Statewide: Triangle region, September 2014

 In 2014-09

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A road well traveled
Two roads diverged in the woods — and Wilson County took both. On July 1, it paid $25,000 to join the Research Triangle Regional Partnership, the economic-development agency that now markets and recruits business for 16 counties. It will remain a member of the 13-county NCEast Alliance, following the lead of Nash and Edgecombe counties, which joined the Triangle-based group last year. “You can’t have enough partners,” says Jennifer Lantz, executive director of Wilson Economic Development Council. Historically, tobacco and manufacturing dominated Wilson’s economy, but those industries have shrunk, and overall employment has flatlined over the past decade, at about 36,000. The county’s population increased 42% between 1970 and 2012, less than a third the pace of nearby Johnston and Franklin counties, which abut Wake. One bright spot is the pharmaceutical industry, which employs about 1,000 in Wilson. Sandoz — part of Basel, Switzerland-based drugmaker Novartis International — and Whitehouse Station, N.J.-based Merck both have plants there. “Wilson County brings a great deal to our region’s economic-development program,” Research Triangle President and CEO Charles Hayes said in a statement. “Its flourishing life-sciences companies, impressive manufacturing base, smart workforce and infrastructure-rich properties all fit comfortably with the Research Triangle Region’s brand.”
The Research Triangle Regional Partnership has expanded from 13 to 16 counties over the last year.

Briefs

OXFORDIdeal Fastener, the second-largest zipper manufacturer in the world, will invest more than $5.7 million and create 155 jobs at its plant here. Founded in New York in 1936, it moved its manufacturing headquarters here in 1966. Ideal employs more than 3,500 worldwide, including 226 locally. The new jobs will pay an average annual wage of about $35,000, lower than Granville County’s $37,511. The company could receive more than $1.3 million in state grants if it meets job-creation goals.

DUNNNew Century Bancorp, holding company of New Century Bank, acquired the Greenville-based parent of Select Bank & Trust for $29.2 million. The combined bank, called Select Bank, will have $805 million of assets and 14 branches in central and eastern North Carolina.

DURHAMbioMérieux will invest more than $48 million and add 44 jobs to the 630 at its U.S. headquarters here. The biotechnology company, based in Marcy l’Etoile, France, provides in vitro diagnostic services to prevent the spread of infectious diseases including hepatitis and HIV. Average pay for the jobs will be about $50,000, less than Durham County’s $56,842. The company will receive a grant from the One North Carolina Fund of up to $220,000 if it meets job targets.

RALEIGHMerz North America will move its headquarters from High Point to a new 60,000-square-foot building here by June 2015. The subsidiary of Frankfurt-based Merz Pharma Group will hire 50 employees and relocate as many as 200 from High Point. The company develops and sells treatments for dermatological and neurological conditions.

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