Business

After HB2 repeal, NBA is coming back to Charlotte. So what about PayPal?

A sign outside PayPal’s headquarters in San Jose, Calif.
A sign outside PayPal’s headquarters in San Jose, Calif. AP

Since North Carolina lawmakers removed House Bill 2 from the books, sports organizations such as the NBA have returned games to the state, and companies such as Credit Suisse have announced new projects that had been in limbo.

But one company that canceled high-profile plans because of HB2 – payments processor PayPal – doesn’t look likely to resurrect its scrapped 400-employee operations center in Charlotte.

The San Jose, Calif.-based company ended up adding people at its other operations centers and doesn’t have current plans to come to Charlotte, a source familiar with the matter told the Observer Wednesday. After PayPal pulled out, Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts asked company officials if they would reconsider and was told they had no plans to do so at that time, a spokesman for the mayor also told the Observer.

A PayPal spokesman said Wednesday that the company had no updates on the project.

In March 2016, PayPal executives, joined by then-Gov. Pat McCrory, announced a new Charlotte office to be staffed by customer service, risk, technology and other employees in return for up to $2.8 million in state tax incentives. But just days later, the company called off the project after McCrory signed HB2, the controversial law that limited protections for LGBT people.

In March, Gov. Roy Cooper signed a compromise bill that repealed HB2 but banned local governments from passing anti-discrimination ordinances for three years. Since then, the NCAA and ACC have said canceled sporting events can return to the state. And on Wednesday, the NBA – which had pulled its 2017 All-Star Game out of Charlotte because of HB2 – announced the city would host the 2019 All-Star Game.

The relationship between PayPal and the state of North Carolina hasn’t been particularly friendly since the company canceled its planned expansion.

Some Republican politicians called PayPal hypocritical because it still operated in countries where homosexual behavior was illegal, and the state of North Carolina even asked PayPal to return a ceremonial bowl it had given the company in honor of its planned new center.

PayPal’s selection of Charlotte over locations in Florida and Arizona was the culmination of years of interest in the state by the company and its departure likely cost more jobs than originally disclosed, the Observer has reported. Closed-session city council minutes showed the company initially proposed to create 500 jobs, and at the official announcement a top PayPal executive alluded to more potential hiring.

After pulling out of Charlotte, PayPal said it had reopened its search for a new facility. But it hasn’t announced any new operations centers since then.

Rick Rothacker: 704-358-5170, @rickrothacker

  Comments