Selling his family farm was no easy decision for Dan Hunsucker.
Hunsucker Farms started with a homestead and about 80 acres in 1926. From there it expanded to what it is now: about 500 acres. The family has grown and harvested crops, bred cattle and ran a dairy farm on the land for decades.
More recently, much of the family land in Conover off Interstate 40 is rented out to others. The Hunsuckers run a smaller farm on the original homestead and a separate family property in Claremont.
And for the past 10 years, Hunsucker, 60, has been thinking about the farmland’s future.
“I’ve been trying to come up with an exit strategy or a retirement and these things don't happen overnight,” Hunsucker said.
When he was approached last year by California-based commercial real estate firm CBRE Group to market and sell the property for industrial and residential development, Hunsucker faced the question head on. He ultimately decided it was time — though he plans to hold on to the 80 original acres and the family home.
“It’s been really stressful for me because this is part of my family and it’s heritage so to speak,” he said. “I’ve carried it around on my shoulders this whole past year trying to decide — is this the right thing to do? Is this the wrong thing to do?”
Now is the right time, though COVID-19 has changed some things, Hunsucker said. When he agreed to the sale last year, the economy was booming and there was more talk of bringing manufacturing jobs back to the United States, making his 265 acres of industrial-zoned property perfect for the opportunity. The pandemic has affected the economy, but several developers are already interested, Hunsucker said.
Just how long it will take to sell and develop the land will depend on the market, he said. There are 15 different parcels for sale, the largest is 129 acres of single-family residential land off Rock Barn Road north of I-40. The lots vary in zoning, including general manufacturing, neighborhood business, single family, multi family and highway business.
CBRE sees a variety of potential uses for the land, including retail, hospitality, office, multifamily, residential and industrial park projects, according to a press release. The proximity to the Charlotte area and the Rock Barn Country Club and Manufacturing Solutions Center makes the land desirable, the release said.
Hunsucker hopes to help the local economy and Conover grow, he said.
“It was not an easy decision and it’s not like I’m just out chasing money — I just thought it was a good thing to do,” he said.
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