Greer Labs changes plan for HQ

Seach for new headquarters continues
Mar. 13, 2014 @ 08:05 AM

Though Greer Laboratories announced in September it would make the former Expo building off Nuway Circle into its new corporate headquarters, the company determined later that it needed more space, and it is seeking a new headquarters site.

The company still is expanding into the Expo building, but it is to be used solely for manufacturing, said Tiffany Ahlers, vice-president of marketing for Greer Labs. The company is talking to several developers to find a different site for its headquarters.

"We are looking forward to being able to use this building for our manufacturing; it's something we obviously need," Ahlers said.

Greer Labs, which is owned by Ares Life Sciences and develops allergy immunotherapy products and services, announced plans last year to add up to 125 new jobs over a two-year period to the nearly 280 it had. Most of those are to be manufacturing jobs, but 25 would be in a new corporate headquarters, and when Greer started looking for sites for its expansion, one question was whether the corporate headquarters would still be in Caldwell County.

Greer chief operating officer David Burney said in September that the Expo building, which is a short distance from its existing operations on Nuway Circle, was the only one in the area that suited the company's needs. The company signed a 10-year lease on the building and previewed for the Caldwell County Economic Development Commission an artist's rendering of a renovation of the building, including a sleek glass-walled front and a glass-covered atrium through the middle of the building. The company said it would spend $30 million on its expansion.

But Greer officials later realized there was not enough space in the Expo building for both the expanded manufacturing operations and the administrative and marking offices, said Deborah Murray, executive director of the Caldwell County Economic Development Commission.

Lenoir Mayor Joe Gibbons said his understanding is that Greer simply ran out of room.

"There had been some talk about it," Gibbons said. "They are still looking in our area, Caldwell County, and hopefully in Lenoir."

Murray said she is optimistic Greer's headquarters will remain here.

"They are very interested in staying in Lenoir, and we are doing all we can to make that happen," she said.

Caldwell County in August approved local jobs incentives for Greer of $2,000 per new job created, plus additional corporate headquarters retention incentives. All incentives the county offers are paid only after a company lives up to its commitment for those incentives, so the ones tied to retaining the corporate headquarters "won't be paid until the headquarters plans are nailed down," Murray said.

The Expo building was owned by the Broyhill family at the time Greer signed its lease, but Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corp. bought the building in February for $3 million. It also bought an adjacent 14.2 acres from the Broyhill Family Foundation for $1.05 million for possible future storage space for large line trucks, power poles, equipment and transformers.