The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in losses of revenue for many businesses, but it hasn’t stopped efforts to bring new industries to Lee County.

The Sanford Area Growth Alliance has worked on 30 business recruiting projects between Jan. 1 and May 15, Bob Joyce, SAGA’s executive director of Economic Development, told the Lee County Board of Commissioners this week.

Of those, representatives from 18 of the projects contacted SAGA after Gov. Roy Cooper issued his stay-at-home order on March 27.

“Our project activity has been good despite the global pandemic and travel restrictions,” Joyce said.

That number is little less than the 43 projects that SAGA had worked on in the same period of 2019.

It includes 14 potential clients in the manufacturing sector, seven food and beverage businesses and five companies in the life sciences field, “which we’re really happy about,” Joyce said.

Life sciences saw big gains in the county in the past year with the expansion of Pfizer and the successful recruitment of Audentes Therapies earlier this year.

Three potential businesses are considering the Raleigh Executive Jetport off U.S. 1 in Sanford, Joyce said. SAGA has 10-plus acres at or near the jetport, he said.

Six projects would provide more than 450 jobs while two others would create 1,000 apiece, he said.

Three projects would bring more than $500 million in investment.

If the 30 prospective businesses and industries were to locate in Lee County, they would bring a total of 7,625 jobs and an investment of $2.6 billion, Joyce said.

“Obviously, we will not land all of these projects, but it does show strong activity,” he said.

Reach Assistant Editor Nancy McCleary at 919-718-1219.

Reach Assistant Editor Nancy McCleary at 919-718-1219.