In bid for CoStar, N.C. offered more cash, Richmond more in services

CoStar’s new facility in Richmond, Va.
CoStar’s new facility in Richmond, Va. Courtesy of CoStar

In their attempts to lure a major expansion by a Washington-based real estate research firm, North Carolina offered a bigger cash grant, but the city of Richmond, Va., offered more in services, according to information provided by the states, local governments and the company.

Real estate research firm CoStar Group announced Monday that it was bringing a 732-job office to Richmond after also considering Charlotte, Atlanta and Kansas City. Local real estate sources said the company had zeroed in on a location in Charlotte, but the company’s board decided against the move because of opposition to the state’s controversial House Bill 2, which limits protections for LGBT individuals.

When it was recruiting CoStar, North Carolina offered $8.3 million in cash grants from its Job Development and Investment Grant, or JDIG, program. But the company ultimately accepted a grant of $4 million from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund in Virginia.

Both states and local governments also offered a host of other incentives in their efforts to recruit the company.

To come to Charlotte, North Carolina offered CoStar customized training for workers worth $1,098,000, and the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County offered business investment grants totaling $271,436, according to documents obtained by the Observer on Thursday.

Virginia, the city of Richmond and the company on Friday provided the Observer with details on other incentives that are being provided to CoStar:

▪ Virginia Jobs Investment Program for worker training: $732,000.

▪ Enterprise Zone Real Property Improvement Grant: $100,000.

▪ Enterprise Zone Job Creation Grant: $1.4 million.

▪ Major Business Facilities Job Tax Credit: $331,000.

In addition, Richmond was required to provide a $4 million matching grant – which the city is making in in-kind services, not cash, according to city spokeswoman Tammy Hawley.

This includes services such as enterprise zone incentives, public transportation connectivity, job training and recruitment assistance, she said.

In total, the incentives offered by North Carolina, the city and county come to about $9.7 million, while Virginia and Richmond offered a total of about $10.6 million. That includes the $4 million of in-kind services, meaning Virginia’s cash incentives totaled around $6.6 million.

The North Carolina legislature passed HB2 on March 23, and it was signed later that day by Gov. Pat McCrory. It overturned a Charlotte ordinance supported by Mayor Jennifer Roberts that allowed transgender individuals to use the bathroom that matched their gender identity.

HB2 has spurred criticism from sports organizations, businesses and performers.