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County to consider improving incentive deal for major economic development project

SALISBURY — With a site on Long Ferry Road still in the running for a major economic development project, the Rowan County commissioners on April 1 will hold a public hearing on extending the length of a tax incentives deal.

“Project Kodiak,” which would bring an unspecified online retailer’s e-commerce fulfillment center to Rowan County, originally proposed bringing 600 new jobs by the end of 2022. However, a letter to the county commissioners from Economic Development Commission Vice President Scott Shelton states the company is now willing to “commit to a substantial increase in the number of new jobs created.”

The commissioners received Shelton’s letter on Monday and subsequently voted to schedule the public hearing for April 1.

The exact job increase was not included in the letter, and Rowan County Economic Development Commission President Rod Crider said he was unable to comment further on the project.

The total projected investment would be $55 million, including a 700,000-square-foot building and equipment. That investment figure is not projected to increase with the additional jobs.

An agreement approved last year would provide an incentive grant for 80 percent of taxes paid over a five-year period, or approximately $1.3 million. That is, the company would receive an annual rebate for taxes paid if it meets certain benchmarks. Now, commissioners will consider extending that grant during their 3 p.m. meeting on April 1.

The commissioners are also considering increasing an equipment grant from $100,000 to $400,000.

“This is a highly competitive project with locations in South Carolina and Georgia also under consideration,” Shelton’s letter states. “In order to strengthen Rowan County’s chances toward securing this project, Rowan EDC proposes that the Board of Commissioners will consider extending the previously approved ‘level two’ incentive grant from five years to 10 years.”

During the additional five years, the rebate would be 50 percent of taxes paid instead of 80 percent.

Asked about the project, County Commissioners Chairman Greg Edds would only say that the county is in a tight competition and that Rowan County is well-positioned to bring a “great new employer to our community.”

If approved following April’s public hearing, the extension would be the second time commissioners have sweetened the incentives offer for Project Kodiak. The commissioners in October first approved tax incentives. They returned later that month to approve a $100,000 grant for equipment.

If the company chooses Rowan, it would immediately become one of the county’s largest private employers.

Contact editor Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4248.



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