Statewide: Western region, August 2014

 In 2014-08

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STATEWIDE Western Region



Tryon will be taller in the saddle""

The first phase of a 1,400-acre resort that promoters say will make Polk County a magnet for the horsey set opened last month in Tryon, a past training ground for U.S. Olympic equestrian teams. Tryon International Equestrian Center opened July 2 with five riding arenas and stables for 500 horses. The developer, Tryon Equestrian Partners, includes 11 investors led by Mark Bellissimo, CEO of Wellington, Fla.-based Equestrian Sport Productions, which runs a similar development near Palm Beach, Fla. More than $100 million is going into the Tryon project, which will include two hotels developed by Middleburg, Va.-based Salamander Hotels & Resorts. Sheila Johnson, who co-founded Black Entertainment Television with her ex-husband, former Charlotte Bobcats owner Robert Johnson, started Salamander in 2005. The hotels are slated to open by 2017. Also planned are an Arnold Palmer-designed golf course, additional stables and arenas and a 6,000-seat stadium.


HILDEBRANRichelieu Legwear International will invest $16 million in a sock-manufacturing plant it plans to build here. The Montreal-based company, which sells legwear to Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart Stores and other retailers, bought the assets of locally based International Legwear Group for $7 million in 2001. It employs 60 at a plant here and plans to add as many as 205 jobs at the new site by 2018. Richelieu will receive up to $2.9 million in state grants if it meets job-creation goals.

ASHEVILLEHomeTrust Bancshares will purchase nine branches in Virginia and one in Eden from Charlotte-based Bank of America. The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter. Including the bank’s pending acquisition of Charlotte-based Bank of Commerce, HomeTrust’s assets will increase to $2.8 billion from $1.6 billion.

ASHEVILLEFLS Energy began construction of eight solar farms across the state that will produce enough electricity to power more than 5,000 homes per year. They will add 38 megawatts to the existing 50 megawatts of solar arrays the company owns in the Southeast. Charlotte-based Duke Energy will buy the electricity from FLS. Founded in 2006, the company plans to add 80 megawatts of solar capacity in 2014 and 150 in 2015.

BREVARDOskar Blues Brewery will open a 145-acre site for mountain bikers about 8 miles from its brewery here. The Oskar Blues REEB Ranch — named after the Longmont, Colo.-based brewer’s handmade bike company — will feature a music venue, bike-guide service and access to bike trails in DuPont State Forest.


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