South Charlotte

Local equipment company is leaving Mint Hill

AC Controls Co., an instrumentation and controls equipment distributor and service provider is leaving Mint Hill and headed to Concord.

The company has been awarded an economic development grant to move from Morris Business Park in Mint Hill to Oakmont Business Park on Westmoreland Drive NW in Concord.

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

“We don’t have a formal economic development program here, but we are looking at joining the Four Town Alliance to help work on economic development plans,” said Welch.

The Four Town Alliance, also called the South Charlotte Alliance, is a group of four towns – Matthews, Mint Hill, Stallings and Indian Trail – that hope to work together to bring economic development to the region. The towns have had several meetings and drafted a set of by-laws.

Alliance by-law approval was on the Aug. 21 Mint Hill town meeting agenda.

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. The project includes an airplane hanger.

AC Controls plans to invest an additional $2.2 million in equipment. The 54-year-old company has been in Mint Hill since 1981.

AC Controls President Jim Borders said the company has outgrown its current 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,” Borders said.

He said he expects to begin construction on the new building this fall and hopes to move to Concord sometime next spring.

The Concord City Council recently approved a grant for the company that essentially will allow it to be reimbursed for 85 percent of the property taxes paid on the new investment over the next three years.

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 over the next three years. The city will still see about $14,000 in additional property-tax revenue on the property during the grant period.

Information provided to council members stated AC Controls has 45 employees that work at the Mint Hill headquarters. Those employees are expected to follow the company to Concord and will be joined by 15 new hires once the facility is finished.

Peter L. Franzese, public affairs and project manager for Concord, said the economic development grants are helping lure companies to the city.

“AC Controls, like many other businesses, was attracted to Concord by a combination of available property, needed infrastructure, a great location, a thriving community and a strong economic development recruitment program,” Franzese said. “The Economic Development Grant program is in place to allow projects like this to be economically feasible to qualifying projects, with the city experiencing a 15 percent net-revenue gain during the agreement.”

Mecklenburg County tax records show AC Controls’ property in Mint Hill is valued at $239,000 and generates about $645 in town taxes and $1,950 in Mecklenburg County taxes each year.

Sandy Barnett, executive administrator of the Mint Hill Chamber, says she was surprised at the news of AC Controls leaving town. She also said it appears growth in the town is up.

“This is the most growth we’ve seen in a while, both in renovations and new construction,” Barnett said. “Publix is coming, as well as other potential tenants in that shopping center. Aldi is renovating an old building and should open soon. We have several other new businesses, as well.

“We’ve gotten 23 new chamber members for 2014, which is right on track with previous years.”