Development

Charlotte’s N.C. Music Factory gets a new name

At the podium, Michael Praeger, CEO and co-founder of AvidXchange makes the announcement that it will become the exclusive and sole sponsor of The NC Music Factory. Rick Lazes, co-founder of the ARK Group, is at far left and Mayor Jennifer Roberts is at center.
At the podium, Michael Praeger, CEO and co-founder of AvidXchange makes the announcement that it will become the exclusive and sole sponsor of The NC Music Factory. Rick Lazes, co-founder of the ARK Group, is at far left and Mayor Jennifer Roberts is at center. rlahser@charlotteobserver.com

The N.C. Music Factory said Thursday that it will change its name to the AvidXchange Music Factory, after payment software firm AvidXchange acquired the naming rights for the entertainment complex where it is building a new headquarters.

The company said the first of its two planned headquarters buildings – a 200,000 square foot, six-story structure – will be complete in April 2017. The company is operating out of offices it’s leasing at a building next to the new headquarters, where it broke ground in September.

AvidXchange CEO Michael Praeger said the company is also leasing up to 35,000 additional square feet of office space to accommodate more employees.

“One of our core values is ‘have fun,’ so connecting our company’s brand with, and supporting, a unique business community that exudes life and entertainment was an easy decision,” Praeger said.

He said the branding will help the company lure employees: “When we compete for talent with other software companies, we can tell them we’re part of the AvidXchange Music Factory.”

AvidXchange now employs more than 500, including more than 100 at the Music Factory, a collection of bars, restaurants and music venues just north of uptown.

The name change was announced Thursday at Bootlegger’s Saloon, part of the Music Factory. Effective March 1, AvidXchange will be the Music Factory’s “exclusive and sole sponsor.” Signs have already been changed to show the new name, which is hung on dozens of poles and painted on brick walls throughout the complex.

Praeger declined to say how much the naming rights cost.

While it might not seem that a payments software company fits with a collection of bars and restaurants that includes Wet Willie’s and nightclub Label, the brands are a natural fit, said Rick Lazes, co-founder of the ARK Group that developed the Music Factory.

“The core values that Michael has cultivated at AvidXchange perfectly parallel with the spirit and purpose of the Music Factory. We couldn’t be more excited to have AvidXchange as the naming rights sponsor for the complex,” said Lazes.

AvidXchange, which automates bill payments and invoices for midsized companies, said in 2014 that its expansion is being aided by about $7.5 million in state tax incentives, along with $1.1 million from the city of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County.

The company has pledged to bring 600 jobs to Charlotte by 2018 and said it is on track to meet those goals. Its two planned 200,000-square-foot headquarters will have space for 1,000 employees total.

Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts said the company’s growth will help to paint Charlotte as friendly to tech companies and startups.

“Charlotte has been known for years as a banking town,” she said. “We’re also starting to be rebranded as a place for entrepreneurs.”

Ely Portillo: 704-358-5041, @ESPortillo

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