Durham approves $1 million incentive for EMC

Staff WriterOctober 20, 2009 

— A $1 million incentive for an international technology company that might lead to 292 new jobs in Durham won the City Council's unanimous approval Monday night.

The beneficiary, EMC Corp., develops information-storage technology, "a high-growth industry sector in Durham," said Kevin Dick, the city's economic-development director.

Sites in New York, Washington and Virginia, as well as Durham, are under consideration for the data center. Dick said EMC wants the incentive to offset the lower cost of electricity in those other places.

EMC, with headquarters in Hopkinton, Mass., has had a branch at Research Triangle Park since 1999. The company is considering an expansion at its existing site and a new data center and laboratory at the Imperial Center business park at Interstate 40 and Page Road.

"It would help the city at a time our unemployment rate has doubled," Dick said. The current unemployment rate in Durham County is 8.5 percent, Dick said.

Most of the new jobs will be "lab technician, engineering types," said Bob Hawkins, EMC's local operations head.

Last week, Durham County approved a $1.2 million incentive for the expansion and new facility. Dick said the construction would add $280 million to the tax base and $185,000 a year in city property-tax revenue for the city, as well as $217,000 per year in electricity taxes.

Councilman Howard Clement was concerned over the demographic makeup of EMC's work force after Dick said the company considers that information confidential. The company is "very conservative" in releasing personnel information, Hawkins said. He said he needed headquarters' OK even to release the number of jobs expansion would create.

Dick said he had seen the personnel demographics, and they are "spread across many racial demographics." He agreed to share the data privately with Clement.

jim.wise@newsobserver.com or 919-932-2008

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