Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence in Charlotte
The N.C. Senate is moving to create a new jobs incentive for a “heritage manufacturing employer” that’s narrowly tailored to keep a specific unnamed business in North Carolina. Charlotte Pipe and Foundry Company, established in 1901, appears to fit the bill.
Supporters of Senate Bill 505, which passed the Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday, said the goal is to provide incentives for a company that’s moving out of a major city and into a more rural area.
Sen. Harry Brown, R-Onslow and a sponsor of the bill, declined to name the company. Sen. Ralph Hise, R-Mitchell, told reporters after the meeting that he didn’t have details about the company but had been told it involves a foundry company near the Carolina Panthers stadium in Charlotte.
“As you can imagine, this business is being heavily recruited, so this is just a way to keep it here in North Carolina,” Brown said.
Sen. Paul Newton, R-Cabarrus, said the business is moving to an unspecified county categorized as “Tier Two” for its wealth level. Tier Two counties near Charlotte include Stanly, Gaston and Rowan.
“It’s a terrific opportunity to bridge the rural-urban divide,” Newton said.
SB 505 would allow the business to qualify for the state’s Job Maintenance and Capital Development Fund. The bill would only apply to a company that’s been in business for at least 100 years, has invested or will invest at least $325 million in the state, plans to keep at least 1,050 employees in the state and plans to relocate at least 400 of those employees to a Tier Two county with a population smaller than 63,000.
Charlotte Pipe and Foundry, which melts scrap metal into pipe, occupies about 55 acres a few blocks from Bank of America Stadium on South Clarkson Street. The nearest Tier Two county meeting the population requirement is Stanly County, which had a population of 61,500 in 2017.
“We’re always evaluating our business options, and no business decisions have been made,” company spokesman Brad Muller told the Observer.
This wouldn’t be the first time Charlotte Pipe and Foundry has considered relocating.
The company was reportedly contemplating moving in 2008, when the Golden LEAF Foundation approved a $2.5 million grant to help Stanly County land the business, according to a February 2009 Observer story. A year later, Stanly County officials approved the rezoning of about 40 acres owned by the company for industrial use.
Muller told the Observer in 2009 that the company didn’t have any imminent plans to move there, however. He said that Charlotte Pipe and Foundry often buys land for investment purposes, especially in rural areas, and will hold onto it for “potential future use.”
Colin Campbell is editor of the Insider State Government News Service. Follow him at NCInsider.com or @RaleighReporter. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.