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Apex tapped as new site for Ohio agtech company HQ

Ohio-based EnviroFlight is building a 30,000-square-foot headquarters and research and development center in Apex that is expected to employ 30 to 40 people. A groundbreaking for the $9 million center, located in Apex’s new industrial and business park Cash Corporate Center, is set for this month. The facility is expected to be operational early next year. The agricultural-technologies company turns insects into food for animals and fertilizer for crops.

State’s business leaders urge Pre-K expansion

Some of North Carolina’s most prominent CEOs want the state to expand pre-kindergarten enrollment and invest more money in training educators on how to teach reading to young students. The leaders from eight of North Carolina’s largest companies did not comment if they would support raising taxes to help fund their recommendations, which come as politicians and educators are trying to figure out how to to deal with the impact of the COVID pandemic.

Doughnut chain with ties to Outer Banks sold to private equity investors

Duck Donuts, which emerged from North Carolina’s Outer Banks, has been sold to a private equity firm. NewSpring Franchise announced that it acquired the Pennsylvania-based brand with an assist from Free Fenix, a Charlotte firm that bills itself as a “hybrid venture company.” Duck Donuts has more than 100 locations across the U.S., including at least 21 in North Carolina.

Raleigh residents oppose proposed development near Crabtree Valley Mall

A five-acre, mixed-use residential complex, which would be four stories high near Crabtree Valley Mall with 250 units, is receiving pushback from numerous Raleigh residents. They have dubbed the project, planned at the intersection of Philcrest Dive and Lead Mine Road, “Lead Mine Tower.” In March, the Raleigh Planning Commission voted to recommend the project. The Raleigh City Council will review the vote on May 4.

Visionary Triangle chef bring French concept to Raleigh development

Giorgios Bakatsias, one of the Southeast’s most acclaimed restaurateurs, will introduce his new concept, called East End Bistrot, to $30 million adaptive reuse project East End Market in Raleigh. The new restaurant will have a romantic bistro-style atmosphere with gardens and will join other restaurants, shops and office spaces that are replacing an existing 67,400-square-foot warehouse in the neighborhood just east of Five Points. East End Bristrot will be Bakatsias’ 12th restaurant in the Triangle.

Wake Forest Baptist Health preps for construction of $450M care tower

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center’s $450 million care tower in Winston-Salem is expected to be completed by the end of 2025. It will include an upgraded emergency department, state-of-the-art operating rooms, enhanced adult intensive care units and an additional roof-top helipad. In March, the health care provider announced plans for a $30 million outpatient children’s center in the Triad, along with a second medical school campus in Charlotte scheduled for 2024.

Molson Coors makes an investment in Wilmington’s TRU Colors brewery

Wilmington local brewer TRU Colors received an undisclosed equity investment from Chicago-based Molson Coors, which will help the N.C. business accelerate its growth. It will involve distribution of TRU Colors’ new brew this summer. The Wilmington company led by George Taylor has about 65 employees, including 50 gang members, as part of a commitment to curb violence and promote community unity. Molson Coors will also advise the brewery on marketing and other strategies.



BioCryst wins key Japanese government approval

 Durham-based BioCryst Pharmaceuticals pharmaceutical is set to receive a $15 million payment from its Japanese partner after receiving approval for an oral drug intended to treat a swelling disorder. The  Japanese National Health Insurance System approved the addition of the company’s Orladeyo to its price list.  Torii Pharmaceutical of Japan partnered with BioCryst in November 2019 in a $44 million deal.

Fayetteville woman indicted for wire fraud

Stephanie Elliot, a 45-year-old from Fayetteville, has been accused of using fake names and business to secure government contracts for services ranging from military supplies to prison food without delivering the goods specified in the orders. Federal prosecutors argue that Elliot has instead used the money from the contracts for vacations and personal shopping. Elliot has been indicted on 26 counts of wire fraud and has secured $2.2 million over more than a decade of fraud, prosecutors allege.

Plastic manufacturer plots first North American operation in Gaston County

Polykemi AB, a Swedish manufacturer of plastic compounds, will build its first U.S. production facility in the Gastonia Technology Park. The facility is estimated to cost $11.8 million and bring 22 new jobs with an average annual salary of $59,132. The company will receive a performance-based grant of $50,000 from the One North Carolina Fund and a matching grant from the local government if job and capital targets are met.

Nutrition firm considers Winston-Salem for 260-job project

An unnamed vitamin company is considering Winston-Salem for a headquarters and manufacturing plant that would add 260 jobs over the next few years, city officials says. The company may be offered $265,000 from the city council with other potential incentives from county and state sources. The Whitaker Park business center is being contemplated for the project, which entails more than $20 million of investment.

Private equity firm may bid more than $750M for Fayetteville utilities

According to a confidential document, Bernhard Capital Partners’s proposal to manage Fayetteville’s water, sewer and electric utilities could provide more than $750 million to the city through a 30-year concession agreement, according to a document obtained by The Raleigh News & Observer.  It refers to a 30-year concession agreement between the Baton Rouge, La.-based private equity firm and the state’s sixth-biggest city. Bernhard Capital’s Jeff Jenkins says that the $750 million figure is outdated and probably understated.

Charlotte transit agency may add $900,000 electric buses

The Charlotte Area Transit System is looking to partner with Duke Energy to put 18 electric buses on the road by 2022 in a pilot program. CATS has committed to buying six buses for $7.4 million, while . buying another 12 buses at an average price of $900,000 would cost $10.8 million. Councilor Julie Eiselt says she expects federal subsidies to cover 80% of the project’s cost.

Charlotte YMCA gets $18M from MacKenzie Scott

The YMCA of Greater Charlotte received $18 million from billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott to help address poverty, health disparities and economic mobility. Scott, the ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, announced the gift last year, but the YMCA didn’t disclose the amount until recently. More than a dozen other N.C. institutions received money from Scott, including $45 million for N.C. A&T State University and $30 million for Winston-Salem State University.

Big Golden Corral franchisee files for reorganization

Platinum Corral, Golden Corral’s second largest franchisee, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization and is closing 16 of its 28 locations. The Jacksonville-based company owns franchisees of the buffet restaurant chain in several states. The bankruptcy lists debts at nearly $50 million. Raleigh-based Golden Corral is the nation’s largest buffet operator.

Gusmer plans $38M site in Catawba County

New Jersey-based Gusmer Enterprises plans to invest $38 million in a new 135,000-square-foot plant at Trivium Corporate Center in Hickory and add 73 jobs over the next few years. The average salary will be about $44,000. The company makes liquid filtration and fermentation products for beer, wine and other industries.

Raleigh’s Pryon makes list of 100 promising AI companies

Artificial intelligence startup Pryon was named as one of 100 of the world’s most promising AI companies out of 6,000 applicants, according to market research company. They were the only North Carolina company to make the list. The company was founded in 2017 and released its first product, a natural language processing platform, in February. Former IBM manager Igor Jablokov, a UNC Charlotte MBA graduate, is the company’s CEO.

Robeson County wood processing plant to open

Forestry management company Active Energy Group’s Lumberton wood pellet burning plant is set to begin operations in the coming week. The facility, called Active Energy Renewable Power, will be the base of the United Kingdom-based company’s biomass processing operations. Active Energy says that their product, CoalSwitch, reduces CO2 emissions by replacing coal with wood. Environmentalists criticize the use of lumber to create energy.

Housing demand far exceeds supply in Fayetteville, Jacksonville, Realtors say

According to the National Association of Realtors, Jacksonville and Fayetteville have an unusually low supply of available homes for sale relative to demand, ranking among the top five nationally by that measure. Jacksonville and Fayetteville have pending sales-to-active supply ratios of 5:1 and 4.6:1, respectively. Any ratio above 1 means that on any given day, demand is higher than available supply. Greenville also ranks in the top ten nationally with a ratio of 3.8.

CorVista Health raises $65M to battle heart disease

CorVista Health has closed a $65 million Series C round. Jointly based in Cary and Toronto, Ontario, the company formerly known as Analytics 4 Life plans to use the funds to fuel the development and commercialization of its non-invasive diagnostic system to assess for heart disease. The new funding brings the total amount raised to nearly $100 million.

Dynamic Quest purchases Alabama IT company

Greensboro-based managed-service provider Dynamic Quest acquired Alabama’s IT 4 the Planet. Financial details were not disclosed. Founded by chief executive Javier Gomez in 2000, Dynamic offers information technology and cloud services to enterprises and businesses, and has satellite offices in Winston-Salem, Cary, Atlanta, and Clark, Philippines.

Charlotte officials plan additional analysis for Silver Line light-rail project

Mayor Vi Lyles says Queen City business leaders are willing to foot half the tab for an economic development study to help determine how best to route a proposed light-rail line through downtown Charlotte. The Silver Line would span 26 miles east to west and is one of the cornerstone projects in a proposed transit and mobility expansion estimated to cost $8 billion to $12 billion.

Triangle, Charlotte developers team up to tackle Garner industrial project near Amazon distribution hub

Raleigh developer HM Partners and Charlotte developer Beacon Partners have announced plans for Beacon Commerce Park in Garner, across the street from the Amazon distribution center, calling for more than 670,000 square feet of industrial space in two phases. The first phase is expected to begin in the next few weeks, and the second phase will start next year.

Duke Energy, Wells Fargo, NextEra Energy Resources join forces on major solar expansion

Duke Energy’s Green Source Advantage in North Carolina continues its success at helping large energy users expand solar energy. Wells Fargo is the latest customer, joining the city of Charlotte, Duke University and Bank of America, among other previous users. Wells Fargo will purchase more than 58 megawatts of solar capacity from the Blackburn Solar project in Catawba County; the plant will be developed, owned and operated by a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources and is expected to come online in 2022, offsetting about 50% of the bank’s energy usage in N.C.

Cone Health names new operating, clinical officers

As its merger with Sentara Health grows closer, Cone Health named Mandy Eaton as chief operating officer and Marlon Priest as chief clinical officer. Eaton will oversee the day-to-day operations of Cone Health and its 13,000 employees, while Priest will be responsible for clinical operations that saw more than 840,000 patient visits last year. The merger, expected to be completed by mid-2021, will create an organization of 17 hospitals and $11 billion in assets.

Trio of Raleigh real estate veterans unveils major development in Oberlin community

After 15 years of planning, a group of longtime Raleigh developers and real estate firms is moving ahead with plans for a new residential community on Oberlin Road. Grubb Ventures, Williams Realty & Building Co. and Clancy & Theys Construction announced makeover plans for Budleigh East, on the site of the existing Country Club Homes community. Plans for the 20-acre site include 23 single-family homes, 73 townhomes and condominiums, 14 cottages, a four-story apartment building and a retirement community.

Bank of America ups climate-related financial commitment to $1 trillion by 2030

Charlotte-based Bank of America says the $1 trillion pledge is the industry’s largest environmental financial commitment to date. The initiative focuses on a variety of efforts including low-carbon energy, energy efficiency, transportation, water conservation, and land use and waste. Since launching the initiative in 2007, BofA has put more than $200 billion into climate-related efforts.

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