News Articles

Golden Leaf grants go toward three business-park projects in Randolph, Rockingham and Forsyth counties

December 6, 2022

Industrial-park sites being developed in Randolph and Rockingham counties and the Tanglewood Business Park project in Forsyth County have received funding help from the Golden Leaf Foundation, the organization that oversees part of the disbursement of funds received from tobacco companies in North Carolina.

The foundation’s board awarded more than $6 million in grants last week for various economic development projects. Projects receiving funding in the Triad included:

Randolph County is receiving $1 million toward extending sewer to facilitate the development of the proposed I-74 Industrial Center, 160 acres near Sophia next to the interstate.

Samet Corp. is developing the industrial center with capacity for more than 1 million square feet of space. Randolph County has an option on about 30 acres. According to the grant application, the county anticipates creation of 500 jobs paying $40,000 in annual wages could be created at the site.

Rockingham County is getting $1 million for grubbing, or vegetation removal, and rough grading at a roughly 14-acre site at the New Street industrial site in Eden.

The work is to clear and rough grade a pad to accommodate a building of 250,000 to 300,000 square feet so that the site can be more competitive in meeting the shrinking timelines of companies, according to county Director of Economic Development and Tourism Leigh Cockram.

“We are grateful to Golden Leaf for its continued support of Rockingham County's economic development efforts,” Cockram added.

The county believes will help it secure a manufacturing business that would invest $50 million and create more than 150 quality jobs, according to the grant application.

Both projects are receiving funds from the foundation’s site development funding stream for public infrastructure and clearing and rough grading on publicly owned sites that have been through a due diligence phase to show they are suitable for development.

Greater Winston-Salem Development Corp. is getting $25,500 for due diligence work for the Tanglewood Business Park that has been in the works since at least 2019. Such work can include environmental assessments, archaeological analyses, and mapping.

Source: Triad Business Journal

NC OKs incentives for Sumitomo Forestry plant in Archdale

December 6, 2022

Japanese wood-products maker Sumitomo Forestry is planning a nearly $20 million plant with 129 new jobs in Archdale, and Alamance Foods plans a $42 million expansion and 135 new jobs at its current 815-worker operation in Graham.

The North Carolina Economic Investment Committee on Tuesday morning approved incentives packages for both companies.

Sumitomo Forestry plans to build roof and floor trusses and wall panels for houses, apartments and wooden commercial buildings.

The jobs are to pay a minimum of $45,782 a year. The total investment by the company was put at $19.5 million through 2026. Because of uncertainty over supply chain, labor, construction and equipment uncertainty, it asked the N.C. Department of Commerce to consider 2024 as the first year of its five-year project.

Sumitomo Forestry also has to develop an ethics policy as required by the Department of Commerce.

The decision followed approval earlier in the fall of a local incentives package by Archdale City Council and the Randolph County Board of Commissioners. The city pays $128,000 and the county $267,000. In addition, the county would contribute $165,000 and the city $85,000 toward the extension of Roelee Street to serve as the access point to the site

Its state incentive package is valued at an anticipated $2.03 million and includes a Jobs Development Investment Grant, local-infrastructure help in the state utilities fund, community college training, rail and highway assistance through the Department of Transportation, plus a Golden Leaf Foundation grant of $645,000.

The company also considered sites in Maryland and Virginia, according to the Department of Commerce.

The project will increase the state’s economy by $308 million and net state tax revenues $6.2 million, according to Commerce estimates.

Source: Triad Business Journal

Upholstery maker Lancaster relocating but staying in Triad with plans to double staff

October 19, 2022

Luxury upholstery maker Lancaster Inc. plans to relocate and expand with a $5 million investment in a new Triad facility.

Lancaster is building a plant on Archdale Road that’s more than three times the size of its current location in the Interstate Business Park, the company and Randolph County Economic Development Corporation announced Tuesday.

Lancaster intends to retain its current 25 full-time employees and create at least 27 new jobs with an average annual salary of $46,000 over five years, according to the county EDC.

The expansion will generate opportunities for jobs in framing, sewing, upholstery, marketing, customer care, and management, and will also benefit local suppliers to the company, according to the EDC.

Plans for the new greenfield construction have been submitted for review, with grading to begin by the end of October and relocation to the new site in 2024.

Founded in 1986, Lancaster has recorded multiple years of double-digit sales growth, according to the EDC.

The city of Archdale and Randolph County together offered up to $120,7000 in incentives over five years. That includes payments over the term to the company equivalent to 60% of anticipated tax revenue if it meets an incentives threshold, and up to $2,700 from the city of Archdale for water and sewer fees.

"The support from The City of Archdale and Randolph County was a predominant factor in our decision to remain in this area,” said company President Bill Lancaster. “This project will enable us to better serve our customers and afford our entire team many added benefits that will come with the new and enhanced facility.”

Source: Triad Business Journal

County commits to new I-74 industrial park

September 14, 2022

Sep 13, 2022

by Larry Penkava

ASHEBORO— Plans to develop a 160-acre industrial park at Interstate 74 and Wall Brothers Road in Sophia took a big step forward at the Sept. 6 meeting of the Randolph County Board of Commissioners. 

The commissioners voted unanimously to purchase 30 acres of the proposed park to qualify for eligibility for utility grants to offset the infrastructure costs of sewer extension to the site. The board also authorized contracting with the NC Department of Transportation for improvements to upgrade Wall Brothers Road to industrial standards.

The per-acre cost of the property is $35,000, for a total of $1,050,000 for the 30 acres. Financing for the acquisition will come from money previously set aside in the Economic Development Fund.

The commissioners authorized a grant application for up to $1 million from the NC Industrial Development Fund to extend sewer lines to the site. The Randolph County Economic Development Corporation is working with a private developer, the county, the City of Randleman and the City of Asheboro for infrastructure to support the proposed industrial park. Water lines will be extended by Randleman while Asheboro will provide Randleman more sewer capacity by extending its sewer line up US 311.

Resolutions on the project passed by the commissioners included the land purchase, a contract with the NCDOT for preliminary engineering and permits for improvements to Wall Brothers Road, the grant application for extension of sewer service, and pursuit of additional grants to supplement the cost of sewer service. The total cost of extending sewer lines is estimated at $6,862,800, which will be funded by a transfer of $5,862,800 from the Coronavirus Recovery Fund and the $1 million state grant.

Crystal Gettys of the EDC told the commissioners that the Toyota Battery Plant being constructed west of Liberty has prompted a number of inquiries from companies wanting to locate near that facility. She said the county currently has few industrial sites available and it’s important to develop large-acreage properties.

During a public hearing on the project, Lynn Small told the commissioners that he wants whatever company that locates at the I-74 park to pay fire and property taxes. He also asked that tractor-trailers be banned from using Walker Mill Road, which he described as a residential neighborhood.


Toyota to add 350 jobs, spend an extra $2.5B on EV battery plant at Greensboro-Randolph Megasite

August 31, 2022

Toyota is more than doubling its investment in the electric-vehicle battery plant planned for the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite and adding 20% more jobs than previously announced while saying even more growth may be yet to come.

Toyota said today it’s adding $2.5 billion and 350 jobs to the $1.29 billion investment and 1,750 jobs it announced last December. That will bring the total investment to $3.8 billion and the total number of jobs in the first phase of the project to approximately 2,100 jobs. The company is aiming to start production in 2025 at Toyota Battery Manufacturing, North Carolina, as the battery plant is called.

The investment adds capacity to support production for battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs. The plant will make batteries for both battery-electric and hybrid electric vehicles, known as HEVs, such as Toyota's well-known Prius.

“This plant will serve a central role in Toyota’s leadership toward a fully electrified future and will help us meet our goal of carbon neutrality in our vehicles and global operations by 2035,” said Norm Bafunno, senior vice president for Unit Manufacturing and Engineering at Toyota Motor North America.

“This is an exciting time for Toyota, the region and the many North Carolinians we will soon employ,” said TBMNC President Sean Suggs. “This incremental investment reflects our continued commitment to ensuring jobs and future economic growth for the Triad region.”

This is not the second phase of the plant that was mentioned as a possibility in the original site announcement, but Bafunno told the Triad Business Journal that more investment in the site is possible and even likely.

Instead, Toyota's decision is an incremental increase tied to clear indications of the demand for electrified vehicles, Bafunno told the Triad Business Journal.

“As we continue to watch the marketplace a little bit and we see that conversion going, we feel like we’ve got to get ready, and the time to do that is now.”

Expansion provides added flexibility
Nor is it a shift necessarily to toward all-battery electric models of cars and trucks. Toyota’s Prius was the first major-brand hybrid to gain wide acceptance, and Toyota has largely emphasized hybrids over all-battery since then, rolling out its first all-electric model, the bZ4X, only early this year.

The increase in capacity in North Carolina is still part of Toyota’s strategy of having a mix of hybrid gasoline-electric, plug-in hybrids, all-battery, and at some point fuel-cell electric vehicles for consumers to choose from.

“We think the portfolio approach is one that we still want to move forward with,” Bafunno said. “We still want to capture all of the audience in terms of the customer demand that's out there. We have to work very hard on things like reducing the costs of pure battery electric vehicles. And those are the things we're working on hard, but the other alternatives are out there today.

"We're very proud of those alternatives. They’re reliable, dependable and with very good customer response. So I wouldn't characterize this as a direct shift. I think it's adding more to the portfolio approach.”

Toyota's news follows recent federal legislation meant to stimulate domestic electric-vehicle production, California’s decision to ban the sale of most new internal-combustion engines in 2035, and industry forecasts of rapid growth in electric demand.

“We still think this is only the beginning. And we have a long and bright future," Bafunno said. "This is really to support the electrification activity that's under way for Toyota here in North America.”

He added: “We do anticipate more growth. But we look at this as incremental growth to get us ready for those customers in 2025.”

Site preparation on schedule
The employee headcount isn’t doubling because the investment expansion is tied to the shift to more all-electric production, however.

“These battery-electric batteries are larger; they have more capacity because that's going to be the single propulsion unit for the entire vehicle,” Bafunno said. “The footprint changes. As a result, so does the process equipment design as well as the building design.”

Site preparation is on schedule, Bafunno said.

“There's a lot of slope to that land, and we've got to level it out to get the buildings in the right spaces. And that's all on schedule right now. We feel good about it.”

Toyota has named local leadership led by Suggs and a human resources representative. It's looking to hire people with good communication skills, the ability to work as a team, and who want to learn, Bafunno said.

“The job security that we provide, the wages and benefits are going to be outstanding. But more than that, it's this teamwork and, you know, we're looking for people that can help us achieve something we've never done before, which is creating batteries and electrification, for the first time in North America. So it's kind of a neat, exciting future ahead for them.”

Like nearly all manufacturers, Toyota strategically is trying to simplify and localize its supply chains when possible. There’s nothing to announce locally now, but it’s the company’s general aim as it boosts electrification.

"Toyota's philosophy is one that says we want to build product where it's sold, and you can see that with the configuration of the product and plants that we have here in the U.S. and North America," Bafunno said. "And we're going to continue that same thing with electrification. …

"We have a whole team of our Purchasing Group in North America that is looking at supply chain configurations, both for raw materials and also for refining. But it's very strategic and very important that we expand it right here in this region. And we're working toward that.”

Toyota has opened an email address for any businesses interested in potentially becoming suppliers for TBMNC, including any business from cleaning services to lawn maintenance to security services. The address is:

Source: Triad Business Journal