At a time when economic incentives are coming under close scrutiny, Statesville’s city council approved a $70,000 economic development grant at its January meeting for Highland Industries, which specializes in the conception, design and delivery of high-performance textiles for the automotive, industrial and aerospace industries.
The grant is a pass along of an incentive previously approved by the N.C. Department of Commerce, to assist the company in expanding their business at the city’s business park near U.S. 70.
“This is a One NC Fund grant, which the city will disburse to Highland Industries as they grow,” said Finance Director Lisa Salmon. “The grant is for a three-year period, and calls for the company to manufacture parts and assemblies utilizing carbon fiber, fiberglass and similar materials.”
Highland is using the second “shell” – speculative building – at the city’s business park, with some 62,000 square feet, to expand their operations. The building was specifically designed to attract new investment to Statesville.
Under the terms of the grant, Highland must create at least 26 new, full-time jobs during the three-year period. The company has set up a goal of 29 jobs. The average weekly salary for all full-time jobs must be at least $1,051 and health insurance must also be provided. An investment of $7.425 million is required, and the company must use grant proceeds for installation or purchase of equipment, structural repairs, improvements, or renovations to existing buildings.
“This is a testament to the vitality of the Statesville economy and our desirability to attract advanced manufacturing companies, as well as an example of the city’s commitment to partnerships that promote economic growth,” said Mayor Costi Kutteh.
Highland opened in 1940 as Burlington Industrial Fabrics Co., then reorganized as Highland Industries after the Takata Corp. acquired the company in 1988. The Statesville facility will be the third location in the Carolinas for Highland: Their headquarters was moved from Greensboro to Kernersville in 2013. They also operate a plant in Cheraw, S.C.
Construction on the building Highland will occupy began in September 2013. Occupying a 16-acre parcel, the building is a public-private partnership between The Keith Corp., Statesville, Iredell County and Statesville Regional Development. With the Highland agreement, most of the land at the city’s first business park will be in use. However, the city has purchased and rezoned another 134 acres of vacant land near Davis Hospital, which the city plans to use for a second business park.