The pending state budget released Tuesday includes a $112.5 million appropriation for an economic development project in Chatham County that would involve at least $4.8 billion in investment and 1,800 new jobs.
The money would be split between $57.5 million to reimburse the unnamed business for site work and wetlands mitigation and $55 million to the city of Asheboro for water infrastructure improvements.
It’s part of the state’s Job Development Investment Grant program, which requires companies to meet hiring and investment targets before the incentives kick in. The program was expanded several years ago to encourage larger corporate expansions, resulting in the state scoring some major economic development victories.
Asheboro is near two major megasites. The Greensboro Randolph Megasite location near Liberty will be the home of Toyota Motor’s new electric battery plant, which is expected to employ more than 1,700 workers. The Chatham-Siler City Advanced Manufacturing Site is an 1,800-acre site near Siler City that is in Chatham County. Asheboro is in Randolph County.
Michael Smith, president of the Chatham Economic Development Corp., has said there is high interest in the Chatham-Siler City site. He told a group on June 23 that he expected a tenant “by the end of this year, if not earlier.”
Speculation in economic development circles has centered on a possible semiconductor chip plant going into the Chatham site. The budget bill specifically references a company that “manufactures computer chips,” but legislative leaders said during a news conference Tuesday that the project hasn’t been announced and they couldn’t provide additional details.