CARY — Cary and Wake County each could pay MetLife about $1.9 million in cash incentives, according to staff projections. In exchange, the company could put more than $85 million into a Cary campus by 2017.
Under a rough-draft deal approved unanimously by the Cary Town Council on Thursday night, Cary and the county would make annual payouts based upon the insurance companys investment in local buildings and equipment. Ultimately, the company could get back 77 percent of its local taxes and 53 percent off its county bills over an eight-year period.
In all, the company projects it will employ at least 1,200 jobs in Cary at salaries exceeding $90,000, according to its contract with the local government. That would put the lions share of its investment in the state here, considering the company expects to spend $125 million between its new Cary and Charlotte campuses.
Still, government staff arent ready to put a firm number on how much theyll pay out, because theyre unsure how much MetLife will invest.
Its very vague at this point, very preliminary. We really dont have a whole lot of details, said Marcus Kinrade, Wake Countys revenue director. Rather than voting on a specific amount, the elected officials are approving the formula, said Scott Fogleman, Carys budget director.
The county and town incentives packages also set some ground rules. MetLife wont get cash until it puts at least $50 million into its local campus, which may happen by 2016. The company also must hire at least 250 people in Cary at salaries exceeding $90,000.
Wake Countys Board of Commissioners could vote on the matter April 1.
The cash grant model is typical for Wake County but unusual for Cary, which generally has paid development fees or other in-kind expenses for developers. The grants also would be the towns largest incentive ever, topping a $500,000 incentive for Siemens Medical Groups 300-job move in 2008.
In all, MetLife could get almost $100 million in state, county and local incentives.
What youd like to see is the whole concept go away, said Councilman Jack Smith. But Im locked into it, because I want to remain competitive, and Im not going to on a principal lose out on a great opportunity like this.
MetLifes arrival would mark the largest single movement of jobs into Cary in recent history.
The company is looking at property owned by Raleigh-based Highwoods Properties off Weston Parkway in Cary, according to earlier comments by town staff. A Highwoods spokeswoman declined to comment.
If the companys interested in Weston Parkway, there are only so many options: the road is only 3.5 miles long, running mostly along the southern side of Lake Crabtree.
No matter where it goes, MetLifes set to be a presence here: It could become the towns third-largest employer, behind SAS Institute and Verizon, according to town statistics.