Time Warner grant hinges on jobs

Time Warner Cable will get up to $3.18 million in state grants over the next decade if it meets goals for creating 200 jobs as part of an expansion of its Charlotte operation.

Over the next four years, the company is planning to invest $3.68 million in expansion to qualify for the grant, state officials said Monday.

Those new jobs – largely executive and management positions for Time Warner Cable's national operation – will pay an annual average salary of $70,375 before benefits. Cash grants are made by the state, under its Job Development Investment Grant program, depending on the company's hitting its targets for investment and job creation, Deborah Barnes, spokesman for the N.C. Department of Commerce in Raleigh, said Monday.

Under the program, the company would be rated on its expansion goals in 2009, and the first payment would be in 2010.

In 2004, a grant under the program was awarded to Time Warner to expand its corporate offices at the Charlotte Corporate Campus, off Interstate 77 near the state line. In 2005, the first building on the campus was finished and houses accounting, human resources, information technology, real estate, tax, travel and facilities for the company nationwide.

Time Warner's second building, due for completion is May 2009, is targeted for the grant. It will accommodate employees working in leased space and bring the head count at the Charlotte campus, currently at 862, to more than 1,000.

That will be in addition to the 1,400 employees in the Charlotte local division, which includes the regional call center and technicians, said Susan Breckenridge of Time Warner.

“Time Warner has become an important employer in Charlotte,” said Mayor Pat McCrory. “To have this kind of investment during a downturn in the economy is very beneficial.”

Under the 2004 grant, Time Warner was required to create 350 jobs and invest $28 million. It created more than 400 jobs and invested more than $31 million, according to the Commerce Department.

Under the latest grant, Time Warner must retain those jobs and 462 others that already exist in Charlotte.

In 2002, the job development grant program was created by the legislature to stimulate growth. The state says it has created 28,000 jobs and brought $4 billion in investment. Time Warner's latest grant is the 80th awarded under the program and the 10th this year.

Each year that targeted firms meet performance targets, the state provides a grant equal to 60 percent of the state personal income withholding taxes from the new jobs.