EDC working on business projects

Feb. 19, 2014 @ 10:31 AM

A pair of potential business projects could lead to additional jobs for Rutherford County.

County Economic Development Commission (EDC) Director Matt Blackwell said there is one project in the works regarding the expansion of an existing business and another which would bring in a new business.

The existing business, code named Project APPI, has already received a $200,000 grant to expand water and sewer allowing the business to add $1.2 million in capital expense. That capital expense would be in the form of additional machinery and equipment.

“We want to make sure we are nurturing those companies and jobs that are here and help them grow,” Blackwell said.

The Rutherford County Commission approved a local industrial incentive grant which would grant back a portion of property taxes on the new investment.

“Once they have invested the minimum, the county would grant back part of the property taxes for five years,” Blackwell said.

The taxes would be scaled from a 50 percent rebate in the first year down to 10 percent in the fifth year.

The water and sewer grant allows for improvements to the water and sewer lines going into the existing facility.

“The minute they pull a permit for building work, they will need a sprinkler system, and engineers have determined the existing water lines won’t handle it,” Blackwell said. “Mary (Economic Development Project Administrator Taylor) worked with the Department of Commerce to get the grant to improve the water line, not just for volume but for pressure, and it will help the other businesses who use the line.”

Blackwell said the county has received an uptick in potential new business recruitment since the beginning of the year.

The other possibility is code named Project Nathan — an industrial project Blackwell said he and his staff have worked on for the last eight months.

The project calls for a $100,000 Building Re-Use and Renovation grant with the cost of renovation estimated at $200,000.

“If the estimates come in for less than the $200,000, we would reduce the amount of the grant application,” Blackwell said.

Blackwell said the business would implement a $2 million investment in machinery, purchase an existing building in the county and add 70 new full-time jobs over three years with an average annual salary of $40,000.

Another opportunity being looked is at its Daniel Road property off U.S. 74A near Isothermal Community College.

While there have been no leads for use of the property, the county is undertaking environmental studies of the land, looking at surface water and endangered species.

“We need to identify the previous location of the endangered species on the property,” Blackwell said. “We want to move forward without negatively impacting the endangered species on the property.”

The county is contracting with Clearwater Environmental Consultants for $8,000 to look at surface waters on the property, map them and submit to the Army Corps of Engineers.

Additionally, the county is working with SM&E to conduct soil borings to see if there is anything preventing development of the property. The cost of that contract is $8,700.

“When the property was purchased, they conducted some borings, more towards U.S. 74A and there were only two borings in the heart of the potential development,” Blackwell said. “This would add 10 more borings.”

Under the proposal of study by Duke Energy, the costs of those services are partially covered by a $10,000 grant from Duke. The remaining $6,900 will be paid by the county.