A new 800,000 square foot aluminum can plant that Ball Corp. recently announced in Cabarrus County is expected to create more than 200 jobs, further strengthening the county’s position as one of the state’s fastest growing economies and allowing Concord to expand further from the shadows from neighboring Charlotte.
Ball Corp., a global aluminum beverage packaging company based in Broomfield, Colo., On July 27 announced plans to expand operations to North Carolina, indicating that the new facility will be operational by the start. by 2023. The facility, located at 2321 Concord Parkway South, is expected to represent an investment of $ 383 million by the company.
The manufacturing plant will be part of a vertically integrated beverage manufacturing hub of Ball Corp., Red Bull and Rauch North America on The Grounds, the former cigarette manufacturing site of Philip Morris. Red Bull and Rauch have filed their plans jointly, while Ball filed separately, but will manufacture aluminum cans for Red Bull.
The global hub is expected to generate more than $ 1 billion in investment and more than 600 jobs by 2027, according to a press release from the governor’s office. If successful, it would be the largest economic development in Cabarrus County history, according to the Cabarrus Economic Development Corp. The overall average salary for the three companies is projected at $ 57,393.
In early July, Red Bull and Rauch announced plans to build a 2 million square foot beverage manufacturing site, creating 413 jobs and investing $ 740 million by 2027, according to a press release.
The 323 jobs at Red Bull will have an average salary of $ 50,367 and the 323 jobs at Rauch will have a comparable average salary of $ 50,387.
The average salary of Ball Corp. will be $ 70,555 for its 220 jobs. Ball Corp. did not disclose the median salary, so it is not clear whether well-paying managerial jobs skew this average. Either way, those average salaries would be well above the Cabarrus County average of $ 41,255.
“We’re not just being a dorm community for Charlotte,” said Lloyd Payne, director of Concord City.
“Continuous development such as this project allows us to become more independent and to sustain our ability to function as a full-service city. ”
Cabarrus County has one of the strongest county economies in the state, with the average salary being the seventh highest in the state and the fifth median household income of $ 69,297 in 2018, according to the ministry. Trade. The county is comparable to counties like Lincoln and Moore, but behind neighboring Mecklenburg County with an average salary of $ 71,689.
Based on the economic development of Cabarrus County and its higher average salary than other counties, the Commerce Department has designated it as a Level 3 county and is the eighth most economically healthy county in the state. The 20 least economically disadvantaged counties are labeled as Tier 1 counties and are eligible for the corresponding economic recruiting benefits.
State financial assistance
All three companies received financial incentives from the state through the Employment Development Investment Grant approved by the State Economic Investment Committee. In total, the North Carolina Department of Commerce has offered more than $ 7 million in grants to the three companies.
Under the grant, the three companies are eligible for a potential refund based on a number of factors, such as tax rates, availability of labor, and the overall cost of developing the business. project.
All JDIG repayments are spread over 12 years on an annual basis. Ball Corp. is eligible up to $ 3,084,000, Rauch for $ 3,057,000 and Red Bull for $ 1,008,000.
The grant is only used in competitive situations where an outside investor is considering alternative locations outside of the state. The grant is an incentive for companies to locate in North Carolina, said David Rhoades, director of communications for the Commerce Department.
Before deciding on North Carolina, Ball Corp. considered sites in Cherokee and Richland counties in South Carolina, according to official documents. State and local governments had offered cash grants, withholding tax cuts and income tax credits.
To receive the annual grant, the company must meet certain criteria and continue to maintain them each year. For Ball Corp., the company must complete the investment of the proposed 383 million dollars and have hired the 220 employees by the end of 2024. It must also keep these jobs until 2034.
Meeting the criteria is vital for the department, as state taxes withheld from new employees constitute a pool of money used to fund the grant, Rhoades said. Therefore, it is in the best interests of the business to respond to requests for reimbursement of the annual award. The department works closely with the Department of Revenue to ensure that employee hiring goals have been met.
If in any given year the company does not meet proposed targets or falls below 90% of jobs or 198 jobs in the case of Ball Corp., it does not receive tax relief. for that year. He’s still eligible to receive it for years to come, but the money for that year is wasted, Rhoades said.
County and city co-financing
In addition to JDIG funding, the City of Concord and the County of Cabarrus provided $ 54 million in combined incentives to the three companies over a seven-year period.
Through the 85% Economic Development Incentive Grant, businesses will pay 100% of their property taxes based on new investments in the city based on an assessment by the Cabarrus County Tax Assessor’s Office , said Payne. After making the payments, the companies would then claim a refund of 85% of the taxes paid.
The 85% are in line with city and county economic development policy. City officials approved the grants on August 12. The county council of commissioners held a public hearing on Monday and voted to approve the grants.
If approved, Rauch would receive more than $ 28.3 million in grants, Ball Corp. over $ 18.7 million and Red Bull over $ 7.5 million, according to county documents.
Once the grants are in, the county and city combined will bring in nearly $ 10 million in taxes.
“This project will have an impact not only on the town of Concord, but also on neighboring towns, villages and counties, as the future employees of the companies will come from regions other than Concord,” said Payne.
Find and house a workforce
Companies will hire locals, according to Page Castrodale, executive director of Cabarrus Economic Development. To train the needed workforce, the county turned to Rowan Cabarrus Community College and North Carolina’s largest community college system.
RCCC has agreed to partner with the companies and provide the necessary training, but no plan has yet been formalized, said Craig Lamb, vice president of business and continuing education at RCCC.
Even though hiring is local, the city of Concord faces a housing shortage due to explosive growth in recent years, said Margarethea Sheller, director of housing at Concord. According to the most recent census data, the city’s population increased by 21.4% between April 2010 and April 2020, making it the 24th fastest growing city in the country.
According to a 2019 Affordable Housing Market Study, the city needs an additional 3,000 units over the next decade to meet demand. In response, Concord’s planning department plans to build and preserve the existing workforce housing units.
The city will buy houses, renovate and then resell the buildings at market rates to eligible applicants. However, to ensure that the units remain affordable, the buildings will be resold with a deed restriction that will limit house prices and rental prices, Sheller said.
Most recently, the city voted to buy a group of vacant lots and soon to be demolished homes across the city to acquire the land needed to build affordable housing. The city bought four vacant lots and two houses for a total of $ 150,050, according to city documents.
The city has also partnered with property developer Coleman Mill to convert the old mill into 152 affordable housing units. On Lincoln Street, the city is developing 28 affordable townhouses: 20 will be for sale and eight will be rented.
The city will not be able to meet demand on its own and has partnered with Habitat for Humanity to further help meet the goal. In 2019, the city also created Concord Family Enrichment Association, a non-profit organization dedicated to affordable housing and housing for the workforce. The city buys and sells properties, while the CFEA focuses on the management and operation of rental housing.
“We want to provide jobs for our citizens, housing for our citizens and the associated amenities that they want (and) need,” Payne said.
“We believe this creates a quality of place where our citizens can live, work and play without having to leave the city for their basic amenities. “