Interest-free loan to help Exela Pharma Sciences expand in Lenoir

Jul. 24, 2013 @ 07:41 AM

Exela Pharma Sciences' expansion in Lenoir, which includes renovating the former Broyhill Furniture Industries headquarters on U.S. 321, is getting a boost from a $1 million, zero-interest loan.

Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corp. applied for the loan through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant Program, which helps nonprofit utilities to create revolving loan funds, which then are used to help local businesses with job-creating and job-retaining projects. Loan recipients repay the utilities, which are responsible for repaying the USDA.

Exela is a pharmaceutical manufacturer that began operations in Lenoir in August 2008. It currently employs 48 people, with a median wage of $42,000. The expansion, which includes a total $8.5 million in investment, is expected to lead to 40 new jobs over the next three years, economic development officials have said. Jobs will range from chemists and other researchers to administrative and manufacturing roles.

Officials at Exela could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Exela received a nearly $190,000 state grant in January to help with its expansion. The Lenoir City Council is considering an incentives package, but the council postponed consideration until Aug. 6 to get more details.

Exela, which is now on William White Place in Lenoir, announced plans in April to buy the former Broyhill property, which had been vacant for three years.