Stanly commissioners approve economic development incentive grant

Photo courtesy of StanlyTV

ALBEMARLE — An upcoming business that is set to provide over 200 jobs and invest over $50 million in Stanly County recently gained some more financial traction. 

At its regularly-scheduled meeting on Jan. 3, the Stanly County Board of Commissioners unanimously passed two motions for an economic development incentive that will result in a 10-year, 75% business development grant agreement between the county and a homebuilding components manufacturer planning to open in New London. 

Stanly EDC director Candace Lowder presented the grant to the board, unveiling the grant’s details that the company will invest an estimated $54,500,000 in real property, machinery, and equipment, with the hopes of creating 263 new jobs over the next five years. 

The second motion presented to the board by Lowder — also relating to the new business — authorized the county’s staff to begin working on an application for a Building Reuse grant from the North Carolina Department of Commerce for “Project Frame.”  

In the arrangement, the county will post a local cash match of $18,750 with the NCDOC to be used for the construction of a previously-existing building. 

“I’m very optimistic about Candice’s presentation today. That makes me very excited — I’m conservatively excited,” commissioner Patty Crump said. “I’m very glad that we’re going to be able to hopefully put to use a building that’s been sitting there vacantly. There’s nothing sadder than to drive by a big manufacturing facility that was once hustling and bustling, and now it’s just dead, and nobody wants to see that.” 

During the discussion, Crump asked Lowder about the current average pay of Stanly County’s workers. 

“Commerce released updated numbers in November. As of November 2022, it’s $41,612,” Lowder answered. “I will add that just a year ago, the 2021 number was $38,466. The old adage of ‘rising tide raises all ships’ is very true. Wages are ticking up, and so is the quality of life and access to goods and services.” 

The new business in New London is expecting to pay employees an average salary of $59,000. 

Lowder also explained the process behind the comprehensive analysis — operated by county manager Andy Lucas — for the modeling tool of the grant, adding that it is used “to measure the economic impact of investment and jobs created by a project. It takes into account new sales tax, new homes or renovations to existing homes, the multiplier effect of jobs created by this project in terms of professional services and retail to support the jobs in the area.” 

After those numbers are plugged into a model, the tool produces an output to ensure that the community is not losing money in terms of its return on investment for the services that will be required to support those 263 jobs. 

The Stanly County Board of Commissioners will hold their next scheduled meeting on Jan. 17 at 6 p.m. inside the Gene McIntyre Room (Stanly County Commons).