Whether or not glassware maker Corning brings hundreds of new jobs to northern Durham County over the next three years could hinge on a meeting in downtown Durham Monday night.
The Durham County Board of Commissioners will hold a public hearing at 7 p.m. to consider giving Corning up to $2.7 million in economic incentives in exchange for $189 million in investment and the creation of 317 new jobs – 269 of which would be manufacturing jobs.
The Durham expansion would accompany another Corning-led expansion in Edgecombe County, which would bring 111 new jobs over two years beginning in 2019.
Corning plans to use use the money to expand its Durham County manufacturing site to handle a new type of pharmaceutical packaging material called Valor glass, and build an $86-million, “state-of-the-art” warehouse facility in Edgecombe County.
Last month, the state approved a $6 million incentive package for the Edgecombe and Durham expansions – which was part of a total $16 million package, composed of public and private incentives.
The state’s Economic Development Commission authorized most of the state’s share from Job Development Investment Grants (JDIG). Two other state grant programs tied to community colleges and biotechnology also contributed to the financial incentives.
Duke Energy has also agreed to put $2 million into the project.
The Durham County expansion is contingent on the county approving the $2.7 million incentive package. The new jobs in Durham would have an average annual wage of $65,999, while the ones in Edgecombe would be $33,771.
Corning currently has around 300 employees at its Treyburn Corporate Park facility in northern Durham County.
Last month, Ted Conner, vice president of Economic Development at the Durham Chamber of Commerce, said he thought the incentives had a good chance of being approved.
“These are the types of jobs that our commissioners are trying to bring to our community,” Conner said, noting that most of the jobs won’t require a college degree. The manufacturing workers would be trained at Durham Technical Community College.
“They are very focused on bringing jobs to all of our residents,” he said.
The governor’s office estimates that the Corning expansion will add an estimated $1.16 billion to the state’s economy. South Carolina was the biggest competitor for landing the Corning expansion. It offered $47.4 million in incentives for the Durham project and $31.6 million for Edgecombe, according to the N.C. Department of Commerce.
State incentive payments require companies to meet specific job creation and investment targets in order to receive the money over a period of time. The commerce department says JDIG projects add to tax revenue even after accounting for incentives.
Corning has been awarded previous JDIG funding for fiber optics manufacturing and, in 2015, for a headquarters for a limited liability company. The company has evolved from a glass and ceramics maker to manufacturing electronics components and health products for the pharmaceutical industry. It has 70 plants in 13 countries.