AC Controls to bring jobs to Concord

Mint Hill-based AC Controls Co. has announced plans to build a 60,000-square-foot facility in Concord that will bring roughly 60 jobs to Cabarrus County.

The company’s 45 Mint Hill employees will move to Concord. The new facility will be built near Concord Regional Airport in the Oakmont Business Park on Westmoreland Drive Northwest.

AC Controls’ grant application, filed with city of Concord, says the company plans to build a $4.3 million facility to serve as its distribution and manufacturing hub. AC Controls plans to invest an additional $2.2 million in equipment, bringing its total expected investment to roughly $6.5 million.

The company also will build an aircraft hangar. Once construction is complete in 2015, the company plans to hire 15 new employees.

Founded in 1960 – with offices in Greenville and Richmond, Va. – AC Controls provides valves, instrumentation and controls for piping used in power, pharmaceutical, chemical and pulp paper plants. The company has been in Mint Hill since 1981.

The Concord location will be a distribution and manufacturing facility. JQF Properties LLC will own the property, entering a private hangar access or land lease agreement after construction is complete.

AC Controls President Jim Borders said the company has outgrown its Mint Hill location.

“We need more space,” he said. “To enlarge the facility that we are in would take a lot of retrofitting and would be disruptive to our business. The space we are moving into is zoned (industrial), and we will be able to do more there.”

The Concord City Council recently approved a three-year incentive package for AC Controls. The company will pay its property taxes in full for the first three years, and the city will reimburse the company for 85 percent of those taxes.

Cabarrus County first used incentives structured that way in 1996 to bring Corning Inc. to the county.

With a $6.5 million investment and the current property tax rate of 48 cents per $100 valuation, the company will be reimbursed about $80,000 during the next three years. The city will still get about $14,000 in new tax revenue on the property during the grant period.

Mint Hill Town Manager Brian Welch said economic development grants aren’t available in that town.

Borders, who lives in Cornelius, said jobs will range from warehouse and customer service workers to engineers and executives. Salaries will range from $30,000 to $100,000-plus.

The company has been growing at a double-digit rate for years, he said.

Borders described Cabarrus as a burgeoning area for multi-use, industrial warehouse businesses like his. The ease of access to the interstate highway, and to the airport, will help the company grow and be more efficient, he said.

Margie Bukowski, senior vice president of Cabarrus Economic Development Corp., helps recruit new businesses to Cabarrus County and handle financial incentive negotiations.

She’s been working on this project for months and said Concord Regional Airport helped seal the deal.

“It’s huge,” said Bukowski of the airport’s role. “We’re very excited for this company to come here and help grow the airport location,” Bukowski said.

Bukowski estimated the average annual salary of highly skilled workers, such as engineers, will be about $70,000.

The EDC doesn’t track jobs added, only jobs announced, said Bukowski, but the current year will be a shot in the arm for the local economy if all the announced jobs become reality. In 2010, 325 jobs were announced. It’s been a steady decline recently: in 2011, 361 jobs were announced; in 2012, 270 jobs; and in 2013, 102.

So far this year, 670 jobs have been announced, and Bukowski expects those numbers to grow, especially after four new speculative buildings are built throughout the county.

“There are other expansions and other projects coming later in the year that are going to bring even more jobs,” she said. “We’re very positive. This has been a great year for us. … We’ve got a lot of things on our plate and we’re counting on every single one of them.

“Everybody in the state is seeing an increase in the number of projects and interest,” Bukowski said, “but people are really looking at our area.”