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Raleigh woos Infosys with $1M. Can Morrisville and Cary compete for tech hub?

Gov. Roy Cooper, left, and Infosys president Ravi Kumar in July announcing that the tech company plans to open a facility in the Triangle.
Gov. Roy Cooper, left, and Infosys president Ravi Kumar in July announcing that the tech company plans to open a facility in the Triangle. cseward@newsobserver.com

Wake County won out over Charlotte and seven states in July when global technology consulting firm Infosys announced it would create 2,000 jobs here.

Now it’s the cities’ turn to court the Indian company in hopes that it will locate its technology hub within their borders.

On Tuesday, the Raleigh City Council approved $1 million in financial incentives for Infosys should the company select Raleigh as its new home.

“If you pick us, here’s what we’re gonna give you,” said Raleigh spokesman John Boyette Jr. “That’s how the game is played.”

Meanwhile, officials in Morrisville and Cary were more reticent about Infosys, and said they don’t comment on “active projects.” Neither of the two technology-centric towns has voted on incentives for Infosys or scheduled a vote.

“We definitely hope they come to Cary,” said Lana Hygh, Cary’s director of special projects. “Whoever gets it, it’ll be a great opportunity.”

Raleigh, however, may already have an edge, according to an email The News & Observer received as part of a public records request. In a May email to Christopher Chung, CEO of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, state Sen. Jay Chaudhuri indicated that Raleigh was on the company’s radar. “The only question seems to be whether they will locate to Raleigh and Charlotte,” he wrote.

The company later decided to put all the jobs in Wake County. The attraction – beyond the sheer number of jobs – is financial. The average salaries of the new Infosys positions will be $72,146, nearly $20,000 a year above the Wake County average. The company also will invest $8.7 million in equipment and real-estate improvements for its technology hub.

Infosys announced two months ago that it preferred Wake County over areas in Texas, Ohio, Connecticut, Maryland, Utah, Georgia and Virginia. The state offered a $25 million incentive package that consists mostly of a job development grant to be paid out over 12 years, as well as job training from N.C. Community Colleges.

In addition to the state incentive, Wake County commissioners on Tuesday approved a grant with an estimated value of about $94,000. The amount of the Wake County grant is based on a formula tied to the amount of county tax Infosys will owe on the technology hub it plans to develop.

Infosys employs more than 200,000 worldwide, including about 27,000 in the United States and about 1,200 in Raleigh, Charlotte and other parts of North Carolina.

The new positions will include software developers, analysts and digital architects to serve Infosys clients in sectors that include financial services, industrial manufacturing, insurance and pharmaceuticals. The company is currently recruiting for the technology hub and expects to start hiring as soon as a site is selected. Company officials have said they will hire the first 500 workers here by the end of 2018.

Until the company announces its Wake County site, Infosys is playing coy.

“As we previously announced, Infosys selected Wake County for the location of our second Technology and Innovation Hub as part of our commitment to hiring 10,000 American workers and boosting American innovation,” Infosys said in an emailed statement. “We will provide you with further details regarding the selection of the Hub site when we are able.”

John Murawski: 919-829-8932, @johnmurawski

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