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Sunday, July 14, 2024

Global investors dominate 25 biggest job-creating projects

Foreign investment is flooding into North Carolina as Asian and European companies respond to state and federal policies promoting clean energy and domestic manufacturing, according to Business North Carolina’s annual report on the state’s largest job announcements.

The dominant player is Toyota, which disclosed plans for a large Randolph County plant in late 2021, then last year raised the ante to a projected $14 billion investment. It has hired more than 800 people in preparation for production starting next year of electric and hybrid batteries to be used across its lineup.

Eight of the 10 largest job announcements came from foreign enterprises, compared with five in BNC’s 2022 report and four in 2021. More investment may be on the way after the Biden administration in May quadrupled the tariff on Chinese-produced electric vehicles to 100%. The rate for foreign-made semiconductors, solar cells and needles and syringes is also rising to 50% this year.

Ready talent was commonly cited as a top factor in companies’ interest in the state, with several CEOs trumpeting their partnerships with N.C. universities and community colleges.

North Carolina also benefits from available land and buildings that have access to industrial-grade infrastructure. Many “megasites” have filled up as the state wins kudos as a top location for business. That is prompting leaders to seek developers for other sites with suitable land and buildings.

BNC’s annual list is based on job-creation projections for developments announced between June 1, 2023, and May 31. Details are gleaned from press releases, state reports and local media accounts. History shows many projects won’t meet their targets for jobs and investment, while some exceed their goals. State officials verify the companies’ job creation and capital spending before providing incentives.


1. TOYOTA MOTOR

Tokyo, Japan
NEW JOBS: 3,000
COUNTY: Randolph
PROJECTED INVESTMENT: $8 billion
N.C. CASH INCENTIVES: $315 million over 39 years, plus
$50 million more if certain job targets are hit
LOCAL INCENTIVES: $167 million

Landing a $14 billion investment from Toyota cinches North Carolina’s place in global auto manufacturing, given the Japanese company’s status as the world’s top-selling vehicle producer for the past four years. It has sold more than 10 million vehicles annually for nine of the past 10 years, with hybrids and fully electric models gaining market share compared with its gas-only products.

To meet demand, Toyota announced the second phase
of its proposed 7-million-square-feet manufacturing center launched 20 miles south of Greensboro in 2021. The expansion will add eight manufacturing lines to the two that Toyota previously announced, including capacity for hybrid vehicle batteries. It expects to eventually employ about
5,100 people in Randolph County.

Toyota is benefiting from its emphasis on hybrid vehicles, rather than promoting all-electric vehicles auto analysts say. Its sales in the U.S. soared 23% in the first three months of this year, aided by new hybrid versions of its Prius, Camry and Rav4 models.  EV leader Tesla, which doesn’t offer hybrids, reported a nearly 9% decline in deliveries, its first quarterly decrease since 2020. Hybrid, hydrogen-powered and battery-electric vehicles made up 36% of total Toyota sales in the first quarter. The company says it takes the same amount of battery resources to make one EV as it does to produce 90 hybrids because materials are so scarce.

Still, Toyota says it plans to offer 30 all-electric vehicles by 2030.

2. BOVIET SOLAR

Bac Giang City, Vietnam
NEW JOBS: 908
COUNTY: Pitt
PROJECTED INVESTMENT: $294 million
N.C. CASH INCENTIVES: $8.28 million over 12 years
LOCAL INCENTIVES: $18 million

The company is part of China’s publicly traded Boway Alloy, a material manufacturer. Boviet will make solar panels and photovoltaic cells for commercial, residential and industrial markets in the U.S. Its Greenville operations will span 1 million square feet in a vacant facility and newly constructed space.
Boviet considered 60 possible locations in nine states before picking finalists Greenville, Phoenix and Atlanta. The area’s modest cost of living, proximity to ports and highways, and skilled workforce helped Pitt County win its largest-ever
economic development project.

3. ROSS STORES

San Bruno, California
NEW JOBS: 852
COUNTY: Randolph
PROJECTED INVESTMENT: $450 million
N.C. CASH INCENTIVES: $7.61 million over 12 years
LOCAL INCENTIVES: $40 million

Not all of Randolph County’s recent wins involve batteries. In Randleman, near the junction of I-74 and U.S. 311, discount retailer Ross Stores plans 1.7 million square feet of distribution space. The company, founded in 1950, does business as Ross Dress for Less, operating 1,765 stores in the U.S. and Guam. Abundant available labor helped the community seal the deal. Last year, Klaussner Furniture shuttered its operations in the county, idling 884 workers.

4. FUJIFILM DIOSYNTH BIOTECHNOLOGIES

Tokyo, Japan
NEW JOBS: 680
COUNTY: Wake
PROJECTED INVESTMENT: $1.2 billion
N.C. CASH INCENTIVES: $14.99 million over 12 years
LOCAL INCENTIVES: $54.3 million

Just three years after announcing its initial $2 billion investment in Holly Springs, Fujifilm unveiled expansion plans for its large-scale cell culture manufacturing site there. Based in Denmark but part of a Japanese conglomerate, the company credited the community’s diverse talent pool, infrastructure and sustainable energy resources. The new jobs, which expand on the site’s existing payroll of about 700, are expected to pay an average annual wage of nearly $110,000.

5. SIEMENS ENERGY

Munich, Germany
NEW JOBS: 559
COUNTIES: Mecklenburg/Wake
PROJECTED INVESTMENT: $150 million
N.C. CASH INCENTIVES: $6.98 million over 12 years
LOCAL INCENTIVES: $5.4 million

Siemens Energy arrived in Charlotte in 1969 and employs about 1,200 at its turbine-manufacturing plant off Westinghouse Boulevard. The company’s expansion plans center on repurposing about 53,000 square feet of floor space to manufacture large power transformers. With long production lead times, the school bus-sized equipment is a key component of the nation’s electrical grid. The company’s engineering center in Raleigh expects to add 84 positions. Siemens had considered expanding a facility in Kansas for the project.

6. GREEN NEW ENERGY MATERIALS

Shenzhen, China
NEW JOBS: 545
COUNTY: Lincoln
PROJECTED INVESTMENT: $140 million
N.C. CASH INCENTIVES: $3.64 million over 12 years
LOCAL INCENTIVES: $2.5 million

Established in 2023, China’s Green New Energy Materials supplies lithium-ion battery components for electric vehicles, tools and industrial equipment. It maintains strategic partnerships with Tesla, Ford, LG and others. It is leasing a half million square feet at Lincoln Commèrce Center, its first U.S. site, with production slated to start next year.              

7. Crystal Window & Door SYSTEMS

Flushing, New York
NEW JOBS: 501
COUNTY: Johnston
PROJECTED INVESTMENT: $83.6 million
N.C. CASH INCENTIVES: $14.4 million over 12 years
LOCAL INCENTIVES: $3.7 million

A 43-acre site in Selma, 30 miles southeast of Raleigh, will house Crystal’s new plant. The company founded in 1990 supplies windows and doors to residential and commercial builders in 40 states. Local leaders credited recent investments in public infrastructure for landing Crystal, which plans to pay average annual wages of about $56,000. “Sound economic fundamentals are Selma’s secret sauce when it comes to job creation and prosperity,” Mayor Byron McAllister said.

8. EPSILON ADVANCED MATERIALS

Mumbai, India
NEW JOBS: 500
COUNTY: Brunswick
PROJECTED INVESTMENT: $650 million
N.C. CASH INCENTIVES: $3.44 million over 12 years
LOCAL INCENTIVES: $13.75 million

Proximity to southern U.S. automotive supply chains, along with community college training support, helped convince Epsilon to build a 1.5-million-square-foot synthetic graphite production facility at Mid-Atlantic Industrial Rail Park, about 18 miles from the Port of Wilmington. The material is a component of clean-energy batteries, enabling a faster, longer-lasting charge than natural graphite. The expansion caps off Southeastern North Carolina’s “near-port” economic development vision, which regional leaders launched 15 years ago to promote large sites within easy reach of the port.

9. SCHOTT PHARMA

Mainz, Germany
NEW JOBS: 401
COUNTY: Wilson
PROJECTED INVESTMENT: $371 million
N.C. CASH INCENTIVES: $4.94 million over 12 years
LOCAL INCENTIVES: $16.1 million

Wilson’s 587-acre corporate campus will be home to the country’s only manufacturing facility for prefillable polymer syringes for mRNA medications. Schott Pharma USA is a unit of Germany’s Schott Group, a 140-year-old specialty glassworks maker. The facility will triple the company’s syringe production by 2030, insulating medical supply chains from shipping disruptions and price spikes that occurred during the pandemic. Highway access and proximity to Research Triangle Park, which is 50 miles west, aided Wilson, which competed with Upstate South Carolina for the investment.

10. (TIE) BOSCH

Gerlingen, Germany
NEW JOBS: 400
COUNTY: Lincoln
PROJECTED INVESTMENT: $130 million
N.C. CASH INCENTIVES: $12.73 million over 12 years
LOCAL INCENTIVES: $4.4 million

Bosch has produced power tool accessories in Lincolnton since 1960. Its most recent expansion there, announced last June, will add more than 325,000 square feet of manufacturing, logistics and warehouse space. The project, which should be complete by next summer, represents Lincoln’s largest capital investment, according to the county’s economic development group. Germany’s Robert Bosch GmbH was founded in 1886 and employed about 429,000 globally as of Dec. 31.

10. (TIE) AMERIPRISE FINANCIAL

Minneapolis, Minnesota
NEW JOBS: 400
COUNTY: Mecklenburg
PROJECTED INVESTMENT: N/A
N.C. CASH INCENTIVES: N/A
LOCAL INCENTIVES: N/A

Ameriprise Financial, which runs a national network of investment, insurance and wealth-management businesses, opened a corporate office last year on two floors of downtown Charlotte’s Barings Building. Joe Sweeney, a senior Ameriprise executive, called Charlotte “a vibrant and growing city with a strong, diverse and talented workforce.” The company had hired about 150 people as of May. Owned by American Express starting in 1984, Ameriprise went public in 2005. It has more than $1 trillion of assets under management and a market cap of about $42 billion.

12. DAI NIPPON PRINTING

Tokyo, Japan
NEW JOBS: 352
COUNTY: Davidson
PROJECTED INVESTMENT: $233 million
N.C. CASH INCENTIVES: $2.74 million over 12 years
LOCAL INCENTIVES: $1.85 million

Dai Nippon Printing’s first U.S. manufacturing facility will produce lithium-ion battery casings for use in electric vehicles, laptops, tablets and smartphones. The company was founded in 1876 and will be I-85 Corporate Center’s second industrial resident, joining Austria’s Egger Wood Products. It has more than 30,000 corporate clients, ranking among the world’s largest printers.

13. PROKIDNEY

Winston-Salem
NEW JOBS: 330
COUNTY: Guilford
PROJECTED INVESTMENT: $458 million
N.C. CASH INCENTIVES: $5.4 million over 12 years
LOCAL INCENTIVES: $28.5 million

Veteran pharma industry executive Tim Bertram founded ProKidney in 2018. Its pioneering renal autologous cell therapy has the potential to preserve kidney function for high-risk patients. Chronic kidney disease affects about 75 million people in the United States and Europe and 400 million more in Asia. Last June, the company announced plans for a 210,000-square-foot site in Greensboro. The expansion was paused in November and Bertram was replaced as CEO by Dr. Bruce Cullerton, who joined the company several months earlier. ProKidney said it needs to address a quality management audit that identified some deficiencies.

14. HONDA AIRCRAFT

Greensboro
NEW JOBS: 280
COUNTY: Guilford
PROJECTED INVESTMENT: $55.7 million
N.C. CASH INCENTIVES: $3.4 million over 12 years
LOCAL INCENTIVES: $1.13 million

Last fall, the Japanese-owned company unveiled its newest light business jet, the seven-passenger HondaJet Echelon, which is expected to start flying in 2026 and be certified in 2028. Known previously as HondaJet 2600, the aircraft is designed to be the world’s first single-pilot light jet capable of nonstop transcontinental flight. The company’s expansion at PTI Airport will establish production lines for the Echelon, which is expected to cost about $10 million to $12 million, according to trade publications.

15. CLAYTON SUPPLY

Maryville, Tennessee
NEW JOBS: 263
COUNTY: Stanly
PROJECTED INVESTMENT: $46.6 million
N.C. CASH INCENTIVES: $2.06 million over 12 years
LOCAL INCENTIVES: $2.7 million

Owner Clayton Home Building Group is the nation’s largest builder of manufactured housing and modular homes. It is part of Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate. The New London site is about 40 miles from Charlotte, and the company will pay average salaries of nearly $59,400, well above the county’s overall $41,612 average. Clayton also makes homes in Rowan and Granville counties.

16. COMMSCOPE

Hickory
NEW JOBS: 250
COUNTY: Catawba
PROJECTED INVESTMENT: $60.3 million
N.C. CASH INCENTIVES: $1.9 million over 12 years
LOCAL INCENTIVES: $1.5 million over six years

CommScope, which has been making cable in Hickory for 45 years, is investing in a four-year expansion of production capacity to meet the nation’s strong demand for rural broadband access. Frank Drendel and Jearld Leonhardt started the company in 1976 and after several large acquisitions, it employs more than 20,000 people. Sales slumped to $5.8 billion last year, a 23% decline from 2022. 

17. FORGE NANO

Denver, Colorado
NEW JOBS: 204
COUNTY: Wake
PROJECTED INVESTMENT: $165 million
N.C. CASH INCENTIVES: $1.53 million over 12 years
LOCAL INCENTIVES: $3 million over five to eight years

Colorado-based Forge Nano applies atomic-scale coatings to boost the performance of materials used in batteries. Its Forge Battery unit is building a factory in Morrisville to produce lithium-ion battery cells for electric vehicle, military and aerospace buyers. The company traces its roots to engineering labs at the University of Colorado. It has raised $95 million in capital, according to a June 2023 release, with key backing from Korea’s Hanwha Corporate Venture Capital.

18. purple crow

Winston-Salem
NEW JOBS: 199
COUNTY: Forsyth
PROJECTED INVESTMENT: $50 million
N.C. CASH INCENTIVES: zero
LOCAL INCENTIVES: $1.4 million over five years

As sons of U.S. missionaries in Mexico, brothers Dan, Nat and Phil Calhoun grew up with an appreciation for Latin American culture and a fluency in Spanish. The three formed a business in the mid-1990s that made tortillas for Mexican restaurants around Winston-Salem. They later added other products to what became a specialty food distribution business that serves a 10-state footprint. Last year, Purple Crow launched a consolidation of its four Triad locations into a single 854,000 square-foot facility in Winston-Salem.

19. DEHN

Neumarkt, Germany
NEW JOBS: 195
COUNTY: Iredell
PROJECTED INVESTMENT: $38.6 million
N.C. CASH INCENTIVES: $1.17 million over 12 years
LOCAL INCENTIVES: $1.84 million over seven years

The 114-year-old, family owned company makes surge-protection equipment, lighting and safety gear designed to protect infrastructure. It holds 1,100 patents. Its new facility in Mooresville will serve as headquarters for its U.S. division. Proximity to Charlotte Douglas International Airport, strong regional highways and abundant internet infrastructure helped draw the company to Iredell County. Dehn considered 350 possible U.S. locations, with Auburn, Alabama, and Columbia, South Carolina, joining Mooresville as finalists.

20. AUCTION DIRECT USA

Rochester, New York
NEW JOBS: 173
COUNTY: Granville
PROJECTED INVESTMENT: $2.9 million
N.C. CASH INCENTIVES: $2.1 million over 12 years
LOCAL INCENTIVES: N/A

Auction Direct began in 2004 as a superstore for used vehicles. Through a new subsidiary known as a.i.m, the business is working through digital channels and a network of dealers to provide both wholesale and retail vehicles. The company’s Granville County operations, which will recondition cars and trucks, will be housed in a section of the former Santa Fe Natural Tobacco building in Oxford. The building had been vacant for a year prior to Auction Direct’s June 2023 announcement. A $500,000 Department of Commerce grant will support the reuse of the 122,085-square-foot building.

21. AMREP MANUFACTURING

Charlotte
NEW JOBS: 170
COUNTY: Rowan
PROJECTED INVESTMENT: $21 million
N.C. CASH INCENTIVES: $1.62 million over 12 years
LOCAL INCENTIVES: $269,248 over five years; Rowan
County also sold Amrep approximately 20 acres for
about $300,000 below tax value.

Amrep is a subsidiary of Charlotte-based Wastequip, a “one-stop shop” for waste hauling, collecting, storing and transportation. The company makes totes and other waste-handling equipment. Amrep’s new 80,000-square-foot building in Salisbury, adjacent to an existing company facility, will produce front-load and automated side-load trucks for curbside collection. It will have the capacity to produce 800 trucks annually.

22. INNOVATIVE CONSTRUCTION GROUP

Jacksonville, Florida
NEW JOBS: 157
COUNTY: Chatham
PROJECTED INVESTMENT: $39.8 million
N.C. CASH INCENTIVES: $1.83 million over 12 years
LOCAL INCENTIVES: $1.1 million over five years

Part of Pulte Group since 2020, Innovative Construction Group supplies builders of wood-frame single-family, multifamily and commercial projects. Its new facility in Siler City follows the purchase of about 46 acres at the 1,802-acre Chatham-Siler City Advanced Manufacturing Site, where Wolfspeed is building a $5 billion silicon carbide plant. ICG is planning a facility that may be as large as 200,000 square feet with operations expected to launch in 2027.

23. TTX

Charlotte
NEW JOBS: 150
COUNTY: Mecklenburg
PROJECTED INVESTMENT: $14.5 million
N.C. CASH INCENTIVES: $1.83 million over 12 years
LOCAL INCENTIVES: $555,000

Founded in the mid-1950s by the Pennsylvania Railroad, TTX has a fleet of more than 175,000 railcars. It is owned by the large North American railroads, operating as a cooperative to provide flexibility, efficiency and reduced capital expense. Chicago had been its corporate headquarters since 1971, but the company said in July 2023 that it was moving to Charlotte’s South End area. About 100 TTX employees are relocating to the Queen City.

24. FUJIHATSU & TOYOTSU BATTERY COMPONENTS

Liberty
NEW JOBS: 133
COUNTY: Randolph
PROJECTED INVESTMENT: $60.4 million
N.C. CASH INCENTIVES: N/A
LOCAL INCENTIVES: N/A

Established in July 2023, FTBC is 60% owned by Fujihatsu Tech America and 40% by Toyota Tsusho America, a Toyota Motor subsidiary. The new venture will produce aluminum cell cases and cell covers for automotive batteries. Production is expected to start next year at an unoccupied spec building in Liberty. There are no state incentives, but the town of Liberty is receiving a $325,000 grant from the Rural Infrastructure Authority to assist with renovations to the 23-year-old building.

25. BOXMAN STUDIOS

Mount Holly
NEW JOBS: 116
COUNTY: Gaston
PROJECTED INVESTMENT: $2.95 million
N.C. CASH INCENTIVES: N/A
LOCAL INCENTIVES: $45,000

Since 2008, Boxman Studios has repurposed shipping containers into permanent and “pop-up” housing, quick-serve restaurants, retail outlets and other spaces. The conversions are as much as 60% faster than traditional construction, firm officials say. But the resulting modular space makes for unmistakably memorable user experiences. Arby’s, Sonic and Waffle House are listed among Boxman’s clients. A state building reuse grant of $350,000 payable to Gaston County is supporting the renovation of a 290,298-square-foot building in Mount Holly occupied by the company.

 

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