County commissioners will decide on incentive deal for 5,100-job, $584 million project
Published 12:04 am Sunday, January 16, 2022
SALISBURY — The Rowan County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday will consider an incentive grant that could help lead to the largest new jobs announcement in Rowan County’s history.
The grant request is for Project Rabbit. The company behind the project is an online retailer considering Rowan County for a new e-commerce fulfillment center. If Rowan County is chosen, the project would generate 2,500 full-time and 2,600 seasonal part-time jobs. Additionally the company would invest $584.3 million in the construction of a new facility and the installation of major equipment.
Construction of the company’s new facility would begin in late 2022 with substantial completion by the end of 2023. Operations would commence in the summer of 2024.
To make Rowan County more attractive to the company, the Rowan EDC is requesting the board approve a 15-year incentive grant during which the county would return 80% of the company’s paid taxes. The total value of the proposed incentive grant is $27 million.
If commissioners awarded the county’s standard level three grant instead, which is five years at 85% taxes returned, Rowan County would collect an estimated $34 million in revenue, disburse grants totaling $12.9 million and retain $21 million. But by awarding the proposed 15-year incentive instead of a standard grant, Project Rabbit would receive an additional $14 million. The tax revenue retained by the county during the incentive period would be $6.8 million.
While the proposed grant is longer and more generous than the typical one, the Rowan EDC says the payoff is worth the price.
Using a software system, the Rowan EDC projects the 2,500 full-time and 2,600 seasonal part-time jobs created by Project Rabbit will lead to the creation of an additional 698 indirect and induced jobs in Rowan County. Indirect jobs are created by companies supplying goods and services to a new or newly expanded industry. Induced jobs are created when new employees from the new industry spend their wages at local establishments These 698 indirect and induced jobs will generate $35 million in employee wages and benefits and $89.9 million in gross revenue for the companies.
The Board of Commissioners has generally approved incentive grants in the past several years. Recently, the board approved incentive grants for Project Popcorn, Project Bishop and for NorthPoint’s new speculative building at Webb Road. The terms of each of those grants exceeded the typical level three grant as well.
The Board of Commissioners will meet at 6 p.m. in the J. Newton Cohen Sr. Room on the second floor of the Rowan County Administration Building. The meeting will follow a planning session that is slated to start at noon.
The meeting can be joined virtually at bit.ly/rowanboc6pm using password 028144 or by phone by dialing 602-753-0140, 720-928-9299 or 213-338-8477.
Also on the agenda:
• Commissioners will hold a hearing regarding a rezoning request from Jaypal Kalagiri to rezone 35 acres of land at the 2100 Block of Glover Read to operate an athletic field used for a private cricket club. To operate the club, Kalagiri will need the land rezoned from rural agricultural to rural agricultural with a conditional district.
• The board will consider transferring two lots to the town of East Spencer. Both are located on E. Geroid Street and are less than a half acre each. The request for the transfer comes from East Spencer Town Attorney Tom Brooke, who is requesting the lots so that the town can market and promote their development in the future.
• Commissioners will receive a public comment submitted online from a citizen who lives in the Alexander Glen neighborhood near Rockwell. The citizen, Rivka Darwactor, sent an email to notify commissioners that a home near the neighborhood set off “explosives” in their backyard for more than seven hours on New Year’s Eve and has set off similar explosives throughout the year. Darwactor said the noise violates the county’s noise ordinance. Additionally, Darwactor wrote that the noises have induced anxiety and have caused Alexander Glen residents to move.
• The board will consider a request from Airport and Transit Director Valerie Steele to waive daily hangar fees for Aerowood Aviation at the Mid-Carolina Regional Airport while the company waits for its lease to be finalized and it can be permanently moved into leased hangar space. Aerowood Aviation is a flight school based in Monroe.
• Commissioners will consider extending a contract with 120Water for additional six months at a cost not to exceed $2,600. The county contracted with 120Water last year to distribute Brita filtration pitchers and water testing kits to customers in the Dukeville area on the Northeast Water System. Elevated levels of lead were previously discovered in several homes on the system. 120Water has helped with testing and provides the county with software to monitor the status of water sampling. To remedy the problem, the county is considering replacing some of the piping in homes where lead was found. The county is constructing a booster pump station on the water system to inject a pipe-coating chemical into the water supply that would prevent any lead seepage.