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Greensboro’s Unifi CEO resigns

Unifi CEO and Executive Chairman Kevin Hall resigned effective immediately. Hall was appointed as CEO in May 2017. Albert P. Carey, a non-executive chairman and CEO of PepsiCo North America, was appointed executive chairman and Thomas H. Caudle Jr., president and chief operating officer, will serve as principal executive officer of the Greensboro-based manufacturer. Head of Human Resources and Executive Vice President John D. Vegas announced he would leave the company March 1 last month. Executive Vice President and CFO Jeffrey C. Ackerman resigned in December.

Demand for software developers in N.C. jumps 73% from last year

Demand for software developers in the state has skyrocketed by nearly 73% since last year, according to a report from the N.C. Technology Association. N.C. employers are looking to hire nearly 30,000 people in the information technology industry, including nearly 7,000 software developers. The skills most in demand are Java, software development, structured query language, Linux, Python and JavaScript.

Two N.C. solar farms sold to big New Jersey utility for $65M

German renewable energy manufacturer BayWa r.e. Construction sold two solar energy farms in Warren and Halifax counties to PSEG Solar Source for $65 million. Both farms have a 10-year power purchase agreement with Virginia Electric Power Co. PSEG Solar Source, owned by Newark, N.J.-based electric utility Public Service Enterprise Group, has 25 solar plants, including eight in North Carolina.

Judge restricts mining at RDU quarry

A judge temporarily restricted Wake Stone Corp. to exploratory drilling on the 105-acre tract of land the company is leasing from the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority. The authority approved a 25-year lease with Wake Stone earlier this month to use the land as a quarry. The Umstead Coalition, which advocates for the nearby state park, sued the airport, arguing the lease is invalid and the governments that appoint members to the authority should have final approval on the lease.

250-house development planned for Wilson

Windjam Properties is planning to build 250 single-family homes and townhomes at the 1158 Place development in Wilson near the intersection of Airport Boulevard and Raleigh Road Parkway. The project was approved earlier this month by Wilson’s planning board and still needs approval from City Council. It will be Wilson’s largest housing development since the Great Recession. The new homes will be priced for as much as $300,000.

Dole eyes Charlotte for potential HQ

California-based produce giant Dole Food Company is moving a few top executives to Charlotte. The California-based produce giant hasn’t made the Queen City its corporate headquarters, but a construction permit for a project dubbed “Dole Headquarters” was recently filed for downtown Charlotte. The company opened the Dole Nutrition Institute at the North Carolina Research Campus in neighboring Kannapolis in 2003 and makes salads at a plant in Bessemer City.

Novant buys south Charlotte farmland for $21M for proposed hospital

Winston-Salem based health-care system Novant Health purchased a $21 million plot of land, where it may build a hospital in south Charlotte’s Ballantyne neighborhood. The proposed 161,000-square-foot Ballantyne Medical Center would include 36 beds, two general operating rooms, an emergency department and a helipad. Novant plans to invest $154 million in the project that, if approved, would open in 2023.

Goldsboro’s BBQ restaurant Wilber’s closes

Well-known Goldsboro barbecue restaurant Wilber’s closed due to nonpayment of taxes. The restaurant owes $70,647 in sales and use taxes and an additional $5,663 in property taxes for the 2018 period.The former Hill’s Barbecue was purchased by Wilber Shirley in 1962 and renamed Wilber’s and was popular for its vinegar-based sauce and heaping portions. Shirley plans to reorganize and reopen with reduced hours.

ECU Chancellor Cecil Staton expected to resign

East Carolina University Chancellor Cecil Staton is expected to announce his resignation later today, according to a report from The Reflector. Staton will leave the chancellor’s post on May 3, then stay until June 30 to advise his interim successor and UNC System Interim President Bill Roper, according to a document received by the Carolina Journal website. Staton has served as chancellor since 2016.

Greensboro approves incentives to woo Centric Brands’ 213 jobs

The city of Greensboro has approved $426,000 in incentives to persuade Centric Brands to potentially create 213 jobs with an average salary of $54,014 in downtown Greensboro by June 30, 2022. The New York-based apparel company must also invest $2 million into a space at Gateway Center to qualify for incentives. Centric is also considering Los Angeles and New York for the project.

Senate bill calls for Catawba Indian-owned casino in Kings Mountain

A new bill introduced in the U.S. Senate by S.C. Senator Lindsey Graham and co-sponsored by N.C. Senators Thom Tillis and Richard Burr pushes to put land off I-85 into a trust for the Catawba Indian Tribe for the construction of a casino in Kings Mountain. The 1.8 million-square-foot project would include a casino and hotel  and would employ 5,000, according to Catawba officials. The tribe  submitted an application for land trust and casino rights in Sept. 2014 with the U.S. Department of the Interior. The Cherokee tribe, which operates a casino in western North Carolina, opposes the Senate bill.

Court gives Sandy Hook parents OK to sue Remington

Connecticut’s Supreme Court has given families of the victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre the green light to sue Madison-based Remington Arms Co. over its marketing of military-style Bushmaster weapons, according to a report from Bloomberg. The court ruled that families could sue for “wrongful” marketing under a state unfair-trade-practice law. Remington emerged from bankruptcy in May after converting more than $775 million in debt into equity.

Demark’s Xellia Pharamceuticals ditches Raleigh as U.S. HQ

Denmark-based Xellia pharmaceuticals is transferring its U.S. HQ from Raleigh to Buffalo Grove, Ill., a suburb of Chicago. Xellia sold its Raleigh manufacturing plant to Illinois-based Sagent Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Tokyo’s generic-medicine manufacturer Nichi-Iko Pharmaceutical Co., for $8 million. Sagent will continue to produce some products for Xellia at the site, and Xellia’s 120 workers will be offered jobs with Sagent. Nichi-Iko Pharmaceutical had sales of $1.5 billion last fiscal year.

N.C. craft brewers reach agreement with state’s wholesalers

North Carolina craft brewers can double the amount of barrels they can distribute without going through the state’s wholesale distributors, according to an agreement approved by representatives of the two groups. The move follows a two-year battle in which craft brewers argued that their growth was inhibited by state law and the strong political influence of the wholesalers. The new Craft Beer Distribution & Modernization Act creates a new category of “mid-sized independent breweries” and permits as much as 50,000 barrels of self-distribution. N.C. craft brewers have an estimated annual economic impact of $1.2 billion.

Hemp oil production facility opens in Wilson

Criticality LLC, which manufactures industrial hemp used for cannabidoil hemp oil extraction, opened a new 55,000-square-foot facility in Wilson. The Hobgood-based firm currently employs 18 at the location, but plans to add 70 more over than the five years with an average annual salary of $44,000. The facility will process hemp grown in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Kentucky and Colorado.

N.C. beer, wine distributor Barringer buys Raleigh property for $13M

Greensboro-based R.H. Barringer purchased the R.A. Jeffreys distribution center in Raleigh for $13 million, making it the largest beer and wine wholesaler in the state. R.A. Jeffreys Distributing, based in Goldsboro, sold its other properties to Charlotte’s Adams Beverages of NC and Rocky Mount’s Carolina Eagle Distributing. Jeffrey was the fifth largest distributor of Anheuser-Busch products.

RTP’s Fennec Pharma stock falls 12% after reporting fourth-quarter loss

Fennec Pharmaceuticals Inc.’s stock dropped 12% Wednesday after reporting a net loss of $3 million, or 15 cents per share, in the fourth quarter, up from a net loss of $2.3 million, or 15 cents per share, in the fourth quarter of 2017. The Research Triangle Park-based company is focusing on its signature drug Pedmark, which prevents the risk of hearing loss that can result during the treatment of hepatoblastoma.

JPMorgan Chase plans retail branches in Triangle, Charlotte

New York-based financial firm JPMorgan Chase is adding an undisclosed number of bank branches in the Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham area as part of a expansion in nine major metropolitan markets. The bank plans to open 90 new branches in new markets national and hire up to 700 by the end of the year. Chase’s first N.C. retail branches will be in Chapel Hill and Raleigh. Chase also plans branches in Greenville, S.C., Minneapolis, Nashville, Pittsburgh and St. Louis.

Raleigh rolls out city-run bikeshare program

Raleigh is rolling out a city-run bikeshare program, Citrix Cycle, downtown and around university campuses starting this weekend. The bikes will be available at docking stations around the city where they must be returned at the end of a ride. Thirteen stations with 100 bikes will be available this weekend for the system’s “soft launch.” A single 45-minute ride will cost $2.

Appalachian Theatre slated to open by end of summer

Appalachian Theatre of the High Country in downtown Boone is expected to open by the end of the summer after undergoing nearly two years of renovations. Construction on the theater has already been financed, but officials say startup costs for the first three years will likely add up to $1.2 million. Gov. Roy Cooper has suggested a $1 million grant for the theater to assist with startup costs in his proposed $25.2 billion biennium budget. Appalachian Theatre, which opened in 1938, has been closed since 2007.

BCBSNC, Oregon-based insurer Cambia to merge

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is merging with Oregon-based Cambia Health Solutions, combining corporate management, administrative and operational services under the Cambia name. The alliance will cover around six million customers and have a combined revenue of $16 billion. BCBSNC CEO Patrick Conway will become CEO of the new entity. Mark Ganz, the current CEO of Cambia, will become the executive chair of the board of directors, and the headquarters of merged firms will be split between Durham and Portland, Ore.

UNC Rex Healthcare breaks ground on Holly Springs hospital

UNC Rex Healthcare will begin construction this week on a $136 million seven-story, 50-bed hospital in Holly Springs. Construction is expected to be completed in 2021 and will include in-patient beds, labor and delivery, operation rooms for surgery and a 24-hour emergency department. The new hospital will create up to 300 jobs including physicians, nurses and mechanical services.

NC jobless rate ticks up slightly in January

The unemployment rate in North Carolina rose slightly in January to 3.8%, still lower than the national unemployment rate of 4%. The December unemployment rate for the state was 3.7%. The leisure and hospitality industry posted the biggest gains, adding 9,000 jobs in January. Education and health services added 7,200 jobs, and construction added 6,200 jobs.

Former Heritage Home Group HQ sold for $4M

Winston-Salem developer Eastchester Storage LLC purchased the former Heritage Home Group headquarters in High Point for $4 million. The property was rezoned to accommodate the conversion of the two story, 94,760-square-foot building into a self-storage facility. HHG sold its affiliated businesses last year after filing for bankruptcy protection in July.

CEO of BB&T affiliate Sheffield to retire

Jack Snow, CEO of BB&T Corp. affiliate Sheffield Financial, will retire April 1. Snow has worked in the financial-services industry for more than three decades. Winston-Salem-based BB&T purchased Sheffield, which provides financing for motorcycles, snowmobiles and other outdoor power equipment, in Aug. 1997. Sheffield President Jeffrey McKay will succeed him.

EnPro taps Riley to succeed Macadam as CEO

EnPro Industries named Marvin Riley as its next chief executive officer, effectuve with the July retirement of current CEO Stephen Macadam. Riley, 44, has served as executive vice president and chief operating officer since July 2017. The Charlotte-based firm manufactures sealing products, metal polymer and filament wound bearings, components and service for compressors and diesel and dual-fuel engines.

Chief operating officer resigns at Raleigh’s BMC Stock Holdings

BMC Stock Holdings Inc. Chief Operating Officer Mike McGaugh resigned. He has served as COO and executive vice president since Feb. 2017. The Raleigh building supply company, which eliminated the position after McGaugh’s departure, had $3.7 billion in sales in 2018. CEO Dave Flitman said the company wanted to “flatten the organizational structure,” according to a press release.

 

Report: Greensboro-High Point one of top metros for economic development

The Greensboro-High Point area is ranked among the top 10 similarly-sized metros in the U.S. for economic development, according to Atlanta-based Site Selection magazine. The area, which ranked No. 8 on the list, had 24 projects and has made the top 10 list every year since 2006. The other areas in the top 10 include Omaha, Neb.-Council Bluffs, Iowa; Dayton-Kettering, Ohio; Des Moines-West Des Moines, Iowa; Toledo, Ohio; Lincoln, Neb.; Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, Pennsylvania and New Jersey; Tulsa, Okla.; Lexington-Fayette, Ky.; Reno Nev.; and Savannah, Ga.

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