Caldwell County approves incentives for Greer Labs, 4 others

Aug. 06, 2013 @ 08:20 AM

The promise of 310 new jobs led the Caldwell County Board of Commissioners to approve business incentives Monday night of up to $670,000, plus an annual property tax refund for a rapidly growing pharmaceutical company that is seeking a site for a new corporate headquarters.

The 310 jobs would bring a total of nearly $9.6 million in annual wages and $33 million in new taxable investment, spread across five companies moving to or expanding operations in Caldwell.

Greer Laboratories tops the list of incentives approved Monday, with an expansion that could bring up to 125 new jobs and $30 million in new investment over the next two years.

Greer’s expansion is certain, but how much of it happens in Caldwell County will determine how much of Greer’s incentives package materializes. The commissioners approved a local jobs incentive of $2,000 per new job created, a corporate headquarters retention incentive of $2,000 per job that would apply to 75 current corporate jobs and another 25 new jobs, and a 75 percent tax grant, which would give the company back 75 percent of the taxes it pays on the value its $30 million investment adds to its property. At the current tax rate of 60 cents for every $100 of value, that would amount to a rebate of $135,000 on the $180,000 in taxes for $30 million of taxable value.

Greer would prefer to remain based in Caldwell County, but it is considering properties in other nearby counties, said Jim Lucier, Greer’s director of facilities management.

“We have turned over every rock probably within 50 miles of this place,” he said in an interview after the commissioners meeting.

Greer’s current site off U.S. 321 on Nuway Circle will be converted entirely to manufacturing. The company has a two- to five-year plan for building a new corporate headquarters but will be looking for an off-site location to use until then.

Greer, a pharmaceutical manufacturer focusing on allergens, was founded in 1904 in Lenoir and currently employs 279 people. Its expansion plans would make that total 404 employees, earning them a spot among the top employers in the county.

The next-largest jobs project before the commissioners Monday, dubbed Project Appliance because the company wants confidentiality while it completes its property purchase, is in the process of purchasing a 100,000-square-foot building in Lenoir to house a plant for refurbishing appliances and a distribution center. The commissioners approved a jobs incentive for up to 100 jobs that would come within the first year. The company also would invest $2.5 million in the property and equipment.

The commissioners approved a jobs incentive for Automated Textile Solutions Inc. of $2,000 per job for up to 50 new jobs, totaling $1 million in new annual wages, at its Sawmills facility, where the company plans to invest another $500,000.

A. McGee Wood Products was granted the same jobs incentive for up to 20 new employees -- it currently employs nine -- at the company’s recently purchased Granite Falls location, the former Granite Building Supply, where it will invest $750,000 in renovations.

Adhezion Biomedical was the same job incentive for up to 15 new jobs at its Hudson facility over the next year.

Incentives are paid from sales tax collected in the county and will be paid only if the jobs materialize, Murray said.