An IT and engineering services firm is considering creating 1,237 new jobs in Cary over the next three years.
The project would be the second major economic development deal that this town of 145,000 has landed within the past 16 months.
Town and state officials have not disclosed the identity of the company, but the state is offering more than $17 million in incentives to land the project.
“(T)he North Carolina Department of Commerce does not discuss whether it is or isn’t working with any company in any capacity,” spokeswoman Kim Genardo said in an email. “We are happy to provide information if and when a project is publicly announced.”
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Details of a potential deal were listed on Cary’s website Monday and then removed after The News & Observer inquired about the information.
“There is a company. They’re looking here. But they’re looking elsewhere, too,” said Lana Hygh, an assistant to the Cary town manager.
The state’s incentives package includes a $17 million Job Development Investment Grant and a One North Carolina grant worth $123,700. The One North Carolina grant requires a local match, and the Cary Town Council is expected to consider awarding the company $123,700 at an upcoming meeting.
The state and local grants are a far cry from those given to MetLife last year when it agreed to invest $85 million and hire about 1,300 employees in Cary at an average salary of about $80,000. Cary awarded MetLife $1.9 million in incentives, while the state gave the insurer a jobs development grant worth as much as $87.2 million.
MetLife is investing $85 million to build a new campus off Weston Parkway.
The IT and engineering firm would need to invest $9 million in town and pay its new employees an average annual salary of $52,000 in order to receive Cary’s grant.
“On those numbers alone, it seems like a worthwhile investment,” Councilman Jack Smith said.
He didn’t say whether he’d vote to approve the grant.
“Any economic incentive needs to be well thought out and have ironclad controls so that the organization receiving the incentive delivers the goods first,” he said.
Councilman Don Frantz said he’s a fan of offering incentives to companies that promise capital investments.
“Nine million (dollars) would generate a lot of property taxes,” he said.
Nonetheless, he’s still on the fence.
“I need to find out more details,” Frantz said.
Cary isn’t exactly desperate for jobs.
The town tends to have a lower unemployment rate than the rest of the state, and new residents are arriving at such a fast pace that some Cary schools have enrollment caps. Cary is also one of the Triangle’s strongest-performing real estate markets, helped in part by the ongoing relocation of MetLife employees.
Recently, the town has aided projects that will boost its economy and create jobs.
Last month, the town awarded a $1.4 million loan to a couple that plan to build a $9.5 million boutique hotel in downtown Cary. The conditions of the loan require the couple to create 40 jobs targeted to people from low- tomoderate-income families.
Cary leaders think they’re positioned to continue attracting jobs with or without offering incentive packages. The town’s low taxes, good schools and proximity to reputable universities make Cary a desired destination, said Councilwoman Jennifer Robinson, a real estate agent.
“People are looking for talent pools and a place that offers a good quality of life,” she said. “Companies are going where their employees want to be.”