Arresting development: Top job-creating projects.

Author:Bivins, Lawrence
Position:NC ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
 
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North Carolina may have missed out on Amazon's much-hyped sweepstakes for a massive second headquarters, but the Seattle-based e-commerce juggernaut accounted for the state's biggest economic development expansion in the 12 months that ended May 31. The addition of giant fulfillment centers in Garner and west Charlotte follows Amazon's arrival in Cabarrus County, which ranked No. 5 on last year's list.

The ranking is based on the number of jobs pledged upon announcement, many times in concert with state and local tax incentives. Sometimes, the expanding companies exceed their goals, while others never hit the targets. In most cases, state assistance doesn't occur unless jobs are created and investments made.

Atlanta-based Site Selection magazine, widely read by location hunters, named North Carolina as the nation's No. 1 Top Competitive State for Business in 2018. It has ranked among the top 5 in Forbes Best States for Business rankings for the last dozen years.

> One

Amazon.com Inc.

Mecklenburg, Wake counties

> NEW JOBS: 3,000

> PROJECTED INVESTMENT: $400 million

> N.C. INCENTIVES: N/A

> COMPANY HQ: Seattle

The growth in online retail has dust flying in Gamer, where Amazon is developing a $200 million fulfillment center on an 88-acre site once occupied by Conagra Brands Inc. The center is expected to employ 1,500 workers and generate $45 million in annual payroll at the southern Wake County town. A similar project is underway at an Amazon center near Charlotte Douglas International Airport. The company neither sought nor received financial incentives from the N.C. Department of Commerce, though local officials promised transportation improvements in return for Amazon's jobs and investment.

> Two

AvidXchange Inc.

Mecklenburg County

> NEW JOBS: 1,229

> PROJECTED INVESTMENT: $41 million

> N.C. INCENTIVES: $19.6 million

> COMPANY HQ: Charlotte

AvidXchange, a fintech company founded in a Charlotte coffee shop in 2000, is doubling its employee headcount at its Queen City headquarters. New positions will pay average annual salaries of about $68,500. AvidXchange provides cloud-based software that simplifies the way companies pay their bills. The firm automates the end-to-end payment process for customers in construction, energy, real estate and other industries. Accounting giant Deloitte ranked AvidXchange on its Fast 500 in 2018.

> Three

Chewy Inc.

Rowan County

> NEW JOBS: 1,200

> PROJECTED INVESTMENT: $55 million

> N.C. INCENTIVES: $166,650

> COMPANY HQ: Boston and Dania Beach, Fla.

Modern infrastructure and a ready-to-go workforce were among the factors drawing Chewy, an online pet-supply retailer, to Salisbury. Its new facility will join eight other fulfillment centers the company maintains nationally. Chewy's owner PetSmart Inc. filed plans to spin off the unit with an initial public offering in April. Founded in 2011, the company's annual revenue tops $3.5 billion.

> Four

Publix Super Markets Inc.

Guilford County

> NEW JOBS: 1,000

> PROJECTED INVESTMENT: $400 million

> N.C. INCENTIVES: $13.1 million

> COMPANY HQ: Lakeland, Fla.

Grocery giant Publix is building the Triad's biggest distribution center: a 1.8 million-square-foot warehouse complex in east Greensboro. The center will sit on a 350-acre property. Its $400 million development cost made multiphase "Project Sky" North...

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