Statewide: Charlotte region, April 2015

 In 2015-04

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Market watch

Whole Foods Market store slated to open in 2017 will be the centerpiece of a mixed-use project on downtown Charlotte’s southern edge, promising to accelerate the area’s rapid development. “The holy grail for urban neighborhoods is grocery service,” says Michael Smith, CEO of Charlotte Center City Partners. In the supermarket trade, it does not get much holier than Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods, which has grown from 145 stores in 2003 to 411 now, including 12 in North Carolina. Charlotte-based developer Crescent Communities plans to start this year on the Stonewall Street project that will include a 47,000-square-foot Whole Foods, 450 apartments, a parking deck and two hotels. It will be within two blocks of the Charlotte Convention Center and a 27-story office tower planned by Crescent. The development is promising because of the increased density of downtown, where about 100,000 people work and 15,300 reside, and its proximity to the South End neighborhood, where more than 12,400 people live, mostly in apartments built adjacent to the city’s light-rail line in the last five years. Downtown Charlotte’s southern edge “has such great potential, and there is a blank canvas,” Smith says. “It’s a gateway into uptown and a gateway into South End.” Harris Teeter, now owned by Cincinnati-based Kroger, opened an 18,000-square-foot downtown store in 2003 that is about a mile from its new rival’s site. Whole Foods, with two other Charlotte-area stores and a third on the way, has lots of practice serving inner-city shoppers, having opened downtown stores in Detroit, Miami and other cities in recent years.


Briefs

CHARLOTTE — Tokyo-based Asahi Kasei will pay about $2.2 billion to acquire Polypore International’s energy-storage business, which makes battery components for items including power tools, cars and trucks. St. Paul, Minn.-based 3M will acquire the company’s separations media segment, which makes filter components and tools for the life-sciences industry, for about $1 billion.

MONROEScott Safety will invest $28.7 million over five years and add 67 jobs to the 515 at its local headquarters. The company makes respiratory equipment, gas-detection devices and thermal-imaging cameras for first responders, military personnel and industrial workers. The new jobs will pay an average annual salary of $65,672, about 70% higher than Union County’s $38,450. Scott Safety will receive a state grant of up to $150,000 if it meets job-creation and investment targets.

CHARLOTTEDuke Energy will pay $102.2 million in fines to settle an investigation over the February 2014 coal-ash spill into the Dan River near Eden (cover story, April 2014). The fines also cover misdemeanor violations of the Clean Water Act for pollution at its coal-fired power plants in Asheville, Goldsboro, Moncure and Mount Holly.

CHARLOTTE — Plano, Texas-based Frito-Lay will invest $74 million in its 38-year-old plant here and will add up to 35 jobs to its existing 563 by 2018. The new jobs will pay an average annual salary of $50,000, about the same as Mecklenburg’s $50,610. The snack-food business unit of Purchase, N.Y.-based Pepsi- Co, Frito-Lay will receive up to $3.3 million in local incentives.

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