purchase, we have been working on renovating it and have done a complete facelift on the offices and provided both cosmetic and climate improvements to the manufacturing portion.”

The SAS building was originally constructed as a shell building and Dixon, who is not seeking re-election, said he would like county to explore that option again.

An industrial shell building is basically four walls with a roof and the needed utility hookups. This allows a business or manufacturer to customize the interior and open in a shorter period of time.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Pasquotank commissioners agreed in February to allow Lockamy to start exploring the possibility of the county constructing a “shell building” at the park.

“That was a shell building that the county did with another partner a long time ago,” Dixon said of the SAS building. “I’ve always been for that and hopefully down the road as we get in better financial shape ... maybe future boards will take a look at it. All the cities around us, like Greenville and Wilson, they do it and they are very successful. If you want to play in that game, you have to do it.”