Let’s not dwell on the fact that the Raleigh News & Observer scooped the Greensboro News & Record in its own backyard on a major economic-development coup in a sexy, high-dollar industry with game-changing tech.
Nobody cares about scoops anyway.
Look instead at the message: Boom Supersonic, Colorado-based airplane manufacturer is considering Greensboro for a facility to make its supersonic passenger planes — an upgrade of the old Concorde model called the Overture — which can go twice the speed of conventional commercial aircraft. Negotiations have gone far enough that the General Assembly has written legislation appropriating $175 million and 1,000 acres at Piedmont Triad International Airport. The company is expected to invest $500 million if the deal goes through, and create about 1,750 good jobs. We’ll know before spring.
Pile this on top of the new deal with the Greensboro-Randolph County Megasite, an 1,800-acre tract near the highway and rail lines that’s been primed, graded and ready for a large-scale manufacturing tenant for almost a decade. This one’s a billion-dollar deal involving a Toyota car-battery manufacturing plant, and the paperwork has already been signed.
There’s another Greensboro manufacturing opportunity on South Elm-Eugene Street, right next door to the Triad City Beat offices: The Steelhouse, a 75,000-square-foot manufacturing facility spread over 15 acres. It’s part of a plan by the Piedmont Triad Regional Council that encompasses seven interconnected projects in our counties. The PTR plan has already been named a finalist in the Build Back Better Regional Challenge, an effort by the US Economic Development Association, that could be worth $100 million.
Capital investment is where all growth starts, and our little corner of the state has been waiting for dollars like this since furniture and textile manufacturing left more than 20 years ago.
One difference between then and now, though, is that those corporations paid income tax, which will be down to nothing by the time these projects come online. These days, we pay corporations to come here.
As we mentioned, the state will pony up $175 million to get supersonic, which might not even include county and city incentives. The state budget has $300 million earmarked for the Megasite. So we’d be down almost half a billion before the tide starts to rise.